Hiking on Snow and Ice Training
Mather Pass in mid July
In the early season the PCT is still covered in snow. The warmth from the spring sun partially melts the snow and then refreezes the same snow during the night. This cycle coalesces the snow pack. Walking on snow before the snow has coalesed will result in your body sinking into the snow to your waist with every step. This is known as postholing and is a very strenuous way to travel in snow. Short distances of a mile or two can take a full day of hiking. By mid June the snow has usually consolidated enough in the High Sierras to reduce the chances of postholing. However the best time to depart Kennedy Meadows (mile marker 703) is dependent on the snow conditions and your snow experience.
It is recommended that all hikers who anticipate hiking in snow take the appropriate training. For more information about snow training Contact the PCTA .