Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

General Palm Springs area.

Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby broberts » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:57 am

I'm looking for beta on the possibility of snow on the PCT from Idyllwild (Intersection of Devil's slide Trail or Deer Spring Trail and the PCT) over to San Gorgonio Pass during the last week of April. Looking for any historical data - I didn't see any snow survey stations in the area. It appears that most of this stretch has southern exposures, and I'm thinking that if there are residual snow patches, route-finding shouldn't be a problem due to earlier PCT through-hikers defining the track. (Yes, I'm aware that an early April track over snow could be well off the actual trail.)

Still, in the mid-April 2016 time frame, I would appreciate hearing trail status from anyone who hikes this section of the PCT. Thanks!
Last edited by broberts on Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby Ulysses » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:43 pm

I was at the intersection of the PCT and Deer Springs last Saturday and there was a solid foot of snow. But it's impossible to know at this time of year. Thru hikers usually seem to get through. Maybe need micro-spikes. Fuller Ridge is more of a challenge. You never know about the weather though. Ever heard the story of John Donovan in 2005?
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby broberts » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:21 pm

Thank you, Ulysses. Are you local to the area, or just visiting? Yes, I've read the archives on Donovan. He made a series of very bad choices.
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby Ulysses » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:56 pm

Yes. I'm in Idyllwild. Good luck on your adventure.
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby Norris » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:04 pm

Last year was exceptionally dry and there was no snow at that time, but this being an El Nino year, I think it is highly likely there will be some snow in late April.
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Conditions for this weekend

Postby Sally » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:10 pm

Last Tuesday (Feb. 9) we hiked from Humber Park to Wellman's Divide. On the Devils Slide Trail we started out in microspikes, but we NEEDED and USED crampons for a very short distance before even reaching Saddle Junction. We removed the crampons shortly after the Junction, booted our way up the PCT for a while until putting microspikes back on. We stopped at Wellman's Divide and decided to stop for lunch and not to bag any peaks as we were pooped out and short on time. We then changed into snowshoes for the return trip back down and stayed in them until just past the Junction. When we got to the short stretch that had caused us to put on our crampons in the AM, the snow had softened up considerably and we felt it was safe to do the short traverse in micros.

In a nutshell, we brought micros, crampons, ice ax, snowshoes and used it all. In hindsight, we were stupid to not bring our helmets. A slip in the one icy-dicey spot could have resulted in crashing into a tree with our skulls.

It is so hot out that these conditions are likely to change by the weekend, either for the better or worse. So, my advice: bring it ALL and USE it if necessary. Although it took longer to put our crampons on than the time we actually needed to hike in them, it was worth it.

Ha ha, I just noticed that we are talking about conditions for the last week of April, so this will be irrelevant by then. However, any one going up in the near future may want to take my advice.
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby Ulysses » Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:00 pm

Was at the PCT at Strawberry Jct. this morning. Just a few patches of snow here and there The trail was clear.
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby dmteaton » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:24 pm

I did Deer Springs up and over and back down via Humber Park yesterday. Not any snow until after Strawberry Jct. Used Microspikes from the Fuller Turnoff onward. Didn't need crampons or axe. It's slushy so if we get a chance freeze, it'll be icy. The PCT reconnect (back to Strawberry Jct) on the way down was not visible. I had my GPX tracks and where it said to turn, and where I thought I remembered it, there was not a trace of footprints etc...and there was snow. The Saddle Junction Trail was visible so rather than mucking around I just continued down and hiked back to the car. (the more scenic route in my opinion anyhow)
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby Sally » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:35 pm

PCT'ers are starting to trickle through Idyllwild now. I spoke to someone that did Fuller Ridge last week and they said it was not easy with just microspikes. She was pretty freaked out and wished she had had an ice ax.
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Re: Risk of snow on PCT last week of April, 2016

Postby pkirkham » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:48 am

Hi, I live in Idyllwild and my wife and I just hiked (climbed!) the Marion mt. trail this past Sunday April 17. The trail intersects the PCT and follows it as the PCT/Deer springs trail for about half a mile. From that junction, where the PCT follows Fuller Ridge to the north west, we kept climbing the Deer Springs trail towards the peak where we had snow almost the whole way up except for some open sunny areas. There is still quite a bit of snow in the shady forested areas at that elevation. We encountered a bunch of PCT thru hikers who where slipping all over the place with out microspikes (we put them on when we joined the PCT). Depending upon the time of day the snow can be mushy or hard packed ice!
The weekend before my wife and I climbed to the peak from Humber Park in Idy. This is were most of the PCT thru hikers are rejoining the trail after the southern closure. We encountered snow almost all the way to the peak above Wellmans Divide (9700') and in a forested section before that. That day we met a few PCT thru hikers who were going that way to avoid the snow/ice on the traditional route....not sure who gave them that advice but I personally don't think going over the top of San Jac is going to be any better than taking the traditional PCT route down thru Strawberry Junction etc. Also, Little Round Valley campground is full of snow still!!
Hope this info. helps!
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