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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    As hinted at by the above post, you need to wait until April 1st to determine what the snow pack is going to be like this year.
    However, should the snow pack stay on the current track...

    ...if you want to see some of the practical aspects to hiking the Sierras in a high snow year, watch the movie "Mile... Mile & A Half".
    The movie is well worth watching on its own merits.

    But for those planning to hike the Sierras during a high snow year, they started their hike July 10, 2011... a high snow year.
    BTW: the movie will make mention that they carried micro-spikes, I've since learned that they never used them.
    This is the 3rd time Iíve heard someone recommend this film, Iím planning on watching it. Also, as I will be in the Sierra for the first time this summer for a backpacking trip, Iím watching this snow situation very closely.

    - ďThe fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.Ē
    - William Shakespeare
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 02-27-2019 at 17:17.

  2. #22
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    Lots of solid beta already.

    Starting later but starting in LD condition to hit it strong from the get go(as PCT FKTers, PCT Yo Yoers, and speed hikers do) while also possibly not starting at the PCT southern terminus, delaying to a different yr, doing big LASHes - completing over two or more yrs(as MANY have!), frogging, adjusting personal Sierra entry times, adjusting segment pace, doing alternates, carrying and knowing how to use ice axe and micro spikes, preemptively taking a winter navigation and backpacking in the field class or brushing up on such geared towards west coast situations, anticipating deep fords and which times are best to ford while having alternate routes preplanned, and a thing few PCTer Thrus avail themselves anymore, get and pre read through all the Wilderness Press PCT books(four total). During heavy snow yrs biting bug emergences and level of bug pressures can be affected. I personally am at ease going into deep snow covered PCT trail because 1) I had JMT thrus and other Sierra LD hikes(beyond Y NP and SEKI pre first PCT thru. 2) I went in on that first PCT thru knowing which segments tend to hold snow late in higher snow yrs without fast melt outs because I prepared with the Wilderness Press info. What some don't realize that in high west coast snow yrs the PCT can involve snow travel before, during and after the Sierra segments between KM south and north of Y NP. And, as Postholer's info states high snow levels and melt out rates can vary along different parts of the PCT. Snow may not just be an issue in one known Sierra area. I had also done a few high elev winter hikes and multi day alpining but of shorter duration pre PCT thru.


    Sometimes flipping or leap frogging in PCT high snow yrs is more hassle than just going through especially if you actually seek to hike the entire PCT. What I observe usually happening is folks are so narrowly skill set limited they may start doing road walks or initially look for alternates but eventually succumb to simply not thru hiking from terminus to terminus choosing instead to bypass segments. I did this on an AT NOBO, but not for snow reasons, while keeping a detailed journal. To my astonishment by the time I hit Hanover NH I had missed some 160 miles of the AT. It was rewarding for me to go back and pick up all those miles post MT K submitting with other NOBO's BUT it was more time consuming and expensive than just hiking linearly unbroken. It led to AT hiking into mid Nov. The same thing happened on the first PCT thru, but because of wildfire closures, that required long arse paved road walk alternates, some on heavily trafficked roads. Going back I realized I had missed almost 200 disjointed miles which was a BIG BIG logistical hassle to get those 200 miles. For those reasons I refused to do any skipping or flipping on a CDT SOBO thru. The decision saved me time to voluntarily do official CDT and sometimes several CDT alternates to at least one alternate in addition to the official CDT route AND more NP and El Malpais Nat Monument exploring...resulting in my best guesstimate a 3700 mile CDT SOBO lasting almost 7 months. As a result I have so many more memories other than skipping. So many more pictures and experiences that made that CDT thru massively fulfilling. I found that to be highly rewarding to be backpacking that length of miles and time! I don't know what your reasons for attempting a thru hike or completing a trail but I do it for more than saying I did when I actually didn't. I do it for embracing all the scenery, adventure, exploration, the unknowns, the easy turn my mind off stuff and the most strenuous unfamiliar pushing myself stuff that brings me to my breaking pt and for getting more out of my time in locations I may never experience again.


    Jus my long winded 3 cts.

  3. #23

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    Most of the Sierras are at 130% - 150% of their yearly snowfall, using the April 1st metric ( which is the traditional ďend of seasonĒ mark ).


    Hereís a good link to a map, outlining the snowpack in regions, comparatively to historical averages. -

    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/reportapp/j...me=swccond.pdf
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 02-28-2019 at 01:44.

  4. #24
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    Maybe, you'll be taking the boat shuttle to VVR rather than walking there?

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Maybe, you'll be taking the boat shuttle to VVR rather than walking there?
    I try to go with the flow 😉

  6. #26
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    comedian rogan doing from Boston

    Go with it.

  7. #27

  8. #28
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Charts and graphs in March are hard to translate into reality in June or July.
    What matters is what the charts and graphs look like when you actually get there.
    From 2017. The previous record snowfall year. The NOBO Hobos:
    https://nobohobos.wordpress.com/2017...op-of-the-pct/
    Be safe Yíall!
    Wayne

  9. #29
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    Does anyone have any experience with the classes offered through REI? I just took a mountaineering course that covered ice ax usage, quality of snow, crampons, etc. Wondering if anyone has specific recommendations for another course. Would really love to not have to skip the Sierra/flip flop. I'm starting the PCT on April 28.

  10. #30
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    If you could come early, there are schools along the Sierras from the Tahoe area to Bishop. Call around. See what you can learn.
    Wayne

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Out of Mind View Post
    Most of the Sierras are at 130% - 150% of their yearly snowfall, using the April 1st metric ( which is the traditional “end of season” mark ).


