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Older Trail Conditions - Mt Whitney Trail, 2022
#59350 01/08/22 10:48 PM
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        Out-of-date Mt Whitney Trail Conditions -- 2022

The posts below have been moved from the main Current Conditions thread for trail reports during 2022.
(Posts are moved periodically after they no longer represent current conditions.)

Previous years:
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2021
    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
Mike70 #59373 01/31/22 08:50 AM
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In case someone is still planning to take a Whitney Trail before the "real winter" comes I attached a few pictures to show current conditions of the trail.


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Last edited by LostInMtn; 01/31/22 08:19 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
LostInMtn #59374 01/31/22 09:02 AM
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Half way to Lone Pine lake, the trail disappears for 0.3 mile and you need to take one of the snow paths.
Switchbacks are passable and pretty safe until the last stretch before Trail Crest. The easiest way is to climb up and bypass this part.
Trail Crest to Summit, mostly dry, almost entire trail is safe and passable without crampoons, but there are two very short streches which are narrow and icy, so extra caution needed.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
LostInMtn #59381 02/02/22 08:05 AM
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Thank you for the information.

Did you do it in one day? We are looking at doing it in march if weather permits, but with the gate near hog back road being having the closed sign up, we are trying to figure out were people are starting for the day hike.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59385 02/02/22 12:18 PM
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Most likely the conditions will drastically change by March. I don't think it'll be possible to do a day hike or even safe to take this route, if we get heavy snow again.

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59386 02/02/22 07:33 PM
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NVG sent me a PM and has posted some questions. I'm replying here, rather than privately, so others might benefit.

Conditions can change drastically. The snow conditions on the mountain make a huge difference. I've dayhiked Whitney in every month of the year, but I waited for near-perfect conditions in the colder months. If there is fresh snow, I stay home until it consolidates. We haven't had any meaningful snow in a month, so conditions on the mountain are probably as good as they ever get in the winter. The next storms, whenever they arrive, will make it much tougher, if not impossible, for a few days if not weeks.

There are three gates that can be locked, keeping all cars out. They always lock the lowest gate in the spring while they are clearing rocks off the road and getting ready for tourist season. In my experience, that gate has often been open during the winter. They post a "ROAD CLOSED" sign by the gate. Sometimes, they ticket vehicles that drive around, and sometimes they don't. If you drive around and get stuck, or a storm buries your vehicle, you are basically screwed. Depending on conditions, I have had to park below that sign, I have driven partway up, and I have parked near the campground. Read the posts online or post a question about the road just before you go. There is no way to know the status of the road and gates weeks in advance.

Whitney is a non-trivial undertaking under ideal conditions. Many people train and plan for months, take two or three days, and still don't make it, even in the summer when the road is open, there is no snow, and the weather is perfect. On the other hand, RichardP, who posts on WPSMB, dayhiked Whitney every week for 52 weeks. It can be done. Just be aware that cold weather, short days, snow hiding the trail, and a long hike to the trailhead all make it much harder.

My advice is that you need plenty of winter experience, you need to know the route, and you need to be comfortable with thin air to attempt a winter backpacking trip. To dayhike it, you have to think about what you would do if things didn't go perfectly. A minor injury or a frozen water bottle could spoil your whole day. You don't want to be cold, exhausted, and out of food as you stagger through Trail Camp in the dark on the way down.

Good luck. Be safe. Have fun.

Edit: The Mountaineers’ Route requires some technical skills (and maybe a rope) in the winter, but it’s much shorter and quicker than the main trail. Maybe it’s for you, and maybe it isn’t. Choose wisely.

Last edited by bobpickering; 02/03/22 10:08 AM.
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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
bobpickering #59388 02/03/22 08:03 AM
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One thing to consider is to bag lesser known peaks in the Whitneyzone -- peaks that you wouldn't necessarily want to waste a permit on during the permit season. Lot of fun things to go after besides Whitney.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
BFR #59402 02/15/22 06:47 PM
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Anyone got eyes after or during the weather today? I know it went basically into dusk with very little visibility. Looks like the next few days are going to be real nice, besides the wind tomorrow.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59403 02/16/22 08:29 AM
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Seems like the eastern range got anywhere from 1-6" based on Northern observations. If anyone has observations for snowfall and wind in the Whitney Zone that would be great. Climbing partner and I were planning to climb Irvine via the E couloir but now have concerns about wind-loading on the southerly aspects of Candlelight's NE ridge, and potential cross-loading of snow into the E couloir of Irvine itself. Hoping that we only got 1-2" and are experiencing a wind more out of the NE/E, else we might have missed an amazing weather window.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Brett #59404 02/16/22 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the info. Also trying to find conditions in the zone for a possible trail attempt on Saturday, but would have to know conditions of the portal road etc. From the cameras it doesn't seem like much stuck up there after yesterday but looks can be deceiving.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59405 02/16/22 11:41 AM
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Right on, agreed that it looks like possibly just a dusting from the cams. Additionally, weather stations at Crabtree Meadows (https://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base_dyn.cgi?stn=CBTC1&unit=0&timetype=LOCAL) and Cottonwood Lakes (https://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base_dyn.cgi?stn=CWDC1&unit=0&timetype=LOCAL) suggest that approximately .5-2" or precipitation have accumulated in the last 24 hr. Additionally, Cottonwood Lakes station shows wind mostly out of the N although it was pretty variable yesterday.

