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  1. #1
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    Smile Hiking Oregon Section of the PCT

    Aloha everyone! I am planning to start hiking the Oregon section of the PCT on the first day of May and was wondering if anyone has any trail advice or suggestions? Was going to buy food and resupply in towns as I go and trying to finish the hike by June 1st so about 15/16 miles a day. Have never been to Oregon before so excited to explore the land there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Towns are far from the trail in OR, plan accordingly.

  3. #3
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    May 1st? Bring snowshoes.

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    Might have some patchy snow. Check out Half Mile's maps with the resupply notes and alternates. Alternates can be more water friendly at lower elevation. Resupply doesn't have to be far off trail. Go into Ashland buy and mail a few boxes from there to Crater Lake NP(might be able to buy a full resupply too), and take a few choices from the fish camps/CGs etc. Buy in Sisters with a hitch in/out, etc. Do Mt Thielsen BUT make sure you prepare by bringing water up from the cache near Hwy 138 and FS Rd ? north of 138. Awesome but steep slippery scramble and narrow further up you get. You're almost there anyway. PCT crosses on the flank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    May 1st? Bring snowshoes.
    Hell, June 1st, bring snowshoes!

    I highly doubt much of the trail will be passable without snowshoes until late June or early July. I have run into significant snow in the Oregon Cascades even in mid June during heavier snow years. McKenzie pass (and Crater Lake Rim Road for that matter) may not open up to automobile traffic until after the 4th of July.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Hey thanks for the heads up! Do you think most of the campgrounds will be covered in snow as well? I know it has been a heavy snow year for oregon and am trying to plan for the conditions. I have not done much winter camping but will be going on some winter backpacking trips this month. For the Oregon section hike are there any areas that are difficult or will be difficult to pass with the heavy snow and are there any areas that require rock scrambling or anything? I have being doing research on the hike and from what I have read most of the difficult terrain is in California and Washington. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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    Hey thanks for the heads up! Do you think most of the campgrounds will be covered in snow as well? I know it has been a heavy snow year for oregon and am trying to plan for the conditions. I have not done much winter camping but will be going on some winter backpacking trips this month. For the Oregon section hike are there any areas that are difficult or will be difficult to pass with the heavy snow and are there any areas that require rock scrambling or anything? I have being doing research on the hike and from what I have read most of the difficult terrain is in California and Washington. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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    Go in August. Catch the total solar eclipse.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    I know someone who started a sobo hike last year at Cascade Locks later in May - not May 1. I warned her about the snow and advised her to start later, but she wouldn't listen. After all that planning and going to a lot of trouble to get time off work, she was soon forced by the snow to abort her hike.

  10. #10
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveng8 View Post
    Hey thanks for the heads up! Do you think most of the campgrounds will be covered in snow as well? I know it has been a heavy snow year for oregon and am trying to plan for the conditions. I have not done much winter camping but will be going on some winter backpacking trips this month. For the Oregon section hike are there any areas that are difficult or will be difficult to pass with the heavy snow and are there any areas that require rock scrambling or anything? I have being doing research on the hike and from what I have read most of the difficult terrain is in California and Washington. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
    Let me put this more plainly: you need to change your plans. A May Oregon section hike is not going to be doable by someone who is not highly experienced with snow travel, and even then it would be very difficult. Try July or, better yet, August which should have fewer bugs than July. If you're stuck hiking in May, you should find a different trail to do--other than southernmost CA, nowhere on the PCT will be free of snow then.

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    YUP. Missed some important info! I obviously was doing decaf when I wrote patchy snow.

    Only now seeing you're saying you're from Hilo too.

  12. #12

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    Are you going to oregon anyway, or just for the hike? If there, then as an alternative, parts of the oregon coast trail look cool (haven't done any of it)
    If you can go somewhere else, then there are options. eg: AT, especially VA and south, is generally nice then

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    Go in August. Catch the total solar eclipse.
    This is the condensed version.
    If you have any doubts about the veracity of Feral Bill's advice, call Crater Lake National Park. Ask them what May is like in the Park.
    I have a photograph somewhere of my mother and I in front of her Oldsmobile on the road up to the Crater Lake Rim. In May. The snow bank behind the car was at least 10'-12', yes feet, high.
    I'm constantly amazed by the lack of geographic knowledge today.
    I guess I was very lucky to have lived physical geography my whole life.
    August. 2017. Oregon. Total Solar Eclipse. Be there. Have fun.
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  14. #14

    Default Buy food ahead of time

    I thru-hiked the trail this last year (2016) and just bought as I went most of the time. Oregon, however, I bought all my food in Ashland and then mailed it ahead to myself. I carried from Ashland and then picked up a package at Mazama Village at Crater Lake, and then one more at Elk Lake Resort, and that got me to Cascade Locks. I also supplemented a few small bits out of a hiker box at Shelter Cove and again at Big Lake Youth Camp (best hiker box on trail). But there isn't too many trail towns in Oregon.

  15. #15

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    In the big snow year of 2011, I drove into Crater Lake in mid June. The road was opened since it was plowed, but the snow was still piled up at least 2ft in many parts. I heard the snow was even worse further north. A hike across Oregon in June would have been beyond most people's ability that year.

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    FWIW:

    The following picture is from 2008, on June 18th near the edge of Marion Lake in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area in Oregon at about 4000 ft. The PCT is just over 2000 ft higher than we were, on the ridge above us, when we took this picture. The snow was 3 - 6 ft deep along the east side of the lake although we found some bare ground to camp on the south side of the lake. At mid day, the snow was soft enough we were postholing all the way up to our butts. Early morning was pretty solid, but slippery. If you hit warm rainy weather along the PCT, skirting along and just below the upper slopes of Mt. Jefferson, in these conditions, spring wet-slab avalanche danger would be prohibitive.

    Marion Lake June 18 2008.JPG
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Another little image. The following image was taken along the Timberline Trail that circumnavigates Mt. Hood in Oregon and is contiguous with the PCT along the NW part of the mountain. This image was taken on July 30th, 2012. I considered the trail quite passable, although, it may not have been a week earlier without microspikes. As far as the forest rangers were concerned, the trail was still impassable due to snow. That being said, we also passed a few PCT hikers on the PCT section and it wasn't a big issue for them either. BUT, this was the END of July!

    Snow on Timberline Trail July 30 2012.jpg
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    This image was taken on July 30th, 2012.
    Holy crap. That wasn't even a big snow year.

  19. #19

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    Practice with your ice ax in different snow conditions.
    The PCT in OR traverses mountains often, and early morning will be super slippery..
    You will fall.
    Hopefully you will be able to self arrest in any position/snow condition/ice.
    Route finding will also be very challenging.
    Good luck.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlpineKevin View Post
    Holy crap. That wasn't even a big snow year.
    No. But, Mt. Hood is some of the higher elevation (~6000') along that part of the PCT, and the PCT section was mostly clear of snow, even if there was still some in some places. But, seeing the snow does make the point that there is a reason SOBO PCT hikers start later in the season.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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