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Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra
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Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/13/2012 10:32:58 MDT Print View

We have always felt comfortable hiking in the Sierra high country through the end of September, on the theory that if there's an early winter storm, the snow will melt off and we won't face a situation with significant snow that does not melt in the following day or two. On one September trip we were in Simpson Meadow and had a couple inches of snow, and hiked out over Muir Pass the following day and there was still 8-10" of snow on the trail

Once October rolls around we limit ourselves to 3 day trips when the weather forecast is good. We had always been cautious about October, and that caution was reinforced Oct 17 2004, when a serious unforecast winter storm hit Yosemite and we were on the "wrong" side of a class 2 pass in Yosemite.

Jim and I had two great trips in SEKI this year. August 22-31 and Sept 27 to Oct 2.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/13/2012 17:45:16 MDT Print View

"We have always felt comfortable hiking in the Sierra high country through the end of September, on the theory that if there's an early winter storm, the snow will melt off and we won't face a situation with significant snow that does not melt in the following day or two."

+1 As Amy says, after that it is best to err on the side of caution.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/14/2012 11:00:17 MDT Print View

Did a trip into Emigrant Wilderness one Oct. a few years back. We got a healthy snow storm that snowed in some hikers across The Sierra. Lucky for me we were about 500 feet below the snow line that evening. October is a beautiful month to be there....caution is required

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/14/2012 12:00:20 MDT Print View

The other thing to consider in October is trailhead access. If a big dump comes in and you are parked at a remote trailhead, you can be seriously stuck. So it's best to stick with trailheads that are on roads that will get plowed if it snows, if you are out or more than a couple days (I don't trust the forecast more than a couple days out at that time of year).

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/14/2012 18:13:20 MDT Print View

Last two weeks of September are my favorite time in the SEKI. I just finished a trip Sept 22-28. The weather was fantastic every single day. Last year we had a little more rain, but it was only a few brief showers. IMHO it sure beats the heat and bugs of August.

Brad

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/14/2012 18:32:47 MDT Print View

"IMHO it sure beats the heat and bugs of August."

That's interesting. In August in SEKI all I had was cold rain and no bugs.

--B.G.--

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/14/2012 18:59:23 MDT Print View

Interesting Bob. In the past 8 years I have only had rain once (last year late Sept) and bugs in early August. However the bugs have never been that bad.

Maybe I'm just lucky. Better lucky than good.

brad

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Sept and Oct weather in the Sierra on 10/14/2012 20:46:19 MDT Print View

"That's interesting. In August in SEKI all I had was cold rain and no bugs."

That's because last winter had very little snow; things dried out early and that means no bugs. August this year was like September in a normal year. I've been in the Sierra in August a number of times when the bugs were ferocious, but those followed heavy snow winters. It's all about moisture when it comes to mosquitoes.

Erik Dietz
(erikdtz)

Locale: Los Angeles
Rae Lakes Loop on 10/18/2012 23:00:17 MDT Print View

I just got back on Tuesday night from doing the Rae Lakes Loop. I was a little concerned with the weather and the possibility of it getting snowy or too cold but instead it was perfect weather...60 during the day and 30-40 at night/early morning. And as a plus, almost no people! However I did bring a couple more articles of warm clothing and a little extra food and I was glad I did. The extra base layer was a welcome addition in the early morning. I'd like to go out again in the next couple weeks but I'm sure I'd be expecting too much for the weather to be as pleasant as it was this weekend.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 10/18/2012 23:22:20 MDT Print View

How was the stream water situation? Some streams still running?

--B.G.--

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Fall in the Sierra on 10/18/2012 23:36:47 MDT Print View

I try to do a trip or two each year into the Sierra in the late summer (mid or late Sept) or fall (latest so far has been mid-November). Many years these are my only Sierra trips. The cooler temps, fall colors and lack of bugs and crowds are all welcome.

So far I've been lucky and only had light snows on a couple of trips. My life is such that most of my trips come together with about a week's advance notice. From there, I watch the forecasts like a hawk and if things look good, then I go forward with the trip. If not, we cancel, postpone, or find a new drier destination. These late fall trips are short: 1-3 nights max. Any more than that and you're asking for trouble.

Parking or getting to trailheads can be tricky this time of year. I try to just get dropped off at a TH so I don't have to leave a car at a vulnerable location (to road closures). If I have to leave my rig, I make sure I have chains and a shovel in the truck. Thankfully, I haven't needed them to get out from a trip yet.

Erik Dietz
(erikdtz)

Locale: Los Angeles
water/streams on 10/19/2012 09:15:30 MDT Print View

Hi B.G.,

the water levels were really low but I never had any problems getting water when I needed it. All the streams and rivers were still active.