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  1. #1

    Default Latest NOBO start date

    Greetings,

    I am wondering what is the latest reasonable start date for a NOBO thru-hike on the PCT? I graduate from college late April, so I am assuming I won't get to the southern terminus until early May. Is this too late to begin a NOBO? If so, what are the potential consequences of starting at this time (early May), especially as it relates to weather conditions and water availability? If not, what are some measures I need to take that I normally would not need to take had I started in April? Thanks!

    P.S., I would also appreciate any and all other tips and pieces of advice you guys have regarding the PCT!

  2. #2
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    Definitely not too late. I started on April 26th this year, took many, many zeros, and finished on September 23rd. There were quite a few people who started in early-mid May finishing around the same time as me. The user Malto here has answered questions about starting in late May, you can search for those if you want more info.

    As for extra precautions, I don't think there would be too many needed. It may be a little dryer, and a little hotter, so update and check the water report often, and maybe up your water capacity slightly. I'm sure this varies from year to year.

    One tip I would give is: Take as much time in the Sierra as possible. Go on side trips, only hike 5 miles for a day and then swim at a lake for the rest of the day. You won't regret it

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jj442434 View Post
    Definitely not too late. I started on April 26th this year, took many, many zeros, and finished on September 23rd. There were quite a few people who started in early-mid May finishing around the same time as me. The user Malto here has answered questions about starting in late May, you can search for those if you want more info.

    As for extra precautions, I don't think there would be too many needed. It may be a little dryer, and a little hotter, so update and check the water report often, and maybe up your water capacity slightly. I'm sure this varies from year to year.

    One tip I would give is: Take as much time in the Sierra as possible. Go on side trips, only hike 5 miles for a day and then swim at a lake for the rest of the day. You won't regret it

    It will likely be much hotter, and drier. The difference between April and May is pretty staggering. In certain sections it can mean carrying twice as much water. If I had to start early May I would go NOBO from the Acton KOA, then after I got to Walker Pass I would head down to the border and go NOBO, back to the KOA. It would be easier to just go SOBO from Walker Pass, but I hate hiking with the sun in my face.

  4. #4

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    But, I should add most thru-hikers start late April, and many start in May. So, it is totally doable, it can just really suck. If you are lucky enough to do it both ways you see how big a difference there is.

  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    With the 50 hikers per day quota, late April/early May is easier to get a permit.
    Wayne


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  6. #6
    Registered User -Ghost-'s Avatar
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    I had planned on starting May 1st FYI! Maybe I'll see ya out there.

  7. #7
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    I started May 21st and had zero trouble with the heat or water. Maybe it was the year, maybe it was my faster pace that had me at Kennedy Meadow on June 14th but I would do a late start again without hesitation. I would recommend that you arrive at Campo in Trail shape. You won't want to dither about getting in shape.
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