Heading over from Australia to California in April and was hoping for some advice on the late April conditions on the Mountaineers route on Mt Whitney - was hoping to solo it as some prep for denali.
A couple questions, any help would be great.
First: What angles would I be looking at? I've seen a couple video's where people are roping up, is this just a precaution?
Second: I was hoping I wouldn't have to bring a tent. I've got a OR alpine bivy + some pretty heavy down for Alaska. Assuming normal weather, is this enough? Happy to sit out a chilly night, just as long as i'm not freezing.
Third: Are snow shoes necessary this time of year? Coming from a land of very little snow I was hoping just to rent a pair for Denali, not sure how much use they would get otherwise.
1. The angles are all less than 40 degrees (and mostly a lot less) except for the last 500 feet or so, which have a few sections that might be ~45-50 degrees (these are my estimates, not measurements). This section is class 3 without snow. 2. Temperatures in the Sierras are usually moderate except for during storms. Unless there's a storm, or unusual cold spell, I'd be surprised if it got below -10 Celcius in late April. 3. You're unlikely to want snowshoes unless there's been a recent storm or it's extremely warm. After may 1st, it becomes a lot more of a hassle to get a permit. As a result, it is likely that there will be a lot of people who go the last few weekends in April, and a well-established boot-pack.
There are a lot of great bivy spots in out of the way places by Girl Scout Lake, which is just above Upper Boy Scout. Hiding over in that area can be preferable that time of year since it's pretty much crawling w/ guided groups and other large groups of people heading up the mountain. Also means there will probably be a fairly well-established boot track to follow, minimizing postholing. Of course, last time I was up there in April it snowed a fair bit the night before, and we were met with this between Iceberg Lake and the chute to the Notch: