Mt Whitney winter summit
Trail conditions on the main route are excellent. No snowshoes required. Summitted without strapping on crampons, but probably should have! Crampons (and axe, of course) required from trailcrest to middle of the switchbacks on the way down. Photoson the Mt Whitney main page show the trail starting to fill in with packed snow which freezes. Above trailcrest the trail is 25% covered and half of that is solid ice. See photos of trail conditions on Mt Whitney main page dated Dec 6th. Camped at Trail Side camp @12,000', 15 degrees overnight. 15.5 hrs total hiking.
What an awesome climb! It was very hot the day that we chose to climb and we apparently did not bring enough water as we were very dehydrated by the time we reached the summit. Splitting headaches.
Started at about 3am and reached the summit by noon. I slept well that night.
Mellow trip. Camped at 10,500'. Late start. Summit around 12:00. Beautiful weather.
the switchbacks on the main trail aren't so fun, but the summit makes it all worth while
Day hiked it...beautiful! The trail is relatively easy...
easy climb, trail well marked. good views
Dayhiked Muir, then went for Whitney as a bonus.
Ascent via main trail, 8/3/03. Snowstorm kept us in camp 8/2. Climbed with 5 others. Camped 8/1 at Outpost Camp, 8/2 at Trail Camp.
First of only three to summit today. Snow, driving wind and ice drove back more than 30 other climbers, including everyone else in my party. Overnight at Trail Camp on Saturday.
Started at midnight right after having a bear encounter in the parking lot. Took me 16 hours; I lost the route several times and had to backtrack. Solo ascent.
My first summit of Whitney culminated my 11 day JMT trek in Aug 01. I returned and climbed the MR in March 05. After suffering car trouble en route to the Palisades in June 05, the weekend was salvaged with a dayhike attempt of Muir/Whitney/Russell. I made it up the Whitney Trail and down the MR. I didn't quite make Russell that day. My fourth Whitney summit was via the East Buttress in Sep 06. I think it is overstated at 5.7, although we found a challenging squeeze chimney about 250' below the true summit.
Robin and I wanted to get up Whitney in a memorable way, so we settled on the historic East Face route. Getting to the base of the route was no problem, but a few routefinding fumbles on the route itself conspired to make us take quite a bit longer than expected. We summitted shortly after sunset and, after regrouping and warming up in the hut, we began the long plod down the Whitney Trail. The day ended successfully, but far more memorably than either of us had hoped (or wanted).
After taking the standard route we finally made the summit on Sept 21nd. We started on Sept 20. Great weather!!!
Perfect weather, classic E.Face route. Fresh air traverse very memorable. Dedicated to our friends battling breast cancer.
We took 3 days, started on the 27th, camped at both Outpost and Trail.
We won a lottery on Friday for a Whitney permit and hauled ourselves up to Trail Camp and spent the worst night of my mountain life in a tent at 12,040'. The temperature dropped to 20*F, water in the lakes and streams froze, and we had sustained 50MPH winds with gusts over 60. The tent held - mostly, but it beat on us. It was a three season tent so dust and microscopic bits of marmot poop swirled around us all night. It blew in under the fly and there was a thick layer of the gritty mix on everything when the wind stopped after 2:00am. The next day was still clear and amazing! The view from the top was crystal clear. A very good day in the mountains!
Went up with five friends. Got severely sunburnt. First time on the big peaks. Made a lot of rookie mistakes, but had an amazing time.
An awesome experience, words don't justly describe it. My first real "High Sierra" experience, and first trip above 12,200 feet. Spent two days in the Yosemite high country above Lyell Canyon acclimatizing before this two-day assult on the highest point in California.
Got on-trail at 11:00am after picking up permits, wag bag, and bear canister in Lone Pine. Hiked very slowly, especially grueling section between Mirror Lake and Trail Camp, arriving just before "sunset" (sun sets early this late in the season at Trail Camp) about 5:30pm. Set up camp, made dinner, and entered tent at 8pm for totally sleepless night at 12,000 feet. Altitude (fortunately, no headaches!) and excitement combined to make sleeping nearly impossible.
Out of bed some 3-4 times to pee, decided to end the suffering and just get up at 5:00am and start the day. Quickly got dressed, down a couple NutriGrain bars, and off to the 99 switchbacks, starting at 5:30am. Sun rose while halfway up the switchbacks, reached Trail Crest about 8:30am. No real alpenglow to speak of this morning. Vast, sweeping views from Trail Crest, wind was almost unbearable. Instinct forced me to hide in small rock hovels while fumbling with digital camera. Gloves stayed on almost the whole time until coming back down 99 switchbacks.
Above 13,500 feet, it was a mind-numbing experience. I didn't think I could be so lethargic. I couldn't quite explain why that gently-rolling rock terrain between Trail Crest and Keeler Needle was so difficult, but when you've never even set foot above 12,200 feet, and suddenly you spend hours of your life there, I guess that explains it. Surprisingly, once the trail passed Keeler Needle and started the final unmitigated uphill grind around the backside of the summit, I felt much better. Maybe knowing I was getting closer and wouldn't have to go down anymore! Reached the summit at 11:30am.
Besides the cold wind, the summit was glorious. No issues with altitude, as long as I wasn't moving! Spent a good 30-45 minutes warming up in the summit hut before donning full winter gear out on the summit edge. Took requisite panoramic pictures, signed summit log, picture in front of NPS plaque. Totally clear skies, a few wispy clouds moving quickly through the windy skies.
Hike down was without much excitement. Tough-going between summit and Trail Crest again. Do not underestimate this section of trail, it can be tough, BOTH WAYS! Freezing cold and blasting wind while passing the "windows", blazing hot solar radiation otherwise. Kept taking off and putting on clothes. Once I finally came to Trail Crest and knew it would be downhill all the way, I celebrated! Hiked quickly down 99 switchbacks, almost jogging sometimes, reached Trail Camp about 4:15pm. Soaked feet in ice-cold Trail Camp lake, and packed up overnight equipment. Left Trail Camp at 4:45pm, and made good time down. Started regular jogging just below Mirror Lake, trying desperately to get back to Whitney Portal by 7:30pm for burgers at Whitney Portal Store. Reached portal miraculously at 7:20pm, and walked into WPS, only to find out the generators were down, and that the grill was not in service. Ughhh!!!!! Settled for a calzone at the Pizza Factory, and a good night's sleep at the Dow Hotel before breakfast next morning at High Sierra Cafe. Left town for the seven-hour drive Tuesday morning.
Already planning another trip next summer to bring buddies back and share the experience with them!
Can't wait to try the mountaineers route.