Mt. Whitney conditions

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
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Mt. Whitney conditions

by vidclimber » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:48 pm

I am going up the Mountaineers Route on Mt. Whitney on the 15th of March and would like to know what the snow pack and trail conditions are like. I have done this trail before and I'm trying to deside on skis or snowshows. If any one knows who far up the road is clear also. Does any one know a good site for the weather up there and where I can find the Avy report.


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by ksolem » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:51 pm

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by scottmitch » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:20 pm

i went up last year around the same time in snowshoes

but wished dearly for skis on the descent - i think i could have been down from iceberg to lower boyscout in about 10 mins with skis

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Tom Fralich

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by Tom Fralich » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:52 pm

Skis are great for the unplowed road and the terrain above Lower Boyscout Lake. However, the section from the North Fork cutoff to Lower Boyscout Lake is pure hell. It is too steep to skin in a lot of places and was postholed beyond belief when I did it. Skiing down it was no fun either. Maybe it's worth it for the skiing up higher, but I'm not in any hurry to do it again.

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Princess Buttercup

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by Princess Buttercup » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:26 pm

Took a run up the road last night and it's in crappy condition. The lower half is almost completely melted out except for a few drifts that are definitely long enough to stop most cars, and it looked like it had been tried with a truck (and failed). So most will probably still have to park at the road closed sign.

Snow covers the road again past the switchback, and it's just a crusty mess with light pow around. Drifts probably mid-shin on me (I'm 5'11"). As you turn west into the canyon, the road once again is melted out up until a few 100 yards below the campgrounds, where it completely covers the road again with the crusty mess.

I did not see great coverage in the NF drainage, which means you may be forced onto the E-ledges if you don't want to bushwhack through powder. Those can carry a nice sheet of ice on the lower ledge... ew... :?

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The Chief

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by The Chief » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:07 pm

With a series of heavy precip storms on the horizon, I highly recommend that you wait on your plans till you see what actually accumulates in the next three or four weeks.

This is a "Nino" year and March is historically the wettest month of the season when we are in this wet affect. Just in the past 12 hours, we have received over 18" of fresh stuff at 9K. Lots more is forecast'd by Sunday.

Be patient and play it by ear.

If you can wait till the the last two weeks of April, just prior to the permit season starting, historically the snow consolidates and firms up nicely by then, making for some perfect skiing conditions.

The lower trail up to Lower BSL is generally firm and the Ledges are clean of any ice by then as well.

Something to consider....

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by Misha » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:27 pm

vidclimber - Were you there yesterday? Perhaps, we crossed paths. We came down the mountain that day after climbing East Buttress on Sunday

dynamokiev98 - I think we've met right below Iceberg Lake on Saturday...

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by kovarpa » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:56 am

Monday 3/15 - trail well beaten, to the point of "almost" not needing slowshoes. Top of mountaineers' couloir (at the notch) melted out. Some rocks showing in the section from the notch to the summit plateau.

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by Misha » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:32 am

dynamokiev98 - funny stuff. I sure do remember you and your partners. I was sucking O's pretty well at that time too. Great photo of Whitney in its element you got there!

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