[pct-l] Tricky Oregon Patches in mid-August?

CHUCK CHELIN steeleye at wildblue.net
Sat Jul 28 09:48:18 CDT 2012

Good morning,

This is not a light snow year in Oregon. It is about average in the south
and heavier than average in the north.
http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/cgibin/westsnow.pl  What that means to a hiker
in August depends upon that hiker’s experience and appetite for
route-finding and traveling over sections of snowpack.  The worst snowstorm
I’ve encountered on the PCT during a summer season was over snowpack
between Mt. Jefferson and Three-Fingered-Jack on 31 August 1999, but that
was a heavy year.

South of Crater Lake the trail will likely be clear.  North of Crater Lake
there will likely be persistent snowpack around Mt. Thielsen and Devils
Peak, plus further north on the higher – and in particular – more shaded
areas on the skirts of the other snow-peaks.

That won’t be ice-axe hiking, but poles and traction aids will be very
useful because of the humpy-bumpy nature of residual snowpack in and out of
forested areas.

There will likely be some tracks to follow, but tracks aren’t always
persistent during melt-out periods.  Besides, where the trail tread can’t
be seen tracks seem to wander all over the place.  How do you pick which
set to follow?

Without good general knowledge of the terrain guided by a map and/or a GPS
it’s easy to miss switchbacks.  If it’s just a few local switchbacks to
change elevation while continuing in the same general direction missing
them is no problem, but if a switchback includes a significant course
change a hiker could easily bull-ahead 45 degs. off course.

Eventually hikers patiently puzzle their way through the confusing
sections, but if one is impressed with hiker-journal reports of 40-miles
days to cross Oregon in 12 days there may be a disappointment in store.

Enjoy the hike; it looks like we in the Pacific NW are finally going to
have some summer weather for a while.


-Hiking the Pct since before it was the PCT – 1965



On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 9:16 PM, <harwoodcreek at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'll shortly be setting off on a three-week journey from Ashland to
> Timberline Lodge, the latest stage of a multi-decade hike from Kennedy
> Meadows in southern California.  This seems to be a relatively light snow
> year, it's August, and it's "the easiest hiking on the PCT", but there must
> be a few tricky spots in 385 miles.  Anyone care to nominate a few?
> Details please.
> Thanks, Roger
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