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#55946 - 08/12/19 10:47 AM typical November conditions compared to CO?
TieDye Offline

Registered: 06/22/19
Posts: 5
Loc: Fort Collins, CO
Hello All,

I apologize if this is in the wrong forum or this topic has been covered extensively before. I tried using the search feature to find a similar thread but didn't see one.

I may be in California visiting an old friend in LA sometime between mid-October and Thanksgiving. I would like to spend a week or so on my way in or out climbing 1-3 California 14ers and I have a few questions:

1. Whitney & Inyo NF backcountry requires permits year-round, right?

2. Conditions to expect for that time? I understand that's a huge window to be asking about conditions, and there's still lots of time to wait and see when the snow starts sticking around this year up high. Our "shoulder season" in Colorado is usually mid-October to late-November, is it similar in California despite the differences in latitude?

Will any snow likely be unsupportive sugar as it is here that time of year (I won't be trying any steep lines, just curious on the amount of unconsolidated suck to expect)? Do the ridges stay pretty windswept up high or do they load up early?

Are snowshoes on the approach and ax + spikes/crampons up high the standard by early November?

3. Any recommendations for non-Whitney mountains (doesn't have to be a 14er) with fun scrambles that aren't avalanche death traps for that time of year?

Disclaimer: I live in Colorado and have summitted many (40+) of our 14ers & 13ers. I will be getting as close to finishing our list of 58 this late summer/early fall. I understand our mountains are rated much softer than the 14ers in California (our class 4 is still well within California class 3). I have experience climbing 14ers in all seasons from class 1 walk-ups to [Colorado] class 4 route-finding to snowy couloirs, as well as identifying and managing avalanche terrain. I understand our snowpack may be very different than that found in California. I also appreciate any tips concerning the California snowpack (with the understanding there is no replacement for formal avy training).


edits: modified the subject & some wording

Edited by TieDye (08/12/19 01:32 PM)

#55949 - 08/12/19 02:21 PM Re: typical November conditions compared to CO? [Re: TieDye]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7963
Loc: Fresno, CA
TieDye: If there aren't any storms of significance, you might be able to climb Whitney that late in the year. It just depends on how much snow has fallen. On the Whitney trail, you wouldn't need snow shoes or crampons, etc. If there is enough snow to need snow shoes, you can go, but it will be slow, and so you won't get to any summits.

Other CA fourteeners are subject to road closures due to snowfall, etc, so they might be out of reach. You might investigate Baldy and other southern Calif peaks. They aren't fourteeners, but worth the challenge.

#55952 - 08/12/19 03:45 PM Re: typical November conditions compared to CO? [Re: Steve C]
TieDye Offline

Registered: 06/22/19
Posts: 5
Loc: Fort Collins, CO
Steve C,

Thanks for the reply!