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Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

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Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby clmbr » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:27 am

This was my another one day hike, this time to the top of Mt Whitney. The weather was great and most of the trail in a good shape. Practically all the "infamous 99 switchbacks" were covered with hard and in places icy snow. At least micro-spikes would be very helpful. The ridge itself was mostly clear with only occasional icy spots which were easy to walk around over rocks. Same lakes were already frozen and some not. Getting liquid water, however, should not be a problem. Check out the video to see the conditions and views, of course. I forgot how amazing views are there, especially from the ridge and the top. And no quotas!



http://www.summitpost.org/hiking-up-mt- ... ber/876582
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:24 am

Fun! I've had my mind on being up there this month, so the video gives me a taste.

clmbr wrote:most of the trail in a good shape. Practically all the "infamous 99 switchbacks" were covered with hard and in places icy snow. At least micro-spikes would be very helpful. The ridge itself was mostly clear with only occasional icy spots which were easy to walk around over rocks. Same lakes were already frozen and some not. Getting liquid water, however, should not be a problem.


The next few days should bring snow and consistently freezing temperatures up high. The forecast calls for 8-16 inches of snow along much of the route before the weather clears Friday, with temperatures remaining near freezing up high over the weekend. http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=36.565633327543644&lon=-118.28258514404297

My plans for next weekend through Thanksgiving depend on Sierra road an trail conditions, so I'm curious to see how the storms play out.
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby mtneering » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:53 pm

SeanReedy wrote: The forecast calls for 8-16 inches of snow along much of the route before the weather clears Friday, with temperatures remaining near freezing up high over the weekend.



Sounds perfect!!!
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby clmbr » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:41 pm

mtneering wrote:
SeanReedy wrote: The forecast calls for 8-16 inches of snow along much of the route before the weather clears Friday, with temperatures remaining near freezing up high over the weekend.



Sounds perfect!!!

Yeah, I’m going there back in January and would prefer to have as much snow by then as Mother Nature can provide, and taught conditions; that what I like while going to Mt Whitney in winter. :D
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby mtneering » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:40 pm

[/quote]
Yeah, I’m going there back in January and would prefer to have as much snow by then as Mother Nature can provide, and taught conditions; that what I like while going to Mt Whitney in winter. :D[/quote]


If you need/Want a partner let me know! January works for me and my climbing partner (my wife) did Whitney and Muir last winter. We are planning a trip for late January.
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:04 am

^^^^Well, snow up high is still on the way, but forecasts seem to be downgrading likely accumulation over the next few days to 3-12 inches. As far as snow in early winter, weather geeks report there could be more short duration tropical systems coming, but also note precipitation amounts with them are notoriously challenging to predict.

I noticed that Tioga, Sonora, and Ebbetts passes were closed early today. I'll be curious to see when/if they reopen and how much trailhead access from other Sierra roads is impacted. For the upcoming weekend and week, it would be great for me to quickly get up high without needing more than waterproof trail shoes/boots, poles, and maybe microspikes. A small layer of snow would make for great views and huge fun for my kids and dogs.

As far as Whitney, y'all probably know about the webcam and message board here: http://whitneyportalstore.com
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby clmbr » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:20 pm

mtneering wrote:
clmbr wrote:Yeah, I’m going there back in January and would prefer to have as much snow by then as Mother Nature can provide, and taught conditions; that what I like while going to Mt Whitney in winter. :D



If you need/Want a partner let me know! January works for me and my climbing partner (my wife) did Whitney and Muir last winter. We are planning a trip for late January.

Hi mtneering, I’ll be going there on 5th of January for a week and climb Mt Whitney and Telescope Peak (and perhaps Mt Langley if the conditions are easy, not much snow). I’m also hoping going again in March but only if the conditions are tough; otherwise, I will stick to Mt Shasta.

Usually I do Whitney in winter alone but recently started enjoying climbing with a group :o :) and this is a group trip, so, of course, you may join us if time for you is good.
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby RadiatingHope » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:27 pm

Anyone have any recent updates regarding the Whitney Portal road conditions or the Mountaineers Route?
Planning a mid-January trip out there and praying for good conditions!
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby Deb » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:12 pm

RadiatingHope wrote:Anyone have any recent updates regarding the Whitney Portal road conditions or the Mountaineers Route?
Planning a mid-January trip out there and praying for good conditions!


I haven't been in Whitney zone lately, but if Bishop to June Lake conditions exist you better pray for several wet storms! Current ground conditions up here are very dry heavily faceted snow with drifts - bad news. The first couple of wet storms are gonna make beautiful avy conditions.
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby RadiatingHope » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:31 am

Not what I was hoping to hear Deb

But alas, the mountain and weather remain in charge!
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby RadiatingHope » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:29 am

Anyone been up the MR or know anyone who has recently? Less than 2 weeks til I'm climbing it, hoping to hear a conditions report
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby clmbr » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:21 pm

As of between 5th to 8th of January the conditions on Main Trail of Mt Whitney were great. Snow was practically all the way to the top with some bold spots before North Fork and the last section of the ridge. The snow path was well packed. However, one step off trail and you might posthole. It was quite cold and windy, mostly on the upper part of the mountain. Liquid water was for sure up to Outpost Camp. We melted snow at Trail Camp.

Whitney Portal Road was passable up to the first campground gate if you had the right car. There were many rocks of various sizes on the road in a few places and a short section of ice (but long enough to be an obstacle for some cars). Do NOT park your car on the up-slope side of the road. Two trucks were stuck at Whitney Portal, one at the parking lot and another one by the restroom belonging to the Mountain Rescue people who, ironically, had to be rescued a couple of months ago. It did not look like these cars were going out of there very soon. :shock:

Recommended gear:
Well, this is winter and the route has fair amount of snow (believe it or not), so I would definitely recommend ice axe and crampons. Snowshoes, however, is your choice but would not recommend getting off the snow path to far without them and hope for no big snowfall while there.

Quite many people were climbing this route and some slept in the hut.

A little adventure:
When the trail on the end of the ridge became clear of snow I decided to leave my ice axe and crampons. On the way back somehow I missed them and finally after walking about 1/3 to 1/2 of the ridge decided to go back toward the summit and look for them more carefully. I found them and was happy because it was already pretty dark. Unfortunately, long before Trail Crest my headlamp died and the rest of the route descended in moon light (it was not that bad). The main problem was a cold wind blowing my back.

I decided to descend the direct slope down the Trail Crest which had a very hard surface of about an inch thick or so and powder dry snow below it. I walked down, glissaded, and walked down again when glissading become out of control due to the very hard and slippery surface. Then I traversed to Trail Camp which was quite exhausting experience due to a lot of postholing after postholing, sometimes deep enough, especially in between rocks, to get really frustrated. Well snowshoes would have definitely helped.

On the slope (below Trail Crest) I lost my ski-pool. I watched it rolling down and disappearing in darkness and then vanishing forever. :(

Also I cannot find my home keys after this trip. :( :mrgreen:
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Re: Mt Whitney Main Trail Conditions

Postby bobpickering » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:31 pm

clmbr did the main trail. The chute below Trail Crest holds a lot of snow, so his post probably correctly reported the conditions he encountered. I did the Mountaineers’ Route a week later, as reported on the Whitney forums. The final 400 was almost bare.
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