Zion in April
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M G
(coldrainsnow) - F
late march updates on 03/22/2011 22:04:42 MDT Print View

I'm wondering the same thing, although we are thinking about a trip a week earlier (week of april 4)... would love to head up West Rim and camp up there for a bit, but a little unsure about whether we could get through little siberia. The ranger was a little unclear/unhelpful today, although they just left a message so perhaps we should try to call them back and get some more info. Hopefully it's warming up / melting fast.....

Those of you that have been up in early season, is little siberia the type of place where you need crampons? snowshoes? would trekking poles be enough? we are very experience hikers/climbers but are now traveling with a 1.5 year old so safety is a bit more of a concern... :)

Thanks for any info!!!

Edited by coldrainsnow on 03/22/2011 22:05:17 MDT.

Jason Whitworth
(Flash74) - F
Zion in mid April on 03/26/2011 13:20:09 MDT Print View

I will be heading up the week of April 18th and hoping to do a four day backpacking trip completing the zion traverse. A couple friends hit this trip same time in 2009 with no snow issues. Of course every year is different but hoping for the best. Any of you folks going in early April I would love a snow report!

M G
(coldrainsnow) - F
early snow on 03/28/2011 23:20:01 MDT Print View

Well we are still planning on getting to the canyon this saturday April 2, and probably heading up west rim as far as we can get... will update when getting back on here, lots of snow still up there I'm sure but hopefully this week of sunshine will get things flowing a bit (not too much!)

TIm Bell
(backcountryblazer) - F
ZION PARK TRAVERSE on 03/30/2011 11:22:54 MDT Print View

Nice to hear all of this talk about the Zion Traverse. I am doing it May 20-23. I cannot wait!!! See you on the trail.

M G
(coldrainsnow) - F
current trail conditions on 04/07/2011 10:56:06 MDT Print View

just got back from our short jaunt up to the west rim - spent a beautiful two nights up there

still some snow in little siberia section of trail from the canyon, but not a problem. on monday we had to kick steps in the last steep switchback before gaining the pass above behunin, but no big deal - proceeded cautiously and our trekking poles came in handy. we felt safe taking our 1 1/2 y.o. with us so it obviously wasn't technical. when we came down on wednesday the trail was already a lot better and it had melted a lot.

of course with this weather coming in now who knows what will happen... but that's the update as of april 7th. :)

have fun!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Zion closure(?) on 04/07/2011 12:14:52 MDT Print View

MG,
Thanks for the updates.
- Sounds like snowshoes nor crampons would not be required, right?
- Did you see many people there?
- Would a bushbuddy be a good choice up there (much downed wood)?

I called Zion to ask what would be happening if the federal budget got hung up on Saturday. The ranger told me that the facilities, lodge, trails, and side roads (including the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive that goes into the canyon) would be CLOSED. The main road (Rt 9) that passed through the park would be OPEN.

Hope they get their act together in DC!!

Tom

Jason Whitworth
(Flash74) - F
Weather update on 04/07/2011 23:45:29 MDT Print View

Thanks for the update. Hoping the incoming weather is light and we will be all set for April 16th.

M G
(coldrainsnow) - F
west rim conditions on 04/10/2011 22:03:20 MDT Print View

"- Sounds like snowshoes nor crampons would not be required, right?
- Did you see many people there?
- Would a bushbuddy be a good choice up there (much downed wood)?"

Nope no need for gear when we did it before the weather that blew in on april 8th or so... we definitely used our trekking poles which were nice but other than that nothing. The trail was pretty clear, definitely walking on 2-4 foot packed snow at times, sometimes postholeing through... gaiters would have actually been nice to keep snow out of boots but not necessary. Like I said it's probably melting fast so you should be fine. It was tons different even on our way down, your biggest concern will probably be mud...

We saw a group of 2 women who went up for the night and back down early the next am - maybe 8-10 dayhikers, and that's it! practically had the whole place to ourselves!!!

have fun!!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Zion in April on 04/17/2011 05:14:03 MDT Print View

Just got back from my Zion trip yesterday. We didn't do the West Rim because the ranger said that the road up to the top of the trail was impassable, and my brother wasn't interested in hauling a pack up from the valley floor for an in and out trip. We ended up going to the east entrance and camping about 3 hrs in with a great view of a valley.

View toward Checkerboard Mesa

There was still snow on the north exposures, but we only walked through patches of snow on the trail at 6500 ft. Mud was more of a problem, but that was drying up and not really a problem, just a little messy. We hiked through Echo Canyon, up to Observation Point, and then down into the valley. Didn't see anyone until we got near Observation Point.

Observation Point

I thought the west rim is at the same elevation as the east side, so it seems strange that the rangers were talking about postholing through 1-2 ft of snow.

Trip report to follow...

