[pct-l] April 2017 Thru Hike
tokencivilian at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 31 13:39:48 CST 2017
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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