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Older Trail Conditions - Mt Whitney Trail, 2021
#58288 12/23/20 08:31 PM
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        Out-of-date Mt Whitney Trail Conditions -- 2021

The posts below have been moved from the main Current Conditions thread for trail reports during 2021.
(Posts are moved periodically after they no longer represent current conditions.)

Previous years:
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2020
    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 #58360 02/28/21 12:01 AM
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Here's a YouTube video posted by Scott K on the Mountaineers Route:

https://youtu.be/R3oIjJ7J_Yc


Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58361 02/28/21 12:38 AM
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Brenda V posted these on FB: (shared with her permission)
Her report (link here):
Quote
It was amazing. Winter ascent completed via the mountaineer route. We did the mix climb that was the 400 up and the walk around down. Perfect conditions...What a beautiful place. Thanks Scott Kunz for trail-angel-ing the fuel and for the pics on the notch!!
    Here's the skinny..
As of right now people are driving right up to the hard gate. There are two icy spots on shade area's that need care. I had wish we known this before adding the 3.5 road walk. From the portal to E ledges you can barefoot. I used gortex trail runners from car to upper boy scout with micro spikes ascending. The snow bridges are rotting so use care when crossing. The willow section of the ELedges were not bad. Trail is pretty packed now.

ELedges to LBL is now packed. Lake is not frozen so filtering water before heading up to upper would be ideal so you don't have to melt snow.
LBL to UBL is a post holing nightmare. Try to hit that early morning or night when it refreezes.
UBL is frozen so you will have to melt snow. UBL to the IBL is a hell of a climb. We took the high route ascending and used the gully late afternoon. I don't recommend doing that unless it's refrozen and no fun as it's a terrain trap .
IBL up the notch is just perfect. Crampons and ice axe are a must. Watch for rockfall. It's an issue with early morning melt.
From the Notch we ascended the 400. Our plan was to assess and make a decision once at the top of the notch. We talked it out as we left our climbing rack back at camp. After looking at both options we started the 400. Let's just say if you are not experienced mix climber don't attempt. It is not full snow conditions. Once you start to ascend you are committed to route. There were only one exposed horn on the lower start with a bale sling. Other that that its slowly making your way up. I was able to find some solid snow to stick my tool in but it was sketchy as hell. I cliffed-out once and had to down climb back to thin snow. The rock is very chossy. As my partner said. "I puckered so hard I created a new worm hole"
Placing gear would of been really hard with these mixed conditions.

Now the traverse. It sucked!!! Loose rock, zero fall zone and tired legs never a great combo. Ice axe and crampons a must. No ice just mixed snow and loose rock.

We were very fortunate for the weather. We started for the summit at 5 am and returned to camp at 5pm. Our original plan was to hike out but I was physically fried. So we stayed another night hiked out early the following morning.
As with any climb conditions change constantly. A great source of beta came from the local hiker shop in lone pine. You can actually call and talk to them to get info. I highly recommend stopping in and supporting the local businesses as they have been hit hard by covid restrictions.
Hope this helps😊







[Linked Image]

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58454 04/05/21 11:48 PM
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Jim P climbed the Mountaineers Route this past Saturday (Apr 3, 2021), and shared his pics on facebook. Below are a few.

Quote
Woke up Friday morning deciding between trail running or mountaineering. I was really feeling lazy but opted for quickie to Whitney. I started Saturday morning at the second gate at 0345. The early morning snow was in good firm shape and travel was fast. I got to a nice spot for an epic alpenglow event 🙂

The route to the peak went smoothly. Good crunchy snow with a decent boot track. The final 400’ had decent punchy snow and went quick.

Overall a great day in the mountains

Morning alpenglow, just above Upper Boy Scout Lake.
[Linked Image]


Just below the Iceberg Lake plateau -- climbing the seeps area.
[Linked Image]

Before Iceberg Lk, looking up toward the Notch
[Linked Image]

Looking up the Final 400
[Linked Image]

Summit Hut. Kaweah range.
[Linked Image]

Looking down the (not-so) "easy walk-off"
[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Looking at The Notch across the most deadly part of the traverse ("easy walk-off")
[Linked Image]

Last edited by Steve C; 04/05/21 11:58 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58468 04/08/21 10:56 PM
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Brandon R climbed Mt Russell 4/3/21. Here is a picture of the 99 Switchbacks as viewed from Russell. It looks like they will be usable sometime in May.

