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steelfrog

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I am back after a couple years hiatus from the Northwest. We are eyeballing a "big" trip to the Caqscades this summer. We are also, separately, going to hit the Canadian Rockies (Yoho NP etc), but that's for a different discussion. ANYWAY, I have the 3 book series on Cascade climbing and high alpine routes. I will have questions about specific mountains next week.

 

A little background--we go to California every year, and Colorado many times a year. We have climbed many 14ers in CO, by class 3 and sometimes 4 routes. NO ROPES. In Cali, same thing--a lot of off trail stuff. For the first time, and with some trepidation this past summer, we encountered extensive ice in Sequoia/Kings Canyon and, though nervous at first, we LOVED it. Much better than rock scrambling/climbing. So, we figured the next logical move was the Cascades.

 

Which is a long way of leading up to a very simple question--WHEN should we plan this 10 day trip in order to have the best chance of decent weather?

 

Many thanks.

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And by that you mean, what? I am assuming you mean that some ice/snow melted so going is rougher; risk of crevasse problems etc higher?

 

Also, August--early or late, which is best? Is it best just to watch weather and try to look for long range weather windows? That makes getting flights harder/more expensive though.

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I've been snowed on every month out of the year in the cascades and I've hiked in a T'shirt in the middle of winter on several occasions. Obviously as you move closer to "summer" the weather will get better in the alpine which also means that the "ice" you are looking to climb will be melting out. Having a clearly defined objective will help you in figuring out when to schedule your trip. I'd pick the route(s) first and then go when they are "in", if that is at all possible with your schedule.

 

Weather patterns north to south along the entire range can vary a lot and often changes drastically from year to year as well. Last year routes that are normally melted out scree slogs by mid June were hanging in there until mid July and lots of places that normally melt out by July held their snow all year. The weather has been and looks to be again anything but normal.

 

You can look up the historical averages and buy plane tickets and what not based on that data although I'd think throwing a dart at a calendar will produce results of equal usefulness.

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Weather typically becomes much more stable after July 4th and continues to stablize through August leading to long stretches of good weather that can persist through September. Depending upon your objective, earlier in this time frame may be better in terms of solid snow bridges and less icy conditions. Even two hot weeks can turn a route from a steep snow climb into an ice climb that requires a second tool and ice screws and belays. I would first decide what your primary objectives are and come back and ask for more specific weather advice for those routes.

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