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Sierra High Route in October?

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Sierra High Route in October?

Postby Paloma » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:36 pm

Just wondering, how risky is it to attempt the high route solo in October? Weather looks great for the next 10 days.



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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby maverick » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:01 pm

Welcome to HST!
Just wondering, how risky is it to attempt the high route solo in October?


Depends on when in October you plan on going out (anything past the 15th increases your risk), how many days you are planning to be out for (the shorter the better because you can only get a somewhat accurate forecast for 5 days out), and on whether you have the experience and gear to deal with any surprise inclement weather.

Weather looks great for the next 10 days.


Never trust the forecast for more than 5 days out, especially from October on.

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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby Paloma » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:17 pm

Thank you!
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby longri » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:57 pm

October 15 is a good rule of thumb. Take a look here:

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=14142

But there's a difference between calculating the odds at home and actually being there.

Be careful.
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby Ska-T » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:02 pm

Are you planning to do a section or two of the High Route or the whole thing? With the unpredictable October weather it makes more sense to me to do a section that can be completed in a week or less. Roper's book divides the whole route into 5 sections (or chapters).

The other thing that is a concern is that you describe yourself as a level 3 backpacker, which suggests some experience in off trail travel but not extensive. If that is an accurate assessment then I suggest you do section 2 or 3 of the High Route, since the route finding is more straightforward and you are often near more popular areas (in case you need help).
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby Paloma » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:39 am

Thanks for the link for October weather. That was precisely what I have been looking for.
Last edited by Paloma on Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby sparky » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:51 pm

Even then its still a risk. I have had a storm come up out of no where the first night when the forecast was warm and sunny. That was a cold night. Luckily I was in the front country still and we limped out as soon as we could
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:00 pm

Your friend better know what he is doing with navigation and snow. It's not just "a bit risky"

Those people who are "always" lucky become SAR subjects if they push their luck too much. It's totally the way it goes -- you can make the same mistake a thousand times over, until you can't. Same story with everything from food storage to wearing jeans to piss poor navigation skills and doing it anyway....
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby Paloma » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:02 am

How cold does it get at night in the backcountry? I'm thinking 20 degrees? I have a hard time getting out of the sleeping bag in those temps!
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:41 am

20 degrees is fairly warm in winter. I've been out in early November and had it be 20 degrees at dinner time -- although it is gorgeous to wake to ice on the lake, icicles in the creek, and dirtsicles in the trail.
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby longri » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:44 am

Paloma wrote:How cold does it get at night in the backcountry? I'm thinking 20 degrees? I have a hard time getting out of the sleeping bag in those temps!

That sort of illustrates the problem. In many ways travel in winter is more straightforward because you know it's going to be cold and there will be snow so you prepare for it. But in October you can get long stretches of warm days with zero precipitation. Who would carry gear for snow travel then? But the conditions can change rapidly. That's the potential trap, especially with something like the Roper route which sort of pushes you to try and go light.
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Re: Sierra High Route in October?

Postby Bluewater » Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:20 pm

Paloma wrote:Just wondering, how risky is it to attempt the high route solo in October? Weather looks great for the next 10 days.


Even some of the fastest and most experienced long distance cross country backpackers need 12 1/2 days to complete the SHR. I have done it solo in July/August.

When you ask about, "how risky is it to attempt the high route solo" while the weather "looks great for the next 10 days" are you actually talking about trying to complete the entire SHR in 10 days? If you need to ask then I wouldn't recommend it.
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