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Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
#57018 05/16/20 06:28 AM
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Leave it to the government to provide confusing and contradicting rules. No campgrounds or bathrooms but trails open?

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
ace #57041 05/18/20 10:58 AM
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I just called the County.
The county will keep the lower road closed until the National Forest decides to issue wilderness passes. Until then the county see no reason to re-open the road. The county has been told that June 30 is when the National Forest is planning on issuing wilderness permits again.
Shasta-Trinity has already re-opened Mt. Shasta for summiting. I doubt that Shasta will see a wave of death and misery due to this, and their businesses will do better. That's Jefferson for you.
Hopefully the folks at Inyo National Forest will see the sense in allowing people to hike and camp in the wilderness. If they really don't open until July Owens Valley will lose half of its summer income.

But that said, I took a trip over to Bishop two weeks ago and it was pretty lively. Many of the retail stores were open, and every place I ate at was really glad to see me. So don't buy the anti-tourism hype being pushed around by a few nerve-jobs online. People out there actually want to survive and they're beginning to see that they might not because of the response.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
123Zero #57042 05/18/20 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted By 123Zero
I just called the County.
The county will keep the lower road closed until the National Forest decides to issue wilderness passes. Until then the county see no reason to re-open the road. The county has been told that June 30 is when the National Forest is planning on issuing wilderness permits again.
Shasta-Trinity has already re-opened Mt. Shasta for summiting. I doubt that Shasta will see a wave of death and misery due to this, and their businesses will do better. That's Jefferson for you.
Hopefully the folks at Inyo National Forest will see the sense in allowing people to hike and camp in the wilderness.

Bummer. Technically, Whitney is open for summiting next week. Just climb it from the Sequoia side (the park is expected to open on Monday, May 25) and go from Mineral King to the summit. Here's what you can expect when the weather warms up:

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/39077/all/Mineral_King_to_Whitney_Portal

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
Big Pine #57049 05/19/20 03:35 PM
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UPDATE: I talked to the people at Inyo National Forest today. They told me that they're having a meeting tomorrow (May 20) to discuss when they'll start issuing wilderness permits again. This is apparently the hot item that they know they need to discuss.

They also told me that Pine Creek is open to the public, which makes a summit of the Palisades possible. The northern Palisades are sort of what I'd consider, "high risk", but the Middle Palisade fits my definition of "low risk." Temping - one of my favorite fun routes. Although right now the conditions are probably bad.

Anyways, I would expect another press release later this week that explains when and how wilderness permits will be made available. I was told that the "how" part might include online-only registration.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
ace #57051 05/19/20 04:02 PM
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They probably meant that Big Pine Creek is open. You're going to have a bad time if you attempt to summit Middle Pal from Pine Creek.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
123Zero #57052 05/19/20 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted By 123Zero
the Middle Palisade fits my definition of "low risk."

Middle Palisade isn’t as low risk as it once was. The old third class route starting up from the glacier has collapsed. Last September, I spend half an hour scouting what turned out to be a fourth class alternative. I came down some very loose and unpleasant third class crap to the (climbers’) right of the fourth class route. It’s still doable, but it’s not as safe as it used to be.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
bobpickering #57055 05/19/20 07:40 PM
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I was mistaken- I think she meant Pine Creek, as in Pine Creek Canyon. The same place where two people from Bishop got rescued last week. I may have heard Big Pine Creek because that's what I wanted to hear. But then again, it's probably a bit early for the Palisades. Especially with the last bit of snow. That'll take some time to settle down.

I did the Middle Palisade late last August when the snow bridge was almost completely melted out. It was fun. Definitely a no-fall zone though, but also 4th class like you said. I didn't have a problem with it but I could see how it would sketch someone out who wasn't expecting a potential 30 foot fall into a bergschrund. For what it's worth I got stuck behind a guided party at that point on the way down and the guide had his customers rappel off of it. I down-climbed it, but I saw where the guide was coming from. If I went up there with someone who wasn't a decent rock climber I would probably take a light, short rope and do the same thing. I think you'd need a 20m rope, if that.

Last edited by 123Zero; 05/19/20 07:44 PM.
Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
123Zero #57064 05/21/20 09:58 AM
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Is the road to Horseshoe Meadow currently open?

