Mt Whitney Zone
Posted By: elevatedtv Mt Whitney Trail 4/12/2022 - 04/18/22 06:25 PM
Thought I would share this here as recent info is lacking.

Saw a good weather window and decided to make the run down south from the PNW. Drove for two days, grabbed permits at the ESVC, and headed up for a solo bid on 4/12/2022. Parking is still approx. 1.6 mi from Whitney Portal, past the first road closed gate at approx 7,500'. Started at 0930, perfect weather, sunny and temps in mid 40s. Only saw a few other hikers on the way to Outpost camp. trail was in good shape with intermittent snow starting around 9,000', nothing a good pair of approach shoes couldn't handle. Arrived at camp approx 1300, no other campers in area, but plenty of garbage from previous groups, boooo. Temps were significantly cooler, in the mid/upper 20s during the day. Did a bit of recon towards trail camp, last available unfrozen water is Mirror Lake, everything above is still frozen. Canister stoves perform quite poorly at these temps, boiling water required setting the fuel canister in bowl of water to insulate it. Water bottles required insulation to keep from freezing as well.

Hiked to Trail Camp next morning after tidying and stashing the most egregious garbage, trail was easy enough to follow, a few dicey spots required self belay with an ice ax, I switched to boots to more effectively kick steps, but the majority of the trail is snow free to camp. It was quite cold and windy in the upper basin, temps in low teens and breezy with big gusts. Boiling water was a challenge in this weather, made sure to save some warm water from breakfast to encourage the stove fuel. Nighttime temps were in single digits with steady wind, sleep quality was poor and optimism was low. However, around 0530, weather began to improve, and sunrise brought clear skies. Started up from trail camp at 0630 after a leisurely breakfast and began the climb in earnest. Switchback portion was easy booting for the most part, cable railings at 12,500' are a bit dicey, accumulated snow makes an ice ax and crampons/traction necessary here. Straightforward progress from there to the Notch, which required a short snow climb up and over to avoid unnecessary exposure by attempting to stick to the trail.

From the Notch to the summit was more easy booting with the exception of the occasional ice skim and gusty winds, temps were in the low teens with winds to 30mph, one of the few times I've needed goggles on an ascent. Arrived shortly before noon, signed the register, ate some food, admired the views as much as I could with the wind and departed around 1300 as clouds began to roll in. Made camp at 1600, would have been quicker but the Notch glissade path was quite firm, didn't feel like a smart risk. However there's a second glissade option about halfway down the switchbacks on the south side that's mellower and still saves serious time. Packed up camp, hiked to outpost, packed as much of the training weight (garbage) out as I could, and booted out, getting to the car just before 2200. All in all a fantastic trip in a transcendent place, grateful to have tagged Tumanguya.
Posted By: SoCal Jim Re: Mt Whitney Trail 4/12/2022 - 04/18/22 07:04 PM
Good TR. Thanks for posting.
Posted By: Steve C Re: Mt Whitney Trail 4/12/2022 - 04/18/22 07:08 PM
Outstanding, elevated. Congratulations! And thanks for carrying down the trash!

If you took any pictures, I can post them here.
Posted By: elevatedtv Re: Mt Whitney Trail 4/12/2022 - 04/19/22 12:04 AM
Hey thanks Steve, will get some together shortly!
Posted By: Steve C Re: Mt Whitney Trail 4/12/2022 - 04/19/22 08:26 PM
Thanks for posting the pictures. I included a bunch of them in the Current Conditions thread:
Posted By: Harlen Re: Mt Whitney Trail 4/12/2022 - 04/25/22 03:10 AM
Thanks for that concise report, and the helpful photos that came after. Your images give me a sense of what the trail in to the crest is like, but I wonder what the west side is like now? I was surprised how melted out the trail to Whitney looked. I was hoping to head over Trail Crest, and then ski around the upper Kern basins for a week or so. I chose that area because of the high elevation there, but now I wonder if it will be on again/off again with the skis. Can you give me an opinion on that? Thanks, Harlen.
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