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Snow Conditions on Switchbacks June 16
#58422 03/28/21 09:24 AM
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Should I be prepared to climb the chute or are the switchbacks likely to be hikable with crampons and axe by June 16th?

I know that the snow pack is at about 60% this year. I have done winter climbs above 14k in Colorado with crampons so I am comfortable hiking in winter conditions but need to mentally prepare for the chute if it is the route I will likely have to take.

Re: Snow Conditions on Switchbacks June 16
LivingLife #58423 03/28/21 04:47 PM
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If you are comfortable with crampons and ice axe, you will probably prefer the "chute" to the switchbacks. It’s steeper, but it’s shorter and more direct. I think SteveC keeps track of when the switchbacks “open” each year, but I’ll guess that your chances are around 50% this year.

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Re: Snow Conditions on Switchbacks June 16
bobpickering #58425 03/28/21 10:09 PM
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Here's the "When will they open" annual stats.

2018 had a 50% snow level for April 1, and I put that most people were using the switchbacks by June 16. So your mid-June ascent may be your choice -- you could go either way.

Anybody know where I can find the April 1 snow level stats for those prior years? I'd like to fill in the blanks on that info.

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Re: Snow Conditions on Switchbacks June 16
Steve C #58427 03/29/21 10:48 AM
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It's not exactly what you are looking for, but Mammoth Mountain Weather link has "Extended Snow History". Link below takes you to weather, scroll down and fine "Extended Snow History"

https://www.mammothmountain.com/mountain/winter-weather

Of course this is for Mammoth, not Whitney, and you would have to estimate % values, but might be helpful.

Re: Snow Conditions on Switchbacks June 16
John Sims #58428 03/29/21 05:12 PM
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I would tell you I climbed around this date with this snowfall and the switchbacks were about to be open. However, the chute was so well trodden that it was basically a 1000' staircase to the crest.


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