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Zion OnGoing Snowmelt Information 2017

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Zion Snow Guess 3/2/2017 Tom Jones

    Link for North Fork Flow Rate. Closed to hiking above 150 cfs.

    There's a bunch of snow up high and at medium altitudes, and zilch at ground level Springdale. So what does that mean.

    A. The Narrows will most likely close for at least a few weeks. Projected: April 1 to May 15th. Depends on how the melt progresses. And if it snows or rains again. VERY hard to predict at this point.

    B. West Rim Trailhead: The road to the upper West Rim Trailhead is on the north side of a steep hillside at altitude (7800 feet). This road opens when it can, often not until June 1st. The road to Lava Point opens before that, adding a one mile hike (The Barney Trail) to the start up there. This opens... maybe May 1st (???). Before that, the road out to Lava Point tends to be a pond, and you can do that, but if hiking the West Rim Trail, it might be better to hike from the Wildcat Trailhead.

    C. The Subway has a lower and smaller collection zone leading to it, but given the snowpack, it is likely to be flowing and impassable to all but the best canyoneers starting... well, maybe even now. Hard to say. Depends on the warm/cool cycles at the 7000 to 8000 foot level. In prior years it has had heavy flow during April and the Wilderness Desk SHOULD close it, but there is no gauge on that creek, so it is hard for them to track the flow level. Being issued a permit is ZERO indication that the canyon is passable. WHEN you get down to stream level, if there is flow in the canyon (>1 cfs) you should probably turn around. From the bottom, no problem.

    D. ECHO Canyon: Middle Echo Canyon holds snow. There tends to be an impassable huge block of snow some distance after the rappels. Reports from a few weeks ago was that the block was close to being impassable; so it is likely not passable now. Hard to say when it will be passable - if you plan on doing it, hike in from the bottom to the bottom of the last rappel (if you can) before rapping in. The Desk might or might not close the canyon. Being issued a permit does not mean passage is possible.

    E. Other Canyons: early season, the tendency is to run canyons that face south and are fairly low. Popular canyons early season include: Keyhole, Pine Creek, Spry, Behunin, Not Imlay. I can also recommend Jacob. Observation Point Canyon tends to be very warm (as in, too warm) unless the day is very cloudy; until you get to the shaded place where it would be very cold (wetsuit/drysuit needed). Mystery is likely to hold snow for awhile on the approach, but should be good once you get there. Engelstead tends to hold some snow.

    F. Imlay and Heaps: Heaps you can drive by and see if it is flowing. That is snowmelt coming out of there. Unlikely to be a good time if there is flow coming out of the canyon. Tends to be very wet and very cold in the spring... out through July 1st. Imlay has a fairly large and fairly high drainage, so it takes a while to stop flowing in the spring. Hard to tell without going and looking.

    G. Lava Point Canyons: the canyons that start near Lava Point (Kolob, Boundary, Pipe Spring) are really the highest canyons in the Park, and the last to be ready. If you cannot drive to the West Rim Trailhead, you probably don't want to do these canyons. Kolob tends to hold some very large ice-bergs/snow piles in places (below the usual rappel part) that can be technical and dangerous. The reported release from the dam is not necessarily a useful thing to know... If you want to do one of these canyons, I recommend doing Pipe Spring Canyon first, all the way to the creek, to see how the creek is doing. It is a fun canyon, even if it does not have the REP!

    Overall, it is fair to say that the Zion season, when we have winter snows like this year, does not start until maybe June 1st. Could be sooner, could be later.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  2. dakotabelliston

    dakotabelliston Living life to it's fullest

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    Awesome information. Thank you Tom !!!

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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  3. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    We are heading to Midway (Cedar Breaks) snowmobiling still this weekend. There is still over 7' of snow at high elevations
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  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    My hope is that as people do things in Zion, they will update this thread.

    Pretty please!

    Tom
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  5. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Great info!
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  6. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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  7. Kevin

    Kevin

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    Excellent info Tom, thank you
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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  9. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    Definitely not the best pic, cell phone through the windshield.

    Snowpack level at Midway, just before the Cedar Breaks turnoff near the Bristlecone Pine trail.

    This is in the flat in the sun. NRCS Snotel reading for Midway Valley is currently at 79". There is still a lot of snow on the mountain.
  10. hlscowboy

    hlscowboy

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    Any idea on what current conditions in Birch Hollow or Walker Gulch might be?
  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I got a report from people doing Mystery Canyon on 3/8. Roads on the Ponderosa still have snow on them, and the ZAC driver was able to get within about a mile of the trailhead. People hiked from there. The canyon was snowy.

    Kinda looked like the dirt part of the road was still very squishy/muddy/wet. Don't go there. The canyons themselves are gonna be plenty wet, snowy, cold etc.

    In other words, its gonna take a couple more weeks.

    Tom
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  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Latest Report: Subway got done this weekend. Road open almost to the Wildcat Trailhead. Some snow past there, but not too much.

    Tom
  13. LonePeak

    LonePeak

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    I love this thread and hope for regular updates throughout the park. Thanks.
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  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    A report on Bogley re: Spry -

    I did Spry March 11 with a group of 4, 2 of whom were rookies. There is a lot of snow near the first rap and below it. Water was flowing in the canyon. Wetsuits are a must. All the anchors were good. One or two need to be redone eventually.
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  15. Dave Melton

    Dave Melton

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    We did Spry today (3/13/17). There are a couple of small patches of snow to cross on the approach to the first rap (before the slick rock). There was no ice or snow affecting any of the technical sections. I guess "a lot of snow" depends on where your from. I live in Mammoth and we currently have 30
    feet of snow, so I would call it a few small patches. A small amount of water flowing, but not a problem at all. The anchors were in good shape except for the last drop, which was weathered and worn. We replaced it with black. We all wore either 3/2 or 4/3 wetsuits and everyone was comfortable. A great day out there! Followed by ribs at Oscars.
  16. Ted

    Ted

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    Here's yesterday's pic from just past the Pocket Mesa trailhead parking area and its "Closed Road" sign (16.3 miles up the K.T. road from its junction with Highway 9).
    DSCF4427.JPG
    Northwest Face of Pocket Mesa (summit 7,500'+, Class 2)
    DSCF4432.JPG

    And looking back down Pocket Mesa's NW Face
    DSCF4436.JPG

    Summit ridge of Windy Peak, 7,888'
    DSCF4450.JPG

    Looking south from Windy Peak summit ridge
    DSCF4452.JPG

    The Closed Road gate from the parking area with Pocket Mesa peeking in on the right.
    DSCF4457.JPG

    There's a few patches of snow on the road on the final grade up to the Wildcat Trailhead parking lot, but they should be navigable for most cars, then it's clear sailing to the Pocket Mesa Trailhead.
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  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Big warming trend here in Zion, the last couple days. The North Fork Virgin river has started to flood. Narrows closed for hiking on Sunday.

    ZionNarrowsMarch142017.
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  18. Dave Melton

    Dave Melton

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    We did Pine Creek this afternoon. Lots of water, but not flowing. Recommend 4/3 or better wetsuits or dry suits.
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  19. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Time to boat!


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  20. Kyle

    Kyle

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    Keyhole is also doable right now with no ice anywhere to be seen.
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