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Mt Whitney
Whitney Portal Sign
Weather on Mt Whitney varies greatly during the year and can certainly be unpredictable at times. Temperatures at the lower elevations are generally warm. At higher elevations in the night, even in the summer months temperatures can fall below freezing. Typical winter temperatures above 9,500 feet range from -14 degrees F to 12 degrees at night and from 15 - 50 degrees F during the day.

Ninety five percent of total precipitation (which includes both rain and snow) falls between the months of October and May, with more than half falling in January, February, and March. The frequency of summer showers increase at higher elevations and correspondingly there are more cloudy days. But even though these thundershowers are of short duration they are still a danger to the hiker/climber on the summit or high ridges on Mt Whitney and other Sierra Peaks. That being said, if you detect a thunderstorm developing, vacate the summit and high ridges at once. The first recorded fatality on Mt Whitney was due to lightning.

Snow is one of the most spectacular features in the Sierra Nevada (the second snowiest mountain range on the continent) but due to the fact that Mt Whitney resides in the southern portion of the Sierra Nevada, it does not get nearly the amount of snow pack that the Palisade or Mammoth Lakes region do.

Quick summary of Mt Whitney weather and road access for the next 7 days:
Chance of snow showers on Friday and over the weekend on Mt Whitney. Temperatures are beginning to warm up, but you will still encounter well below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet. The Whitney Portal Road is still closed six miles from the trailhead and there is a locked gate that prohibits any vehicle traffic from proceeding beyond that point. There is a trail for those that want to proceed on foot, and you save a couple of miles by taking the trail vs walking up the road. If we do not get anymore significant snow storms, the road is now scheduled to open on April 25-26.

Latest Trail Conditions as of 3/7:
Lots of snow and ice from start to finish on the Mt Whitney Trail. There is also a ton of ice and snow from Trail Camp to Trail Crest. The backside of Whitney before getting to the Summit has a relative thin coat of snow due to high winds blowing off the excess snow. However, there are deeper pockets of snow here and there as you travel from Trail Crest to the Summit. For safety reasons snowshoes, crampons, and ice ax are a must (along with winter mountaineering experience) if you are going to make a bid for the summit. The Whitney Portal Road is closed past the cabins and this will make for a much longer hike because you will have to walk the road for several miles just to get to the Trailhead. As far as permits are concerned, they are there for the asking since the quota season ended on November 2nd and will not come into play again until the end of April 30, 2014.

I had a chance to get out in my climbing partners small aircraft recently and get some aerial photos on March 7 of this year. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page you can check them out.

MT WHITNEY AERIAL VIEW- We are proud to have the following link added to our Mt Whitney lineup. It is a mixed slide-show showing many key features of Mt Whitney and the surrounding areas from both the ground and the air. So click on the following link, turn up the music, use the biggest monitor you got in full screen video mode, and enjoy high resolution photos of Mt Whitney.
Mt Whitney Aerial Slide-show

THE FOLLOWING IS THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE WHITNEY PORTAL AREA AT 8,300 FT
The Whitney Portal Hosts the Trail-head for Hikers, Backpackers and Climbers on Mt Whitney

April 16 Wednesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 33. Northeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
 
April 17 Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 63. Light and variable wind becoming southeast 5 to 9 mph in the morning.
 
April 17 Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. West southwest wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 7 to 12 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.
 
April 18 Friday A slight chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 60. Northwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
 
April 18 Friday Night A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph after midnight.
 
April 19 Saturday A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 60.
 
April 19 Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.
 
April 20 Sunday A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 62.
 
April 20 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 32.
 
April 21 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 64.
 
April 21 Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 32. Breezy.
 
April 22 Tuesday A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 55. Windy.
 
April 22 Tuesday Night A slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 24. Windy.
 
April 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 52.
Mt Whitney Trail Camp

Photo to the Left shows

Trail Camp on Mt Whitney at an elevation of 12,000 ft.

Most backpackers/climbers on Mt Whitney use this as a base camp for Summit day.

Plenty of great sites already established so it makes for easy setup.2,496 feet of elevation left to gain before reaching the top!

THE FOLLOWING IS THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR WHITNEY TRAIL CAMP AT 12,000 FT
As mentioned above, most backpackers/climbers set up camp here before going for the summit.

April 16 Wednesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 25. East northeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
 
April 17 Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 47. South wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.
 
April 17 Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. West southwest wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 6 to 11 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.
 
April 18 Friday A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after 11am. Some thunder is also possible. Partly sunny, with a high near 39. Calm wind becoming east 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
 
April 18 Friday Night A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11pm. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph after midnight. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
 
April 19 Saturday A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Partly sunny, with a high near 41.
 
April 19 Saturday Night A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21.
 
April 20 Sunday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.
 
April 20 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 25.
 
April 21 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.
 
April 21 Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 22. Windy.
 
April 22 Tuesday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 29. Windy.
 
April 22 Tuesday Night A slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 11. Windy.
 
April 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Blustery.
Mt Whitney North Slope
Mt Whitney Summit Hut 
Fresh Air Traverse 

THE FOLLOWING IS THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR WHITNEY'S SUMMIT AT 14,497 FT

April 16 Wednesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 18. Calm wind becoming south southwest around 5 mph after midnight.
 
April 17 Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 38. South wind 6 to 11 mph.
 
April 17 Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. West wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 7 to 12 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.
 
April 18 Friday A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after 11am. Some thunder is also possible. Partly sunny, with a high near 31. Light and variable wind becoming east 5 to 8 mph in the morning. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
 
April 18 Friday Night A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11pm. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph after midnight. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
 
April 19 Saturday A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Partly sunny, with a high near 32.
 
April 19 Saturday Night A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.
 
April 20 Sunday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 37.
 
April 20 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.
 
April 21 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 37.
 
April 21 Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 15. Windy.
 
April 22 Tuesday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 20. Windy.
 
April 22 Tuesday Night A slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 2. Windy.
 
April 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 19. Blustery.

Above Weather Report Powered by the National Weather Service

In the Photo to the right, you can see from the air a recent photo taken of the area from Trail Camp to Trail Crest. The photo was taken on March 7, 2014.

Lots of snow through out this area of the mountain, and travel will be slow to say the least. Crampons and Ice Ax are a must at this point in time.


The Lower Left Hand Photo, is an aerial photo of the backside of Mt Whitney showing the summit and the needles just before getting to the Summit. I also took this recent photo on March 7, 1914. There has been a lot of wind up high on Whitney and the snow covering on the backside is thin due to winds blowing off the snow. However, there is some accumulated snow in pockets along the route from Trail Crest to this area. If you look close, you can see the Summit Hut.

Below Right, is a view of the East Face Routes, particularly the Mountaineer's Route (note the thin yellow line). As you can see, the gully that makes up the route is snow filled. This works great for crampons and ice ax, and because we are entering the spring months, the snow should compact nice making the way up fairly easy for those who are experienced with ice ax and crampons. The biggest difficulty at this time of year will be slogging through the snow on the approach route (North Fork of Lone Pine Creek) to Iceberg Lake. This photo was taken on the same trip on March 7 of this year.


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Mt Whitney Needles
Matt 7:24-27

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts
them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on
the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds
blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because
it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these
words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a
foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down,
the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that
house, and it fell with a great crash."