Snow Creek PCT compared to C2C: A trip Report

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Snow Creek PCT compared to C2C: A trip Report

Postby zippetydude » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:07 am

I had the chance to do the PCT out of Snow Creek last Saturday with bcox (who turned out to be a great guy, very smart, competent and adventurous; he made the trip a ton of fun.)

Here's the looooonnnnng (PCT) and short (C2C) of it.

They're very similar in the types of terrain covered, C2C just does it in much less distance.

Some advantages of Skyline:

SKyline is very clear trail, with very little vegetation sticking out into the trail.

Skyline is in a sense the better workout - it is short and sweet - if you do the trail just up to the tram, you have almost zero downhill, so you avoid the pounding of other trails.

Skyline has become very popular (so to many this will be a disadvantage) and as such has more potential support if you do get hurt. If you go on a Saturday, you have a good chance of someone coming along and helping you. On the PCT, we saw absolutely no one until we hit the Marion Mountain trail. The first 22 miles, not one soul.


Some cool sides to the PCT version:

1. It's not steep. It's a smooth, well built and mildly graded trail the whole time

2. It has some interesting highlights that are several miles back into the back country,

There's a beautiful valley about 8 miles in that is home to a herd of deer. I've been there twice, and both times seen them We saw 8 on Saturday.

An eerie old burned out stand of trees is about 12 miles in, then you crest a ridge at about 13 miles in, and find yourself in beautiful forest with 18 of your 31 miles still to go.

3. It turned out to be true that the trail is somewhat overgrown for some long stretches, mostly between miles 4 and 10. The trail is evident, but there are sticks from last year's dead weeds sticking out, and bcox and I had hundreds of little scratches on our shins, and a few on our arms as well. Incidentally, the weeds would have been no problem if we had been wearing long pants and long sleeve t-shirts. They didn't have thorns, they were just a little scratchy.

Only in two, very short places (maybe 15 feet) did we have trouble seeing the trail - there were two damp spots where seasonal streams run that had grown over quite a bit. These were a little spooky, as we were at that point still in complete darkness except for our little trail lamps. It was sure nice having bcox with me, as it was a little scary when we couldn't find the way, and an owl began to hoot in the distance, almost as if it were scripted from some B horror movie.

4. From there, just a few more miles and you cross a dirt road(where you'll see the Fuller Ridge trailhead), Castle Rocks with some great views about 2 miles later, and then begin a rolling trail that goes up and down until you link up with the Marion Mountain trail. At that point, you're 2.6 miles from the peak, and headed toward Little Round Valley. Up and over to the Peak, where you can look directly back down at Snow Creek - the view is especially rewarding because you can see your starting point far, far below.

5. Standard retreat back down to the tram, for a total of 31 miles.

TIME CONSIDERATIONS: It took us 10 hours and 15 minutes. A reasonable second trip might knock that down to 9 hours, maybe 8 at best.

On the other hand, it could easily take a bit longer if you don't care for trail running or simply want to go a little slower to savor the trip. I know some folks do Skyline (stopping at the tram) in 8-12 hours. That pace would probably equate to somewhere around 20-24 hours here. Maybe not, as the nice, even grade makes it much easier to keep a steady pace. Better safe than sorry, though.

Hope this helps if anyone else is considering doing it. I might do it again next spring, but I probably won't have a chance to hit it again til then. Maybe I'll see some of you on Skyline next weekend!

z
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Snow Creek PCT compared to c2c: trip report

Postby Cy Kaicener » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:20 am

Thanks for a great trip report. I enjoyed reading it but am not sure if I would have enjoyed doing it. You are the pioneers and more people will surely follow.
To boldly go where very few have gone before. Its too bad you could not take any pictures, but I can understand that it would have been inconvenient.
It appears that it is eight miles longer than c2c but would be very troublesome to lose the trail. Skyline was also overgrown with Manzanita above the 5500 ft level in the mid sixties, but look at it now. Congratulations are in order. Your time was excellent.
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Postby bcox » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:42 am

What Zdude very considerately failed to mention was that fuel problems (l left all 10oz of Hammer Products in my car which was left at the base of the tram) slowed me down. Zdude being the guy that he is waited up for me. I'm pretty sure he would have hit 9 hours otherwise. Very solid guy.

My only trip up Skyline was in Oct. this year and it was 8:30 hours to the peak; quite a bit shorter than our time on the Snow Creek PCT route. Leaving the times aside, Snow Creek is a much more serious trip because of the lack of traffic, distance/time to evacuate from much of the trail, and lack of a 2/3 point tram station fuel/bailout point.

That being said, if you can get a friend or small group together it is really a nice day out. Just wear some long pants - our lower legs got trashed from the brush.

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Postby wingding » Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:48 am

10 hours is very fast.

Nice report - thanks. I've always wondered about that section of the PCT.

The Hammer products are great - i'd be lost without them on my hikes.
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Snow Creek PCT compared to c2c: trip report

Postby Cy Kaicener » Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:24 am

Here is another trip report by someone on the backpacker forum
http://forums.backpacker.com/eve/forums ... 3051078112

Eleven people passed me on the Skyline trail yesterday.
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Postby bcox » Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:42 pm

Cy- that was a good report. He's right about the elevation loss being a bummer on the traversing section heading away from Castle Rocks...

Correction to my previous post: 8:30 was the Car-to-peak-to-tram time on C2C route compared to the 10:15 on Snow Creek route.

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