Snow Conditions

Avalanche conditions in North Cascades this October 2019

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By: Carolyn ‘Ravensong’ Burkhart
October 22nd, 2019

The PCT is not safe through this last storm! The snow is very unstable. Lives have been lost in avalanche on the PCT in the region noted below before.

Report from Northwest Avalanche Center.

‘Snoqualmie Pass
Oct. 19, 2019, 3:50 p.m. PST

Weather: Heavy snow with mixed graupel, gusting winds from the W, thunder, lightning. Weather data from ‘Snoqualmie Pass – Dodge Ridge’ (Alpental wind data not available) shows wind gust @ 18mph W/WSW around time of observation.

Snowpack: Loose unconsolidated that did not cover the vegetation/rocks until ~5100ft where the snow became noticeably deeper ~25″directly on bed surface.

Area Description: The PCT leading up to Kendall Peak around ~5100 ft which is an open area of terrain.

Avalanches: Witnessed loose dry snow slides originating above the PCT at around ~5600 which fanned out and resulted ~7-9ft of debris covering the trail which serves as a terrain bench. Party was able to quickly exit to a sheltered area of trees prior to impact. My assessment is (as predicted in the NWAC Special Statement), there was a wind loaded pocket in the SW facing feature of Kendall Peak as sustained westerly winds combined with strong gusts from the NW were depositing snow on the western ridge leading up to Kendall Peak. Slide seemed to be triggered by a particular strong gust of wind around 15:50.’

https://www.nwac.us/observations/pk/4272/
https://www.nwac.us/observations/pk/4272/

Snow water equivalent reported on SNOTEL is 388% of normal at Harts Pass for this date, today!

NWAC does not do daily reports until the end of November.

I have discussed risk factors with the groups of hikers and options…terminate their journey right here, wait until after the storm and then assess conditions, alternate routes and winter mountaineering experience/equipment.

Last week 2 others terminated their journey here at Mazama, due to snow conditions. Both had extensive winter mountaineering experience. One was a winter mountaineering guide from Canada and said she was not equipped for these conditions.

People need winter mountaineering expertise both individually and functioning together as a team with avalanche beacons for every hiker. In other words, in my opinion, hikers need to stay off the PCT through the Cascade Range.

Serious snow travel safety concerns in mountains of Southern California

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By: Jack
April 3rd, 2019

High elevations of Southern California continue to hold snow. In places, it’s steep and dangerous. Multiple rescues and falls have already occurred. Don’t underestimate the risk, travel with snow safety skills and equipment and consider turning around.

Some notable problem areas include, but are not limited to:

  • San Jacinto Mountains (especially Apache Peak and Fuller Ridge)
  • San Bernadino Mountains (between Mission Creek and Big Bear)
  • San Gabriels Mountains (especially Mount Baden Powell and the trail north of there)

Major damage at Whitewater and Mission Creeks

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By: Paul Alexander & Olivia Nolan from Ireland
April 3rd, 2019

We are hiking the PCT and are at mile 250 having come through Whitewater and Mission Creek. The trail through Mission creek is missing in huge parts and non-existent in most miles. There are huge boulders to cross on the wide flood damaged river beds and many large pines down crossing the paths heading up out of Mission Creek to the Big Bear mountains. It’s VERY challenging…. Please update to alert other hikers who may be heading into the area . Big Bear is snow covered and without ice axe and spikes ( minimum ) is again very treacherous!

Winter storms and road closures in the San Jacinto area

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By: Don and Jack
March 4th, 2019

Due to heavy snow, the trail over Fuller Ridge will be tough for some early hikers. An alternate route in years past was to bypass the ridge and hike up Black Mountain Road. Beware that HWY 243 was washed out and may not be open till July. Check with Caltrans to see if it is open for hikers. Another option to get to I-10 is to go back to the Paradise Cafe and go all the way around on hwy 74 thru Palm Springs, a car ride of close to 2 hours

Hazardous snow conditions on Crater Lake’s rim

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By: Ian
July 13th, 2017

As of mid-July, Crater Lake NP staff is asking PCT hikers to avoid walking the Rim trail due to hazardous snow conditions and road construction on the West Rim Drive. PCT hikers are being asked to stay on the official PCT route west of the Rim. And please note, due to the lingering snow pack on the PCT some sections of the PCT have not been logged out yet. So, please plan accordingly. Hikers can visit the Rim Village to view the lake but please return to the main PCT route as you continue your journey. The PCTA and CLNP staff thank-you. Good luck and be safe!

snow pack too deep to find trail – Deschutes National Forest

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By: Rachel Guthrie
July 12th, 2017

As of last week, the initial PCT section of the Diamond Peak Loop (after cutting over from Yoran Lake) was covered in at least 6-10 feet of snow and we had to turn back before even reaching our first night to camp. Those experienced at using GPS and who have appropriate snow gear might succeed but we did not (we were stopping every 10 minutes to consult GPS and topo maps as trail was hidden and frequently found ourselves off course). Due to the melting snow, the mosquito populations are dense and mosquito netting, bug spray and clothing head to toe is recommended.