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Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

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Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:18 pm

Just curious how much snow will there be in early May and what kind of temps can I expect? Also is iceberg the best place to camp that time of year?
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:26 pm

It all depends on how much snow fell through the winter season and what is the weather doing during your scheduled trip. I suggest checking in during April. Usually there will be plenty of snow and there should be snow coverage all the way up to the summit, at least from iceberg lake. Also, iceberg lake is at around 12,000ft. Most people would want to sleep lower on their first night at altitude if they are coming from some place near sea level.
If I was doing it now with a few of my beginner friends, we would probably get to the trailhead in the late evening and sleep there, than hike up to Upper Boyscout lake on day 1 (sleep there), summit on day 2, and either spent another night at UBSL or hike out. You can also day hike it from TH if you are fit and want a challenging day.

Have a good trip, it's a beautiful place.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Ulu » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:47 am

I did it last may, and the snowpack was 30% normal. We overnighted at UBL, as was suggested above, and this is where you want to stay. We had no snow there, but you should be prepared to camp in snow at that time of year (prior year was 190% snowpack and there was snow everywhere). Lugging a huge pack to iceberg lake is a royal bitch-you will hate it. Anyways, there was snow fm iceberg to the summit, so definitely bring cramps and iceaxe. Probably won't need a rope, but check in on conditions before you leave. If a rope is needed, you can get by with a short rope. Here are a couple pics fm last year-ubl, the chute and the top.
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UBL
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Awesome photos thanks guys.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:03 pm

Question I'm shopping around for pants for this trip, I tried on the North Face mountain pant today and liked them. My question is should I go insulated or not Insulated? My thoughts are I can throw on a base layer if I go uninsulated. I'll also be doing Shasta in these pants.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:08 pm

ChristopherFranklin wrote:Question I'm shopping around for pants for this trip, I tried on the North Face mountain pant today and liked them. My question is should I go insulated or not Insulated? My thoughts are I can throw on a base layer if I go uninsulated. I'll also be doing Shasta in these pants.

You won't want insulated pants for Shasta from April-October unless you're the only guy up there in a storm. I've never used them. I wouldn't by them for a trip in May to Whitney either. Base layers will work.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby clmbr » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:35 am

The Chief and Ulu, I like your pics, especially those showing the miserable weather. That's mine kind of weather; well, a bit too clear but it looks cold anyway.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:22 pm

Hey Ulu,
Did you use ropes?
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Ulu » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:39 pm

We brought one (short rope) but did not use it. Even in May, you may need to bring one (especially on a high snow year). In late April 2011, for instance, it snowed 2 straight days and the wind loading created avalanches. We saw a party of 4 get swept a ways down the chute, and fortunately they were roped. You'll know at camp if you'll need to lug it up to the summit.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Ulu » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:26 pm

ChristopherFranklin wrote:Question I'm shopping around for pants for this trip, I tried on the North Face mountain pant today and liked them. My question is should I go insulated or not Insulated? My thoughts are I can throw on a base layer if I go uninsulated. I'll also be doing Shasta in these pants.


I use the REI Taku's and love the absolute shit out of them. Insulated pants will make you miserable in May.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:15 pm

Were they replaced by something? They're discontinued.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Skateboards2Scrapers » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:08 pm

We brought one (short rope) but did not use it. Even in May, you may need to bring one (especially on a high snow year). In late April 2011, for instance, it snowed 2 straight days and the wind loading created avalanches. We saw a party of 4 get swept a ways down the chute, and fortunately they were roped. You'll know at camp if you'll need to lug it up to the summit.


What the hell are these people doing up there in conditions that are creating avalanches? Some people just have a death wish.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby RickF » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:11 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote: ...iceberg lake is at around 12,000ft. Most people would want to sleep lower on their first night at altitude if they are coming from some place near sea level.


I agree with Vitaliy's good info and suggestions, but one minor clarification to make his point about camping, Iceberg Lake is closer to 13,000'. There are good tent sites but 13,000' could be a problem for a first night.
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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Princess Buttercup » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:01 pm

Depends on the road conditions (first of all), and the snow conditions (boot track vs. working to break trail), and weather conditions (sometimes spectacular), but you could also consider day-hiking the MR in May. Optimal if you can drive all the way to the trailhead.

I particularly love the section between Iceberg Lake and the start of the chute...

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Re: Mt. Whitney M.R route in May conditions?

Postby Carbo » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:45 pm

I agree with Moosetracks. We went in late May/early June this year (low snow) and did it as a dayhike. No snow to speak of before the shute, and very soft in it. If conditions are great then do it as a dayhike and avoid the slog with a pack (and eat a nice meal for dinner:))
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