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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post

    <SNIP>

    This is a really high snow year so far. That means fords will be tougher than usual. Don't be afraid to spend lots of time looking for a better spot to cross or perhaps taking a different route. May have to start later than usual this year IMO. Had friends quit because of frostbite in '96. Take extra socks for sure, and gaitors may be useful.
    Also routefinding will be tougher in the snow. I'd get the good 3 map set of the Sierras or JMT in addition to the guidebook in a year like this one's shaping up to be.
    Unless we have a really hot spring, I would take a GPS to help with snow travel also. (again IMO but it's nice to know where you are when you look out and it's nothing but white covered terrain everywhere you look)
    The record snowfall levels in the NorthWest might make the PCT 2008 difficult.

    I've been making my final preparations for an April departure from Campo. This will be my first time to do a long distance hike. It looks like water won't be an issue this year.

    Any advice from some hardcore PCT people? Ice pick & crampons needed? Snowshoes? Waterproof boots & gloves? Ring of Ice Walking?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dranoel View Post
    The record snowfall levels in the NorthWest might make the PCT 2008 difficult.

    I've been making my final preparations for an April departure from Campo. This will be my first time to do a long distance hike. It looks like water won't be an issue this year.

    Any advice from some hardcore PCT people? Ice pick & crampons needed? Snowshoes? Waterproof boots & gloves? Ring of Ice Walking?

    Thanks in advance.
    Water in SoCA is always an issue. Yes, the seasonal springs may be flowing but they are far and in-between. Depending on your mileage and needs you'll have to carry between a gallon or two.

    I had absolutely no experience on snow or ice when I hiked the PCT the 1st time. You'll adapt or I shudder to say... I carried an ice ax but never took it out. Instead I depended on my hiking poles to keep me upright. I also waited until the snow soften up and timed the high passes. Still, there's danger of hitting ice amd sliding off the side of the mountain. This year, it very well may be worth the weight to carry light weight crampons as the going could be slow and there's miles to make. What could be worse is the fords. They can get SERIOUS.

    I wouldn't bother with waterproof boots, but gloves, balaclava/hat, warm clothes/sleeping bag are welcome the length of the trail.

  3. #43

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    snow in WA/OR will depend on spring/summer temps a lot. A few weeks ago at 7,000 on mt. hood here, there was a total of 324inches of snow recorded. its probably higher now. I don't know what the snow on ground is, but I am sure it is closely proportionate to total precip.

  4. #44
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    Thanks for the info, guys. Sounds like it could be a challenge this year, but that makes it fun, too.

    Can you put crampons on trail runners, or would you have to wear boots? I also feel like I hear different things about the ice axe from everyone..what's the word? It's mainly for self-arrest, right? Doesn't that mean that it's useless unless you have it in hand at all times?

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by clured View Post
    Thanks for the info, guys. Sounds like it could be a challenge this year, but that makes it fun, too.

    Can you put crampons on trail runners, or would you have to wear boots? I also feel like I hear different things about the ice axe from everyone..what's the word? It's mainly for self-arrest, right? Doesn't that mean that it's useless unless you have it in hand at all times?
    Self arrest or self-belay, or both.

    I'm taking mine cause 2lbs (or whatever it weighs) is well worth my life. And given the off chance that I could use it to cut steps...learn to use it though. I don't have snow here where I live, and I doubt that I will get out to a snowy area to try self arresting (opted for the desert to do a shakedown in) so I'll be practicing it once I find a hill in OK that isn't too rocky...

    As for crampons, I figure an axe is a better tool for this, and I don't feel like I'd really use the crampons. I might mail them to myself anyways in case its still icey, but thats doubtful.

    For a thread on traction devices http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...light=traction

  6. #46

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    When I recently hiked down the Grand Canyon I bought Yaktracs that worked fairly well on the Bright Angel Trail. About halfway down I was able to take them off but lost them off my pack. At Phantom Ranch I was able to buy these things called Ice Cleats for the way back up.

    http://www.cmi-gear.com/catalog/essentials/icecleat.asp

    They actually worked quite well and weigh next to nothing. I'll still bring an ice ax in case I have to chop steps, self belay etc but I tend to use my poles to keep me upright and balanced and try to time the passes when the snow softens up.

    Also, although I'll be starting out with NB trail runners at the border I'll switch to a trail shoe with a stiffer sole in KM in order to kick steps if need be, then back to NB's once they're worn out.

