Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

mount whitney in may?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
 

mount whitney in may?

Postby ferdinandverboom » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:30 pm

Me and my wife are planning a trip to the states spring 2011. We want to climb/hike some of the best peaks in a row: Mount Whitney, Maroon Bells, Mount of the Holy Cross, Grand Teton, Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta and visit Yosemite and Yellowstone in between. We want to go in spring in order to avoid the summer crowds and because we think the spring high up is even more beautiful than the summer.
Do I miss some have-to-do's here?

I'm wondering what the conditions of Whitney are in the second half of may:
How many snow is there left on the mountain's normal route? Are snowshoes necessary? Is there (still) avelanche danger?
What about the temperature at night?
Are there some other things we have to bear in mind this time of the year?
User Avatar
ferdinandverboom

 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Polsbroek, Utrecht, Netherlands
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby goldenhopper » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:46 pm

Though it can vary dramatically from year to year; Lots of snow, potential for avy danger and very cold (well below 0C), but also very doable depending on your comfort/skill level.
User Avatar
goldenhopper

 
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: La La Land, California, United States
Thanked: 557 times in 391 posts

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby kevin trieu » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:57 pm

May is a very good time to climb Mt. Whitney. You don't have to deal with the permit and crowd. You might be able to drive very close to the the summer trailhead. The mountain is much cleaner and there are no poop bags lying around or at least not visible. There will still be a lot of snow left on the mountain but by that time it should be consolidated and there's enough traffic to create a beaten path. You probably don't need any floatation and there's low avalanche danger. There's a chance you can hike in shorts and t-shirt in the daytime. Nightime might dip into the teens (around 15F). Conditions obviously can vary as you can still get a massive winter storm in the spring. I also sugguest the Mountaineer's Route.
User Avatar
kevin trieu

 
Posts: 934
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:59 pm
Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States
Thanked: 78 times in 55 posts

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby ferdinandverboom » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:14 pm

Thanx for all the good advices. I'm very looking forward to it!
MR or normal route, we'll see. MR look very beautiful, but the last section seems to be pretty steep snow/ice. How many degrees is it?
I'll hope the conditions and weather will be great. We'll have 1,5 month, so there'll hopefully be some pretty days.
We'll get some peaks anyway, in the worst case we can always do some less-demanding Colorado fourteeners..

That's exactly what someone wants to hear when they are planning a trip.

By May and June weather in CA is more stable..I actually had NO problems AT ALL on ANY of my early year trips. + presence of the snow makes these places really beautiful. Whatever the outcome will be, these places are awesome, and there is no adventure if you know what to expect. : )


That's a more positive way of thinking, thanx :-)

But I didn't mind already, we in Holland think Americans are always a little exorbitant (if that's the right word...), so we take everything you guys say with a grain of salt :wink:
User Avatar
ferdinandverboom

 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Polsbroek, Utrecht, Netherlands
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby Princess Buttercup » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:19 pm

1000Pks wrote:I'd expect a massive failure the way things go...


Yup, keep your sights low and everything else is GRAVY! :roll: :roll: :roll:

Spring in the Whitney Zone (WZ) is indeed beautiful, but be forewarned that the word about its beauty is out and the past few spring seasons on both the MR and the MT have been zoos. Lots of both guided and unguided groups head up at that time of year to enjoy the conditions. So, you won't be alone, and the permit quotas kick in May 1 (making the last two weekends before that even more crazy of late). Permits are required year-round for travel in the WZ, but walk-in permits (through the Lone Pine Interagency Office) are usually readily available. You can see a breakdown of unused permits here:

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/3436#Post3436

Conditions can be completely variable, from slush and gush to ice to perfectly packed snow. Added bonus to having so many peeps up there: the trail is already broken, and the step-ladder approach can be both comforting (to the beginner) and faster (to those with experience). The Final 400, above the notch on the MR, can be really dicey with light snow/ice conditions, and the runout is, um, far less than optimal.

