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Permit for the end of May
#59447 03/24/22 12:08 PM
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I received a permit this year for the end of May. It was actually a mess up because I never meant to pick that date but apparently I accidentally selected the wrong month for one of my days and that's the one I ended up getting.

I know it's considered better to do the hike later in the year. So I'm wondering how bad on May 31st will be?

I do have experience with hiking and have hiked a couple of much lower mountains and hiked a handful of tough trails. but this will bey first 14er.

Re: Permit for the end of May
Gowzers #59450 03/24/22 03:47 PM
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DId you get a day hike or overnight permit? Since this is turning out to be a drought winter, you might have a decent hike on May 31. We'll have to watch trail reports and such when it gets closer to your hike date.

It is likely when your application was drawn in the lottery, that the May date may have been the only day left with any slots open. The best dates -- late June through August fill up fast.

Re: Permit for the end of May
Steve C #59453 03/24/22 04:48 PM
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I got the overnight permit wanted to break it up into a couple of days and take my time to enjoy it.

I also agree that the mistake may be the reason I got the permit since it's not as popular of a time. So it may have been some good luck.

Re: Permit for the end of May
Gowzers #59460 03/25/22 09:35 AM
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Last year I went as high as Trail Camp (12k ft.) on May 24.

(I had a day hike permit but pretty much ran out of gas at that point, i.e. going all the way to the summit & back was doable but would have been no fun; I've summited six times so no big deal to turn back. This year I applied for a single overnight slot from 5/24 to 5/31 and got 5/26, so I guess I got my 3rd choice.)

The snow last year to 12k was minimal and the switchbacks (12k-13k) looked relatively easy with little snow/ice. It could be an even lighter snow year this year, so I like my chances this year for 5/26.

Last edited by Rico Borchia; 03/25/22 09:43 AM.
Re: Permit for the end of May
Rico Borchia #59462 03/25/22 11:35 AM
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Thanks for the info. That's sounds very promising! Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

Re: Permit for the end of May
Gowzers #59464 03/26/22 01:12 PM
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I live at Tahoe and the snow is disappearing at an alarming rate. High temps are in the 60's. The snowpack was just measured at 46% of normal for the date. The end of May is two months away. Instead of snow being a problem then, I'm wondering if there'll be any snow to speak of, sadly.

{Edit} Also just read on yosemitenews.info that "on the Nordic Route system around Badger Pass... All trails now display significant bare ground and and skiing all the way to Dewey Point is no longer possible." A few months ago, I read a forecast by climatologists that we may soon be seeing winters where there is little to no snow pack accumulation in the mountain ranges of the western US. Unfortunately, that time seems to be fast approaching.

Last edited by SoCal Jim; 03/26/22 01:31 PM.
Re: Permit for the end of May
SoCal Jim #59465 03/27/22 12:51 PM
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Thank you for the information. I guess I shouldn't have much to worry about then. Fortunately I was able to move around some vacation days to go since it wasn't a date I was expecting. Really looking forward to having a go at Whitney!

Re: Permit for the end of May
Gowzers #59466 03/27/22 06:55 PM
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I had the same thing happen to me. My first choice pick was mid-August, and my 2nd and 3rd picks, ( I thought ), were also mid-August. I got awarded a May 18th overnight slot smile LOL. I will be following the Southern Sierra snowpack closely now.

We are near what the snowpack was last year, and there are trip reports from around the same time frame that are encouraging. The lone exception, and my main concern are the cables. Does that section get shoveled? I’ve seen photos where it looks treacherous, and I’ve seen photos where a path has been cut into it.

Looking at Google Earth, it appears as if there is a use-trail that branches off of the main trail and up the Chute to avoid the ‘cable section’ and re-join the main trail near the last long switchback. Any familiar with this? I have done the MR several years ago with no snow, and would feel comfortable with CL2 scrambling up a chute if needed to avoid getting ‘skunked’ by snow and ice along the ‘cable’ section.

Any help or advice is appreciated ????

Re: Permit for the end of May
Robert P #59468 03/27/22 09:07 PM
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> Does that section get shoveled?
...only if some sucker takes it upon him/herself to go up and do it. I did it twice in the last three years, not sure if I can manage this year. Had a total ankle replacement in December, so we will have to wait and see. Currently can't go that far.

But if the cables are not clear enough, you can always go up "the chute" (not really a chute, but the wide-open snow slope west of the switchbacks.) To go up that route, you should have an ice axe and crampons. (And know how to use them.) Many people do it, and most of the time it can be ok.

What you may see on G.E. may be an old switchback that went over that way. But in the spring before the cables are passable, people head west and then up. There will be lots of tracks to follow that way.

Re: Permit for the end of May
Steve C #59470 03/27/22 09:31 PM
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Thanks for the info Steve. I hope the ankle heals up well for you! Thanks for clearing that section over the years! I wasn’t sure if it was done by volunteers or Forest Service? Thanks for the heads up on the chute. I’ve used an ice axe once, but probably would choose to try for another year if we get much more snow this season with my early start date.

Re: Permit for the end of May
Robert P #59476 04/05/22 10:01 AM
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Re: Permit for the end of May
fredmortensen #59538 04/27/22 10:16 AM
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Hi- I'm bumping this thread because I also got permits for the end of May and am trying to decide whether to purchase the trail passes or give them up. I'm a confident hiker but don't have much experience with snow. I would feel comfortable using microspikes but do not want to hike if the conditions require crampons and ice picks. Any update on the current conditions and what that might mean for how things will be looking at the end of May? Any advice and info would be appreciated!

Re: Permit for the end of May
katiee #59540 04/27/22 10:15 PM
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Katiee, unless someone gets up there and shovels the snow at the cables, people will likely be using the main "chute" (slope west of the 99 switchbacks). You should have crampons and ice axe for that section.

(But the itch to shovel is growing....)

Checking records from previous years, without someone clearing the snow, the switchbacks would likely open early June.

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