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Climbing Whitney in March? #59368 01/24/2022 3:17 AM
by TimtheCreator
Hey there, I'm trying to determine what I need to do to secure a permit to enter the Whitney portal in March (specifically around the end of the month - March 25). From what I was able to gather after looking at a bunch of sites, it looks like I could potentially get a "walk in" permit at the ranger station. I know conditions will be brutal this time of year, and I'm aware that I will need ice/winter gear, but I'm looking for guidance on the permit info, thanks!
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Re: Climbing Whitney in March? #59430 Mar 7th a 05:45 AM
by Steve C
Steve C
William, The Main Mt. Whitney Trail is 11 miles long, while the shorter North Fork Lone Pine Creek route (Mountaineers Route) is about half the distance. When you have to tramp through miles and miles of snow, a shorter distance makes good sense.

In addition, on the main trail, once past Trail Camp at 12,500, the trail is generally abandoned, and people will climb the steep slope west of the switchbacks (misnamed "the chute"). However NVG made his day hike on the main trail (February 19th Day Summit in the Trip Reports), using the switchbacks. More snow has fallen since then, so no one knows how deep it is now. And last, there is a short descent from Trail Crest down to the junction with the JMT (John Muir Trail) that can get a lot of drifted snow, much exposure, and might be treacherous to traverse if the snow makes a steep slope.

I don't like to say this, but March is not a good time for anyone without strong winter climbing experience to be hiking Whitney. For you, I would recommend joining a guided climbing service to climb in March. There are several outfits, and they all guide on the Mountaineers Route.

Good luck!!
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