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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:
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers and high winds on Friday and Saturday then clearing up next week on Mt Whitney. Well below freezing temperatures, especially above 10,000 feet at night. The Whitney Portal Road is now open, but things could change depending on what this next storm brings on Friday and Saturday.

Latest Trail Conditions as of 4/23:
There is still a good amount of ice and snow from Trail Camp to Trail Crest, but you will encounter snow in many areas of the Mt Whitney Trail. 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, crampons, and ice ax are still a must (along with winter mountaineering experience) if you are going to make a bid for the summit. The Whitney Portal Road is now open. As far as permits are concerned, they are there for the asking until April 30, which is just around the corner.

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 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 56. Northeast wind 8 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph after midnight.
 
April 24 Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. West wind 5 to 9 mph becoming light and variable in the afternoon.
 
April 24 Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. Windy, with a west southwest wind 9 to 19 mph increasing to 23 to 33 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 47 mph.
 
April 25 Friday A chance of rain showers before 11am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Cloudy, with a high near 54. Windy, with a west southwest wind 33 to 41 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
 
April 25 Friday Night Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
 
April 26 Saturday A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 51. Breezy. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
 
April 26 Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26.
 
April 27 Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 55.
 
April 27 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 30.
 
April 28 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 58.
 
April 28 Monday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 33.
 
April 29 Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 60.
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 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 34 by 5pm. North wind 6 to 13 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 8 mph after midnight.
 
April 24 Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 41. West wind 7 to 10 mph.
 
April 24 Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. Wind chill values as low as zero. Windy, with a west wind 14 to 19 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 43 mph.
 
April 25 Friday A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Cloudy, with a high near 29. Windy, with a west southwest wind 33 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
 
April 25 Friday Night Snow showers. Low around 9. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
 
April 26 Saturday A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 26. Blustery. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
 
April 26 Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15.
 
April 27 Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 35.
 
April 27 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 22.
 
April 28 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 42.
 
April 28 Monday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 25.
 
April 29 Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 46.
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 23 Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 31 by 5pm. North wind 5 to 11 mph.
 
April 23 Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 9 mph after midnight.
 
April 24 Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 32. West wind 7 to 10 mph.
 
April 24 Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -10. Windy, with a west wind 14 to 19 mph increasing to 26 to 31 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 44 mph.
 
April 25 Friday Snow showers likely, mainly after 11am. Some thunder is also possible. Cloudy, with a high near 20. Windy, with a west southwest wind 36 to 41 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
 
April 25 Friday Night Snow showers. Low around 1. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
 
April 26 Saturday A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 18. Blustery. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
 
April 26 Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8.
 
April 27 Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 26.
 
April 27 Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 15.
 
April 28 Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 34.
 
April 28 Monday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 18.
 
April 29 Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 37.

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."