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Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

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Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby MooseTracks » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:58 pm

Tom and I had talked about how good the weather was going to be this weekend, and how the snow as probably in good shape, and wouldn't it be awesome to hit the MR? So I also invited Mike and Rick Kent to come on along, and we had a group! I was done seeing patients by 1:30 p.m. Friday, so after grabbing a late lunch (and leftovers for din-din) at the Pizza Factory, I headed up to the Portal to sit in the sunshine and do my paperwork.

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That evening I wandered around the Portal, even tried to extract one driver from the snow bank at the far end of the loop (there were MANY people getting stuck there all afternoon, even with 4WD!). The water was flowing everywhere, the temperature moderate, and even though the parking lot was fairly full, it was a quiet evening.

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Rick showed up around 9:30, Tom around 10, and Mike sometime therafter. We roused ourselves from comfy bags at 3-ish, and finally hit the trail around 4:15/30 or so. A few notes on conditions:

1) The trail is melted out completely to the NF junction. Once on the NF, it is melted out except for a few easily negotiated patches on the North Side. What snow is left on the south side is probably fairly icy in the a.m., and it was soft and a bit slick in the p.m. The E-ledges are clear, but getting to them is a little slick (snow patch per earlier mention). There is a significant snow bank just below LBSL, but it is easily walked on, lots of steps/meltouts to follow.

2) Snow covers everything from LBSL on up . I think this is first climb I've done this year that I didn't posthole on the ascent! WOOHOO!! It's nice to be able to walk on top of the snow! ;) We donned crampons just above LBSL because it was just easier that way. Good firm stuff all the way.

3) Last running water is at Clyde Meadows. Watch yourself on the slabs: there is running water beneath the snow that is quite audible. Wouldn't want to surf one of those chunks down to LBSL!

4) Bring sunscreen. Lots of it. And put it on everywhere. My knees are completely sunburned today. Oops! :blush:

5) The snow in the chute is firm and occasionally sticky. Rick didn't have anti-bot plates and had a few spots where he was carrying about 5# of snow underneath each crampon. We took the left side up (towards the East Buttress) then traversed into the Main Chute. Lots of tracks/steps to follow all over the place, from switchers to straight up, take your pick.

6) The Final 400 is amazing. I mean that with all sincerity. Lots of snow in the chute , but the rocks to the right looked mostly clear. We stayed in the chute, and, once again, lots of nice steps kicked in and developed. Good, solid snow that allowed for bomber axe placements. We hit it around 1 p.m. (??) and came down around 2:30 (??). Wouldn't want to be on it much later, as per the iciness of the chute soon thereafter.

7) Once the shadows hit the chute, it's still icing up fast. We were OK, but even the kicked in steps were already getting firm as we descended. Again, we were a bit late, but I wouldn't want to be on it much later.

We had the most tremendous weather (read: HOT!!) all day. No wind, light breeze at Iceberg and the summit, but I was in shorts and sportsbra for most of the ascent to Iceberg, then short-sleeves to the summit. I am so glad these guys came along with me yesterday. Tom topped out at Iceberg, and it was my first hike with Rick. My friend Bob, who happened to be on the summit yesterday, too, commented on the quality of the gentlemen with whom I was climbing, and he couldn't be more right. The conditions were wonderful, and it more than made up for my first MR ascent a year ago in the slop of May snow. Beachie: we were thinking of you yesterday! You MUST come out and play with us soon!

Tom: welcome back to 10K!
Rickers: Glad you could come play with the mere mortals yesterday. Birch next weekend?? :grin:
Mike: Another wonderful day in the heights, my friend!

A few other moments to share:

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Rest of the pics are here.

From the luckiest girl in the world, all the best!

-L :cool:
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621



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Re: Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby Lucrativ » Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:06 am

:thumbsup: Image
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Re: Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:31 am

Great climb. That uppermost part has hair raising steepness that looks especially scary to me because I nearly met my end descending similarly steep snow at the top of the east ridge of Brewer in a spring ascent 29 years ago (difficult to self arrest in soft, spring snow).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby tomcat_rc » Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:40 am

great climb - gotta love spring conditions
Image
mountain hiking is addictive:
I can quit anytime I want - I just choose not to want
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Re: Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby copeg » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:03 am

Great trip report, and awesome photos!
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Re: Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby hikerduane » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:20 pm

Awesome photo Tomcat.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Mt. Whitney MR 4-26-08

Postby tomcat_rc » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:33 pm

thanks Duane -
I live for Alpenglow photography in the Sierras. That is probably why I have gotten used to Alpine(read 0-dark:30) start times.
mountain hiking is addictive:
I can quit anytime I want - I just choose not to want
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