Our group of six saw five summit (two using the chute and three using the switchbacks).
- We left at 2:30AM and the group that used the chute did not get back to the portal till 8:30PM; some other groups we saw were on pace to spend 24+ hours on the trail.
- Be careful not to lose the trail at mirror lake! There is a hard left at mirror lake (right before the mirror lake sign). We didnít see this and tried to go up the snow/ice field and had one person go down 50ft on an uncontrolled slide from near the top, fortunately hitting some rocks to stop.
- The switchbacks are doable with crampons and poles but there are multiple traverses through snow and ice which is melting and creating soft spots where itís easy to sink in almost waist deep. On the way down these traverses were icy and felt precarious. These conditions could get worse as the snow and ice melts off but be careful in the afternoons after the sun goes over the ridge.
- Sections of the cables area require you to go outside the cables and climb up some rocks that are fairly steep. In the afternoon this portion is made more complicated and slippery with lots of water flow.
- The members of our group with ice axes who used the chute to slide down using glissade and arrest techniques saved two+ hours over the switchbacks coming down.
- Three people in our group had headaches with one calling it at trail camp and waited the eight+ hours there for us. Take it slow and maintain a stable pace, a mile an hour isnít anything to be embarrassed about.