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We face the Spring Thaw. Below I discuss where we are and what I see as the most important factors controlling how Spring will play out into Summer. I link to the resources necessary to track these factors.
The questions we address here are first, fording conditions and safety, then trails, specifically, "when will the trails open for PCT hikers and hikers geared for Summer travel?"
Alex here, from Tahoe to Whitney.
Sorry about the delay contacting you. I have had a series of distracting personal events while Nature has cut loose. Nonetheless, I have been tracking the wild weather across the Backpacker News Pages on the Forum and the Backpacker's Calendar on the Trail Guide. I hope you've checked them out and found them useful and informative.
Recent Backpacker News
May 22, 2016
Unstable weather conditions bringing snow and cold rains down onto the two feet of snow already on the crest bring very dangerous conditions for early season backpackers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
April 8 2016
El Nino's concentration of super-hot waters have significantly moderated:
Sea Surface Temperatures
Status of Factors Directing El Nino
Winter Storm Pattern
Start the Heart of Winter
Below we are tracking specific observations, forecasts, and weather events affecting the trajectory of the Spring Snowpack along this year's specific, unique evolution to open, Summer-condition status for Summertime backpacking.
Happy New Year.
With the advent of the new year many of our thoughts are turning towards planning Summertime backpacking trips.
Just when Summertime conditions emerge along the Sierra Crest is of great importance to large numbers of John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail hikers.
FORCES at PLAY
1> Spin and Cold of the Arctic Circle
2> Central and North-East Pacific High Pressure Zone
3> Location of Fierce El Nino Waters and Thunderstorms
Results So Far
1> Weak Arctic: Low pressure zones are meandering around the Bearing Straight and Gulf of Alaska. Arctic has not chilled down fiercly and spun-up. It's weak.
First Winter Storm Warning for the Sierra Crest.
Issued: Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:40 AM GMT-0700
"WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY EVENING."
"SIGNIFICANT EARLY SEASON SNOW POSSIBLE LATE SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY EVENING FOR THE NORTHERN SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS"
Here's my typical approach to Fall: