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Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail will be dangerous this year

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Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail will be dangerous this year
March 27, 2023 07:09PM
Why the Pacific Crest Trail will be more dangerous than ever this year
SFGate article
Eric Brooks
March 27, 2023

… . But this year, experts warn, hikers face one of the greatest risks in the trail’s history: the record-setting Sierra Nevada snowpack.
"These large snowpacks can be susceptible to fast melt if the weather conditions are right," Andrew Schwartz, lead scientist at the Central Sierra Snow Lab, told SFGATE. "Periods of above-average temperatures, particularly if they're prolonged, can cause significant rises in stream and river flows, which can be dangerous.”

High temperatures and rain can cause flash flooding in valleys and canyons downstream of the highest peaks, he added.

… Although sunny, warm weather often shows up between Southern California and the Bay Area by May and certainly June, California’s mountains are usually still covered in snow. In fact, May and June are generally a hazardous time to hike the Sierra as "much of the trail will still be covered in snow and creeks will be full of fast-moving water, making fords dangerous," per the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Even the Tahoe section of the PCT is known to have "difficult" snow conditions into July.
Put it all together and you’ve got a recipe for catastrophe well into the summer, according to Pacific Crest Trail Association's Jack Haskel. "[The Sierra snowpack] pretty much guarantees there will be very dangerous conditions in the Sierra in May, June, throughout July and probably well into August," he told SFGATE. "If people are hoping to go out in the mountains before the snow melts, they should be cautious and well prepared. They should be prepared to turn around and not drown."

… "I don't think anyone wants to slog through feet and feet of snow and do one or two miles a day.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2023 04:57PM by KenS.
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