[Linked Image]

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58470 04/09/21 07:28 PM
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Any idea how the NNW Face looked? Perhaps someone could ask Jim and post here? Looking to ski down it April 17. Wondering if too icy late day since it's north facing, or if avalanche conditions are not good. Any suggestions for optimal ski decent route right now? Options are NNW face, mountaineer route, and the slope/chute to climber's right of the main trail switchbacks. I will be going up the mountaineer route, but can go down whatever is best. Any thoughts on any of the 3 options? Looking for lowest avalanche risk, but adequate coverage. Thanks!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Ryan Cox #58471 04/09/21 09:26 PM
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Ryan C, are you asking about the NNW face of Whitney? I would think you would get the most distance going down from Trail Crest. NNW face of Whitney puts you in the Arctic Cr. drainage, you'd then need drop over Whitney Russell col to Iceberg Lake. Below that, I think there wouldn't be many decent runs.

Here's another pic from Brandon R.
Looking up from Lower Boy Scout Lake. This isn't the year to ski that.
[Linked Image]

Here's the north face of Whitney viewed from the Notch. Got rock skis? NNW face might have more snow, but don't know.
[Linked Image]

Last edited by Steve C; 04/09/21 10:03 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Ryan Cox #58472 04/09/21 11:29 PM
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Ryan C, here's a pic of Whitney from Mt Russell, taken by Brandon R.

click for the full-size version
[Linked Image]


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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58476 04/12/21 05:46 PM
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Thanks Steve, much appreciated. Yeah looks like no good options right now, melted out on every side!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58502 04/20/21 11:40 AM
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Thank you so much for these photos! My husband and I are attempting Mt Whitney in mid May - I have had some experience climbing with crampon and ice axe (cotopaxi, some 11ers here in socal) but my husband does not and I figured it would be the best option that we go ahead with the ascent only if the switchbacks are safe to use.

Can someone kindly point out where the chute is in the photo? I read that its west of the switchbacks, so is it the snow covered steep face to the right?

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
runemilrun #58505 04/20/21 09:37 PM
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runmilrun, If you are referring to the steep slope that you can see in the switchbacks picture, posted 04/08/21 10:56 PM (#58468), yes, that is the picture. However, this picture gives you a better perspective of how steep it is:

[Linked Image]

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58515 04/22/21 01:05 AM
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Thanks Steve, that does look steep! grin

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
runemilrun #58521 04/25/21 03:47 PM
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Does anyone know what the trail condition is at Mt. Whitney? Are the switchbacks doable? Thanks in advance!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
ReenaC #58525 04/25/21 09:49 PM
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ReenaC: I have seen somewhere in the past week that a few people were using the switchbacks already. The same report said something about the area near the cables was "sketchy", which to me means difficult, but they could get through.

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58529 04/26/21 09:48 AM
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steveC: Thanks for that helpful information! Hoping for a successful summit mid May.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
ReenaC #58530 04/26/21 02:55 PM
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Just checked the weather for the area Thu-Sat this week and should be favorable for hiking Mt. Whitney. Lone Pine is forecasted to be in the 90’s.

Lone Pine
Mt. Whitney
Whitney 2

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike70 #58531 04/26/21 04:04 PM
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For those of you heading up in the next week or so, you might find this video useful. I have no affiliation with this YouTuber but have watched some of his videos before. He just hiked the main trail to the summit and back on 4/23.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs0NSVmWN4k

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58533 04/26/21 04:44 PM
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I traversed the switchbacks on Saturday Apr 24. A little sketchy, used an ice ax and would recommend those far above trekking poles. Did not have crampons, though I would recommend them. Most ppl seems to be taking the chute though

https://photos.app.goo.gl/auTT8vCZfRMpRf6y5

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
MikeH #58534 04/26/21 05:49 PM
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MikeH: Thanks for the link to the video! That gave me a better visual of the current trail condition! Hoping for good weather the next 3 weeks!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
dukeo #58535 04/26/21 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dukeo
I traversed the switchbacks on Saturday Apr 24. A little sketchy, used an ice ax and would recommend those far above trekking poles. Did not have crampons, though I would recommend them. Most ppl seems to be taking the chute though

https://photos.app.goo.gl/auTT8vCZfRMpRf6y5
Thanks dukeo. I am reposting your picture at the cables here.
[Linked Image]

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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

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike-Sth.African #58639 05/10/21 10:26 PM
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There were several glissading the chute when I was there, but in several more weeks, the snow may be so thin and melted out that you might be in a postholing mess.

Thanks on the permit offer, but best thing to do is return it online so someone else can use it.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58646 05/12/21 12:21 AM
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Hey,

I was wondering if the lake a trail camp was melted enough when you were up there to filter water so I can save some weight on the way up?

