Late Season Uintas Trips - What Do I Need to Know?

Perry

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Seeing the post with the webcam shot of snow on Bald Mountain brought me some despair. I'm not ready to give up this year just yet. What do I need to know about taking safe late season trips? Any advice?
 

genez

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Seeing the post with the webcam shot of snow on Bald Mountain brought me some despair. I'm not ready to give up this year just yet. What do I need to know about taking safe late season trips? Any advice?

Most of that snow will probably melt off next week - some may linger, but looking at the forecast I doubt it. You should be fine through October.

Like anything in the high country, any time of year, cold enough temps and moisture could mean snow. Just be prepared with proper gear to stay warm and dry, let people know where you're going and planning to be and make sure you know how to get where you're going.

When I was in the Tetons this July, it snowed down to 8'000 feet, we were camped at 9'000 on the TCT and had to navigate some passes in near whiteout conditions - if it had snowed 2" more, we wouldn't have even been able to see the trail. Made me wish I would have loaded some GPS tracks to have just in case to stay on course. We pushed on and ended up just fine but my partner and I did discuss a plan B to stay in Alaska Basin if we weren't able to safely get to our planned camp over Hurricane Pass.

Being prepared is being safe.
 

Perry

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My first thought are the passes. I can imagine being trapped by a surprise snow storm and having to wait, and hoping, for a quick warm up to follow to be able to get out.

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Perry

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So to those who have done trips that have ended up in the snow... What extra gear/clothing would you recommend over that of the summer season?
 

Nick

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I think you pretty much have to just plan like you are camping in the snow, but perhaps even worse because of the wet factor where it crosses over. I got hit by a storm up there in late September one year. It seemed pretty innocuous so we hiked in it all day. We ended up getting soaked after several hours of hiking. Got back to camp and it just kept coming down. We were super cold and my dog was getting hypothermic and we couldn't load on enough wood to keep the fire going. We retreated to tents in the late afternoon to try to stay warm. I had to use my underwear to towel my dog off before stuffing her into my sleeping bag to get her temp back up. Around 1:30 AM, I awoke to what I thought was someone outside my tent with a headlamp on. The storm had cleared so I crawled out in hopes of finally cooking some dinner. The headlamp was actually a full moon and the entire landscape was covered in a solid sheet of ice at least a quarter inch thick. Every single twig and pine needles and rock was just coated by it. This was pre-camera days for me, so I have no photos, but it was absolutely stunning to see it all glistening in the light of the full moon. That trip could have gotten bad fast though. We were sort of reckless considering the conditions. The wet and cold were relentless and fire couldn't help.

With that said, the weather is more predictable in the fall because the monsoons have usually died off. We were young and dumb and never even really looked at the forecast. If you're just going to have to move through some existing snow, think traction devices and keeping dry from being in contact with it. And layers. Lots of layers.
 

Perry

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I think you pretty much have to just plan like you are camping in the snow, but perhaps even worse because of the wet factor where it crosses over. I got hit by a storm up there in late September one year. It seemed pretty innocuous so we hiked in it all day. We ended up getting soaked after several hours of hiking. Got back to camp and it just kept coming down. We were super cold and my dog was getting hypothermic and we couldn't load on enough wood to keep the fire going. We retreated to tents in the late afternoon to try to stay warm. I had to use my underwear to towel my dog off before stuffing her into my sleeping bag to get her temp back up. Around 1:30 AM, I awoke to what I thought was someone outside my tent with a headlamp on. The storm had cleared so I crawled out in hopes of finally cooking some dinner. The headlamp was actually a full moon and the entire landscape was covered in a solid sheet of ice at least a quarter inch thick. Every single twig and pine needles and rock was just coated by it. This was pre-camera days for me, so I have no photos, but it was absolutely stunning to see it all glistening in the light of the full moon. That trip could have gotten bad fast though. We were sort of reckless considering the conditions. The wet and cold were relentless and fire couldn't help.

With that said, the weather is more predictable in the fall because the monsoons have usually died off. We were young and dumb and never even really looked at the forecast. If you're just going to have to move through some existing snow, think traction devices and keeping dry from being in contact with it. And layers. Lots of layers.
Wow! That got pretty serious!

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Deleted User

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I think you have to be prepared for anything out there this time of year. I always go prepared this time of year. A couple of years ago we did a Mid October trip out there and woke up on Sunday morning to 6" of snow in camp and the hike out was interesting but fun. I'll share a few pics so you can see what conditions were like when we went to bed, and what we woke up to.

20141010-_DSC0026.jpg

Our camp at dinner time on Saturday

20141011-_DSC0111.jpg

What we woke up to on Sunday morning

20141011-_DSC0115.jpg

The hike out was fun and snowy. As you can see I came prepared.
 

Perry

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So I've never done a winter weather trip. What does everyone's clothing and gear list look like? Basically what is different than that for the warm season?

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