Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers are facing deep snow packs and raging waters

Our well documented 2016-17 winter brought many benefits to California, but Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers are finding that the snow pack is dramatically impacting their efforts in the Sierra.  The tremendous amount of snow that fell months ago still has mountain passes packed deep.  High elevation lakes are normally well defrosted by now, but not this summer.  Hikers are having to manage tributaries that are still flowing strong.  Many larger rivers, both up high and at moderate elevations, are straight out raging.  Trying to cross swift currents is proving to be a daunting task.  You can hike up or down stream for over a mile, and still not find a crossable area, report hikers.  In other areas, where the water flow slows, you can forge across.  The challenge then becomes keeping vital footwear and clothing dry, even after multiple river crossings on any given day. A USFS report sums up what hikers are experiencing - water run off is nearly 200% of normal in much of the Sierra.

Option to Leap Frog

Under such snow and run-off conditions, many Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers are opting to leap frog portions of the Sierra.   "We are seeing hikers who have come out of the backcountry, more so than in the past. They have gathered additional beta on trail conditions, and adjusted their plans.  They've skipped the heavy snow zones, and gone up the road a ways before getting back onto the trail", shares Herb, Granite Chief Ski & Mtn Shop owner. Leap frogging means that the hikers will return to the by-passed section(s) in the fall.  With less snow, and less snow melt, they'll be able to travel more safely, and efficiently on their journey. "While logistically the adjustment may not be ideal, it keeps their goal of completing the PCT within reach for the season, and doing so safely", adds Herb.   Keep at it thru-hikers, with each adversity comes opportunity! Be safe out there, and all the best ...