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  1. #1
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    Default 2018 AZT weather and conditons

    Since spring NOBO departure dates are approaching for many (me included) I thought it might be useful to have a few posts about what to expect. I will put in a few posts before I depart and maybe some later in the year to cover when the big heat arrives and when summer might be ending (unless I am out hiking that is). Anyone should feel free to add in useful data.

    Feb21 - Well here we are almost done with winter and having gone almost the entire winter way above average in temps and virtually zero snow. Well that has changed a lot in the last week or so. There has been significant snow north of the Mogollon Rim which takes you to the high country which starts just north of Pine, AZ. It was 3 below zero last night at the Grand Canyon South Rim and single digits in Flagstaff. The packed base at the ski resort you walk by north of Flagstaff is 26" today. I can find no data on snow levels at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (all facilities are closed) but I would expect it is 2-3 feet at least. Through the end of the month Flagstaff has 3 more days for which snow is forecast.

    Down south it has also snowed a fair amount and the ski resort on Mt Lemon is open and Summerhaven next door has about 6 inches on the ground looking at the camera there. Low temperatures on the top of the Catalinas (Mt Lemon/Summerhaven) for tomorrow night are supposed to be about 15 deg with a windchill of zero deg. There is no way to get any kind of report for what the top of the Rincon's, Santa Rita's, and the Huachuca's are like but one would expect that they have some level of snow right now. Especially on the north sides. Low temperatures for them right now should be a bit warmer than the Catalinas but not a lot - estimate in the mid-20's with a wind chill near single digits. Summerhaven is forecast to have rain and snow on the 28th.

    AZ is expected to start warming back up in a few days to near normal - about 71 deg is normal for Phoenix/Tuscon this time of year. But they are among the hottest places along the trail so don't be fooled.

    Best guess for 1 March is that it will be below freezing at night if you are near the mountain tops south of Tuscon and that the days will be perfect hiking weather once the sun takes the chill off the morning nippyness.

  2. #2
    Registered User handlebar's Avatar
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    Thanks for precip update. I'm resuming my GET hike late March And was getting concerned by total lack of winter precip.
    Last edited by handlebar; 03-02-2018 at 18:13.
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

  3. #3
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    Call or directly contact GC NP abut current N. RIM snowpack.

    Liked you are researching weather and potential water conditions taking more than a cursory look at it this close to your start.

    Ive heard so many times winter is over and then seen snow.

  4. #4
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    For anyone who doesn't already know, the USDA maintains a site that tracks the amount of snow depth at various high points in the western US. You can also look at year-to-date precipitation for the various watersheds. With a bit of clicking, you can even visit a web page for each of the major weather stations that the USDA maintains, which gives historical daily high and low temperatures:

    https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/s...ta_simple.html


    While the weather stations are not immediately on the AZT, this data might help a prospective hiker infer how much snow he might face along the trail, it might help understand the extent to which we should expect seasonal water sources to actually have water, and by looking at the historical temperatures experienced at those weather stations, prospective hikers might get a better idea of the required rating for their sleeping bag for their particular departure date. If you are leaving from the Mexican border in March, take a look at the USDA's Snotel site -- there are worse ways that you could spend 30 minutes.

  5. #5
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    Most sites like Snotel include noting elevation. Make the necessary elev adjustments in respect to things like temp, wind chill, exposure, possible differences in available H2O, etc. when those sites aren't on your route.

  6. #6
    GAME 06
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    This will be my last update as I leave Fri for the trail and will be busy tomorrow getting ready.

    Significant snow in AZ since last post and it is snowing right now over much of the state.

    Base packed snow at Snowbowl where the trail wraps around the mountain north of Flag is now up to 36". From Pine north to Utah right now all the ground is covered in snow and up high it might be fairly deep. But then no one should be that far north hiking yet anyway. Since it has been a low snow year I would expect that by the time anyone leaving from today or later from Mexico there will be no snow up north unless you are a barn burner and get there in half the normal time.

    Further south it has snowed on top of all the mountains as well. I checked the cam at Summerhaven and it looks like about 6" on the ground. Just a guess. If you are leaving now expect snow on top of the Huachucas, the Rincon's and the Catalinas at a minimum. But probably not a lot. There may or may not be any on the Santa Rita's as the trail is quite a ways down from the top and has eastern/southern exposure. I would expect the snow in the Mazatzals to be gone by the time anyone gets that far north.

    Water supplies should be a bit better - there was not a huge amount of precip so it will not have fully hydrated the land. But, as usual, do not assume any of the sketchy sources are running.

    Nighttime temps up high will very likely be below freezing. Day temps will be near perfect - except up high where it might be cold if it is windy. The 10 day forecast for Patagonia is for normal highs (near 70) and normal lows (mid 40's) with about half the days partly cloudy (which is a bonus here in AZ and should be appreciated as it does not happen all that often). No precip expected at all.

  7. #7
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    Great thread Wyoming.

    Will you be updating from the trail here or anywhere else?

    If you are planning on stopping in Kearny for resupply the Old Time Pizza restaurant is very hiker friendly. Will deliver pizza to the trail, pick up hikers who need a ride to town, etc. Owners are great people. The husband is section hiking the AZT over several years.

    I left a "hiker gift card" there last summer, after the "bubble" (lol) so it may be unclaimed, you should ask them about it. Get a pizza on me if it still there.

    I've only day hiked around AZ and did a r2r backpacking trip a while back but the AZT is at the top of my list when I make the time to do a long trail. Maybe SOBO later this year. A beautiful, diverse, and fairly under the radar trail.

    Happy trails!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTX2WY View Post
    Great thread Wyoming.

    Will you be updating from the trail here or anywhere else?

    If you are planning on stopping in Kearny for resupply the Old Time Pizza restaurant is very hiker friendly. Will deliver pizza to the trail, pick up hikers who need a ride to town, etc. Owners are great people. The husband is section hiking the AZT over several years.

    I left a "hiker gift card" there last summer, after the "bubble" (lol) so it may be unclaimed, you should ask them about it. Get a pizza on me if it still there.

    I've only day hiked around AZ and did a r2r backpacking trip a while back but the AZT is at the top of my list when I make the time to do a long trail. Maybe SOBO later this year. A beautiful, diverse, and fairly under the radar trail.

    Happy trails!
    Hi,

    I was not planing on going into Kearny but ordering a pizza to the trail does sound nice. Did not know they will do that - added their phone number to my resupply sheet. TYVM!

    I have some intention of sending in a few water source updates. But I tend to go silent once I hit the trail. The hermit in me comes out.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for keeping this live everyone! I am hoping to do at least the Grand Canyon in May if not other passages.

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