  7. #47
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    Sounds like the ice axe is necessary. All these little extras are starting to add up - axe, canister, extra clothes for the south. I'm starting to wonder if I should go with another sturdy GoLite back instead of a SUL pack...I keep having these visions of a pack strap ripping off something in the middle of nowhere and having to carry everything out by hand..

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by clured View Post
    Sounds like the ice axe is necessary. All these little extras are starting to add up - axe, canister, extra clothes for the south. I'm starting to wonder if I should go with another sturdy GoLite back instead of a SUL pack...I keep having these visions of a pack strap ripping off something in the middle of nowhere and having to carry everything out by hand..
    You can still be light.

    A 60cm ax is fairly light (raven ultra, maybe the ULA cathole digger), or you can use the whippets that BD makes

    Bear can, well....yeah....they're heavy, no way around it.

    Extra clothes for the south? What all are you taking? I've got a shirt, hat, sunglasses and shorts, and those are on me. Then an emergency poncho and a windshirt (maybe a balaclava). And 2-3 socks not being worn at that time.

  9. #49
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    [quote=taildragger;554395] or you can use the whippets that BD makes

    =================================

    I am planning on carrying the Whippet and another regular trekking pole. Were you suggesting using 2 Whippits ??

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  10. #50

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    [quote=Footslogger;554407]
    Quote Originally Posted by taildragger View Post
    or you can use the whippets that BD makes

    =================================

    I am planning on carrying the Whippet and another regular trekking pole. Were you suggesting using 2 Whippits ??

    'Slogger
    Hrmmm a double poled self arrest would at least score a 9/10 if the self arrest judges are watching, possibly a ten if both arms are crossed and the poles don't stick ya.

    If I were to carry them, I'd only carry one, I don't think that I have enough skill (and dexterity) to do two poles at the same time (maybe if I had $1million...)

    I've deemed myself too fat for the poles (will be in the 230-240 range with pack and water) that, and I own an ice ax already.

  11. #51
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    [quote=taildragger;554426][quote=Footslogger;554407]

    Hrmmm a double poled self arrest would at least score a 9/10 if the self arrest judges are watching, possibly a ten if both arms are crossed and the poles don't stick ya.

    If I were to carry them, I'd only carry one, I don't think that I have enough skill (and dexterity) to do two poles at the same time (maybe if I had $1million...)

    ================================

    Thanks ...I was hoping that would be your answer. Not going for judges score - - just want to have the necessary tool, if necessary. I've already bought the Whippet and I can't imagine using 2 of them at the same time.

    Funny, if I did have 2 Whippets and I lost my footing I would probably pitch one and use 2 hands on the other one anyway !!

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  12. #52

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    In a snow year like this one, self arrest would be a real plus to know before you get there.
    But knowing how to fording safely (if that's possible at near-flood levels) would be more important.
    (Too bad most don't attempt the tougher fords on the AT to learn and practice these techniques beforehand.)

    good luck out there.

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    In a snow year like this one, self arrest would be a real plus to know before you get there.
    But knowing how to fording safely (if that's possible at near-flood levels) would be more important.
    (Too bad most don't attempt the tougher fords on the AT to learn and practice these techniques beforehand.)

    good luck out there.
    Is there really a good way to prepare for package chilling high rushing water? I can't think of a creek in my neck of the woods to "practice" on, if it were to be waist deep and fast moving, I'd have to watch out for trees and other timber that the ice storm took out (and a Joel log jam sounds painful). And all the rivers round here are mud and sand bottom. Good grip unless you hit quick sand (or something of similar nature).

    This is actually something that I've wondered about quite a bit, I'm just hoping that things have settled out by the time that I reach the Sierra's (late June, early July).

  14. #54

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    I'm reading the PCT: Southern California Book and found this passage:

    Page 30 (Last Paragraph)
    "If you plan to thru-hike and can choose the year to do it, then pick one in which the south half of the Sierra and all the lands south of it (Sections A-H) are having a relatively dry year."

    Yeah- I guess for 2008 that means we are all going to have fun on the Trail.

    I don't know if everyone has seen these two web sites concerning the precipitation this year:

    California Snow Water Averages (above average):
    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/p...T_SWC.2008.pdf

    PostHoler.com:
    http://postholer.com/cgi-bin/postHoler?trail=PCT/

    I was thinking about departing 1st week of April, but might delay until mid-April.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by taildragger View Post
    Is there really a good way to prepare for package chilling high rushing water? I can't think of a creek in my neck of the woods to "practice" on, if it were to be waist deep and fast moving, I'd have to watch out for trees and other timber that the ice storm took out (and a Joel log jam sounds painful). And all the rivers round here are mud and sand bottom. Good grip unless you hit quick sand (or something of similar nature).