Thanks

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
AntonioE #58647 05/12/21 08:38 AM
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Completely melted -- no ice. But it's the lowest I have ever seen it. Cleanest water is at switchback 25, 1/4 up the 99 switchbacks. I used/drank over a gallon, untreated, from that spot over the 3 nights I was at Trail Camp.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58649 05/12/21 05:15 PM
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I'd be up to help you Steve! I've been through the cables in the snow and it's a fun little spot at 2 in the morning when you've never done it before.

I'll bring my snow blower and a hair dryer and we'll have that section cleared in no time.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Andrewzuber #58713 05/20/21 10:44 AM
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Severe Weather Advisory - Mt. Whitney 5/20/2021 - 5/22/2021

Going to be cold and windy up there this weekend.

Heading out at about 9am on Saturday with an overnight at trail camp.

Be safe and prepared if you’re heading out this weekend.

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike-Sth.African #58724 05/24/21 01:20 PM
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Hey Mike-Sth. African, I'd love to hear what kind of conditions you encountered as you headed out into the area with cold windy weather in the forecast. I've been up several times and always hoped for a little weather, but never encountered anything much to write home about. Hope you had a great time.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58733 05/25/21 12:37 PM
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Day hiked the Main Whitney trail 5/24. Began around 2am and finished around 6pm (slow on the way down due to some people having symptoms from altitude sickness). Our group used trekking poles and microspikes which were adequate, although some sections along the switchbacks were still slightly sketchy. The two snowy/icy sections along the switchbacks are the cables and the 80ft section right before trail crest.

[imgphotos.google.com/photo/AF1QipO_vvycNKNzozyVKCCKpWpO_Fe_zkaROJDeFFcX[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOUmSSnVC6yBCYX2ZLkPRf_P18ZnV2PSj1lKGpk[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPW8CyFVbci-MC3r997joz_ceBh8Q5xXcF8gKug[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOFgmC1Eoi6N-N7HNxqJWNEWDmU4vlmvua6ZO3w[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOSkP6wkdTtM7JNF7eQcud_RJxhM75zhIEYUt64[/img]

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Big Red #58736 05/25/21 02:31 PM
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Hey Big Red … don’t know how to post pics here … but it was an adventure … about an hour before trail camp was completely snowed out at about 5pm on Saturday afternoon … it started snowing lightly at outpost and then about 1 hr from trail camp I couldn’t make out the trail and had to venture really slowly … about 20 min before trail camp some folks coming down late had laid down tracks that I could follow in …

It was quite the evening with high wind and snow… luckily we had 0 degrees bags and NF mountaineering tent … and woke up to a clear awesome morning on Sunday.

Heading down the snow was melting already … I’m sure there will be great conditions this week.

Even saw a party of 5 heading up the chute around 7:30am on Sunday morning ….

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike-Sth.African #58743 05/25/21 08:10 PM
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I'm heading up on Friday and will take some photos and post my trip here. I will probably start around midnight from the portal parking lot if the switchbacks have ice/snow on them...this way I can see the switchbacks clearly with the sunrise around 5:30. I may start late Thursday night if the snow has cleared/melted by then. I'll check back here before I head up to see if there are any updates on the switchbacks.

Thanks for the update about your trip.

Nate

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Benc #58746 05/25/21 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Benc
Day hiked the Main Whitney trail 5/24. Began around 2am and finished around 6pm (slow on the way down due to some people having symptoms from altitude sickness). Our group used trekking poles and microspikes which were adequate, although some sections along the switchbacks were still slightly sketchy. The two snowy/icy sections along the switchbacks are the cables and the 80ft section right before trail crest.

[imgphotos.google.com/photo/AF1QipO_vvycNKNzozyVKCCKpWpO_Fe_zkaROJDeFFcX[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOUmSSnVC6yBCYX2ZLkPRf_P18ZnV2PSj1lKGpk[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPW8CyFVbci-MC3r997joz_ceBh8Q5xXcF8gKug[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOFgmC1Eoi6N-N7HNxqJWNEWDmU4vlmvua6ZO3w[/img]

[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOSkP6wkdTtM7JNF7eQcud_RJxhM75zhIEYUt64[/img]


Benc, thanks for posting. I'd like to see the pictures, but the links you provided don't work. If you can post a link to the group of pictures, maybe I can get a link to them that works.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58754 05/26/21 09:17 AM
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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Benc #58763 05/26/21 02:39 PM
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Benc, thanks. Here are some of the pics. Hope I get the location right...
I really appreciate your sharing these pictures. They go a long way showing everyone the trickiest parts of the switchbacks. Thanks so much!!

