Condition Report for Mt. Whitney and the High Sierra

The storms of the past few weeks have deposited significant amounts of snow that persists on east and north aspects of peaks above 12,500 feet elevation.  on 19 June the Mountaineers Route was completely snow filled, even through the 3rd class difficulties above the couloir.

There was significantly new snow visible on the East Face Route on Whitney as well, making the East Buttress my climb of choice right now if anyone is looking to climb the 5th class routes on the mountain.  Snow covered the north ledges on Mt. Russell's East Ridge (see the trip report in the Alpine Climbing or Guiding sections) and similar conditions were reported for the North Ridge of Bear Creek Spire near Mammoth Lakes.

With a return of cooler temps and the possiblity of thunderstorms and precipitation this weekend, no one knows how fast or slow this snow will go away.  I think right now may be the perfect time to climb the southern rock routes on Lone Pine Peak and the south-facing routes in Whitney Portal too.  Give'er!

Snow fills the left and main couloirs of the Mountaineers Route (3rd class), as well as the ledges on the East Face Route (II 5.6), in this photo taken from the East Ridge of Mt. Russell on 13 June 2009.

And in this photo taken almost a week later on 19 June 2009, conditions hadn't really changed.  Looking up the main couloir on the Mountaineers Route.