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SOBO leaving in June 2017 (gear question)

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SOBO leaving in June 2017 (gear question)

Postby ManOWar » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:36 am

Hey everyone my name is Tim and I had a question for anyone who can answer. I'm going to do the walk through SOBO and my hope is to leave in Mid June and arrive in Campo (HOPE) around November. I'm doing the walk-through for a cause ( and I'm hoping to arrive in Camp Pendleton CA by Nov 8th. So I'm trying to tweak some last minute gear purchases. Specifically snowshoes... Due to the heavy snow season we are having Id rather not post-hole the entire northern Cascades and Sierra's. So here is my question, whats the opinion from others regarding long term travel through the PCT using snowshoes vs ski's and skins?

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Re: SOBO leaving in June 2017 (gear question)

Postby dofdear » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:28 am

Check out ... 2p2_046350 for both current and historical snow data

DO NOT plan to cross the border into the US. Big fines and jail.

Most hikers start at Harts or Rainy Pass, hike north and either turn around or continue to Manning Park with proper permit. Personally I like the Manning option especially if there is a lot of snow on the trail. Then travel (hitch, bus, trail angel) back to where you started and then continue south.

If there is a lot of snow on the trail when you start then start farther south thereby allowing more snow to melt-off. By the time you get to Manning you'll be ready for a zero.

As for your question regarding gear, I would consider traction devices and not snowshoes. In late June, even if there is snow on the trail it will be consolidated. There will be a few short sections where the trail is cut into a steep contour where post-holing could be possible but in MHO not worth the snowshoes. an Ice Axe for sure. Your feet will get wet for hours on end so be aware of frostbite (trench-foot). Adjust your shoes and socks accordingly.

Thumper aka dofdear
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Re: SOBO leaving in June 2017 (gear question)

Postby ManOWar » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:47 am

Sweet. Great beta. Thanks for the heads up Dofdear
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Re: SOBO leaving in June 2017 (gear question)

Postby jack5455 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:10 am

I live in the Seattle area. As mentioned, the snow will be consolidated in June and could be "bulletproof" on north facing slopes. As an absolute minimum I recommend ice axe and 12 point crampons. Some of the trail sections south of Harts Pass may require 2 pickets; harnesses; 100 ft of 7mm hand line; and a couple of locking carabiners so you can set up a running belay. There are areas with major exposure. There will be areas with steep hard snow on the trail but melted out below giving you no run out for self arrest. Unless there is a major hot spell or major rain storms to wash off the snow coverage, these conditions will last until at least July 1. Snow coverage is well above average this year. In some areas there will be navigation issues due to snow coverage so GPS with Half Mile info will be very helpful.

On very warm days, the south facing slopes will soften up and postholing is certainly possible but I am not sure snowshoes are worth the weight.

South of Stehekin, the snow will linger until mid to late July this year.

I am not sure if the road to Harts Pass will even be open in June and Highway 20 will probably close periodically from snow slides. If the Harts Pass road has a washout, it may be very difficult to escape down and out to Mazama.

Sorry about all the "Debbie Downer" info but that is what I expect this year.
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Re: SOBO leaving in June 2017 (gear question)

Postby watkinshikers » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:22 am

SOBO's 2014, left June 14th...late snows that year & late melt gave us just over average snowpack. We had almost no postholing, snow is consolidated unless you get near a rock/log that is melting out. A lot of snow is in the trees and is shaded and firm. A lot of the trail is steep sidehills. You have to do miles and miles of kick stepping. Also the way the sun melts the snow around the trees you have huge swales/moguls that you will climb up and down A LOT, often with a steep drop downhill where if you slip you will hit a tree. It is very technical hiking, but microspikes would be most appropriate to wear, though they could also hinder you a lot when the terrain mellows. We wore trail runners and no spikes. We did wear neosocks (neoprene) to keep our feet warmer. We also wore these south bounding the CDT and highly recommend them! Ice ax is a must. We had significant snow until Snoqualmie, then had mostly snow-free travel to Chinook Pass, then snow all the way through the Goat Rocks, another break and then total snow around Mt. Adams. The PCT is marked very little through Washington, so you will need to do a LOT of routefinding through the oftentimes need to stay right on the trail or you will blocked by thick timber. There are also a lot of blowdowns early in the year before the maintainers come out. Early hikers have to be in tip-top shape. If you are not ready to walk on a lot of snow and navigate, starting in July is a better option.
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