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News Subway (Zion) Conditions - ongoing

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. bigjstyle22

    bigjstyle22

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    Planning on going through on 4/18/19 with my brother. I'll post a report after with some photos and some answers to some of the questions we've had as we've been preparing for it.
  2. Jman

    Jman

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    If anyone cares, I made a vid edit of March 30 descent.

    It sounds like most of that snow at the trailhead is gone now but the higher elevations still have some feet to go and melt through.

    It is 30 mins long, FYI so cast it to your TV and relax for a while.






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  3. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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  4. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    Location:
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    So looking at the graph of the gaging data, I believe midnight to be the vertical line. So the peak flow of the daily snowmelt (for this station at least) is occurring around midnight. Which would also mean the lowest flow for the day is occurring sometime in the afternoon. I would then make the inference that the other creeks in the area would have similar patterns based on snowmelt and air temp.

    In short, when checking the Subway flow before deciding to descend it or not, would you assume a similar pattern albeit different ranges based on the size of the drainage basin?

    upload_2019-4-22_9-32-47.
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
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    How far away from the gage (or you) is the melt basin? For the North Fork Narrows, the gage is near the Lodge, and the melt basin is a long way away. Thus it takes all day from the time of maximum melt (2 pm?) for that pulse to hit the gage. Okay, 10 hours.

    For the Subway, the melt basin is close to the obstacles in the Subway. I think the Subway peaks about 5 pm, and is at minimum about 5 am.

    Tom
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  6. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    Location:
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    Did you go or abandon the trip?
  7. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    Location:
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    Here is my feeble attempt at outlining the catch basin for the subway...for what it's worth. Just another data point. If the north half of the outline is still covered with 6ft of snow, the left fork may be flowing for a few more weeks.
    upload_2019-4-24_12-13-9.
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  8. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    Latest snotel reading for Kolob is 69". 1 week ago it was 81". Melted 12" in the last week. That equals out to 5.75 weeks before it's fully melted but will be shorter as it starts getting warm faster, but there will be snow on the north slopes for a while. Kolob and Boundary canyons, who knows when they will be safe.
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  9. Jman

    Jman

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    You are looking at snow depth, but to more accurately see how much water is up there you need to look at SWE (snow water equivalent). Snow depth has compaction and settlement when the water amount (SWE) remains consistent.

    Currently there is 72” for a snow depth at the Kolob Snotel and the SWE is 31”. Ten days ago the SWE was 32.1”. So that tells me that there is plenty of water to melt up there even though snow depth dropped by a foot.

    In comparison, 2011 still has 2019 beat when it comes to water amount. The SWE for this day in 2011 was at 40” !

    In most years it looks like the SWE was at 0” by mid-May. On May 30, 2011 there was 26” of water at the Kolob Snotel still! That’s a lot! This year will be similar but less by 15” or so.






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  10. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    Sort of.

    Air temp and future storms will still be determining factor. A warm rain or a cold snow will drastically skew any predictions.

    It is what it is at that moment and may change the very next day
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  11. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Location:
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    Was 2011 the last big wet year we had? (Moved here in 2015.)

    If so, for context, the Narrows didn't drop below 150cfs until June 28th of that year.
  12. Jman

    Jman

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    For the Zion area specifically, yes. That is according to the WCC and all of the Snotel information that is freely available there.

    This is the link that I use: https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/snow_map.html

    On a side-note: It’s fun to compare Snotel sites around the state, go back in time and see the different levels, etc.

    According to the WCC, water managers heavily rely upon the SWE (snow water equivalent) for water planning for the year. It basically means that if all of the snow in that localized area were to instantly turn into liquid water, that is how much (in inches) there would be at that given time. And right now in the western US, there is a LOT of SWE across the board.

    It’s pretty intriguing to be honest and adds to my wilderness experience knowing years like these aren’t common and motivates me to get out, hike the mountains in northern Utah where I live, and see the canyons in these uncommon heavy water years.






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  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    People need to understand that the person telling them "not too bad" here thinks a 35 foot toboggan into a 20 foot drop into a shoulder deep pool is a reasonable thing to do. Sure, it's not too bad if you can ghost Heaps and Imlay in the same two week period for the first time ever. :)

    The Subway is very casual for most of the year, perhaps even including the Winter. Doing it in flowing conditions with my kids? No thanks. There are plenty of other days to go and plenty of other things to do that weekend. There are four seasons for a reason.
  14. Jman

    Jman

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    Had a friend attempt the Subway this morning but got turned around due to the Subway closure and high-water.

    SAR rescued 3 people in the last 3 days a ranger was telling them at the trailhead.

    Sounds like it’s raging...


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  15. Dan H

    Dan H FNG

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    Location:
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    I hiked to the left fork right fork confluence last night.
    It was a roaring river. Picture the Colorado through glen wood canyon and scale it down to half scale.
    We cancelled our permits for tomorrow. So if you want to practice your high water rescue there are some openings for tomorrow.
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  16. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
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    The Wilderness Desk has confirmed that the Subway from the top is currently closed. You can still get the permit and hike up from the bottom, but good luck with that!!!

    Tom
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
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  17. townsend

    townsend

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    Location:
    Plano, TX

    German: wunderbar
    Spanish: maravilloso
    English: wonderful, fantastic

    Thanks for taking me through --- without a permit, no doubt.
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  18. Mike Zampino

    Mike Zampino Canyon season never ends.

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    Location:
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    The day I talked to the rangers they were saying half the people were making it up to the subway section coming from the bottom. The others turned back way earlier due to all the high water crossings...and that is in the wider section of the canyon. Needless to say, there are too many other fun things to do then trudge a group up stream in brown water.
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  19. Dan H

    Dan H FNG

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    Location:
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    IMG_1190.JPG 4-25-19 around 18:30. Left fork just above confluence with right fork. That's a lot of water.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  20. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    ^^^ 25 April I'm guessing?
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