Snowpack 2019 and the Hardcores

Trail Tip Tuesday Blog Post – SNOWPACK and the HARDCORES – June 25, 2019. Guesswork based on user reports follows.

“Passable” relates to remaining snowpack and that enough has melted to no longer be overly arduous or hazardous, and without snow-related navigation challenges.

Segs 1-5 all passable (no snowpack left)
Seg 6 high elevations impassable (maybe 7 miles of deep snow left, especially north-facing)
Segs 7, 8 & 9 high parts impassable (lengthy & deep snow)
Seg 10 high ground impassable (likely to change soon)
Seg 11 passable (no snowpack left)
Segs 12-13 high parts including north-facing impassable
Seg 14 passable (no snow left)
Seg 15-17 impassable (lengthy and deep snow in places)
Segs 18-19 passable (challenging swollen creek ford in Seg 19)
Segs 20-21 impassable
Segs 22-28 impassable (lengthy and deep snow; among last to melt this year)
Segs CW01-CW05 impassable (lengthy and deep snow; among last to melt)

Photo thanks to Jesse Jakomait. Taken on June 23, he wrote, 'Here is Rolling Pass on Sunday!

Photo thanks to Jesse Jakomait. Taken on June 23, he wrote, 'Here is Rolling Pass on Sunday!' CT Segment 25 above Silverton.

Some hardcore hikers are beginning to push through sections deemed impassable. They’re making it but reporting a lot of post-holing. This might help you to know as you make your decisions involving when to start. If you kind of like ‘hardcore,’ expending extra energy and post-holing, plus dealing with hazards and navigation challenges, you might travel a section still listed as impassable. (Wear knee-high waterproof gaiters.) Instead, if you like easier-going distance hiking (or biking), it’s best to wait until “passable.”

Guesses (does not cover every segment)
Guessing Segs 6-9 passable ~ mid-July
Guessing Segs 22-28 passable ~ late-July
Guessing Collegiate West passable ~ late-July

Snow-line is ‘patchy,’ probably around 11,000 feet elevation, lower on north- and northeast-facing slopes that melt more slowly, and higher on south- and southwest-facing slopes that melt more quickly. Using 11,000 feet, you can use the CT Databook or Guidebook and guess how lengthy the snowy sections might still be.

Rotten and slushy snowpack are becoming more common, especially when overnight temperatures don’t dip below freezing. This snow is no longer as supportive, and snowshoes don’t work very well in it. Post-holing is becoming more common.

There’s cause to smile, though, it is melting!