I have a day pass for Friday, June 7 and am planning to hike Mt Whitney via the Main Trail / Chute. We are going as a group of 3 with relatively little mountaineering experience, but are quite experienced hikers. We are acclimating to the altitude at Whitney Portal Wednesday and Thursday night, and starting the hike early Friday. I have ice axes and crampons, and have packed everything on this list: https://outdoorprime.com/mt-whitney-checklist/
We're aiming to summit, but understand that may be tricky given the snow conditions so are open to turning back early. I have a few open questions I'd love to get advice on:
- Is a helmet required for the chute? I haven't seen this discussed in the forums but have seen it in photos of hikers in the chute.
- Is there an optimal time to be starting the hike / arriving to the bottom of the chute? My understanding is that beginning the chute at 9AM is best for snow consistency, which would put us at a 4AM departure from Whitney Portal.
- Is it easy sticking to the trail despite the snow conditions? I have read of people getting lost and having to backtrack.
- Any other safety tips or non-obvious things we should bring / consider?
Thanks a lot in advance! A lot of my prep has been via this forum so really appreciate the collective knowledge here over the years
Also, we had a dropout from our group so if anyone is interested in tagging along last minute, let me know!