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#55564 - 06/27/19 04:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jbinsb]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7834
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow. frown frown

Would sure like to see evidence of the danger. Curious to see if any of those long benches that were cut would cause a slide. Guess I need to go back and look.

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#55577 - 06/28/19 09:19 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
BFR Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 123
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
I hiked the Whitney Zone today. The switchbacks are being used now (I took the chute but I saw some people on the switchbacks and confirmed they were used to get to the Trail Crest). I got a great pic near Mt Muir (see below). The route from the trail crest to Whitney summit is mostly clear and crampons are not needed. It was not pleasant glissading down the chute today - the snow is very rough.

Whitney chute:


Whitney switchbacks (from Mt Muir area):


Whitney from near JMT:




Edited by BFR (06/28/19 09:23 PM)
_________________________
Strava, IG

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#55578 - 06/28/19 10:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BFR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7834
Loc: Fresno, CA
BFR: Thanks for the pictures! It blows me away how dry much of the switchbacks are!!! Just three weeks ago, I only walked a few sections where there was much dry ground. All the rest was snow!

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#55579 - 06/28/19 10:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jbinsb]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 435
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: jbinsb
I just spoke with the Whitney Ranger Station. The woman said that because of the work done to clear the swtchbacks, they are too dangerous and as of this moment you have to use the chutes.


Sure questions the validity of advice from the "Whitney Ranger Station"

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#55580 - 06/29/19 12:06 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BFR]
Melissa Offline


Registered: 04/12/19
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Did you say we no longer need crampons this year??? Like at all? No crampons means no axe and that would be some mighty nice news lol

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#55581 - 06/29/19 12:16 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Melissa]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7834
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Did you say we no longer need crampons
Melissa, I wouldn't go that far yet. Though when I walked the switchbacks 3 weeks ago, my ice axe was excess baggage. My crampons were sure helpful. I think microspikes and hiking poles will be enough in a week.

> Sure questions the validity of advice from the "Whitney Ranger Station"
Frank, I've heard from several who think I may have destabilized the snow slope with the big horizontal cut I made. And that could possibly have been true, except there were no slide-planes within any snow I found. And now, based on the above picture, I'd say enough has melted that risk of anything sliding is nearly zero.

We continue to see and hear about people getting hurt, or at least really afraid of getting hurt going down the chute, so at this point I think the switchbacks are a better option.


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#55582 - 06/29/19 08:26 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BFR]
G4u2 Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 28
Loc: San Diego, CA
Thanks for the pictures BFR! Do you have any of Guitar Lake? I'm going westward after Whitney in a couple of weeks and need to know the need for crampons beyond the WT (Horseshoe Meadow exit). Thanks again!

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#55583 - 06/29/19 08:55 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BFR]
IanS Offline


Registered: 06/14/19
Posts: 12
Loc: Northern CA
Great Report BFR. What is the water situation, is there water at trail camp? I was told the pond is frozen over.

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#55584 - 06/29/19 09:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: IanS]
BFR Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 123
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
Some further comments:
The lake at Trail Camp is not fully frozen over. You can get water there. Same for consultation lake.

I haven't been up the switchbacks but my understanding is that microspikes and poles is all that is needed. Note that you still need to ascend low grade snow to start the dry switchbacks. My guess from looking at the switchbacks is that there are probably 3-4 snow crossings that can be easily done with poles and spikes. Hiker beware, as I haven't done it.

More pics here:
https://www.strava.com/activities/2488400572


Edited by BFR (06/29/19 09:56 AM)
_________________________
Strava, IG

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#55585 - 06/29/19 10:08 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BFR]
IanS Offline


Registered: 06/14/19
Posts: 12
Loc: Northern CA
BFR, thanks again, we are headed up tomorrow and are relieved we can water up at Trail Camp.

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#55588 - 06/29/19 04:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
stressfree Offline


Registered: 06/29/19
Posts: 3
Loc: mojave desert, ca
Good Day, thanks for the great updates. Can someone say how difficult the creek crossing, or crossings, are currently? We will be enterering July 2nd.

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#55589 - 06/29/19 09:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: stressfree]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7834
Loc: Fresno, CA
In the past week or more, the crossing about a mile above the trail head has been causing people to wade. The easiest way to avoid that is to start up the old trail. It is not maintained, but is shorter by 10 minutes, and joins the Main Trail just after the worst creek crossing. I used it several weeks ago and it is in pretty good shape.

Read this thread to learn about it: Old Trail

Trails higher up are less of a problem. But people have been talking about taking:
--water shoes (cheap crock knock-offs are what I use ..."garden shoes"
--wear plastic bags over your boots when you cross
--take a dry pair of socks to change into if your feet get wet.

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#55590 - 06/29/19 10:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
stressfree Offline


Registered: 06/29/19
Posts: 3
Loc: mojave desert, ca
Good to know. We will do the Old Trail and bring some water shoes too. Those are good for around camp and while boots dry anyway.

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#55629 - 07/03/19 03:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Dru1962 Offline


Registered: 07/03/19
Posts: 1
Loc: Idaho
I have climbed Mt. Whitney about 17 times mostly by switchbacks also the chute. I have a permit for next Tuesday and based on recent trip reports, I plan on using the switchbacks. Would a climbing harness and clip ( connecting to cable section) be helpful on the dicey areas at cable ?

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#55632 - 07/03/19 04:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Dru1962]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7834
Loc: Fresno, CA
A mom took her 9-y-o daughter through the cables section several days ago. She reported they had to climb outside the cables to get by one spot. And someone helped the daughter there, when they came back down.

I don't think a harness is necessary -- lots of people are getting through. (all the injuries are people descending the chute rather than the switchbacks.)

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