Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

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Junya65
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Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by Junya65 » Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:21 am

Hey everyone, looking for a little insight.

Even though I have been doing the rain dance non stop, California fires are still BLAZING! I understand the trail to Whitney is closed. IF they do decide to open the trail by next week what are the additional potential risks due to the fires? Would you still attempt it this year or just make another attempt for permits next year?

Any information would help me make a decision on whether to drive out or not. Thanks.
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psycholoco
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Re: Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by psycholoco » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:55 am

I think the only other consideration would be the smoke. I climbed it on the 6th (they closed it at 5pm on the 7th). The smoke was pretty bad at the portal when I started, but I got above it by the time I got to the E-ledges (mountaineers route). I went to Russell first, and by the time I got back down to Iceberg Lake for the rest of the Mountaineers route, the smoke had caught up to me and was around for the rest of the day. It wasn't too bad, but definitely there. Of course smoke conditions are day to day and were quite a bit worse in subsequent days. If you're coming from Colorado, that's a pretty big commitment. I was coming from the Bay Area and figured I could climb something else along the way back home if Whitney was too smokey. I'd keep an eye on the fire situations to make a game time decision. If they do open back up, it should mean the nearby fires are at least fairly contained. If you do decide not to come, don't cancel your permit. If you cancel, you won't get a refund, but if they cancel your permit, you will.
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mickknu16
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Re: Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by mickknu16 » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:22 pm

Totally feel your pain. I had permits for Oct. 6th to attempt Whitney, and Oct 7th and 8th to do Middle Palisade. But I hadn't thought about what I would do here since I had lost all hope this last week with the closures. I figured there was no chance of a re-opening. If amazingly they did re-open, I imagine we would take a good hard look at smoke conditions and if they were tolerable. I'd also really double check on those active fires nearby in Inyo Nat. forest, but agreed with psycholoco in that I doubt it will open unless those nearby fires are very contained. If I felt good about those two things with a miracle opening, I might decide to go through with our trip since it is so hard for my girlfriend to get more than a week of time off and we've been committed since December basically. I think we'd try to push through the smokey conditions in that case.

Have you been emailed any information through your permit about the closures?
psycholoco wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:55 am
I'd keep an eye on the fire situations to make a game time decision. If they do open back up, it should mean the nearby fires are at least fairly contained. If you do decide not to come, don't cancel your permit. If you cancel, you won't get a refund, but if they cancel your permit, you will.
Really appreciate this heads up :thumbup:
"Your mind is the mountain before you, you've reached the summit now transcend the skies."
JacobW
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Re: Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by JacobW » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:28 pm

See if you can talk to the rangers about conditions up higher. I did it at the end of august and Lone Pine was intolerably smokey, but from the portal up was pretty clear.
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psycholoco
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Re: Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by psycholoco » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:18 pm

If you're not already following, the Mt. Whitney facebook page is very active with lots of information (although it can be annoying at times).
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nyker
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Re: Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by nyker » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:30 pm

Here is a shot of Whitney from a local webcam 4 hours ago looking west....in a word smoke. You can just make out its silhouette.

Probably not the best time to visit as that's a long hike which stays at high elevation most of the day. If the air quality is poor, it could be dangerous to be breathing that particulate matter in at that altitude all day and you're pretty far away if you need help especially if resources are constrained/diverted by the fires, cutbacks, COVID etc. Given the smoke, you also won't be able to see any weather moving in (though I assume any rain would be more than welcome elsewhere in the region).

Keep a watch on the conditions, and maybe you'll get lucky and they'll reopen it if it gets better. If conditions don't improve I'd reschedule for a better time to be there. It's such a nice area, that you should enjoy it and not go when its so compromised, not to mention with potential added fire danger.

Can probably get some updates here:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/re ... 6&actid=51

Good luck
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mickknu16
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Re: Mount Whitney 9/27 - 9/29

Post by mickknu16 » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:18 pm

Thanks everyone for all the resources. That photo looks absolutely brutal. I've worked in the high country and hiked through some tough wildfire seasons, but there's only so much I could take with poor air conditions. It gets to a point where it's just not worth it for me. This looks like it :cry:
"Your mind is the mountain before you, you've reached the summit now transcend the skies."
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