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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58572 05/03/21 01:42 PM
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Any updates for when the switchbacks will be passable without crampons/ice axe recommended?

Looking at May 24th day hike with microspikes.
We have summitted Whitney twice before with some snow on switchbacks and have some other experience hiking in snowy conditions.

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Ben920 #58580 05/05/21 08:37 AM
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@ben920 Would love to hear about your experience once you've gone!! I'll be there Memorial Day Weekend. I've made it up to Trail Camp in snow, but it was waist-deep there so we turned around (first big snow of the year, couldn't even see the switchbacks.) My second attempt, everything was totally dry.

Last edited by zoe; 05/05/21 08:38 AM.
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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
zoe #58583 05/05/21 01:52 PM
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Also hiking Memorial Day weekend with a group of 5. Hoping to ascend the chute. We all bought the gear for it and have a little practice. So excited!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Jesse N #58584 05/05/21 02:01 PM
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Jesse—doing any training hikes on Baldy? We'll be there on the 15th and 23rd!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
zoe #58585 05/05/21 02:32 PM
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Hiked Baldy two weeks ago. Up/down ski hut. Doing San G this weekend with a friend who's hiking Whitney with us. Staying at Dry Lake and plan to climb one of the snow gullies if the snow is firm enough otherwise use the switchbacks. Probably be available to hike baldy the 15th and 23rd. 15th is a maybe as I work Saturday if needed. We're starting our Whitney hike Friday the 28th and plan to use the whole weekend. One night at Outpost then Consultation, summit, Consultation then exit Monday. Plan to enjoy the hike this time. Summited September 30, 2019 and it was more rushed. We're bringing fishing gear this time too and plan to fish along the trail. Hoping Consultation isn't still a block of ice. (probably will be though.)

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Jesse N #58590 05/06/21 05:24 AM
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We went to the summit on May 4 (day hike). There were lots of snow on the switchbacks and it was quite risky at some points. We had crampons, but didn't have ice-axe (better have one in this condition).

Some photos from the 99 switchbacks:
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/TewbS1K1sXErnWvy5[/img]


[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/zkHjxgJcubQjiFBs6[/img]


[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/E1gXLYBMUsmNxzoL7[/img]

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Tariq M Nasim #58591 05/06/21 08:30 AM
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Great Pictures! It does look like a sketchy section with no ice axe.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58592 05/06/21 09:58 AM
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I plan to be on the Whitney Trail along with few friends during Memorial Day weekend as well. I am hoping to run into fellow hikers from this forum. I will be watching this space for trail conditions. I am planning to post my pictures after the hike.

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
timepass #58593 05/06/21 10:54 AM
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timepass— I'll definitely see you out there! Look for Zoe, Laura and Michael. Laura and I have matching teal Osprey packs.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Ben920 #58594 05/06/21 02:21 PM
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Quote
Great Pictures! It does look like a sketchy section with no ice axe.

Sorry for the noob question, but how exactly would an ice axe help here? It looks like if you slip it's just rocks so there's no self-arrest. Do you just stick it in the snow with each step so that you have something secure to hold on to in case you slip?

Last edited by actinium226; 05/06/21 03:25 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58602 05/07/21 11:03 PM
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Monday, May 3, I checked Recreation.gov online and saw a bunch of overnight permits, so I couldn't resist. I grabbed one for next day, and off I went. I climbed to Trail Camp on Tuesday, and Wednesday, worked on the snow at the cables. The cables are now clear for the season (I hope, unless some of the wall caves).

I hiked to the summit on Thursday only using hiking boots and hiking poles, but microspikes would be advisable. Crampons would be tough to use since there is so much dry trail between the snow-covered spots.

By Memorial Weekend, nobody will be able to use the chute to climb--too much postholing through to rocks, and no glissading, due to thin snow and the danger of hitting your butt on rocks. I don't know if ALL the snow will be gone from the trail. Currently the worst/trickiest spot left is the top switchback, just before Trail Crest.

