This forum was wonderful for my preparation, even going back two years to see reports from a similar snow year and what I could expect. I'll chip in my experience for the record.
Group of 4 first-timers, all had a successful one-day summit via Mt. Whitney Trail, August 8, 2019
Preparation: Varied, two are dedicated trail runners and that was a bulk of their fitness training, and the other two did a lot of strength training, hiking, stairclimber, running and other relevant workouts. We all worked out 5-6 days a week in the two months before Whitney (and work out regularly anyway). We hiked San Jacinto and Baldy together, and I personally did various other hikes like Cucamonga Peak and a couple longer hikes through Cleveland National Forest.
Acclimation: Two of us took 62.5mg of Diamox, twice a day on August 6 and August 7. All of us stayed one night at Horseshoe Meadows (10K) and spent most of the next day at the Whitney Portal campground (8K) before the hike. One of us had altitude issues but not until about 14,200 and she continued to the summit with a headache.
Started hike at 12:05 a.m., summit at 9:59 a.m., return to Portal at about 5:20 p.m.
Most of our ascent was in the dark and it was chilly! It warmed up after sunrise but once we hit Trail Crest it was chilly and windy all the way to the top. I had a technical T-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a down jacket on for these cold stretches, in addition to stocking hat and gloves which I'm glad I brought.
The snow field below the summit was a bit sketchy, particularly coming down (there was about 10-15 of us descending at the same time because of a cloud build-up and there was a bit of a traffic jam at this snowfield. Microspikes were not necessary but may have helped. I did not have them and did fine.
There were other smaller snow crossings, one below Trail Camp that was about 20 feet and not an issue, and one of the switchback turns had snow but no issue.
Creek crossings were fine, shoes stayed dry.
We were on the lowest switchbacks at sunrise. It had rained the day before so there was water flowing down from roughly the 25th switchback, and there were about 5-7 switchbacks below it with icy rocks as a result. Just had to be careful. They were not icy on our descent.
All in all, a great day! I'll never forget it. Thanks for everyone's advice on here, it was so valuable.
Last edited by KCMasterpiece; 08/13/19 11:37 AM.