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Older Trail Conditions - Mt Whitney Trail, 2020
#56608 01/07/20 08:53 PM
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        Out-of-date Mt Whitney Trail Conditions -- 2020

The posts below have been moved from the main Current Conditions thread for trail reports during 2020.
(Posts are moved periodically after they no longer represent current conditions.)

Previous years:
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2019
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2018
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2017
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2016
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2012
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #56670 02/12/20 09:55 AM
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Vitaly C climbed the the North Fork route (not the Main Trail), and then climbed the East Face, Hairline route.
Here are several pictures from his blog.

Their camp just south of Upper Boy Scout Lk.


They spent the night on a ledge half way up. Here's dawn:


Descending the Final 400 back to the notch.



Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #56703 02/20/20 09:55 AM
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Picture from Connie K on FB:
Looking up the route toward the Mountaineers Route from Lower Boyscout Lake. (This is not part of the summer Main Trail route.)


Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #56718 02/27/20 10:43 PM
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After a little fresh snow two days ago, pictures from Ayelet B on Facebook, of their climb of Thor Peak.


Top of the chute just below Lower Boy Scout Lake, Thor Peak.



Upper Boy Scout Lake in the lower right. Mt Whitney and Mt Russell


Looking at Consultation Lake and the Main Trail approach to Trail Camp, from the top of Thor.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #56727 03/01/20 02:27 PM
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Graham A and his wife climbed the Main Trail to Trail Crest and a little more before turning around due to dangerous steep snow conditions.

His report is here: Mount Whitney Trail, 2/25/2020, up to 13.6K

Here's his picture looking down from Trail Crest toward Trail Camp:

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #56758 03/21/20 11:44 AM
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Magnificent photography!! You are a very fortunate person to be able to visit places like that and take such brilliant pictures.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57090 05/25/20 11:07 AM
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Greetings, I have a main trail day permit for the back half of June and would appreciate any trail conditions readers here might have, particularly with regard to snow conditions on the switchbacks. Much obliged and GLTA.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
jetav8ter #57091 05/25/20 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jetav8ter
Greetings, I have a main trail day permit for the back half of June and would appreciate any trail conditions readers here might have, particularly with regard to snow conditions on the switchbacks. Much obliged and GLTA.
The switchbacks will likely be open by mid-June. Currently, the snowcover is slightly less than on this same date in 2018, and most people were using the switchbacks by June 16 during that year:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/53085/When_will_Mt_Whitney_switchbac
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snowapp/sweq.action

There'll almost certainly be some lingering patches of snow that you'll have to cross in mid-late June, but you'll probably be able to safely get through them without needing crampons or microspikes. My main concern would be obtaining those permits, as they may be cancelled until June 30, and the gate on Whitney Portal Road is expected to stay closed until then:
https://www.facebook.com/inyonf/

"Inyo National Forest Provides Wilderness Permits Virtually, Effective June 1, except Mt. Whitney
...
The exception to this is Mt. Whitney day and overnight permits, which are being cancelled one week in advance of the hiking start day. Please see Inyo County guidance. Mt. Whitney is a high use trail and where rescues and recoveries are common. Whitney Portal Road remains closed at the lower gate.

People who have been awarded a permit reservation for Mt. Whitney on the Inyo National Forest will receive a notice from recreation.gov that notifies them that their reservation has been cancelled and a refund have been issued. There is no action required from you at this time. The credit card used to make the original reservation will be refunded."

Last edited by Big Pine; 05/25/20 01:05 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Big Pine #57096 05/25/20 10:09 PM
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I found this picture of the gate on Whitney Portal Road, taken May 16, 2020.

The gate is at the parking lot just past the Hogback Road junction, 3.5 miles from the Mt Whitney Trailhead. Elevation about 6600', so about 1700' vertical elevation below the trailhead. GPS coordinates: 36.5960,-118.2067

[Linked Image]

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57339 06/20/20 08:29 AM
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Here's a picture I took yesterday from Mt. Gould. You can see (all the way on the left) that the North side of Whitney still has a decent amount of snow, as expected.

[Linked Image]

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57409 06/23/20 11:25 PM
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The road to Whitney Portal is now open, and people are getting their reserved permits. You have to call the Wilderness Permit office, (keep trying repeatedly until you get through).

