Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Help/Advice PCT southbound from Cascade Locks OR.


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James Darman
(crazycloud) - F

Locale: SoCal
Help/Advice PCT southbound from Cascade Locks OR. on 06/01/2012 05:17:17 MDT Print View

One of my first posts here at BPL not sure if this is right forum for this post here goes anyhow.

I had a planned northbound PCT thru hike but do to knee problems I had to change plans. I would like to restart my hike heading south from Cascade Locks the first or second week of July. I've been having trouble finding good trail info about heading out that time of year( current sources of info PCT-L list P.C.T.A , POSTHOLER.com and current snow pack map)My main concern is snow and how difficult the trail would/could be. Any experiences you could share or any sources of info would be appreciated.

Edited by crazycloud on 06/01/2012 05:25:03 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
try local sources on 06/01/2012 07:47:45 MDT Print View

You might try the Mazamas or trip reports at portlandhikers.org. I'd be inclined to post something in the latter and hope for useful responses.

When I went through in 2008 (NOBO) there was still a good deal of snow in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness in early August, but things melted out a bit later than usual that year. Still, my wild guess is that it's a bit early, so see what you can get from more local sources.

I live in WA state and so am not positive that the above two references are the best ones, FWIW. Keep in mind sources like BLM, Forest Service, and you could even perhaps contact the folks at Timberline Lodge to ask about snow melt out rates there.

James Darman
(crazycloud) - F

Locale: SoCal
thanks on 06/01/2012 15:21:29 MDT Print View

all good suggestions thanks Brian

edit: just had the chance to check out portlandhikers.org awesome site

Edited by crazycloud on 06/01/2012 15:58:57 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Help/Advice PCT southbound from Cascade Locks OR. on 06/01/2012 15:52:47 MDT Print View

Early July-hmmm. The places in northern Oregon where you're likely to run into lots of unmelted snow (enough to make it hard to find the trail, probably also requiring traction devices and an ice axe) and dangerous stream fords due to high water are on the side of Mt. Hood, the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness and the Three Sisters Wilderness. Otherwise you'll probably be fine. Those three areas usually don't melt out until late July or sometimes into August.

A few years ago I actually won a contest (no prizes, just fun) for guessing the date that snow would be completely gone from the trail at Paradise Park (where the PCT goes along Mt. Hood). My guess (actually a completely wild one) was August 2. Of course the trail was useable 2-3 weeks before that.

While our snowpack in northern Oregon is again above normal (though not as much as last year), we have had a slightly warmer spring so the meltout is close to normal. Everything depends on the weather between now and when you leave. Right now the forecast is for cool and rainy weather for the next week. It could stay that way (with more snow at higher elevations, as happened last year) or we could get a heat wave. Hope for the latter!

As Brian stated, www.portlandhikers.org is a great source of information. We just had an inquiry (from Spain!) about backpacking the PCT from Cascade Locks to Timberline Lodge at the beginning of July. We gave the same answer as above. That thread is here:
http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11841
Keep watching the trip reports on that forum. Also, this time every year we usually have a snow level thread that people watch anxiously.

Another place to watch is this snotel, on Mt. Hood near the PCT at 5,370 feet:
http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/cgibin/wygraph.pl?stationidname=21D08S-MT+HOOD+TEST+SITE&state=OR
Note that it uses Snow Water Equivalent in inches, rather than snow. At this time of year, double the inches of Snow Water Equivalent will give you the approximate inches of snow. The great thing about this particular graph format is that it shows you the current year, last year (so you can see how horrific last year was) and the 30-year average. You can see from that that it might be better if you could wait until July 15 to start.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Help/Advice PCT southbound from Cascade Locks OR. on 06/01/2012 16:03:45 MDT Print View

+1 to Brian and Mary

I was just South from Cascade Locks. Actually East a little from PCT. Snow at about 4000 which is about average. I'm sure by July it'll be easy to get to Mt Hood.

I often try to get up to Paradise Park July 1 weekend. This is most difficult part of Mt Hood PCT. Trail difficult to follow under snow. You need a good map. GPS would be good. Lots of steep snow. Depending on the weather, traction devices may be good. If you're adventerous, it's possible. I've met Northbound thru hikers then.

Further South will be a little later so snow will be a little more melted.

James Darman
(crazycloud) - F

Locale: SoCal
southbound and trucking on 06/02/2012 08:54:51 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help folks - was going to head out July 5th .. I'm going to push it ahead a little to the 11th - I just need to get transportation from Portland PDX figured out now.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: southbound and trucking on 06/02/2012 09:19:36 MDT Print View

11th probably better

ground transportation http://www.portofportland.com/PDX_Grnd_Trnsprtn.aspx

or post something at portlandhikers.org and you'll probably find someone to give you a ride

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Transportation options on 06/02/2012 18:17:04 MDT Print View

http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11841

My post there includes how to get a bus to Cascade Locks, or rather, to the north end of the bridge across the Columbia there. It's rather roundabout, from Vancouver, WA on the Washington side of the Columbia, and the bus runs only on weekdays. However, if you plan to take the Eagle Creek alternate to the PCT (highly recommended, far more scenic), you definitely should start on a weekday anyway, weekends being a mob scene there. Before you decide on the bus, though, I'd suggest posting on portlandhikers.org for a possible ride first. If I'm still tied at home by the heel (plantar fasciitis), I might be able to help!

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/02/2012 18:19:31 MDT.

James Darman
(crazycloud) - F

Locale: SoCal
portland to cascade locks on 06/03/2012 21:30:10 MDT Print View

@mary

I'm looking into all the travel options mentioned. I'll be arriving in portland Wednesday the 11th around noon. I'm going to post on Portlandhikers for a ride. The bus looks like a good option also. Hopefully getting a ride won't be too much trouble. Thanks for the offer Mary if all else fails and the timing is right I would be happy to pay for a ride. thanks again folks