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PCT Snow: What Hikers Can Expect

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PCT Snow: What Hikers Can Expect

Postby postholer » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:29 am

In anticipation of April 1st, the peak of snow season, I've started looking at snow conditions in depth. Note I'm speaking strictly of on trail snow conditions NOT snow pack, as they are apples and oranges.

For a northbound PCT hiker, here is the most relevant piece of information:

Kennedy Meadow to Reds Meadow trail snow is 136% of normal. That's 210 miles.

...and more info that is very relevant, Kennedy Meadow to Reds Meadow:
+ above 8,000', the vast majority of that section, trail snow is 145% of normal.
+ above 9,000', the majority of that section, trail snow is 153% of normal.
+ above 10,000', trail snow is 148% of normal.

...and for the entire sierra range, Kennedy Meadow to Sierra City, 500 miles:
+ above 4,000', 125% of normal
+ above 6,000', 127% of normal
+ above 8,000', 132% of normal

In the southern sierra, with exceptional snow:
+ Olancha Pass tr jct to Cottonwood Pass tr jct, about 30 miles.
+ Kearsarge Pass tr jct to near Pinchot Pass, about 20 miles
+ Evolution Creek to south of Reds Meadow, about 60 miles

...and our Fun Factoids:

Red Pass is the snowiest place in Washington and the entire PCT with an SWE of 94.6"
Trapper Creek just west of Crater Lake is the snowiest place in Oregon with an SWE of 60.4"
Fontanillis Lake WSW of Lake Tahoe is California's snowiest location with an SWE of 61.3"

The Postholer Snow Page has all the details.

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