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Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

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Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby ThuChad » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:34 am

I've looked at the trip reports on 14ers and summitpost and can't find any good TRs for Oct or Nov.

I'm planning on doing Mt. Whitney as a day hike on November 1st and had a few questions. I do not currently have a permit and plan to get one when I arrive. On the website it says the quota system runs May 1 to Nov 1. Does that mean the quota ends October 31 or Nov 1? I don't expect the quota will be filled if there is one but just wondering. I will be leaving Vegas by car Oct 31 around 2:00pm and it looks like it will take 4-5 hours to get to Lone Pine so I will arrive between 6-7 if all goes well. Is it possible to get a permit at this time for the next day? I read somewhere there is a box you can get a permit and fill it out yourself if no one is around but once again I don't know if this applies on Nov 1 or after. If someone could clarify the whole permit system for me beyond what is on the Whitney website that would help.

Now to a few weather questions. I'm going to assume October and November weather on Whitney can vary greatly depending on the year like Colorado. Is this a fair assumption to make? I would like to go as light as possible to increase my chance of success but I won't go unprepared. I'm hoping to do the whole route only taking micro spikes with me for a traction aid. I have snow shoes and an ice ax but would rather leave them at home.

Any other tips or pointers are welcome. Thanks.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby bj » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:06 pm

You are in the lottery/quota period. Getting a permit is still easy; go to recreation.gov, search Mt Whitney, and
make a reservation. The Inter-agency visitors center center (just south of Lone Pine) closes at about 4 so you'll have to call and request the permit be left in the night pick-up box.

Weather? Ask again October 25. If there is a fair amount of snow don't expect to get by with micro spikes. The Eastern Sierra is generally more rugged and exposed terrain then the Rockies. Bring your helmet, snowshoes, ice ax and crampons and hope you'll be able to leave them in the car. You might go to the Whitney Portal Hostel in Lone Pine and see if you can get more information on current conditions?

BTY - The Portal road informally closes sometime in Oct. I say informally because no one minds if you drive right past the closure sign. However the road is not plowed or maintained after the closure and snow, ice, or rock fall may prevent you from making it all the way to the trailhead.

The WhitneyPortal.com message board is the best place to get information on conditions as your trip gets closer.
Just a drinker with a climbing problem..

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby ThuChad » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:35 pm

Thanks for the info! I actually just found the whitneyportal.com site. I think I'll make Zion National Park in Utah my backup plan in case the conditions on Whitney are not good.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby Steve C » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:12 pm

Nov 1 is VERY late for Mt Whitney. bj is correct on the road situation, too. (Only once in a blue moon, the CHP cruises up and tickets everyone who drives past the sign -- it happened this spring.)

In the past recent years, an October storm has always come and dumped at least 6" to a foot of snow on the trail, so you are not likely to be hiking on dry trail. Unless it is a big dump, ice axe and crampons won't be helpful, since the snow is usually pretty unconsolidated that early in the winter.

But... why don't you go in September, or early October? You can pretty easily get a walk-in permit. They are often 100% reserved, but there are always no-shows, which become available at 11 AM every day. For day hikes, they are available the day before.

Here is the link for the Unused Whitney Permits so you can see what has been available in past years.

If you check WhitneyZone.com, there is a Mt Whitney Weather page with links to all the best weather sites.

Zion is definitely a good backup.

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby ThuChad » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:27 am

Steve C wrote:But... why don't you go in September, or early October? You can pretty easily get a walk-in permit. They are often 100% reserved, but there are always no-shows, which become available at 11 AM every day. For day hikes, they are available the day before.


I would love to go in September but I already had a trip to Vegas planned for November so I added a couple days on to it. I'm trying to make the most of my free flight on Southwest.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby MuchosPixels » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:23 am

Honestly, I would not go in November unless I was prepared mentally and with the right gear and skills to deal with an epic climb. There is a very high probability that the road and route will have feet of snow by Nov 1st. That makes Mt. Whitney a different animal. Ive read its very hard as a day hike even when its clean and dry but doable. Add some snow and you are talking about a 2 day outing minimum. I would choose another mountain for a day hike on that date.

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby Steve C » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:38 pm

> I already had a trip to Vegas planned for November so I added a couple days on to it.

Nothing wrong with that. You are going to enjoy the drive across Death Valley. As for Whitney, if snow has fallen, just go up part way, bring crampons or microspikes, and go as far as you feel comfortable. It will certainly give you a memorable experience, even if the summit is not the goal. Check with Elevation, a small store in Lone Pine for gear rentals, and check Whitney Portal Hostel for a place to stay. Both are the most connected to the climbing conditions.

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby nyker » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:44 pm

If you're already booked for Nov and can't move it, plan on doing it, but be very prepared with a backup plan if the weather doesn't cooperate. I know exactly what you are feeling when you've planned a trip and traveled a long way and you feel that's you only option to do it.

As others have said, fresh early season snow of 6+" is a very real possibility in September, much less November and could make your trip very hard unless you know the route very well. You have 6+ miles below treeline before getting to an area where you can see the route, so that's a lot of mileage to get lost on if fresh snow is covering the route. Doing 22 miles /+6500ft in new snow will be tiring if you're first on the new snow and there is any accumulation.

The eastern Sierra and White Mountains offer a plethora of possibilities as a backup plan. White Mountain or Boundary Peak often gets less snow than the Sierras; (Check road conditions for either though if new snow has fallen). Mt Gould, Kearsarge Peak are options. Telescope Peak. If you're in Vegas and you realize the conditions are bad on Whitney, you can check out Mt Charleston or Griffith Peaks an hour from Vegas. Either way, you can find something awesome to do out there!

Below are two recent reports on two of my Whitney climbs. One with more snow, one with very little.

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11067&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11767&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby ThuChad » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:02 am

Thanks for all the replies! I'm going to train for Whitney then see what happens. Should be a great trip either way.

Is there a downloadable GPS route for the Whitney main trail anywhere?
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby shotgung » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:25 pm

November is mighty late to try Whitney. I bought my permit for Sept 24th and I'm worried about the weather then. Also, there are very few permits available and the ones that are, are crappy dates (ie during the week).
A project is complete when it starts working for you, rather than you working for it

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby Steve C » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:32 pm

Shotgung, September is often a very nice time to do Whitney. Watch the weather forecasts, but I'll bet you will have a great trip.

As for permits, there are nearly ALWAYS no-shows and cancellations available at the visitor center. Google "Unused Whitney Permits", and you will find the numbers for the past 5 years.

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Re: Mt. Whitney Nov 1st

Postby trilete » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:19 pm

Read through most of the replies. Having day hiked Whitney in good weather and bad, I would be wary of hiking it anytime after October unless you bring enough gear for a 3-4+ day event. Weather gets too unpredictable and you will definitely have snow. But if you are prepared, it can be a really great time to be up there. And unless its absolutely perfect weather, a day hike will be difficult.

Also, make sure you arrive to get a permit before they close (5pm sharp I think) or else you'll be waiting till the next morning.

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