    This is actually something that I've wondered about quite a bit, I'm just hoping that things have settled out by the time that I reach the Sierra's (late June, early July).
    I am thinking the late starters have the better plan this year. The late May starters will probaBly zero at the Sierras waiting for the Snow TO melt or Flip Flop and come back to the section. Late starters will catch up anyway and spend less.

    They should move the AZDPCTMNOPXYZ to mid-May.

  16. #56
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    Is it too early to predict the type of year 2009 will be ?? Not sure the Farmers Almanac would be a good source

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  17. #57
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    Ok guys, forgive my ignorance here:

    So, say I take an ice-axe. Since they are only effective for self-arrest if you are like, carrying it when the fall happens (I think..), does that mean that I just my poles like normal and switch to the ice axe while going over treacherous ice/snow?

    Also, for other 2008ers, what pack volume are you taking? I keep on reading people talking about how stuffed out their packs were coming out of Kennedy Meadows. I don't want to get there and not be able to fit all my crap in.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austexs View Post
    I am thinking the late starters have the better plan this year. The late May starters will probaBly zero at the Sierras waiting for the Snow TO melt or Flip Flop and come back to the section. Late starters will catch up anyway and spend less.

    They should move the AZDPCTMNOPXYZ to mid-May.
    I meant to say the late April starters will probably zero at the Sierras or flip.

    Oh well.

  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by clured View Post
    Ok guys, forgive my ignorance here:

    So, say I take an ice-axe. Since they are only effective for self-arrest if you are like, carrying it when the fall happens (I think..), does that mean that I just my poles like normal and switch to the ice axe while going over treacherous ice/snow?

    Also, for other 2008ers, what pack volume are you taking? I keep on reading people talking about how stuffed out their packs were coming out of Kennedy Meadows. I don't want to get there and not be able to fit all my crap in.
    I have a whitney, sans hood, roughly 5000CI, I figure everything can fit inside (including bear can) which will be nice to have the center of gravity be around my real center of gravity, although my pack is definitely huge by most standards and for my gear (I'd be in the light category if it weren't for that pack...)

    I think something in the 4200 range would be perfect, especially if you're gonna bail to get food at Kearsage, which I won't, and I will be taking full advantage of my pack size during that trek.

    As for the snow and ice, the way that I understand, and plan to hike is to use my polls, if its hard enough, I'll put up my polls and take out my ax and self belay the rest of the way. If you can sink your ax half shaft deep, you should be safe with self belaying, if you can't right yourself on a slip you'll have to switch from self belay to self arrest. I figure this is the safest, and damn it, if I'm carrying the ax I'm using it to do more than dig my cat holes

  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by taildragger View Post
    I have a whitney, sans hood, roughly 5000CI, I figure everything can fit inside (including bear can) which will be nice to have the center of gravity be around my real center of gravity, although my pack is definitely huge by most standards and for my gear (I'd be in the light category if it weren't for that pack...)

    I think something in the 4200 range would be perfect, especially if you're gonna bail to get food at Kearsage, which I won't, and I will be taking full advantage of my pack size during that trek.

    As for the snow and ice, the way that I understand, and plan to hike is to use my polls, if its hard enough, I'll put up my polls and take out my ax and self belay the rest of the way. If you can sink your ax half shaft deep, you should be safe with self belaying, if you can't right yourself on a slip you'll have to switch from self belay to self arrest. I figure this is the safest, and damn it, if I'm carrying the ax I'm using it to do more than dig my cat holes
    I am using an Osprey Atmos 65 (4200ci).

    Today I did my spreadsheet and my pack weight is 28 pounds.

    When I factor in 5 L of water and 7 days of food (2 pounds per day) my total weight is 53 pounds.

    This does not make me very happy, but I am carrying in all my gear- and intend on being more of a trail guy than a town guy. Also, with the heavy snow fall I don't plan to freeze on the trail.

    I am a big guy, 6'3 at 205 pounds. I need to see what I can do to maybe shave some weight to keep it under 50 pounds.

    //My tent (Kelty Teton 2), Sleeping Bag (North Face Fission 20 Degree), Therm-a-Rest 4 is arriving tomorrow. This makes me happy.

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