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Brandon Gottung
(madiiax) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
Wonderland trail in October on 07/20/2010 09:11:33 MDT Print View

Obviously, weather can't be predicted, but I'm curious to hear some insight of what to expect around Mt Rainier in early October. So far, I heared that it'll likely be snowed in and from another person, that it'll be fine. I'm hoping to jump on the Wonderland trail early October and give myself 6 or 7 days for the loop. I appreciate any insight.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Wonderland trail in October on 07/20/2010 10:50:42 MDT Print View

It's a beautiful trail, one of the best in the world. In my opinion, and if it's possible for you, spend as much time on the trail as possible. In 2006 my family and I spent 13 nights on the trail and loved every minute of it. Our only regrets were towards the end, when we knew it was almost over and we'd have to leave.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: RE: Wonderland trail in October on 07/20/2010 11:30:01 MDT Print View

It's on my (long) list of trails to hike... but don't rush it -- Mt. Rainier is incredible, you're going to want to savor that place.

In October, be ready -- the weather can be all over the place. I've been in a snowstorm there in the end of September, and I've been up there with beautiful weather in November, December, and February (by which time the snow was probably around 40 feet deep in Paradise).

It's most likely going to be wet and chilly, and you might get snow -- call ahead and inquire about the conditions before you go, in case there's enough early snowfall to create some avalanche hazards -- which is unlikely in October, but possible.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Wonderland trail in October on 07/20/2010 12:00:05 MDT Print View

The big issues are weather, early storms blowing out bridges and the lack of being able to do food caches. If you can deal with that you can still have a great trip.

Sunrise effectively shuts down after Labor Day, as does Mowich.

I have hiked in 70*+ days in October. I have also hiked in near blizzards. And it changed in 2 days - the sun came back out after the blizzard. Be prepared for very cold mornings and ice on the trail. OTOH, if a dry late summer/early fall you can have nice bug free hiking with plenty of late season berries to eat.

Just be flexible is all!

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Wonderland trail in October on 07/20/2010 14:41:42 MDT Print View

I once hit snow showers on a ridge above the Carbon Glacier on a July 4th weekend.

Edited by ewolin on 08/29/2010 11:26:37 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Wonderland trail in October on 07/20/2010 15:58:51 MDT Print View

The seasonal bridges are removed before the rainy season hits, usually in early October. Check with the Park Service. You need to have a reservation for the WT anyway, and they can advise you.

Brandon Gottung
(madiiax) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
Thanks on 07/29/2010 03:51:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the information. It's good to know that the seasonal bridges may be removed. I was thinking to hike without fooddrops, so closed stations isn't an issue. I'll have a 0F bag and study shelter, so snows and cold shouldn't be an issue unless serious alpine blizzards come through. For footwear, I'm hoping a pair of light mid-boots and light gaiters should have me covered.

So when does the rainy season usually start (as if weather can be predicted)? I'll be coming down from Alaska, and getting reservations on the spot, so this is all good information for planning.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Thanks on 07/29/2010 09:25:43 MDT Print View

During my first year in Seattle two years ago, I encountered my first snowfall in Paradise on September 30th. The following year in September I had a very wet hike in Paradise. (Of course, being Paradise, it was still stunning.)

I think that you're really just going to have to assume that it's rainy season.

Be really careful with the river and stream crossings -- a Chinook in autumn could quite easily be enough to start a flash flood... and Mt. Rainier has a LOT of water on it.

Hunt down a copy of the Mounaineer's "Mountain Weather" -- it has descriptions of weather you're likely to encounter in the mountains (duh) and it includes a pretty good description of the Chinook.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinook_wind

Alex Gilman
(Vertigo) - F

Locale: Washington
+1 Prepare for Weather on 07/30/2010 17:24:49 MDT Print View

I spend a fair bit of time in Rainier NP.

October can be all over the place you can have a week of 70 degree sunshine or 50 degree rainy days. The mountain also creates its own weather. So snow storms are a possibility. This can all change with altitude or which side of the mountain you're on. Soo..

I think if you go with a lightweight shelter a shell jacket and a down sweater you'll be ok. The goal is versatility.

Edited by Vertigo on 07/30/2010 17:26:15 MDT.

Brandon Gottung
(madiiax) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
0*F or 15*F Sleeping Bag . . . ? on 08/27/2010 11:31:30 MDT Print View

Just curious whether a 2# 15-degree would keep me warm enough or whether 3# 0-degree would be a safer, more comfortable option. I'm sure this depends on the areas I camp, but since I'll get the permit on-sight, I don't know where I'll be camping.
Context: Wonderland trail early-mid October sleeping in a modified HubbaXP. I'm an average/cold sleeper.
Thanks!