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Whitebark Pass

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Whitebark Pass

Postby Heyworth » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:36 am

I've got a question: I'm going with a couple of friends in two weeks. The original plan was to do the trail from Ediza up to Iceberg and Cecile, down to Minaret and out, a trip I did last year with a different crew. But for various reasons (nervousness about snow around Iceberg, the fact that the shuttle bus stops running a couple of days before, and a permit mistake) I'm now looking at going from Agnew Meadows up to Thousand Island or Garnet, then over the Whitebark Pass to the Nydivers and down to Ediza, with a side hike up to Iceberg before heading out the Shadow Lake trail back to Agnew. My question is about Whitebark Pass. I know it's supposed to be harder from the north side, but how would you compare it to the pass between Minaret and Cecile? Is there still going to be a lot of snow, requiring spike and ice axes (which we don't have)? Should I ditch that idea and take the JMT from Garnet down to Shadow Lake and Ediza? Any insights would be welcome.



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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby cgundersen » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:20 pm

hey hey,
Whitebark is appreciably more challenging. There are big boulders and granite slabs on the north side (the south side is a delightful romp). Residual snow may restrict your options. That said, I've done a lot of snow this summer and if you let things warm up, it can be a much nicer surface than talus or scree (and I have not used any tools other than sturdy boots). The best case scenario would be to get a close-up look to decide wheter there was a route that looked comfortable (the north side of the pass is wide open). The clincher here is it is a LONG schlep to get to the base of the pass. But, the whitebark end of Garnet Lake has nice campsites, so it's not a complete waste if you camp and then decide to backtrack.
cg
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Coops » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:49 pm

Whitebark in the afternoon should be a walk in the park by this time of year even with the high snow year. I did this pass in early July of '09 in the early morning sans axe or spikes, and while it was tedious kicking steps, it was very manageable with some patience.
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Re: Whitebark Pass

Postby adixon » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:17 pm

I have a report on Whitebark from a good friend of mine. It's about a two weeks old. At that time they climbed to the top of Whitebark from the south and looked down and saw nothing but very steep and hard snow on the north side of the pass. The did not go over and retreated back down the side they came up. His guess was that crampons and and axe were the minium to get down, independent of any mid-day snow thaw. YMMV.

[And up to that point they had successfully navigated everything on the SHR from Mammoth with just trekking poles and trail shoes.]

-A
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Re: Whitebark Pass

Postby bainhameen » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:02 pm

Thanks a bunch adixon. I will be there in 2 weeks, also coming from the south, using micro spikes and poles. I will try mid afternoon and hope that there has been significant melt-off since mid-August. But based on your timely report, I will definitely have a back up plan.

b-h
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