Snowpack 2019 Increasingly Passable

Trail Tip Tuesday Blog Post – SNOWPACK INCREASINGLY PASSABLE – July 2, 2019. Guesswork here. Building on recent blog posts, these guesses are based on user reports, etc. “Passable” refers to remaining snowpack and indicates that enough has melted to no longer be overly arduous or hazardous, and without snow-related navigation challenges.

  • Segs 1-5 passable (no snowpack left)
  • Seg 6 Breckenridge side of Georgia Pass still impassable (~3 mi deep snow left; some folks slogging through)
  • Segs 7-8 high parts impassable (recent travelers have struggled through)
  • Seg 9 snow up high and still likely impassable (won’t be for long)
  • Seg 10 impassable (guessing will change soon)
  • Seg 11 passable (no snow left)
  • Segs 12-13 passable now (remaining snow is reportedly fairly easy)
  • Seg 14 passable (no snow left)
  • Seg 17 passable now (guessing little snow left)
  • Seg 15-16 impassable (lengthy and deep snow in places)
  • Segs 18-19 passable (challenging swollen creek ford in Seg 19)
  • Segs 20-21 impassable
  • Segs 22-27 impassable (lengthy and deep snow; among last to melt this year)
  • Seg 28 impassable (won’t be for long)
  • Segs CW01-CW05 impassable (lengthy and deep snow; among last to melt)

Increasingly passable, this year's record-deep snowpack is melting. This photo thanks to Peter Bassinger is of CT Segment 25 near Molas Pass above Silverton.

Increasingly passable, this year's record-deep snowpack is melting. This photo thanks to Peter Bassinger is of CT Segment 25 near Molas Pass above Silverton.

Hikers are beginning to push through sections deemed impassable, succeeding by expending more energy than normal. They’re reporting that some snowpack is hard and some is soft and results in post-holing. Expect this; snow conditions will vary a lot. You’ll benefit from trekking poles. Until the snow melts more, you may want stiffer boots instead of trail runners and knee-high waterproof gaiters for their abrasion protection. Micro-spikes can help traction and confidence of footing where the snow is hard, especially on steeper hills.

Guesses (does not cover every segment)
Guessing Segs 6-9 passable ~ mid-July
Guessing Segs 22-27 passable ~ late-July
Guessing Collegiate West passable ~ late-July

Snow-line is ‘patchy,’ probably around 11,300 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 11,300 feet, you can use the CT Databook or Guidebook and guess how lengthy the snowy sections might still be.

There is celebrating; it is melting!