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Desert Romantic on the PCT
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ben kohl
(benkohl) - F

Locale: Northeast
Desert Romantic on the PCT on 02/04/2007 20:15:59 MST Print View

We are not sure what kind of snow/cold to expect before the Sierras on the PCT starting May 1. Should we just bring all ourgear and mail only a few obvious things to TM like ice axes? Or just carry everything?...(keeping it around 20 for her and 25 for him base weights so far). Will we see much snow before the Sierras--walking through snow? We'll be checking snow pack sites etc. soon--was just wondering about others' experience? Much apprecited!

Creep and Honey

Edited by benkohl on 02/04/2007 20:17:18 MST.

ryan g
(ryan_g) - F

Locale: around
Re: Desert Romantic on the PCT on 02/05/2007 10:43:40 MST Print View

Right, so I was on the PCT this summer. Mostly the desert section was as you'd expect it: plenty warm. The colder weather generally struck in the mountain ranges, and only briefly: We had one windy/cold night just past Mt. Laguna and one VERY windy/cold night in the San Gabriels, near Wrightwood. I was carrying a silkweight short-sleeved shirt, a silkweight long-sleeved shirt, a Thermawrap vest and a windshirt. I was fine except for my hands, which were too cold to set up my shelter properly. Lots of flapping that night.

Last year we saw snow before the Sierra, but not much, and nothing like you'll see after KM. All that said, conditions largely depend on the year. I heard in '05 there was a ton of snow around Mt. Baden-Powell, but in '06 it had mostly melted.

One more thing: Don't believe the hype! I wouldn't skip an allegedly "snowy" section until I had seen it myself. There're a lot of rumors on the trail.

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
Desert Romantic on the PCT on 02/06/2007 00:19:48 MST Print View

In '05 there was a good amount of snow in the Mountains near Idyllwild and in the Baden-Powell area, do much so that I took an alternate route around B-P. I hiked B-P the same weekend in '06 there was one small (two or three footsteps) patch of snow on Baden-Powell. What I am getting at is that every year is different.

Looking at the mountains from my doesn't look like there is much snow up there but we could get some freak storm so don't count on low snow yet.

ben kohl
(benkohl) - F

Locale: Northeast
So Cal snow and what to bring on PCT on 02/06/2007 05:33:10 MST Print View

Ryan and Anitra,
Thanks for the replies. I need to just hang out until May 1 approaches. Appreciate the reassurance.

Jan Unneberg
(BlueSkyII) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Re: Desert Romantic on the PCT on 02/17/2007 12:12:56 MST Print View

Started the PCT in the first week of May of 2004, a real light snow pack year. Each year can be vastly different so wait till the last few weeks to decide what gear you'll need and what gear to send ahead.

Best advice I took was from Lynne Wheldon who said to get a tan before hitting the trail. I'm also from the northeast and I had six sessions (5-7 minutes each) in tanning booths, not tanning beds, for two weeks before heading west. It made for a relatively easy transition into desert hiking in record high temperatures.

The wind, aspecially the Santa Anna wind, can chill you to the bone even in moderate temperatures and make forward progress slow at times . Make sure you're prepared.

Looks like your starting a few days after the ADZPCTKO party ends, April 27-29. The main pack can really deplete water caches in the desert section. Don't count on getting all the water you need from water caches when you're so close behing the main pack.

Good luck!