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Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

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Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby RyderS » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:51 am

Anybody have any familiarity with the Mountaineer's Route in mid-late March? I had a failed attempt in January, and the conditions were pretty brutal then. I have heard from some other climbers I met on the mountain that a cornice can develop at the top of the Notch just below the summit plateau. Anybody have any beta regarding snow and possible ice conditions around mid-late March? Does the chute on the Route develop any ice at this point in the season? I know the snow's pretty high; lots of snow everywhere this winter, it seems. Anyways, beta, advice, or sagely wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby fedak » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:29 am

You'll probably get a better response asking that question over here:
http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/forum ... p?ubb=cfrm
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby Clark_Griswold » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:58 pm

Did it in 2009 a few days before your time period. It hadn't snowed in a while and the snow was hard with perfect steps the entire way up in the final 400. There was no cornice at the top.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby RyderS » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:39 pm

Alright, cool deal; thanks. Yeah, I've watched videos and read trip reports from previous years. Winter 2009 looks like it had minimal snow, since the video was showing a ton of rock poking through bits of snow at the base of the East Face. My friend and I hit it up in after the new year and EVERYTHING was completely buried in snow pack. It actually made getting through the gully up into the box canyon below Iceberg Lake a pain. There were some ski touring guys who went up the previous day and their tracks were virtually obliterated by the next morning because of really strong winds the previous night and throughout the day. I guess this year has just been big on the snowfall because of La Nina or something (I think that's what I heard). Alright, I suppose this would be a question better suited to be asked more as the time for the trip grows near?

And thanks for the link, I'll be sure to check it out.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby climberslacker » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:41 am

I will hopefully be doing the east face about a week or two before this. What are the conditions usually like on the East Face in winter?
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby biz » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:58 am

I spent 8 days up there last March around that time and lucked out with perfect weather and consolidated snow. The route from the notch to the summit was actually easier than it normally is in the summer. I was able to kick steps the whole way up. It can just as easily be blue ice in that section though. It all depends on the weeks leading up to your trip. Keep your eyes on the weather and be on the lookout for trip reports from other people. That being said, I was also on the MR route in early April and never made it above Upper Boy Scout Lake.

It can be a little tricky around the ledges if there is snow and/or ice on them. In the past, I've bypassed the ledges all together, but then you have to worry about stream crossings on snow bridges. If it's warm, these can be quite nerve wracking.

It can be no joke up there. Just use your mountain sense, do a little prep work, and have fun.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby Clark_Griswold » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:53 pm

The north fork is covered right now and the ledges can be avoided.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby RyderS » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:40 pm

climberslacker wrote:I will hopefully be doing the east face about a week or two before this. What are the conditions usually like on the East Face in winter?


You'll probably be able to hit it up. I've seen clips of people climbing it in winter, though they were during lower snow years. There will be some pockets of snow in places like the Washboard, most likely. I'm saying this having looked at it from the base of the East Wall back in early January, a little over 2 weeks ago. Snow was pretty deep in the Whitney area, not that I can say from a lot of experience in the area, but rather, what I have heard from others since this was my first trip up Whitney. How are you getting up to high camp? We used snowshoes, but we saw some ski tourers blaze up pretty fast. The annoying bit for my friend and I came up when passing from Upper Boyscout Lake up through the gully to the base of the East Face. The snow was pretty unconsolidated at that point, so our snowshoes were wishy-washy at some times. The nice compact snow that we got going up the beginning of the North Fork Trail disappeared for the most part once we got to the upper section of the Ebersbacher Ledges near lower Boyscout. But that was mostly because we were up there on days with some pretty brutal wind, so the tracks got all covered up. I'll try to put up some photos in the near future if that can give you and idea.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby RyderS » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:59 pm

Here's a clip from two guys climbing the East Face back in January 09. There's a lot less snow then...

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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:46 pm

I would like to know how the MR is now. Anyone been up lately? No useful climb beta over at the Portalstore in a good long while. RichardP reported solid snow to LBSL, and a 2wd drive needs to park at the closure sign, back at the end of the year. I figure, there is good snow to the final 400. Basically, I'm just asking about the final 400, as it is currently.

RichardP of the portal store has this set on display. It's from mid-January.
http://piotrowski.smugmug.com/Whats-New ... 7519_95f4D
...
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby Clark_Griswold » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:17 am

Was up on the 6th. Conditions are good. Only a small part at the top of the final 400 is really steep. It seemed to be about 60 degree, but for around 8 feet max.
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby Vladislav » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:09 pm

Mr Leghorn wrote:Was up on the 6th. Conditions are good. Only a small part at the top of the final 400 is really steep. It seemed to be about 60 degree, but for around 8 feet max.

Where were you able to park?
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Re: Mount Whitney in March (20-27)

Postby Clark_Griswold » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:06 am

Parked around 7200' on the second switchback. Rocks down all over the place, and if more snow comes that might change.
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