A view looking back up in a low-ish snow year (08):
Image

The view looking west from about midway up the Final 400:
Image

Looking down from above that same day:
Image

Some of the ridiculous numbers of people making the pilgrimage (6-5-10):
Image


If you look at my collection here, you'll find a number of ascents in various conditions, but mostly spring (I didn't do the MR in summer conditions for the first time until September, 09):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics6 ... 464215198/

While far from claiming any expert levels of knowledge, you can always PM me with questions.

Have an amazing trip, climb hard, be safe!

-Laura
User Avatar
Princess Buttercup

 
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:13 pm
Location: Bishop, California, United States
Thanked: 456 times in 245 posts

The following user would like to thank Princess Buttercup for this post
John Duffield

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby Day Hiker » Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:31 am

MooseTracks wrote:Image


Cool photos, all of them. I knew I recognized the brown shirt and yellow helmet, even from so far away: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621/2445464113/in/set-72157604755604960/
User Avatar
Day Hiker

 
Posts: 3156
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:57 am
Location: Henderson, Nevada, United States
Thanked: 61 times in 43 posts

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:36 am

Thanks, DH. Yeah, I always manage to have fun when I get the chance to hike with Rick. There's usually at least one moment when I get to punch him on the arm for *something* or other, but truly a blast to get out and play with him. :)
User Avatar
Princess Buttercup

 
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:13 pm
Location: Bishop, California, United States
Thanked: 456 times in 245 posts

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:28 am

Late May is a great time to be in the Sierras, my favorite time of the year up there. Lots of snow for skiing, no mosquitos yet....

Have a back-up plan in case there is a winter-like storm.

Take crampons and ice-axes. The upper section can be very hard snow. Depends on your confort level.

I met some people coming down the MR with ropes, ice-axes and crampons who said the snow was too hard and too steep to reach the summit. I continued onto the summit solo, kicking steps into the ice with the toes of my plastic telemark boots. I didn't even break out my ski poles. So a lot depends on your skill and comfort level.
User Avatar
Sierra Ledge Rat

 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:14 am
Location: Appalachia, United States
Thanked: 239 times in 156 posts

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:06 am

Vitaliy M wrote:
Sierra Ledge Rat wrote: kicking steps into the ice with the toes of my plastic telemark boots. I didn't even break out my ski poles. So a lot depends on your skill and comfort level.


Are you saying you kicked steps in hard 45degree ice like snow on last 400 feet of MR without using an ice axe, crampons, or even ski poles?
If yes, where do I buy your posters so I could worship a new hero? : )

My skill level called for crampons and ice axe


Yeah, and after a few minutes on the summit I turned around and skied back down the MR on 3 pins. :P

It was stupid, I know, I should have worn a helmet. Here I am putting my skis back on after passing a bare spot in the upper couloir. Should have worn a helmet!
Image
User Avatar
Sierra Ledge Rat

 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:14 am
Location: Appalachia, United States
Thanked: 239 times in 156 posts

Re: mount whitney in may?

Postby SKI » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:12 pm

Whitney shouldn't be a problem at all in May- especially the Mountaineer's Route. The last section is a joke; especially if you intend on climbing the Grand and Rainier (I highly advise against the trade routes on that one). Just make sure you bring your crampons.

My biggest worry would be the Grand. It's one helluva drive from Seattle (I've done it- never again!). Last year, during May, the OS route was in mixed conditions with the rangers highly recommending two tools/ice screws. When I bagged it on July 18th last year, it was really wet and still had water ice all about the route. If this is another super winter like last year (El Nino-La Nina, whatever that means), you can expect much of the same.

Bring your trad rack for Yosemite! Outside The 'Creek and Eldo, it's some of the best cragging/multipitch you'll ever do within the states!
User Avatar
SKI

 
Posts: 275
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:52 pm
Location: The Cascades, United States
Thanked: 46 times in 26 posts


Return to California

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.