View Full Version : Start date

10-23-2007, 10:17
So, for my up and coming hike, I am starting to question whether or not I should start as a NOBO or a SOBO.

At the earliest, my start date will be in mid May, is this late enough that I should start at the Canadian terminus? I'd probably hike for about 2 months, then skip down to the JMT (which was originally what I wanted to do, but I figured that 200 miles of trail just wasn't enough :D).

Does this sound like a good idea? Is mid-May too early of a start date for a SOBO? Does anyone know of a good SOBO journal (I'd like to here about the weather on the trail that early and whether or not my simple tarp will be sufficient. I'd also still be curious to know if I'd still need to think about carrying an ice axe.

Any and all help is appreciated as always.


11-06-2007, 12:06
Francis Tapon put a pretty good FAQ up for SOBOs here: http://francistapon.com/pct/why.htm (i need to learn http..) If you clicked around some more, he has more details on his hike.

11-06-2007, 13:13
Mid-may would be a perfect time to start a NOBO hike of the PCT, unless you are deathly slow. You really don't want to start the sierras (mile 700) until mid-late June (The later the better. If I were to hike the PCT again I don't think I'd start my nobo until june 1st at the earliest). The later you start the less snow and mosquitos you have to deal with.

If you're really a slow hiker, you'll need to start nobo and flip anyways. Usually, late June-mid July is the time to start a SOBO.

Spirit Walker
11-06-2007, 13:31
The PCT in Southern California can be really hot and dry in late May. It was hot enough in April. I really wouldn't want to try to hike it much later in the summer.

If you really only want to do the JMT - why not plan a trip that includes the JMT and TYT? That's 400 some miles.

Alternately, start someplace like Walker Pass around June 1 and hike north thru the Sierras as far as you decide you want to hike. If you discover you really like long distance hiking, you can go all the way to Canada and come back in the fall to hike the southern stretch.

11-06-2007, 13:37
Starting mid-May at the Canadian border would be VERY difficult. You would see LOTS of snow and route finding would be very difficult.

Starting at Campo could be done but as Spirit Walker points out, it would be hot and dry. I like his suggestion of Walker Pass to points North.

Moon Monster
11-06-2007, 13:40
Scott, it looks like you did some AT miles as prep for the PCT this year. How many and what mileage worked for you on the AT? How would you translate that early season AT mileage to predicting whether a first-time PCT hiker should consider himself slow or not come mid-May on the PCT? June 1 seems on its face risky for a first-timer.

11-06-2007, 14:09
Well, from what I've heard about snow in WA, an early SOBO doesn't look like its possibility...

I guess this is gonna come down to a weather deal, if the weather looks foul, I might just do another shorter trail then jump onto PCT at the Sierra's maybe around July and go from there.

11-06-2007, 17:19
By the end of my AT training hike i was doing 28-35 miles a day

On my PCT hike I was doing 33-42 miles on a typical day.

I do enjoy getting occasionaly sidetracked, and I slowed down in Washington so that I could pass through the famous areas during good weather.

I really think that if you want to hike a May 15th-May 20th start date would be just fine. That gives you a full month to do 700 miles, and that's pushing the Sierras early. June 25-July 1 would be a more intelligent Sierra entry date, I think. That would give you a daily average of 17.5 before Kennedy Meadows, and a daily Average of 21.5 after KM to finish in September (pushing your finish date past September is just stupid.. This year Washingto got 2-3 feet of snow in the first week of October and a whole bunch of people ended up not finishing because they planned on hitting the border Oct 10th-15th)

11-06-2007, 18:04
So heres the real deal.

I have about 100 days to hike, I need to finish school in the coming fall (I've put off graduation for 2 years). I'd really like to see the high Sierra's, I've toyed with the idea of starting at different places, or doing another trail to warm up and start at Kennedy Meadows and head north.

As far as daily mileage, I've got a friend doing the trip with me, and I'm not sure about pushing more than 25 miles a day (15-18 in the high country) in order to make the trip more appealing for her (if its appealing to her, it will be very very appealing to me, getting a hiker hooked is fun :banana).

What about this, this is an idea that just popped into my head, what about starting somewhere in Oregon and heading south. I assume that this is a no go, or that I would be bug food for the majority of my trip.

This is by no means a thru hike, this is more leisurely 1300+ mile stroll (hah!). My first attempt at a through won't happen till 2009 at the earliest, and that will probably be an AT attempt due to dates and weather window (hopefully start early, freeze arse off and finish early).

And as far as mileage goes, I think the highest mileage I've had was 16 miles in 8+" of snow, started at noon, finished sometime around 9, bushwacked through blowdowns since thats where the trail was supposed to be (stupid outdated maps...) and that was near the CDT in the Gila.

11-06-2007, 19:33
Ahh, nvm, just figured out that the Oregon hopes would be too early as well (darn snow)