LostInMtn posted pictures of the trail here: Whitney Current Conditions/Reopening

Here's one at the worst of the Cables section:


Last edited by Steve C; 06/23/20 11:26 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57416 06/24/20 10:27 AM
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Permit pickup instructions are different for summer 2020.
Look at this Inyo National Forest web page for information:   Permit Pick Up Instructions

Experiences reported in this thread: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Here are the main points:
1. Permits are only available through online reservations through Recreation.gov
2. Once you get a reservation, you need to visit the above Inyo N.F. web page, watch the "Leave No Trace" videos.
3. Call the Wilderness Permit Office or the Lone Pine Interagency Visitor Center and talk to a ranger, answer questions, and they will then mail you a permit to print and sign.

Read this post regarding calling in. 55inthefastlane posted that they called repeatedly (over 4 hours), and got through. Unfortunately, Inyo N.F. has limited phone facilities -- one line at each center, so you get a busy signal repeatedly. All you can do is hang up and redial.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57439 06/25/20 08:25 AM
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Regarding permits: I just called in (760 873 2483) and walked through the process to get my permit issued and emailed, and completed qualification. Very pleasant staff, took about 10 minutes. They did not have an update on trail conditions/accessibility yet in light of earthquake for my date (July 1) but I am prepared at least.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57464 06/26/20 12:16 PM
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I just called and spoke to somebody at the wilderness office (760) 873-2483 who said she could issue my 7/5 permit right now, but when I pressed her about whether that means the trail will be opened by then, she said she wasn't sure. As of right now, the trail is closed until further notice. I've seen several posts from people excited that their permits are being issued for the Whitney Trail in the upcoming week, but it seems to me that it's premature to celebrate having your permit issued if the trail is closed indefinitely. I'm hoping I'm missing something? Any insightful info? Thank you!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Lauren_N #57472 06/26/20 05:00 PM
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The press release just issued by Forest Service/Sheriff says permits cancelled through July 2; so I won't be going on July 1. I hope it does open up soon! Here is the release: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD757444

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Panamint #57476 06/26/20 06:41 PM
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The trail is closed until at least July 2nd per Inyo national Forest due to the rockslide.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57552 07/02/20 02:55 PM
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I just got through to the Interagency Visitors Center & my permit has been emailed to me. Here's what worked... I called 760-876-6200 during regular business hours on a weekday. The employee who answered the phone was very polite and helpful & physically works at the Interagency Visitor Center. He asked me about my hike plans, bear vault, wag bags and reminded me not to try sliding down the mountain as a shortcut (apparently they've had some recent fatalities from people doing this).

He said that if you are trying to get a Whitney Permit, please call the Interagency Visitor Center at 760-876-6222. Note that this is NOT the number I called, so I recommend trying this x6222 number first.

As of 7/2, I was told that microspikes and waterproof boots are a good idea given the current trail conditions. He also mentioned that it has been warm and the snow is melting pretty fast. I asked about ice axes & was told that those are probably not necessary for a typical summit hike up the main trail from Whitney Portal. I was also told that they are not issuing tags for each party member, so the leader is responsible for printing out the emailed permit, signing it and keeping in on them at all times. So there is no need to give copies to other members of the party. Wag bags are reportedly available at the trailhead and also at the Interagency Visitors Center.

Please note... this is from a guy who works at the Interagency Visitor Center, not first hand experience... but I'm using his advice to plan my round trip summit hike via Whitney Portal on 7/11 - 7/13.

Be safe & happy trails!

Jason

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
JasonDeFay #57553 07/02/20 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonDeFay
I was also told that they are not issuing tags for each party member, so the leader is responsible for printing out the emailed permit, signing it and keeping in on them at all times. So there is no need to give copies to other members of the party.
Well, what if the party splits up? Leaders should make copies of their signed permit, and give each person in the group a copy!

By the way, it is NOT a good idea for groups to split up, especially if that means leaving a slower member behind. Many emergencies and rescues start out that way.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #57576 07/04/20 09:12 AM
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I received my permit for my July 7th hike yesterday via email. I didn’t have to do anything to receive it, in fact the day prior I almost canceled since everything was telling me the trail was closed, and was presumed damaged from the avalanche. Glad I didn’t cancel.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Jediforce73 #57578 07/04/20 11:35 AM
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They just emailed it to you without you having to call in? Also, any word on bear can rentals?

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