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Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
#58221 11/22/20 10:04 AM
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I am looking at ascending Whitney on the 1st of December, 2020 (or thereabout, weather depending) and looking for anyone who would like to join my ascent?

Also seeking anyone living locally or who has climbed to the peak recently?

I would like to know what to expect, I am an experienced hiker, however, I am newish to winter hiking and have never ascended Whitney before.

Thank you all in advance!

Last edited by RenRev; 11/22/20 10:42 AM.
Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
RenRev #58222 11/22/20 09:21 PM
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Do you know how to navigate complex terrain with no marked trail, melt snow for water, safely travel on icy sections and survive at altitude when even daytime temperatures are way below freezing? Assuming the plan is to do a day hike via MWMT, do you have a backup plan in case you get stuck on the mountain overnight? If the answers to these questions are no, the best strategy would be to practice winter mountaineering skills in a more forgiving environment and postpone the ascent of Whitney until next summer. Also, it is a bad idea to team up for a winter ascent with a stranger with unproven winter mountaineering experience, unless this person is a local maintain guide.

Last edited by Anton; 11/22/20 09:22 PM.
Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
RenRev #58223 11/23/20 08:30 AM
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I agree with Anton. Whitney is not the mountain to learn your winter skills and navigation. There are a lot areas above Mirror Lake that can cause some serious issues for someone not familiar with the trail and winter conditions. I understand that all of us were new to winter travel at one point and you have to learn somewhere... With that being said, if you do still decide to go, be safe, listen to your gut and listen to the mountain, she will let you know if its safe to continue. Know when to turn around should you feel you're getting in over your head. The mountain is not going anywhere. Dont fall victim to summit fever.

I am heading up this Friday (Nov 27) and would be more than happy to share any trail reports/conditions


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Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
RenRev #58224 11/23/20 10:14 AM
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You definitely don’t want to count on somebody you don’t know (other than a guide) for route-finding or anything else that affects your safety. But letting a stranger tag along can turn out well.

Back in 2012, I was planning a March dayhike of the Mountaineers’ Route with RichardP. Richard used to post frequently on WPSMB, and his accomplishments include dayhiking Whitney every week for a year. Somebody posting as “Happy Trails” asked to join us. One of us replied with something along the lines of “If you can keep up with us, you can hike with us”. End of conversation.

As Richard and I were preparing to leave the Portal, a tiny Korean girl approached us. “Hi, I’m Happy Trails!” We both rolled our eyes and expected her to disappear in our rear view mirror before we got to the first stream crossing. She cheerfully kept up with us until stomach cramps turned her around at 13,600’. Richard and I summited, and we all hiked down together.

Over the next several years, Happy Trails and I dayhiked Middle Palisade, Mt. Langley, Mt. Tyndall, Split Mtn., Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Whitney (the Mountaineers’ Route in April and the main trail in December). We also did technical climbs on North Peak and Cathedral Peak. I’m sure glad we let her tag along.

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Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
MuffenMan #58225 11/23/20 04:11 PM
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I am also thinking of attempting Mt Whitney this Friday. My tentative plan is sleeping at the trailhead, getting an early start (4am) on the Mountaineer's Route, and returning by the main trail. Will be self-sufficient, but it is reassuring to know I will not be the only one up there!

Do you know if the road is still snow-free and open up to the trailhead?

Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
amarica #58230 11/23/20 10:48 PM
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The entire trail is nearly snow free currently. This is a dry Thanksgiving. Anyone going will find great trail conditions. Sunny, but be cold! Highs ~28.

Note the new pictures in the current conditions thread: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/4904

Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
amarica #58231 11/24/20 07:46 AM
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I plan on driving up Friday morning and starting on the main trail around 4 or 5am as well. Sounds like there could be a good amount of ppl on the trail this weekend as the weather and trail conditions appear to be pretty good. I have seen some recent trail reports stating the trail is mostly snow free except for the switchbacks. Microspikes are recommended for this section, crampons are an overkill. Steve C has also attached a photo link of the trail conditions in his response.

Hope to see you on the trail! Be safe Amarica.


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Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
RenRev #58232 11/24/20 11:11 AM
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Thank you everyone for your input!

I am quite experienced with mountaineering, I have backup plans, a full proper kit to last me days (if a fall is survived), ice axe, crampons, first aid, plenty of winter gear etc... Coming from Australia I was raised out in the bush exploring for days on end from a very young age, and I have a high level of fitness.

The weather has since changed and Fri 27th - Sun 29th are the best days now (still need to check conditions prior to).

I'm looking to get a start at 2.30am and taking the Whitney Trail, it's my first time at this mountain so want to get a feel for it before taking the mountaineers route unless someone who has taken the mountaineers route before wants to join me, I will then happily follow your lead.

Can you drive to the trailhead and camp the night prior? or is the gate closed already?

Last edited by RenRev; 11/24/20 11:12 AM.
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Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
RenRev #58233 11/24/20 11:38 AM
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RenRev, nobody has mentioned the gate being closed, so it is most likely still open. Not sure when they close it... but likely after a storm dumps enough snow to make the road up difficult.

If you're going up the Main Trail at this time, ice axe and crampons are just extra weight and will slow you down.

Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
Steve C #58234 11/24/20 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
RenRev, nobody has mentioned the gate being closed, so it is most likely still open. Not sure when they close it... but likely after a storm dumps enough snow to make the road up difficult.

If you're going up the Main Trail at this time, ice axe and crampons are just extra weight and will slow you down.

Thank you Steve, yes will probably be leaving the ice axe, I may take the crampons just incase though.

It’s looking like I can get up in my Salomon Wildcross trail-runners rather than my mountaineering boots, so that’s a bonus! A pound on the feet is 5-pound on the back...

Re: Whitney on Dec 1. Join? Feedback?
RenRev #58238 11/25/20 02:51 PM
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I just got my pass for Saturday 28th and going to start the ascend around 2.30am from the trailhead. Anyone who cares to join please message me.


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