Also glad to see the shoveled section at the cables is remaining clear. The recent snowfall added some iciness, but otherwise, it's a good path.

Just below the cables:


At the Cables, looking east


At the Cables, looking east


Top section of the cables


Above the cables. It's a short scramble to get up this spot


The section near Trail Crest

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #58780 05/31/21 12:22 PM
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I hiked with a group of friends on 5/30. Thank you Steve C for clearing the snow on the cables section. We came across packed ice on a couple of switchbacks right after the cables section which made navigating those switchbacks tricky. But the weather is warm and snow is melting. There is a stream on the lower sections of the switchbacks. Please watch your footing on those sections.Most of the remaining sections of the trail are snow free.
Lot of friendly hikers on the trail which made the hike very enjoyable.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
timepass #58781 05/31/21 06:49 PM
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Summited at sunrise today. 3 or 4 patches of icy packed snow when we passed the cables around 2:45 am, but it all melted quite a bit as the sun came out. Some of it was easily passed slush by the time we came down. I think it’ll keep melting/freezing/melting/freezing for a few more weeks. Ranger said today’s weather was more typical of mid-July.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
zoe #58804 06/06/21 10:00 PM
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I went up yesterday. Those who leave Trail Camp early might encounter some ice on the trail. Otherwise, there is hardly any snow or ice anywhere. We left the cars at 5:15 AM and just walked up with ordinary boots.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
bobpickering #58808 06/07/21 08:16 AM
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Thanks for the info Bob!

Did you go up the MR? If so, any Intel on the final 400' ice coverage would be greatly appreciated. I'm going up in the 10th.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
G4u2 #58809 06/07/21 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by G4u2
Did you go up the MR? If so, any Intel on the final 400' ice coverage would be greatly appreciated. I'm going up in the 10th.
I prefer the MR, but we took the trail this time. We met a couple who had just done the MR. Ice axe and crampons are still necessary in the couloir, but much of the snow was getting soft. I don’t think they encountered much snow or ice on the final 400.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
bobpickering #58813 06/07/21 11:38 AM
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Thanks Bob!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
G4u2 #58979 07/04/21 05:27 PM
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We summited on July 2nd.

We left our hotel in Lone Pine around 2:45. We were at Whitney Portal a bit after 3am. We started our hike at 3:20. The temperature was in the 50s. I had long hiking pants on which I rolled up and back down as needed during the hike. I had a non-cotton t-shirt on, which I augmented with a long sleeved non-cotton shirt, when I got a little cold. My down jacket went unused and was extra weight I didn't need (same with about 2lbs of food (of 4) I carried up and back down again.

The temperatures throughout the day were above the mid-fifties. There was no snow on the trail, but a little here and there on the sides.

Sunscreen and a hat with neck protection were really important for me. I should have done something about my lips, which are the main issue I am suffering from now, two days later (4th of July).

Hiking poles were immensely helpful. I don't know if it was a coincidence that every member of the group without hiking poles, also had swollen hands.

I had a 3 liter hydration pack which was 3/5 thirds full with ice tea before the switchbacks, and I did not refill there. In hindsight, I should have refilled there as I ran out of water on the way back down. I could have filled it to 1/2 for the walk up and refilled it numerous times, instead of carrying 6.6lbs of water around, earlier in the day.

The hike up wasn't easy, but it wasn't grueling either. We had arrived at Lone Pine on June 30th, hoping for some acclimation, but didn't realize that Lone Pine was only at 3700 of elevation. We did do a test hike on July 1 to Lone Pine lake which got us over 1000ft, but that wasn't a real test of our ability to handle 12-14K of altitude.

As I said, the trip up isn't bad. The pain and torture began on the way down, when every segment seemed to take longer and be farther than we recalled. The latter half really cures you from thinking that you'd repeat the hike anytime soon. It'll be a while before i am ready for another Whitney summit.

It took us about 17 hours roundtrip. We took many breaks, including almost two hours at the summit (where I made some hot tea). We probably should have rested a bit more on the way down too, but everyone had scared us into thinking that thunderstorms would get us. We saw no large clouds in the sky al day.

Any questions?

Good luck!!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
mahboud #58982 07/05/21 03:32 PM
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Thank you for sharing your trip report as well as outlining how much food/water you used. That is helpful information.

I'm a big advocate of using trekking poles if you aren't habitually hiking big days without poles. One reason is that I have also noticed that my hands have less swelling when using poles.

