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#4904 - 06/04/10 10:44 AM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
This thread is designed to hold posts displaying pictures and describing the current conditions of the Main Mount Whitney Trail (MMWT).  I hope everyone will contribute.

Please feel free to post pictures of your own or from any source (please post a reference to the original location), so that everyone can come here and easily find/read/see the conditions.

Older posts will be moved as conditions change. (As a result, some posts may appear to answer comments that are no longer in the thread.)

Thanks for everyone's help. Your posting trip reports helps untold numbers of hikers following you.

Older posts moved here:   Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2019 (Old)

Note: Sometimes this thread spans a number of pages. You can click through all the pages, or click here to display all in one page.


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#54965 - 04/18/19 11:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
This was posted on FB by Russell B
He posted several followup videos.
They climbed Mt Whitney, April 13-15, 2019.

Quote:
Alrighty Whitney fans, my buddy and I did the Whitney Trail this past weekend and hit the summit on Sunday afternoon. Here is a quick trip report...

Day 1- Gate was locked, added 4 miles to the journey. Started at 4:30am. Trailhead was clear of snow and so was the first mile... after the first mile all snow. No snowshoes needed, it was well packed. Navigation was a little difficult but GAIA with downloaded maps makes it pretty easy. We were able to make it to camp by 5pm. We camped out just below Trail Camp.

Day 2- Woke up at 2:30am. Walked up to Trail Camp and put on crampons... The snow chute was an unbelievable challenge- took us just under 3 hours. Made it to Trail Crest around 8am. The backside trail was a little more sketchy (see pictures). It was narrow and slushy at times... Definitely need to be experienced in crampons to do this safely. Made it to the summit just after noon. We took our time and it was a difficult traverse. Coming back down was very easy after Trail Crest.

Day 3- Woke at 6am and we were back at the car by 11am. Really easy walking on the way down.

We were the only ones on the Whitney Trail... Plenty of people going up the Mountaineers Route. Definitely need all of the right winter mountaineering equipment... Warm layers, hard shells, down jacket, ice axe, crampons, etc. etc. Experience with navigation in the snow is definitely very important. Feel free to ask questions, I will try to answer along the way. Cheers!

A followup:
Quote:
We definitely did not need the snow shoes we packed.... it was dead weight. (We ditched the snowshoes after the first three miles. They were not necessary.) But if it gets softer and slushier- you will want them. So it just all depends, sorry for the squishy answer. I’d bring them.
Lone Pine lake is not too far. If the gate is open I bet you can make it there in 3-4 hours. The biggest thing is navigating. We got a little lost going up the first day but GAIA is the best. There is no trail, but there are some boot trails... you just can't trust them.
It will be awesome, enjoy!


Also, I called Inyo County road dept, and the word is that they are still working on clearing rocks, and it should be open by "the end of the month... but call again next week." wink

Looking down on Outpost Camp / Bighorn Park


Climbing above Mirror Lake


Dawn, above Trail Camp


Climbing the chute just below Trail Crest


West Side, JMT


Summit Hut is full of snow, no door


Descending the chute area.




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#54968 - 04/18/19 07:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Pranav Bhole Offline


Registered: 04/15/19
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hello, we got the permit to hike on 3rd May, can you please let us know that will the gate to trailhead (whitney portal) open at that time?

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#54969 - 04/18/19 09:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Pranav Bhole]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
No promises, but I think it should be. It has never been closed May 1 before.

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#54983 - 04/23/19 09:05 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Doug from the Whitney Portal store reported on the road today, Tue, Apr 23, 2019:

Quote:
Road should open this Friday, soft open now to middle gate about 1 mile below trailhead. DON'T BLOCK THE ROAD,park at the overview about 1000' before the gate.

Still a closed gate near the trailhead, just before the overflow parking lot. If this gate is locked parking will be limited, about 10 spaces and then along the road meaning if like last weekend you may not find a parking spot near the Portal.

I will post as the gates open.

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#54992 - 04/24/19 10:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just for fun: Here's a picture posted by Yosemite N.P. on their FB page, Apr 24, 2019. Snow plow working the Glacier Point road.


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#54998 - 04/25/19 04:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 403
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Yesterday, I climbed the Mountaineer’s Route and then descended the main trail (with a detour to Mt. Muir). As Doug said, the lower gate was open, but the next gate up (about a 40-minute walk from the trailhead) was locked. The road was completely clear. The parking lot next to the trailhead still had three feet of snow in the morning, but they cleared it by the time I hiked out. I didn’t go by the pond, but the road was clear as far as I could see. My guess is that they will open all the gates on Friday, as Doug said.

