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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 Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday on Mt Whitney. Well below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet at night. 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 21 Monday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. Windy, with a southwest wind 17 to 22 mph increasing to 29 to 34 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 48 mph.
 
April 22 Tuesday A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 57. Windy, with a west southwest wind 43 to 50 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph.
 
April 22 Tuesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 26. Windy, with a northwest wind 26 to 36 mph decreasing to 11 to 21 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 49 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 59. Northwest wind 6 to 10 mph becoming east in the afternoon.
 
April 23 Wednesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 29. East southeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming light and variable in the evening.
 
April 24 Thursday Sunny, with a high near 61.
 
April 24 Thursday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 30.
 
April 25 Friday A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 59. Windy.
 
April 25 Friday Night A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Windy.
 
April 26 Saturday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55. Breezy.
 
April 26 Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.
 
April 27 Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 57.
 
April 27 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 31.
 
April 28 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.
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 21 Monday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. Windy, with a southwest wind 21 to 26 mph increasing to 28 to 33 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 47 mph.
 
April 22 Tuesday A 20 percent chance of snow showers before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 29. Windy, with a west wind 41 to 46 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph.
 
April 22 Tuesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 16. Wind chill values as low as zero. Breezy, with a west northwest wind 24 to 29 mph decreasing to 17 to 22 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. Northwest wind 11 to 16 mph becoming light north in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 23 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 21. South southeast wind around 7 mph becoming west southwest in the evening.
 
April 24 Thursday Sunny, with a high near 39.
 
April 24 Thursday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 20.
 
April 25 Friday A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. Windy.
 
April 25 Friday Night A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. Windy.
 
April 26 Saturday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 24. Windy.
 
April 26 Saturday Night A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15.
 
April 27 Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 34.
 
April 27 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 24.
 
April 28 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.
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 21 Monday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. Wind chill values as low as -6. Windy, with a southwest wind 21 to 26 mph increasing to 29 to 34 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 49 mph.
 
April 22 Tuesday A 20 percent chance of snow showers before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 20. Wind chill values as low as -6. Windy, with a west wind 44 to 47 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph.
 
April 22 Tuesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 10. Wind chill values as low as -10. Windy, with a west wind 25 to 30 mph decreasing to 17 to 22 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 41 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. North northwest wind 11 to 16 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 14. South southeast wind around 7 mph becoming west southwest in the evening.
 
April 24 Thursday Sunny, with a high near 30.
 
April 24 Thursday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 16.
 
April 25 Friday A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 21. Windy.
 
April 25 Friday Night A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Windy.
 
April 26 Saturday A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 15. Windy.
 
April 26 Saturday Night A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 7.
 
April 27 Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 26.
 
April 27 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.
 
April 28 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 35.

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."