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Sierra high country in October?

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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby adam » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:40 pm

here's a trip I did out of tolumne meadows in october of last year:
http://picasaweb.google.com/arsmith2/Ne ... edralLoop#

there was some snow on the ground from an early storm, but it was quite nice-- we could melt the snow for water and camp on high ridges and the hikes across exposed slabs were pleasant rather than brutally hot. Of course, had I been out the previous weekend when it was snowing, it would have been a different story... Also, the NPS closes the tioga road to overnight parking sometime in mid october, so, as mentioned previously, you'd have to get someone to drop you off and pick you up if you wanted go later.



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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby paul » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:05 pm

October is so variable that if you have to plan for a particular week or weekend, my approach would be to say "I'm going to do something in the mountains that week - what it is will depend on the weather." If the forecast looks good just before you go, then a nice backpacking trip could be great - though you still want to plan for and gear up for winter conditions just in case, and I wouldn't go too far from the trailhead or park at a trailhead where I might get snowed in. If the weather is a little iffy but not brutal, maybe car camping and day hiking would be wiser. If it looks like really bad weather, go somewhere else or rent a cabin and enjoy the wild weather as it blows past the window. Just don't get locked into a plan that might end up dangerous if the weather turns foul.
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby jessegooddog » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:09 pm

Yes yes yes, car camp and day hike if you are not excperienced in winter backpacking. You WILL have most trails to yourself, and probably not get overheated hiking. That said, a few years ago in October I roasted in 80+ degree weather, and passed within 100 yards of momma bear and 2 - 3 cubs near Shadow Lake. And last year we rode horses thru that first snowstorm. October is just exhilerating in the eastern sierra!!
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby quentinc » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:48 pm

I've done several trips in early - mid October, including at high elevation, and they've all been great. Absolutely no question, as many have noted, that you have to be prepared for storms. But I still think major weather is unusual at this time of year. The worst I've ever encountered was 3 - 4 inches of snow at Rae Lakes. It was never so beautiful. I made the first footprints in the snow on the Muir Trail for miles the next morning.
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby rightstar76 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:30 pm

I wouldn't do it. Mid October is too late. My philosophy is that I should always be back to the car by October 15 at the latest and not a day later. Even so, the first 2 weeks of October are unpredictable. The last 2 weeks - all bets are off. Anything can happen. The only backpacking I will ever do in mid October is 1 night, and only if the NOAA forecast discussion calls for beautiful weather. That way if the weather changes the following day, I will get back to my car in time before the snow storm. The problem with staying 2 nights is that the weather could change the second day, and unless you can get the latest NOAA forecast, you won't know what's happening, and it could snow by morning of the third day. Even if you're only 6 miles from your car, you can still be trapped since the trail will be covered with snow and you won't be able to find your way. Of course, if you have a satellite phone and call NOAA each day, you can find out the daily forecast and go for an extended trip without having to worry about the weather.

One other thing about October is that like other people have said, it is cold, even during the day. I remember shivering mid day about the fire. I had only brought my thin fleece and windbreaker for warmth because I wanted to go light. It was a big mistake. You'll need to dress warm and carry more. Summer is over in October.
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby ericZ » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:07 pm

very nice imagery SSSdave!

eric
fresno, ca.
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:21 pm

before we all get too excited here, the poster, Mark, should respond. Where does your friend want to go, and what are his capabilities?

You can actually go anywhere in the Sierra during mixed weather if you're prepared. Heck, I've done Thanksgiving trips, but those were on skiis, and I was ready for it.

MarkoBoston?
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby rightstar76 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:52 pm

Just looked at the extended weather forecast for 3 different NWS offices: Sacramento, Reno and Hanford. Each forecaster had a different take on Sierra weather this holiday weekend. Reno predicted slightly cooler but dry weather. Sacramento predicted slightly cooler weather with the possibility of a sprinkle or two. Hanford is looking at 2 inches of snow above 9000 feet. Each forecaster has a different opinion about the weather. Bottom line is that as it gets closer to mid October, the weather just gets more unpredictable.
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby rightstar76 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:41 pm

I might be beating a dead horse here but if you want to read about backpacking in October, here's a great thread from last year:

October Snowstorm, Sequoia National Park
viewtopic.php?t=4612

Ranger George Durkee on page 2 offers some gread advice on the subject.
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby sierramel » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:36 pm

Hike out of Red's Meadow 13 miles to Iva Belle (Fish Creek) hot springs (about 7,000 feet). Who cares if it snows? You should have the place to yourselves.
"Some places remain unknown because no one has ventured forth. Others remain so because no one has ever come back."
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Re: Sierra high country in October?

Postby Bandito » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:30 pm

Try Big Sur instead
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