Here's the picture at The Cables -- cleared down to bedrock, except for a layer of ice, so they could be slippery.
[Linked Image]

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58603 05/08/21 08:02 AM
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That is awesome Steve! I'm assuming the knee is doing great then!

How far up did you go? Did you make to Trailcrest?

Best,

Gustavo

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
G4u2 #58610 05/08/21 03:29 PM
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Worked all day on that section on Wednesday. Climbed from Trail Camp to the summit and back on Wednesday.

The knee is doing great! Absolutely no issues at all--pretty much forget that it's not the original equipment. Unfortunately the ankle below is the problem now. I have to wear a super stiff brace, and have to baby it when descending. Broke it 50 years ago, and I think favoring it over the years may have caused the knee issues. Looking ahead to a possible replacement.

By the way, if I make the cables-shoveling trip an annual, would anyone like to join me next year? We could do that with better planning. When to go also depends on the winter's snowfall levels.

It's almost comical over on FB, a few haters are condemning the work as making it too easy for people. My entire reason is to clear the cables so people will stop using the chute where most of the spring-time injuries and SAR rescues occur. Just last week, two hikers asked a third (who they had helped with food/water) if she would show them how to glissade. She got them started, but forgot to tell them they needed an ice axe. One crashed & had to be flown out. It's these types of stories that I hope clearing the cables will help to prevent.

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58613 05/08/21 05:08 PM
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If you saw it on Facebook, it's probably BS. People are complaining that the shoveling promotes ice formation and makes it more dangerous. Come on, people! If a freshly shoveled trail with a bleepin' handrail is too dangerous for you, you don't belong there!

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58624 05/09/21 05:25 PM
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Thank you so much for this, you are so kind, we are going up the trail on the 12th!
grin

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58628 05/09/21 10:52 PM
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Thank you SteveC! Although I’m sure intentions are good, I think that the fb comments are mean and condescending. I appreciate your guidance and compassion towards hikers who train and aspire to conquer Mt Whitney and continues to educate without discouraging!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58629 05/10/21 08:13 AM
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Amazing work, Steve!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58633 05/10/21 05:48 PM
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Quote
[/quote]
By the way, if I make the cables-shoveling trip an annual, would anyone like to join me next year? We could do that with better planning. When to go also depends on the winter's snowfall levels.[quote]

I'm up for it. What date did you shovel the cables two seasons ago?

On the FB group, your shoveling made the chances of a fatal fall happening in that area 99.9% smaller, in my opinion. There is always someone that complains about anything though. I almost wanted to tell the guy complaining that now he has "no place to have good crampon grips" that you did not shovel the whole mountain - he can always go on the snow to the climbers left or the right for that matter smile.

Don't get discouraged! Great work!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
G4u2 #58637 05/10/21 10:05 PM
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Thanks, G4u2. No worries regarding the silly shallow negative comments. There are always a few in every crowd, especially the Facebook crowd.

We will have to wait to see what the winter snowfall amount is before deciding on a date. This year was extremely light so I went really early. There are always permits that are easy to get as long as there is significant snow on the trail. Many of the lottery winners cancel due to those conditions. So we will be able to pick up some of those permits once we decide when to go.

In 2019, I went the first weekend in June, and it was too early. I only cleared a flat path, leaving about 4 feet of snow underneath the flat. That snow melted out over the next several weeks and the shovel-work was for nothing, since it returned the section to a steep side-slope.

Here's the thread: Switchbacks 2019

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58638 05/10/21 10:18 PM
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Thanks Steve,

How did the chute look when you were up there?
Was hoping to climb that for some training ….

Looks like crampons will stay in the car this time.

Also may have a spare space on 3p permit for 22nd May overnight , if the third person cancels which is very likely… it’s yours if you want it … least we can do for clearing the runway….

Cheers

Mike

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