[pct-l] April 2017 Thru Hike

Todd Cantor tcantor33 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 1 15:00:54 CST 2017

HI Barry,

All valid points. I am picking up snowshoes, mountain gaiters, an axe and a GPS at KM. My challenge is timing. I have a trip planned in early August that is going to take me off trail for two weeks. I do not want to end up in the North Cascades (an area in which I have rock climbed a few things) too late. Again, with snow shoes and a GPS I am less worried about mountaineering in the Cascades in October as the big avalanche inducing dumps typically come a little later than October, but you never know. Snow changes the experience, but in my mind that is not always a bad thing, unless say you get pinned down for a week and then have to deal with more than say 4 feet of freshies. In that case, I would opt for skis and skins.

As far as Nor Cal. goes you are spot on. I have a friend who lives in Redding who has already given me some Beta on the snow conditions as of this week. If we continue to get snow through March\April well, it will be a snow year. Such is life. I think the biggest concern I have is that I am hiking solo, at least initially and most of my solid partners for climbing/mountaineering are unable to to take the time off to join me for the entire Sierra. Faith and fate may intervene on the trail as far as a solid partner or team is concerned and that would be great

As far as So. Cal goes. I live in San Diego and have been hiking and climbing in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains for 20 years. San Jacinto and San Gorgonio are my training peaks for the Sierra and I have almost climbed out the classic rock routes from 5.6 to 5.10+ from Lone Pine to Bridgeport so I am not a stranger to a variety of conditions in most of the Southern and Central Sierra.

I’ll be headed up to San Jacinto mid March to take a run up Deer Springs or Devil’s Slide to assess conditions, particularly on Fuller Ridge as there are some spots up high that do not get a whole lot of sun, but are also not part of the "official" PCT. I am expecting and planning for some snow and some degree of ice in So. Cal.

Given how early it is right now it is hard to say, but a lot of it will be a “game time call”.

Thanks for the feedback!!! Much appreciated. 


> On Jan 31, 2017, at 11:39 AM, Barry Teschlog <tokencivilian at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Todd wrote:"Still vacillating on a flip of Nor-Cal/Oregon and Sierra due to a previously planned two week International trip in August that cannot be rescheduled...."
> Reply:My 2 cents......
> Stop vacillating.  Flipping away from the Sierra is not likely to be an option this year - it isn't 2005 where the PNW had practically no snow, with Cali with heavy snow.  There will probably be no place to flip "to" given how the conditions are shaping up.  The further north you go, the lower the snow level is (and will be at a given time in June / July).  The only reason the trail up by Tahoe and points north is melted out for a thru hiker is that it has weeks more to do so, relative to the High Sierra Passes.  Lots of people tried to flip away from the snow my year, due to the high snow - I didn't hear of one that found it successful, most likely since there was no snow free place (of any significant length) to flip to from Kennedy Meadow in early to mid June.  
> One of the other challenges to flipping from high Sierra Snow to points north is navigation.  Up high, you're above treeline.  It's easy to see where you're going.  Forrest navigation in the snow is more challenging.
> Early starts will give you control of when you enter the Sierra.  It's easy to slow down and take more zero's to delay when you get to KM.  You don't have to go when you get there.  Monitor the snow conditions via such sites as Postholer, starting from as early as Idyllwild, and adjust your rate of progress accordingly.  If the spring melt is delayed and / or it keeps snowing through mid April (like it did my year) then zero early and zero often and take extra days to cover each section to push back your KM date appropriately.  If the snow quits late March and its a warm spring....push on.
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