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- Subject: [pct-l] RE:Snow
- From: "Vaughn, Ron" <RSV@crai.com>
- Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 11:38:31 -0500
I started at Campo last year on May 17th, and although the snow
charts indicate 1997 was a heavy snow year, I found little problem getting
through the Sierras. Cottonwood Pass, for example, was almost entirely
clear by the time I got there on July 1. The later, higher passes were very
snow covered, but an ice axe some determined steps were all that were
needed. Only once did I even think that I might find the axe useful for
self arrest. The best use of the axe was using it to haul myself up the
steep snow banks on Mather Pass. Lots of work, but worth it!
I met many southbound JMTers that used poles or nothing at all.
Amazing to me, but true. Poles would have been better because I could have
used them at the creek fords.
I think Jardine's advice on this topic is right on; if it looks bad
at Cottonwood Pass, take some time off in Lone Pine. Remember that its not
the snow depth that you care about, its the ability of the snow to support
your weight. And that seems more of a function of temperature and sunshine
than anything else.
Yes, you do get lost looking for the trail in the snow. Don't worry
about it, because if you can read a map, and use some common sense, you'll
find the trail without any problem.
The real fear I have abut all this snow is the creek fords. If you
can cross Evolution Creek safely, then everything else will be easy.
Walking across the Kennebec River is easy compared to Evolution Creek during
high runoff times. And that melting snow is cold!
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