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Thread: AZT in March

  1. #1

    Default AZT in March

    Retiring from the military after 22 years. Looking to do the AZT. Is it doable in March. I'm familiar with southern AZ, but wondering what the snow is like in March in the northern part of the state.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckyMcBuckerson View Post
    Retiring from the military after 22 years. Looking to do the AZT. Is it doable in March. I'm familiar with southern AZ, but wondering what the snow is like in March in the northern part of the state.
    When I did a rim to rim to rim of the Grand Canyon in April of this year, I met two different hikers who were completing the AZT. During the third week of April, they got caught in a snow storm which started at the Grand Canyon. We got into snow at the Supai Tunnel on the North Kaibab Trail (which is also the AZT). The AZT hikers went on, but we read on their web page that they had to seek shelter in a cabin north of the Grand Canyon. The snow was so deep they had to wait several days to continue. Bottom line -- by the end of March, you should be good as far as the Grand Canyon, but will likely be too early north of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon doesn't usually open to the public until May.
    Shutterbug

  3. #3
    Garlic
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    It all depends on winter snows this year. And you hit it right away, in the first five to ten miles, on Mt Mitchell, and pretty constantly over the "Sky Islands" of So AZ.

    April is a "safer" time to plan to start, but March can be okay in a dry year.

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    Garlic
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    Sorry, I misread your question. Are you asking about snow conditions in the north if you start hiking NOBO in March? In addition to the vagaries of the weather, that depends on your hiking speed and if you start in early or late March. If you hike the average six week pace and start at the end of March, you might be okay when you get to the North Rim of the GC. It may also depend on your skill on ice and at navigating, and your tolerance for post-holing.

  5. #5

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    Garlic - thanks for the information. I'm really just asking about snow in general on both the North Rim and the "sky islands." I've spent some winter time in the Miller Peak Wilderness and Miller Peak, but just day hikes. I was planning on starting first week of March. I can adjust a little but would like to be finished mid-end of April.

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    Shutterbug - thanks for the information as well!

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    The Sky Islands in AZ can hold deep snowpack well into April. It would be a shame to bypass them because of length of snow travel. You could very likely experience significant snow depth at the N. Rim also in April possibly making it very tempting to cut the thru-hike short or yellow blaze to the stateline.

  8. #8
    Garlic
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    Miller, not Mitchell--thanks for the correction. Starting early March and finishing by mid-April would not be an advisable plan in a normal year. End of March and into early May would be more 'comfortable.'
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    For my thru, I started on March 18 and had a couple miles of snow on the shady side of Miller Peak, a couple of miles after Flagstaff, and a couple of miles on the North Rim. Maybe it was an atypical year, but it was only 6-ish miles of snow out of 810. There was also a bit of snow on Mica Mountain in Saguaro NP, but it wasn't on the actual AZT.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    For my thru, I started on March 18 and had a couple miles of snow on the shady side of Miller Peak, a couple of miles after Flagstaff, and a couple of miles on the North Rim. Maybe it was an atypical year, but it was only 6-ish miles of snow out of 810. There was also a bit of snow on Mica Mountain in Saguaro NP, but it wasn't on the actual AZT.
    Awesome! Thanks.

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