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Sierra High Route - June or July 2012??
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Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
Sierra High Route - June or July 2012?? on 04/04/2012 08:06:20 MDT Print View

Planning on hiking the full Sierra High Route solo this summer. I have two time windows and am having trouble deciding which once I should go with.

Looking for insight/advice to help me decide. Flight price is similar for both sets of dates.

With there likely being so little snow this season, things are probably shifted earlier in terms of snowpack, bugs, vegetation growth, etc versus previous years.

Here are my two time windows along with notable pros/cons that I can think of.

Option 1: Fri 6/15 -> Wed 7/4 (allows 17.5 days of hiking time)
+ Extra day of hiking with no additional vacation day (Free day off from work 7/4)
+ More snow (less talus)
+ Even less people (not expecting many anyway)

- More snow (harder route finding + higher risk)
- More stormy weather?
- 1 less month to train and prepare
- More bugs?
- Ice axe needed?

Option 2: Fri 7/13 -> Tues 7/31 (allows 16.5 days of hiking time)
+ Fewer bugs (hopefully due to very early snow melt)
+ Less snow (easier route finding and less risk)
+ No ice axe needed
+ 1 extra month to train and prepare
+ Less stormy weather?

- 1 less day of hiking (less time for peak bagging or easier pace)
- Less snow (more talus)
- 1 less day of hiking time for same # of vacation days
- Slightly more people (still not expecting many)

Can anyone provie any additional thoughts or insight?


Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
Early morning bump on 04/05/2012 06:44:13 MDT Print View

Anyone have any insight or comments? Things that I'm missing or haven't thought of?

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Early morning bump on 04/05/2012 11:09:10 MDT Print View

I assume you have read Andrew's site?But just in case you haven't

Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
Yup on 04/05/2012 11:33:21 MDT Print View

Bought Skurka's CD too. His maps and his website comments are very helpful. Roper's book is an inspiring read too.

Just wondering if anyone else has any insight that I've yet to glean from other posts, journals, etc.

Mateo Action
(ElMateo) - F
July on 05/07/2012 09:07:27 MDT Print View

Brent - Recomend July. Even with smaller snowpack, that snow still melts. June's stream crossings could still be challenging, hence my recomendation of July. I did the SHR in July 2008 (N to S)in a very low snow year and the crossings were all manageable. When I did it in late Aug 2010 (S to N)after a much higher snow year the crossings were about the same as in July 2008. There will still be PLENTY of longer days in July to put the time in. Your 17 day plan seems a good mix to enjoy yet suffer a bit of the chellenging route findings. Thought - build some time in to bag a few peaks...Mt Sill / Seven Gables are just a few that are within very easy (relative term)reach.

I bought Skurka's map set in 2010 but chose not to take it and never used it. The low price was worth it to study before hand though. Roper's maps torn out of the book were more than adequate. I'll be there in late July for a two week stint from Humphrey's Basin to Yosemite. Enjoy!