Tom

Jason Whitworth
(Flash74) - F
Trans Zion in April on 04/22/2011 13:21:29 MDT Print View

Just got back today from our trip completing the trans zion trek. What an awesome trip this was, I was blown away with the diversity in landscape. Definately in my top 3 backpacking trips! We had gambled on mid -april even though we knew snow and weather could be an issue. Here is the low down on the trip. Day 1 we were real late shuttling cars and getting on the trail. Pretty easy 5 mile hike to from Lee Pass to campsite number 5. Several creek crossings but the trail is in great shape. Day 2 Kolob Arch visit - well worth the side trip. Big creek crossing at the trail head and were told that the creek was real high on any campsites above 10. Headed up to Hop Valley and this was long, muddy, and long again. Connector trail was in great shape! Hit Wildcat very late after the long day and this is where things got bad. The trail was muddy up the creek - we stopped .5 miles in to camp. Day 3 we hit the meadows and 2 to 4 ft of snow everywhere. What a mess - highly recomend snow shoes. Of course we did not have any so we slogged through it. Finally climbed out of the Wildacat to hit the west rim - snow still very deep up to campsite 10. Then it gets patchy and muddy. Nice break at pot hallow and what a snowy climb out of there. Snow disappears after that and campsite 5 through 1 are mudyy but very little snow. Day 4 leave campsite 1 and head to the grotto - rough on the knees so take your time. Quick lunch and up the weeping rock trailhead - very hot afternoon. East rim is great but does not stack up to the west. Good news was 0 snow all the way to Stave spring. Day 5 out the east entrance! I would highly recomend this trip - my first time in Zion and what a way to see it. Make sure you are in shape and can read a map to help with snowy sections that can be tough to nav. Jason

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Trans Zion in April on 04/22/2011 14:05:58 MDT Print View

Jason,
Thanks for the info...looking forward to a trip report. Any thoughts on why there was so much more snow on the west rim vs east rim? I thought they were about the same elevation.
Tom

Jason Whitworth
(Flash74) - F
Zion in april on 04/22/2011 15:57:18 MDT Print View

Tom,

This is only a guess but I assume since the east rim gets the afternoon sun it tends to melt the snow quicker. Also looks like there were some fires up on the east rim and it is definitely more exposed which also helps. Most of the snow was on all of wildcat up to around potato hollow then it really was just patchy from there. Open areas were muddy and wet and covered areas full of snow. The two meadows on wildcat were really bad. Also my watch had us 300 feet higher on the west rim campsite 9-10 where the snow was then dropped to 6350 around campsite 1 and 2 which was snow free. I think the highest we got on the east rim was 6500 so the snow line was probably around 6700. If I was to do it again I think three weeks from now with good weather it would be ideal to get back through the trek and still have plenty of water running and much better trails to navigate on. Hope to have a trip report soon. Jason

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Zion in april on 04/22/2011 20:42:30 MDT Print View

Interesting that 300' would make that much of a difference (not sure if there are some high peaks there to create some local weather), but the fire damage on the east rim is a factor. Thanks for the comments. I saw the mud on the east side, and think that it dries up quickly with the sandy soil...regardless, not enough to stop a hike.
Tom

D Pope
(dtpope) - F

Locale: Canadian West Coast
Trans Zion in May on 04/23/2011 11:17:27 MDT Print View

Jason

Thanks for posting - sounds like you had a great trip. I am doing the same trip for the first time. We are planning to start at Lee Pass May 2nd. I am hoping a lot of the snow you encountered will be melted and the trail will be a little drier by then.

You mentioned snowshoes are highly recommended. Do you think I will be able to get away without them on my trip? Any other advise you have would be welcome.

Thanks,

Doug

Jason Torres
(burytherails) - F

Locale: Texas
Zion trip report on 04/27/2011 22:12:43 MDT Print View

Tom

I just came across this thread and saw you had a good time in Zion. Great pics. My fiance and I were in Zion late January and had a great time. We will be headed back the first week in June and then on to the Grand Canyon. Thought I would share a couple of pics:

warning sign @ angels landing

My fiance and I had a 15 minute talk here. We decided I would lead about 50 yards and double back to let her know if I felt it was safe.

@ the top of angels landing

We made it to the top..there were two sketchy parts right as you set out. We almost turned around about 15 minutes into the climb.

the vista @ observation point

Observation point posed more of a challenge. Halfway up the first switchbacks in visual range of the parking lot, the trail had been wiped out by a minor amount of snow that was dumped from a face about a hundred ft above it. We also had conflicting weather reports with the worst @ a 40% chance of snow. We saw the system coming in about 3/4 the way up. Good thing we left early in the morning (cold) because we knew the system would roll in about mid afternoon. Once we were on the rim we ran into about 4 feet of snow. We post holed the last mile or so to this shot. Beauty.

I can't wait to be back in Zion. I do have a question. How was stream crossing as you approach the small canyon? It was frozen about a foot and a half through so I could not really get a feel for it. We walked straight over it. Any pics? Looking forward to the trip report.

safe travels
Jason

D Pope
(dtpope) - F

Locale: Canadian West Coast
Zion in May on 05/11/2011 17:29:27 MDT Print View

Lee PassI did part of the Trans Zion (Lee Pass to the Grotto) last week (May 2 to 5, 2011). We had near perfect conditions. The snow has all but melted, and it was warming up considerably. La Verkin creek was a little high, but still no problems crossing. We had an awesome trip.

Edited by dtpope on 05/11/2011 23:45:22 MDT.

Jason Torres
(burytherails) - F

Locale: Texas
Thanks for the info on 05/19/2011 18:39:52 MDT Print View

@DPope: Thanks for the info brother. Looking forward to seeing Zion in the warmth of the sun.