There is a lot of snow everywhere, once you get a few hundred feet above the portal. There is avalanche debris on the north fork (Mountaineers’ Route) in the canyon below Lower Boy Scout Lake. You don’t want to be there in the middle of the day. I don’t think anybody has been on the ledges yet. It appeared that you could take them if you wanted to, but you would be forced onto easy snow up higher. There is great snow coverage all the way to about 100’ below the notch. The final 400 is mixed snow and rock.

You can follow the main trail up to about 9,300’. After that, the tracks take some shortcuts, but more or less follow the trail. The chute has lots of snow. It will be the best way up and down for quite a while. The trail on the back side is mostly snow, but there are plenty of bare patches. There are several short, steep places that are hard to cross without crampons.

Overall, the snow is soft, which makes for a lot of extra work. Fortunately, I rarely punched into the snow deeper than my ankles. Leave the snowshoes at home. I hope this helps. Have fun!

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#55001 - 04/25/19 09:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bobpickering]
Jay Garcia Offline


Registered: 02/01/18
Posts: 12
Loc: Seattle, WA
Wow amazing job, Im planing to do the same on the week of May 6, I hope by then the upper gate is open.

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#55006 - 04/26/19 11:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Jay Garcia]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 403
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Doug just posted that the gate is open.

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#55023 - 04/30/19 02:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 11
Loc: CA, USA
Summited on Sunday April 28 following the Main Trail.

Tracks follow the usual winter trail:
- chute to access Outpost Camp above the snow-covered creek.
- chute to access Mirror lake above the snow-covered creek.
- Consultation lake detour (Trail Side Meadow snow-covered)
- chute to access Trail Crest (99 switchbacks snow-covered)

Observations:
- Road open all the way to the trailhead - no snow nor ice.
- Mirror lake has flowing water.
- Pond at Trail Camp is frozen.
- Snow-free spots to setup tent at Trail Camp.
- Heavy snow by the cable section of the 99 switchbacks (cf picture)
- Trail Crest has snow patches but good footprints all over.
- Wind was crazy, winter tent was a must.

You can check the pictures I took here:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZH2X2Fg1SuHhXdau8

Have fun and be safe!

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#55024 - 04/30/19 09:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
MikeH Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 25
Loc: Escondido, CA
Excellent photos, Philippe! Must have been a great time.

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#55025 - 04/30/19 09:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks, Philippe! I appreciate the report!

Here's a picture from Hayden M taken Saturday, 4/27/19. Click on the image to see a full-size view. If you look closely, you can see the cables section.

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#55045 - 05/04/19 07:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ZHIKER15 Offline


Registered: 05/04/19
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Started on the main trail about 1045 am towards the north fork went on the mountaineers route .. hit snow about about 1/4 mile up . Would say crampons is a must past lower Boy Scout . Took e Bach ledges. All clear of snow .water running off the rock are extremely slippery . Snow bridges are falling all over , so be careful. “ post-holing is a must. Took about 6 hours to get up with a few breaks . Clear weather until we got to upper boyscout , slight snowing with wind picking up towards the evening . Weather says clear tomorow for the summit , will leave camp about 3 am and head up . Inside tent as temps are pretty cold still with the wind picking up . “ have service “No water at upper Boy Scout yet as we filled up at lower before heading up the 2 hr misery hike. Will up date tomorow ..


Edited by ZHIKER15 (05/04/19 07:46 PM)

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#55133 - 05/11/19 10:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bobpickering]
Donal Offline


Registered: 05/11/19
Posts: 1
Loc: Colorado
Hi Bob, a small team of us are planning on taking the Mountaineers Route next weekend (18th). I've been struggling to find a clear description of 1) how best to cross the streams without getting wet, and 2) how best to tackle the final 400. From what I've read, I understand that the traverse option is easiest/safest to the summit when we get to the top of the couloir, but I'd like to hear your opinion particularly with current conditions, because it appears that the past week has dropped a few inches of fresh snow.
We're all in good shape and have experience with crampons, self arrest, and 14ers.