    Here’s a good link to a map, outlining the snowpack in regions, comparatively to historical averages. -

    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/reportapp/j...me=swccond.pdf
    Here's the chart like to watch:
    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snowapp/swcchart.action

    It will allow you to compare the snow depth now with how deep the average is at this time as well as compare to previous years.

    Things are still tracking below the 2017 levels (the worst year in recent memory) and pretty close to what "Mile... Mile & A Half" encountered...
    It also helps show how you can't know today what things will be like on April 1st.
    If you look at 2010-2011 graphs, you can see the season started of way above average, but then went flat for nearly two months dropping down to "average" and then got a major jump in March.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan428 View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with the classes offered through REI? I just took a mountaineering course that covered ice ax usage, quality of snow, crampons, etc. Wondering if anyone has specific recommendations for another course. Would really love to not have to skip the Sierra/flip flop. I'm starting the PCT on April 28.
    Hey Nathan - Iím from the NE & our local chapters of the AMC offer winter skills programs that cover a range of things like; the use of ice axes, snow shoes, crampons, as well as various practicalities of backcountry travel in winter conditions.
    Iím thinking the Sierra Club would offer comparable courses and they certainly would be a good resource. Additionally, many regional guides services offer courses covering these skills.

    Congrats on the upcoming journey -Iím hitting the JMT myself - safe travels. ⛰✌🏼
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 02-28-2019 at 17:14.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Charts and graphs in March are hard to translate into reality in June or July.
    What matters is what the charts and graphs look like when you actually get there.
    From 2017. The previous record snowfall year. The NOBO Hobos:
    https://nobohobos.wordpress.com/2017...op-of-the-pct/
    Be safe Yíall!
    Wayne
    Excellent stuff Wayne, i had not seen this blog before & (from what ive read thus far) they certainly had more than they bargained for in terms of snow travel along the PCT, ultimately forcing them to bypass the Sierra- after some very sketchy experiences at Forrester & Kearsarge passes. The quotes from their blog (listed below) highlight the nature of dangers one can expect to encounter in such conditions.

    "The snow is everywhere in the Sierra. It blankets the meadows, hangs over the mountain sides in 30 to 45 degree slopes, and gathers in five to ten foot drifts in the forests on top of the several feet that lie under them. The constant up and down of the snow drifts mean that there is never flat ground and all the downhills are slow and sometimes treacherous. In many areas there are miles of a phenomenon called sun cups covering the ground. They form in high altitudes here and are similar in appearance to egg cartons. The bumps in the cartons are about one to two feet. There is, mostly, no trail . Your mind is constantly occupied trying to keep your bearings and travel in the correct direction. There are sometimes tracks to follow but can not always be trusted and frequently disappear or diverge. It is , I would estimate, half as fast as it would be any other year...There is a very real danger that would not exist in another year...It is melting here but the amount of snow anywhere above 9,000 ft, depending on which direction the slope is facing, makes it clear that it will be a long time before it is gone. This year was the largest recorded snowfall in the Sierra in recorded history, 200 percent of normal...More is melting all the time, swelling the creeks more every week. They are raging now and are more like rivers. It would not be unreasonable to assume that some of the larger crossings will become completely impassible in the near future...We had planned to hike 2650 miles to test our mental and physical stamina. We did not anticipate to add 400 miles of mountaineering. I will say I find it extremely unfortunate." - NoboHobos Blog - PCT June 10, 2017 - @ Rock Creek (14.4 miles southwest of Mt. Whitney)

    link:https://nobohobos.wordpress.com/2017...starting-over/
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 03-01-2019 at 01:30.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

  14. #34
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    The Sierra will have snow. Put on your big boys pants and deal with it, or stay home. Many have made it through in high snow years and very few until the last couple of years died or were seriously injured. Every big snow year there is the same vortex of fear.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  15. #35

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    The Sierra will have snow. Put on your big boys pants and deal with it, or stay home. Many have made it through in high snow years and very few until the last couple of years died or were seriously injured. Every big snow year there is the same vortex of fear.
    I started the thread becauseI am heading into the Sierra for the first time - Backpacking the JMT - & in the course of research & planning, the current conditions began to unfold ie; the barrage of heavy snow storms (in some cases record setting) the region has been experiencing over the past month. This led me to research conditions in "high snow years". I have a healthy respect for wilderness and the indispensable value of knowledge-applied. These forums are a resource to exchange such knowledge. Suggesting that people, "put on your big boy pants and deal with it" helps no one and encourages the kind of foolish bravado that puts people in dangerous situations.



    Malto - Youíve shared a wealth of great firsthand info, per your earlier post in the thread. Judging from the quality of that earlier advice, Iím sure you mean well.
    Same team-Itís all good man ✌🏼🏔
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 03-02-2019 at 00:54.

  17. #37
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    "put on your big boy pants and deal with it"
    It helps me. If you know what the statement is shorthand for and how to translate the message.
    Be warm. Be dry. Be safe.
    Wayne

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    "put on your big boy pants and deal with it"
    It helps me. If you know what the statement is shorthand for and how to translate the message.
    Be warm. Be dry. Be safe.
    Wayne
    Yeah, but to some it can be misinterpreted as a callous disregard for the dangers by simply saying "just deal with it" when something like 3 people lost their lives trying to "deal with it" just a couple of years ago.

  19. #39
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    I canít win.
    Wayne

  20. #40

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    Same team- itís all good ✌🏼🏔
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 03-02-2019 at 00:55.

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