rescheduling long Sierra trip: CO? UT? ideas?

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bjornsether
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rescheduling long Sierra trip: CO? UT? ideas?

Post by bjornsether » Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:50 am

Here's the deal: I'm about to defend my doctoral dissertation next weekend and was really looking forward to an extended (~3 week) backpacking trip in the Sierra, from the end of September through mid-October (or whenever the first big snow came, if that was sooner). My preferred terrain is alpine, cross-country, up to class 3, plenty of vertical, plenty of work.

I'm based in Tucson, but with three weeks, I can drive almost anywhere. Does anyone have experience in the San Juans in late fall? I'm wary of non-alpine alternatives, since I'm not sure how feasible a long trip is in, say, the Escalante or Canyonlands areas. (Water in late fall? Off-trail routes feasible?) Anyway, obviously snow will be a factor if I head north and up, but any advice or experience out there?

Thanks.








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Wandering Daisy
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Re: rescheduling long Sierra trip: CO? UT? ideas?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:38 pm

My daughter lives in Durango and they hike and mountain bike in the San Juan Mnts in October. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast. Probably better to plan several shorter trips than one big long one. If you have time left when snow hits, it is a half-day drive over to Moab. So far they have not been impacted much by the smoke. That could change.

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bjornsether
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Re: rescheduling long Sierra trip: CO? UT? ideas?

Post by bjornsether » Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:37 am

Thanks, Wandering Daisy, and sorry to reply so late! Now the weather forecast looks decent (i.e. perhaps no snow), so I'll take your advice. I'm thinking I'll start on Endlich Mesa and work my way north to Silverton. Then, if weather allows, I'll yo-yo back down to my car. A couple of questions, for you or anyone:

**I have a Hyundai Accent, so some of the forest roads accessing Endlich Mesa are out. Also, I don't want to park high, in case of snow. Know anywhere lowish that's accessible to low-clearance 2WD, with a trail to Endlich Mesa? I'm having trouble finding legal parking near the Vallecito reservoir.

**Looks like most people do their cross-country adventures in the part of the range between Silverton and Endlich Mesa. Looks fantastic out there, but what about the other high-elevation bits of the San Juans? North of Silverton, is there too much 4WD access and other civilisation? What about the northeastern high country, around Table Mountain and San Luis Peak? Or, other ideas?

Thanks for the advice!

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