View Full Version : Early season conditions 2009

05-04-2009, 20:00
Can anyone from around the area let me know what kind of a snow season it's been this year on the JMT? From what I can gather, the JMT is hike-able starting in early June in light snow years, but not until late July in heavy snow years. I'm trying to get a handle on when the earliest reasonable start time might be this year with the snowfall from the season - thanks!

05-05-2009, 09:36
it's pretty much a normal year, especially after the 12" that were dumped this weekend.

Meaning - passes in the southern half of the trail will be iffy in the early hours before mid June - crampons required until later in the day when the snow gets soft. In late June it should be ok to just use hiking poles and caution, but there are places you don't want to slip even in July. Last year, when we had about the same snow that fell this season, there was an early morning ice/snow snow crossing south of Muir Pass that was a bit iffy for the novice hikers:


a month earlier, you're looking at half a mile of this stuff, and much at steeper angles. Glen Pass can get pretty ugly when iced up, much more dangerous than this field south of Muir Pass.

05-05-2009, 10:25
here's a graph that compares this year (pink line) to last and high/low/average


Last year was more snow than this year, but the spring was the warmest on record, with no additional snow after early April. This year we already got two more storms since April 1, so the lines are starting to cross and the '09 snow is passing what we had in '08.

If it was above normal like in '06, you'd be looking at 4 miles of snow around a pass like Muir, even in July - here' a shot north of Muir Pass, July 10, 2006 (and this is well below the pass, around Wanda Lake)


05-05-2009, 19:05
I went down the north side of Glen Pass in mild snow conditions at 8pm when I went through. I would hate to do so with more serious snow. I was new to snow and it didn't scare me at all, but I would be puckered up if I had to do it again now without an ice axe.

Anyways, anytime in July would be fine, even the later part of June would be fine. Of course, you better really like snow.

05-07-2009, 12:24
Imagine Glen Pass at 8am when still frozen. This is July 5 2006, a heavy snow year, probably what you'd see there a month earlier this year.