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
BFR #57065 05/21/20 11:11 AM
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I was told by Inyo County Dept. of Roads this morning that the only road closed right now is Whitney Portal. The other access roads are allegedly open.
I'm going to call Mono County and try to get the same info.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
123Zero #57066 05/21/20 11:24 AM
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Regarding Horseshoe Meadows...
This from Doug's board
Originally Posted By JanetW
confirmed Sunday 17th that the lower gate is open but the upper one locked. by rights, the upper one should open June 30 when the rest of Inyo Natl forest opens, but... there may be some wiggle room on that.

Originally Posted By Woof
I was up there to day-hike Cottonwood Lake trail on multiple days and noticed folks pitching tents along HSM road, as well as one vehicle parked by the locked gate (to campground) that was still parked in the same spot the next morning when I returned. Official are being cool.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
Steve C #57070 05/21/20 12:34 PM
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What are the gps coordinates of the upper gate?

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
123Zero #57083 05/22/20 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 123Zero
UPDATE: I talked to the people at Inyo National Forest today. They told me that they're having a meeting tomorrow (May 20) to discuss when they'll start issuing wilderness permits again. This is apparently the hot item that they know they need to discuss.

...

Anyways, I would expect another press release later this week that explains when and how wilderness permits will be made available. I was told that the "how" part might include online-only registration.
From the Inyo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/inyonf/

"Inyo National Forest Provides Wilderness Permits Virtually, Effective June 1, except Mt. Whitney

Starting on June 1, the Inyo National Forest will be providing wilderness permits through a virtual process.

People who have reserved permits can call up to 14 days in advance to have their permit emailed or printed and left in a drop box at the selected visitor center.

The remaining “walk up” permits will be reserved through www.recreation.gov starting up to 14 days in advance of the date of a wilderness trip.

The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association staff will sell maps, rent bear canisters, and other products under a modified operation. Visitors are highly encouraged to purchase products online in advance of their visit at https://sierraforever.org/.

Visitors who reserve a permit will need to check by phone to receive their permit and the wilderness orientation, which will include:

Food storage/ bear can use

Campfire restrictions

Human waste disposal

Campsite selection

Pack it in, pack it out/ Leave No Trace

Specific guidance if their itinerary enters Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks or Yosemite National Park.

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."

Based on the bolded text above, I'm guessing that Whitney is going to remain closed until the switchbacks are usable (in around 4 weeks?).

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
Big Pine #57085 05/22/20 10:36 PM
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Amazing.

Thanks for posting the notice, Big Pine.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
Steve C #57086 05/24/20 09:29 AM
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Thanks for the update. Looks like they were telling the truth on the phone.
But anyways, nice. I can start planning my Palisades Glacier adventure now.

Last edited by 123Zero; 05/24/20 09:29 AM.
Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
123Zero #57087 05/24/20 09:59 AM
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No problem! Looks like I'll be doing Langley and Cirque Peak instead of Whitney next month.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
Big Pine #57088 05/24/20 10:34 AM
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Just adding my thanks for sharing the good news, Big Pine. I have multiple permits reserved for the first part of July and the new permit pick-up process is actually really helpful.

Let the countdown begin. I hope that you all stay safe, sound, and sane, and have great time out there.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
BFR #57089 05/25/20 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BFR
What are the gps coordinates of the upper gate?

36.45196389 -118.160483

Its at the beginning of the last almost 90 degree curve before the
straight away to the lower parking lots. This straight away
also has the intersection to the upper lots.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
jaym #57093 05/25/20 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jaym
Originally Posted by BFR
What are the gps coordinates of the upper gate?

36.45196389 -118.160483

Its at the beginning of the last almost 90 degree curve before the
straight away to the lower parking lots. This straight away
also has the intersection to the upper lots.
Yeah, that sounds right. I went there on Saturday evening (May 23) and took the following picture of the closed upper gate:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbth...osed-gate-at-horseshoe-meadows-5-23-2020

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
Big Pine #57094 05/25/20 03:19 PM
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Is the closed upper gate pretty close to the parking lot? The GPS coordinates from a few comments earlier appear to be about a mile from the upper parking lot.

I am thinking about heading up next weekend. I would assume it’s still ice axe and crampons at the higher elevations and a possible cornice at the top of NAP.

Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th
MuffenMan #57095 05/25/20 04:19 PM
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The gate closure is not far from both trail heads. I think it's much less than a mile.

I was up there on Saturday and yesterday. Cold nights and warm days. Snow is not an issue until almost 12,000ft. I day hiked out of Cottonwood Pass down to Big Whitney Meadow to Johnson Peak. Streams are very small for this time of year. Cottonwood pass is free of snow. Mt. Langley, from my view on Johnson Peak, is pretty snow packed from NAP to the top. NAP has cornice as usual.

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