Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mt Whitney Day Hike 2010- The Tradition Is Finally Broken

An expression I like to use once in a while is "nothing lasts forever", and this year my Whitney day hike tradition did just that. I went up this year knowing that the snow level was quite a bit lower than usual but having all the right gear I was up for the challenge. The weather forecast for this past weekend was 0% chance precip on Friday and 10% on Sat, the day I planned on going up.

Of course the weather gods didn't see the forecast and as I arrived at the Mt Whitney parking lot Friday, snow flurries fell out of the sky. So much for the chance this was going to be a fair weather ascent, I packed all my snow gear and headed up the trail about 5 am Saturday morning. Things were pretty much status quo up until just below Trail Camp where the temps dropped significantly and the trail disappeared.

The problem wasn't that I had to get decked out in crampons and ice ax with full winter clothing, it was the dark ominous clouds hiding Mt Whitney. As I approached Trail Camp the temps must have been in the 20's with wind blowing and snow pretty much hiding the switchbacks. I met up with hiking friend John where we stopped to see if the weather was going to break or stay socked in. At trail camp I spoke with a couple of ladies hiking whom I had spoken with earlier and asked them if they were going to make an attempt at the summit. The two ladies answered, "we have been waiting two years for these permits and we bought all this gear, of course we are going." Now I am no pro-mountain man but when climbing in winter conditions, the date on the permit should not determine whether a summit attempt is made or not. Aside from the poor visibility the clouds were making, the chance for lighting strikes is always higher when dark clouds are present.

Needless to say along with hiking friend John we decided the smartest move was to head back down and hike another day. The trip down was uneventful and we ran into many interesting people on the trail heading up. Quite a few were unprepared for the winter conditions with no crampons or other winter clothing. Hopefully all that attempted the summit this day made it back home ok. D

Chris and John contemplating the summit with Mt Whitney hiding in the background
Hikers heading up to Trail Crest

Essential Gear

Mt Whitney hid all day long


雲亨 said...
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林奕廷 said...
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