[pct-l] Ice Axe

Ned Tibbits ned at mountaineducation.org
Tue Apr 21 18:23:45 CDT 2015

Obviously, it depends when you enter the Sierra. The high country above 
11,000 looks like May-June rather than April.

Most of the south sides of things right now are dry, with possible 
exceptions on the steep pitches above 11,500. New snow is falling now, but 
accumulations are not expected to add up to more than a foot or so which can 
melt off at the thaw rate of an inch per day.

The north sides of the passes now are snow impacted with up to 3 or 5 feet 
deep fields of snow for the whole descent with patches extending for miles 
down from there (depending on aspect and shade).

Whenever Mountain Education goes out to teach our snow skills courses we 
always take a traction aide of some sort and a Whippet self-arrest hiking 
pole because all it takes is a slip on a steep patch of snow and down you go 
into whatever is below you, a tree, rock, lake, creek, or cliff....

Give it 4 more weeks and you'll be good to go (depending on when the thaw 

Ned Tibbits, Director
Mountain Education, Inc.
ned at mountaineducation.org

"To minimize wilderness accidents, injury, and illness in order to maximize 
wilderness enjoyment, safety, and personal growth, all through experiential 
education and risk awareness training."
-----Original Message----- 
From: Andrew Bennin
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2015 4:11 PM
To: pct-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [pct-l] Ice Axe

So with the low snow levels in the Sierra, is it even necessary to carry an
ice axe this year?
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