I've always assumed that was due to both gravity and centrifugal force. I've also assumed that when one's hands are low at their side, it allows gravity to let blood pool in your hands. I figured the centrifugal force of swinging arms added to that. When I use poles my forearms stay perpendicular to the ground and both factors mitigate how swollen my hands get.

In addition to keeping hands from swelling as much, you are more stable, burn more calories, and just have a bit more margin for error.

I'm glad y'all made some tea at the top too. That seems like a nice treat for such a splendid spot.


@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for mainly landscape and mountain photos
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Snacking Bear #58988 07/06/21 05:45 PM
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Re: hiking poles

They also can help prevent twisted ankles. A few times, stepping on an unexpected rock or loose one, or if my foot slipped a bit, I easily transferred my weight to my hiking poles and prevented a painful bend or twist of my ankle. I was not expecting the poles to be as helpful as they turned out to be.

As for food, I had three sandwiches, made with sliced toast and either PB&honey, ham or roast beef slices. I would have been fine with two, but the third one sort of distracted me from the long track back from the switchbacks to Lone Pine Lake. I started with 6 Cliff bars, 3 Kind bars, three sandwich-size bags of gorp, and a bit more. I brought back 3 Cliff bars, 2 Kind bars, and all the gorp.

The extra pain on my shoulder muscles where the backpack straps were being supported (I did have hip support on that backpack, but maybe not the best for my short stature), would have been less if I can figure out how to pack 10lbs less.

I noticed a lot of people doing the day hike with what seemed to be just hydration packs and the limited storage those provide.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #59034 07/13/21 11:09 AM
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I am going up this Saturday and would appreciate if any of you who went up recently update the status of the Spring on the Switchbacks

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #59039 07/14/21 11:52 AM
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Looking for water information at Guitar lake or around the area. I am coming up the backside of Whitney off the southbound PCT and worried there will not be enough water.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
prems #59040 07/14/21 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by prems
I am going up this Saturday and would appreciate if any of you who went up recently update the status of the Spring on the Switchbacks

It's still flowing as of yesterday (July 13th), have a good trip!

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Terribear #59042 07/15/21 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Terribear
Looking for water information at Guitar lake or around the area. I am coming up the backside of Whitney off the southbound PCT and worried there will not be enough water.

Guitar Lake is your last water from the west side.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #59094 07/25/21 12:06 AM
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The spring on the switchbacks is still flowing as of Jul 22.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
aristotle #59336 12/12/21 11:43 AM
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I have a question… it’s forecast to snow Mon/Tue and I’m planning on hiking Thursday should I expect to use chains going up to the portal.

I will be renting a mini SUV with 4WD/AWD so maybe I will be fine or not. Secondly, I’m bring micro spikes and crampons with ice axe or should I use snowshoes at the the higher elevations. Also will this be sufficient for the 99 switchbacks and up to the summit.

Any information or advice are appreciated

Best Regards,
Mike

Last edited by Mike70; 12/12/21 11:49 AM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike70 #59337 12/12/21 10:15 PM
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Mike70, there is a huge storm coming across the state tonight through Wednesday. Whitney Portal road is likely closed 3 miles below Whitney Portal by now, and 6-12 inches of snow are predicted for Whitney Portal. NOAA forecasts higher elevations to get several feet of snow.

If you want to go to experience crazy winter conditions, you should take snow shoes and ski poles. But I would stay away, as this sort of heavy snow can be followed by some serious avalanche conditions along the trail. Winter conditions have finally arrived!

Here's the link to weather at Whitney Portal, and at the Whitney summit.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike70 #59338 12/13/21 08:56 AM
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After a big storm the 3+ mile hike from the Hogback Road parking lot (below the first gate) up to the Portal is a major evolution.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Mike70 #59339 12/14/21 08:49 AM
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Unless you have a lot of cold weather/ snow experience, it doesn't seem like the best time to go, honestly. Friday's temps are forecast to be a bit better, but the next 7-10 days don't look promising.

Along with what has already been said, it's going to be COLD.... Looks like around 20 degrees with windchill below zero around Trail Camp's elevation. Significantly below that if you make it to the summit.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
MikeH #59340 12/14/21 12:02 PM
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No worries I changed my mind over the weekend I thought. It would be a typical snow event but all the mountains are getting snowstorms. I hiked San Jacinto Peak Friday as a practice hike after the snow last Thursday and had to wear spikes most of the way up plus it was freezing cold I can only imagine Whitney right now.

Regards Mike

Last edited by Mike70; 12/14/21 12:04 PM.
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