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#56184 - 09/02/19 06:17 PM Day Hiking 9/5/19
dcheng Offline


Registered: 09/02/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Hi everyone!

Been following the board somewhat frequently since I'm planning on day hiking on 9/5/19. My concern at this point is about the weather, since it's now looking like there might be a little bit of rain/snow the day before (0.1" rain, 0.8" snow). Mountain-forecast.com is now saying that it should be fairly dry on 9/5/19.

Should I be worried about the rain/snow from the previous day? I had not planned on bringing micro spikes, but should I make plans for that now? Or is it safe to assume that any snow accumulation would be too little to make much of a difference?

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#56187 - 09/02/19 10:33 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: dcheng]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7910
Loc: Fresno, CA
Check again -- Looks like Thursday 9/5 is the rainy day.

There shouldn't be any snow accumulation. You need rain gear, not micro spikes.

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#56190 - 09/03/19 06:30 AM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: Steve C]
dcheng Offline


Registered: 09/02/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Thanks! Just nervous as I approach my first summit attempt. I've always been one that prefers to "have it and not need it," but I'm leaning towards being leaner on this trip. I guess I'm fighting my normal instincts!

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#56196 - 09/03/19 09:42 AM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: dcheng]
OldManNewHiker Offline


Registered: 09/03/19
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
My permits are for the 5th as well.

Looking at the weather reports have me discouraged. I have been caught exposed in a lightening storm before, and I don't ever want to do that again.

More concerning than the weather reports are trip reports from Face Book detailing crazy shifts in the weather...rain, hail, and lightening. And that happening on the days it showed clear weather on the forecast.

May be cancelling...don't know if it's worth the risk.

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#56205 - 09/03/19 01:01 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: OldManNewHiker]
dcheng Offline


Registered: 09/02/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Hmm, I don't think I'm seriously contemplating cancelling, but maybe I'll make it more likely that I might turn around before the summit if the weather doesn't look good. Like many others have said, the mountain will still be there!

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#56210 - 09/03/19 04:01 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: dcheng]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 124
Loc: Novato, CA
Chances of thunderstorms are mainly after 11am. I would advise a very early start, like midnight or 1 am if you want to reduce the risk of having your hike cut short by one.

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#56219 - 09/04/19 08:27 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: dcheng]
Dill323 Offline


Registered: 09/04/19
Posts: 5
Loc: California
I know it is quite dangerous at the summit during a Thunderstorm, but what if you are a few thousand feet lower in elevation, is it still just as dangerous? I plan to stay overnight Friday at Consultation lake, but don't want to risk it if its still really dangerous at that level. I plan to arrive around 2-3pm and just hang out for a while and fall asleep early to summit very early Saturday. Can anyone with experience provide some guidance?

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#56223 - 09/04/19 09:02 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: Dill323]
Jonathan C Offline


Registered: 03/03/19
Posts: 40
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Dill323
I know it is quite dangerous at the summit during a Thunderstorm, but what if you are a few thousand feet lower in elevation, is it still just as dangerous? I plan to stay overnight Friday at Consultation lake, but don't want to risk it if its still really dangerous at that level. I plan to arrive around 2-3pm and just hang out for a while and fall asleep early to summit very early Saturday. Can anyone with experience provide some guidance?

I don't think the current forecast (as of this moment) is strong enough to warrant avoiding being up there Friday night, but if an actual thunderstorm starts up, you should hightail it out of there. The entire zone about the treeline is a lightning hazard. Lightning risk is a sliding scale, there are no objectively safe places that high up in the mountains. See the graphic here:

https://www.climbing.com/skills/learn-this-laws-of-lightning/

Here's an article about people getting struck in their tent at Guitar Lake:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-19326042

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#56232 - 09/05/19 05:15 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: Jonathan C]
dcheng Offline


Registered: 09/02/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
So, it's raining decently at the Portal, and there is lightning. They say it's supposed to clear up before midnight. My question now is whether or not the trail gets too slippery or not. When I last saw the weather report, it was supposed to be less than 0.5". It seems like more than that will fall or has fallen. If I'm looking at a 1 am start, is that still ok, assuming the rain does indeed stop?

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#56235 - 09/05/19 10:21 PM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: dcheng]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7910
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: dcheng
So, it's raining decently at the Portal, and there is lightning. They say it's supposed to clear up before midnight. My question now is whether or not the trail gets too slippery or not. When I last saw the weather report, it was supposed to be less than 0.5". It seems like more than that will fall or has fallen. If I'm looking at a 1 am start, is that still ok, assuming the rain does indeed stop?


Doppler radar shows storm is exiting the area. But NOAA predicts a chance of rain between 11 AM and 2 PM Friday. Good luck!!!

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#56239 - 09/07/19 10:53 AM Re: Day Hiking 9/5/19 [Re: Steve C]
dcheng Offline


Registered: 09/02/19
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
So, I just realized my dates were wrong in the original subject. I did end up day hiking on Friday, 9/6/19. There was a cold storm on Thursday, 9/5, and I met a couple people who said it was pretty miserable trying to setup camp in the rain.

Since this was my first time to Mt. Whitney, I didn't know what to expect in terms of scenery, even though I had seen pictures. I don't think pictures do the views along the hike any justice! I think in some ways, it was good that I did most of the uphill in the dark so that I didn't stop to marvel at all the sights along the way (even though the night sky was also incredible!)!

Awesome trip, and I'm thankful for all the information on the board here as I prepared.

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