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#55145 - 05/12/19 01:00 PM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Mountaineer's Route [Re: Donal]
Hoot Offline


Registered: 02/01/19
Posts: 12
Loc: Ohio
Can anyone give a report from the Mountaineer's route in the past few days? It looked like the trail was going to get some new snow. I'm particularly interested in conditions at Upper Boy Scout Lake where we plan to camp Wednesday night. Will we be camping on snow? Can we get water at the lake or its outlet or is it likely to still be frozen solid?

Regarding the final 400', it looks like you take a left at the notch to climb the steep Class 3 route to the summit. To do the Class 2 alternative, it looks like you largely continue straight past the notch and traverse upward. Does that sound right? Will these two options be fairly obvious to first timers once we get to the notch?

Hoot

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#55146 - 05/12/19 01:37 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Mountaineer's Route [Re: Hoot]
Scott H Offline


Registered: 01/08/17
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego
As of last weekend, crampons not long after the north fork mountaineers route, e ledges clear of snow, running water in a couple spots slippery, lower Boy Scout lake is available for water, upper boyscout still frozen, get water at lower for sure, final 400 above notch, snow, ice, rocks, take the 400 up( left) traverse down,( a little less sketchy), either sleep on snow at uppers or find a flat rock but you’ll see where people have slept, that was a large storm for this late in the season, it will warm up fairly quickly which means lots of false bridges and runoff for sure, as we all know conditions change daily/ hourly on Whitney, find that window and enjoy the route

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#55150 - 05/12/19 04:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Donal]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 403
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Hi, Donal. It’s been 18 days since I was there, so everything I say will be out of date. When ascending to LBSL, the “trail” crosses right to left. People usually step on rocks and branches to hop across. No wading. The next crossing goes near a small waterfall. You will probably get splashed, and you may step in a couple of inches of water, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. The ledges start shortly after the second crossing.

The “Final 400” was mixed snow (both soft and consolidated) and rock, but no ice. No telling what it’s like now. Yes, you take a left at the top of the notch. You should see plenty of tracks going up. You can follow those tracks or go up the rock to the right of the tracks.

Your description of the “Easy Walkoff” is right. It avoids the rock climbing, but it can be deceptively sketchy at times. However, it looked really easy 18 days ago.

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#55153 - 05/13/19 03:08 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Melissa Offline


Registered: 04/12/19
Posts: 4
Loc: California
May 9th and 10th Whitney got 24" of new snow. May 11th and 12th the main trail was very snowy and slushy.
In talking to every one going up and down, camping, towns folk etc.. 3 known people (individuals no groups) managed to summit. 1 saturday and 1 Sunday (female from group of 3 her 2 male partbers did not) plus 1 female on the mountaineers route (she was amazing started at 10pm finished at 730 am solo!) Everyone was stopping at trail crest because they were sinking to the waist in snow.
The snow storm was predicted to last thru the weekend and into Monday so there were a lot of cancelled reservations..might be open spots. Locals predict the boot tracks to be solid again by Wednesday.
For my particular group I somehow managed vomitting and breathing trouble at the midnight start lasted several hours slept til 6am and decided to take a slow scenic trip only to mirror lake and be back before dark. Ended up going a bit farther to 1100 feet. 1 couple had been camped below mirror lake for 2 days; husband had AMS, gave him diamox. They planned to go farther Monday. 1 group of 2 males stopped by a ranger below mirror lake without a permit. Tons of photos and videos here:

https://m.facebook.com/mmlasater/albums/10213961199769766/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.facebook.com/mmlasater/media_set?set=a.10213961199769766&type=3




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#55158 - 05/13/19 01:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Picture from May 12, 2019, at the JMT / Main Trail junction, just west of and below Trail Crest.
More fresh snow coming later this week!
Posted on FB by Richard N.


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#55181 - 05/15/19 06:39 PM 15 May 19 Conditions: Mt Whitney Mountaineer's Route [Re: Hoot]
Hoot Offline


Registered: 02/01/19
Posts: 12
Loc: Ohio
With the caveat the conditions are changing fast, the snow conditions on the Mountaineer's Route were great today. Headed up the snow was firm and covering the rocks so we followed a path of boot tracks on the left side of the creek skipping the E-ledges with no problems. The snow in the couloir was excellent for climbing - and thanks to the climbers who put in those boot tracks. We did not climb above the notch. Coming down the plunge stepping was good much of the way on softer snow. However, lower in the canyon the soft slick snow was a real pain leading to some unplanned glissades. We probably should have taken the E-ledges on our way down

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