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Snowcover in Wyoming?
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Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Snowcover in Wyoming? on 05/31/2012 14:20:20 MDT Print View

Hey, is there anyone in the Wyoming area that can tell me about the conditions in the mountains right now? I've been keeping my fingers crossed about a short trip into the Winds in late June, but most years it's still snowpack in June. This year it looks like that might not be the case--I've been watching the weather in Pinedale and it looks like for the most part it hasn't been freezing at night. That's also a few thousand feet lower than most of the Winds. Any thoughts on how things might look in a month?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Snowcover in Wyoming? on 05/31/2012 16:55:52 MDT Print View

The Great Outdoors Shop, Pinedale, Wy
Phone: 307-367-2440

They run shuttles to trail heads. They pay attention. They will know.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Snowcover in Wyoming? on 05/31/2012 18:07:16 MDT Print View

Great suggestion, thanks Greg. I'll be passing through the area with my gear, so if I can get a three or four night trip in great. If not, I'll just camp!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Snowcover in Wyoming? on 05/31/2012 19:47:26 MDT Print View

I've been watching the snotels on both sides of the Winds. As of mid-March, snowpack was close to normal (90 percent or above). As of mid-April, the percentage was way way down, and stream runoff was higher than normal, indicating an early meltoff.

Here are a few places to check: (map of WY snotels; click the ones you want) (snow water equivalent as percent of normal, listed by basin. For the Winds you want the Upper Green River and Wind River basins) (stream flows--esp. Pine Cr. above Fremont Lake) (snow depth analysis--click "Central Rockies" then "Snow Depth Analysis" There's quite a bit left at higher elevations, although not as much as last year. I suspect, therefore, that the early melting has occurred at lower or middle elevations (where the snotels are located). For a scary picture the other direction, look at Colorado--hardly any left. (Pinedale online news; often has links to photos from local hikers--one there now from a Memorial Day trip up the Sweetwater.

I second calling the Great Outdoors Shop in Pinedale; because they shuttle a lot of hikers, their info is probably more up to date than the Pinedale Ranger Station (Bridger-Teton NF). Actually, that's hard to tell because I always seemed to arrive in Pinedale on a weekend when the Ranger Station was closed. The visitor center at Elkhart Park, which is open weekends, knows nothing. The folks at Great Outdoors are great!

For the east side of the mountains (Popo Agie Wilderness), I got a lot of good help from the Lander Ranger station (Shoshone NF). NOLS should know, too, although they might not appreciate being listed as a contact for trail condition reports.

Stream fords, rather than really deep snow, might be your main problem.

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/31/2012 19:49:53 MDT.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Snowcover in Wyoming? on 05/31/2012 22:57:13 MDT Print View

Fantastic info, thanks Mary! I've been watching the snotels as well, and there hasn't been much that I've seen there. I've been watching Elkhart. I'll give Great Outdoors a call, but I suspect you're right, that it'll be moving water that's the problem. I'm going to try to swing the trip, but worst comes to worst I'll just get 5 miles in, enjoy the views of what I've got and camp.
My hope though is that since it's been into the 70s during the day that maybe the worst will be over by June 25ish. I'm probably just being optimistic though!

Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
Winds Snow on 06/01/2012 06:30:44 MDT Print View

I'm headed out of Elkhart on the 23rd, and I'm thinking we'll be alright by then. June can be a mess up there, but it's late enough and the snow pack is light enough that we should be fine. We're headed up toward Indian Basin.

I have tried this before, though, and was in waist-high snow within 3 miles of the TH. I sort of saw it coming then, though, based on the same info sites we're looking at now. Should be fine this year.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Winds Snow on 06/01/2012 08:21:10 MDT Print View

Mark, thanks for the year to year comparison. I don't know overly much about the Winds so this is all great, I'm sort of fumbling in the dark for the most part. I'm looking at some of of the 35-40 loops out of Elkart. Any suggestions?

Joe S
Great Outdoors on 06/01/2012 11:01:51 MDT Print View

A long time ago they helped me on my trip to the Winds, great folks. Call them, they are super helpful and will have the most up-to-date info.