[pct-l] Sensationalist

Slyatpct at aol.com Slyatpct at aol.com
Tue Sep 5 09:22:45 CDT 2006

In a message dated 9/4/2006 11:20:32 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
dsaufley at sprynet.com writes:

Also,  the organizers do not pick the "ideal" time to have the event -- they 
have to  reserve Lake Morena a year in advance, with no knowledge of what the 
weather  conditions will be.  I can also tell you, as a former ADZ organizing  
committee member, the date is also picked to suit the schedules of those  
making the plans.  

>From what I remember the 1st KO was held in '99  the 2nd to last  weekend in 
April because that's when most on this list were starting.  It's  been held 
the last full weekend in April since, with most starting at that time  
regardless of the KO, so they don't get to KM too soon in any given  year.  If the KO 
was held the 2nd week of May do you honestly think 300  hikers would start 
then?  Or the 1st weekend in April?
I understand some will start earlier, but if they start as early as  March  
they're obviously going to run into problems.  Also, in  the south distances 
between water sources tends to dictate you daily  mileage.  They can also make 
it back to the KO so no problem there.
Only a few will ever leave as late as June  and they'd be in for  one hell of 
a hike, literally.
Hikers also have to make plans.  I know well in advance of  when I'm starting 
For the average hiker, the PCT takes about 5 months to  finish.  The end of 
April (before the heat) to the end of September (before  the snow).  The way 
the trails laid out, starting out at 17 miles a day  will get you to KM in about 
50 days with a few days off or about Ray Day or mid  June, ideally the best 
in most years, but not heavy snow years.  
If it's a heavy snow year you basically have four choices, cancel your  plans 
as Jardine suggested (personally not ever likely) slow down a bit  
(possible), flip (possible) or start mid May (not  likely).  Besides having to change 
plans, it would be hard to  make up that 2-3 weeks, you'd be hiking in much 
hotter temperatures and  you'd be pushing your luck towards the end.  A faster 
hiker could do if  they choose but the slower ones probably wouldn't make it 
without hiking well  into October and seeing snow in the north.  I understand 
there are some  that finish in Oct. but most don't want to chance it.
If it's a low snow year (or you're a slow hiker) you could conceivably  start 
earlier if you were able to change your plans but you'd also be  more at risk 
to spring snow in the south or late snow in the  Sierras getting there the 
end of May.  
There'll always be some that start early or late, each exposing themselves  
to various conditions but for the most part the last week in April will always  
be the best.
Let's forget the KO even existed, say  the organizers decided it was  too 
much trouble, when do you think the average should hiker start in  a low snow 
year and an heavy snow year in order to make through the Sierras and  to Canada?  
Now split the middle.  The fact remains the PCT is getting  more popular.  
Since the 90 the number of hikers is probably threefold  or more.  That's why 
it's crowded, not because of the KO.  

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