Probably best to keep an eye on the wind over the next few days as the snowpack settles. My partner and I have decided to see if it goes on Saturday and may just climb a different peak in the Meysan Basin with a more favorable aspect if we suspect moderate avy risk. I'll make sure to post some conditions on the portal area and Meysan Basin after I get back. Good luck on your attempt.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Brett #59406 02/16/22 11:54 AM
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Thanks for the weather info, been using meteoblue and had decent success so far. As far as the wind, i agree, the window keeps closing. If you look at the picture attached, there were few wind warnings for the week prior to this morning, and they keep popping up now into Saturday. The other place i use called Open Summit (app) isnt calling for so much wind but still a good bit.

Per the crabtree station you sent, almost 40 degrees at that elevation is pretty warm. I think the next few days the area is going to be blasted by sun. Ave risk seems to be showing moderate now, which makes sense after the system that came through yesterday.

[img]https://postimg.cc/hXW4Chzt[/img]

Last edited by NVG; 02/16/22 12:04 PM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Brett #59407 02/16/22 02:15 PM
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I live close to lake level at Tahoe. We got barely an inch of snow yesterday. Central Sierra Snow Lab at Donner Pass reported 1.3 " of snow. Doubtful that the Whitney area got much more than that.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
SoCal Jim #59408 02/16/22 05:04 PM
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Not too far from tahoe myself and we got nothing. Whitney has been under a cloud or haze all day. Cameras have been interesting. If anyone is around the portal road tomorrow for a condition report let me know.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59409 02/16/22 11:29 PM
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I just checked the log of webcam pics from today for Whitney, and it was clear at 7:23, and there was only a dusting of snow. The clouds all day didn't look to be the type that drops any precip.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #59411 02/17/22 07:01 AM
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Yeah the whitneyzone camera right now looks the same as it looked prior to these weather systems. Wish i could get some intel on the portal road, if its got glass on it or not after the weather. The front half seems to get blasted by sun all day though.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #59412 02/17/22 08:39 AM
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Just saw the fire in Bishop. On the cameras yesterday i thought it looked like smoke a few times.

Looks like as of 1143 PST smoke is actually covering the camera facing Whitney.

Last edited by NVG; 02/17/22 11:44 AM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59419 02/22/22 03:22 PM
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Great trip report NVG, glad you had a safe trip.

Just to close the loop in this thread as well, here is a general summary of current conditions as of 20FEB22:

Road up to the portal is closed approx. 1.5mi from Whitney trailhead. The road is mostly clear up to that point besides a few instances of rockfall and a patch or two of ice, but it is mostly passable.
Although, we havent gotten too much snow this year and have seen record temps in the state the snowpack is still very much in winter conditions. Additionally, snow conditions are extremely variable ranging from hard wind buffed areas to fluff to straight up Sierra cement.
Commonly trafficked trails in the Whitney basin may have a great boot pack, but other routes may prove challenging for all but the most determined snowshoe cowboys. Factor difficult travel into your itinerary and make sure you have the proper gear and 4-season clothing.

That being said, there should be some more snow on the way over the next two weeks so these conditions are bound to be obsolete soon.

Here are a few pics that show the conditions over in the Meysan Basin are in this album:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/fp4P6b1nJUK6aZZt9

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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Brett #59420 02/23/22 09:00 AM
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Thanks Brett.

As Brett already said, I would definitely be aware of the conditions currently if you are going for Whitney soon. I picked the 19th because the window looked like it was closing, and I swear some came down the night of the 18th because there were not many tracks out in the open, especially from trail camp up. There were a few spots where I was really breaking trail. Now that wasn't the whole trail at all but there is still a good bit of snow up there.

Thanks for the pics Brett, such a beautiful place.

Edit: just looked at the camera....looks like a few clouds hanging over the mountains crazy

Last edited by NVG; 02/23/22 09:02 AM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
NVG #59438 03/19/22 10:30 PM
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Went up Friday 3/18 on the regular trail (not Mountaineer's). Parked near locked gate (actual locked gate, just when the road makes the big right turn onto the main straightaway to the Portal). Camped near Lone Pine Lake Friday night. Microspikes good for most of the way at least to Trail Camp I think. I inadvertently went straight up from Outpost Camp to Consultation Lake . Weather was turning very windy and snowy, so headed back down from there. Water at Mirror Lake and Outpost Camp. I only saw two other parties the whole time.

Here's a video from just a little below Trail Camp.

[video:google]https://photos.app.goo.gl/NXcx3wpNERqtAv628[/video]

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