I'm planning to take a trip to hike the mountaineer's route the second week of June. Can anyone tell me if the trail / Whitney portal is open?
Inyo N.F. may not be issuing the required hiking permits by then, and the gate on Whitney Portal Road may still be locked. Currently staying in any campgrounds is strictly prohibited. We are sure hoping it will open things up by the time you go, but that may not be the case.
In case you're interested, someone posted a similar question a few hours ago in the comment section of the USFS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/inyonf/
"We have June 10th permits for Whitney. Should we assume they will be cancelled? I know you're doing it one week at a time, but if there's very little chance it'd really help to know now."
Response from Inyo National Forest: "We cannot say definitively about June 10th at this point. We understand that makes planning difficult and we are trying to give as much flexibility so that those who can make it on short notice can."
My personal guess is that Whitney will still be closed during the second week of June, but based on the above comment, there is a chance that the road and trail will be open.
Also, I'm coming in a few days early to acclimate to the altitude if you have any other hikes you can recommend to help with that. The plan was to stay at the Whitney portal 2 nights, 2 nights on the trail (coming down the regular Whitney trail, I have permits for both).
The closest high-altitude hikes would be Cottonwood Lakes and Cottonwood Pass, which may be accessed by going down Horseshoe Meadows Rd. The trailhead is at around 10,000'.
Another option would be the Methuselah Trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (also around 10,000' elevation), but that's further away to the northeast.