Author Topic: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...  (Read 4338 times)

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Offline optimisticchris

Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« on: May 11, 2019, 01:49:41 pm »
My wife & I are working out the logistics for a cross-country bike trip. We had hoped to go east to west but are not necessarily fixed on that.
Recent life events are causing us to reconsider our original starting date and postpone the start date until a little later in the year. So my direct question is:
Looking at the northwest part of the USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho & Montana), when does snow typically arrive in those states making it difficult to get across the mountain passes on the Trans America Trail/Lewis and Clark Trail/Northern Tier routes.
We appreciate any input you might have or links to help finding answers.
Optimistic Chris

Offline hikerjer

Re: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2021, 12:23:18 pm »
That's an almost impossible question to answer accurately since it varies so much from year to year and much depends on your route with elevation being a primary factor. Generally, I'd say that after mid-Octomber you stand a pretty good chance of getting snowed on but anytime after mid-September can be dicey. Hell, I've been snowed on in the northern Rockies in July and August. Like I said, it's a crap shot.  Come prepared with pretty warm clothes anytime before July to be safe.  You can alway ship them home after you've crossed the mountains.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2021, 03:54:04 pm »
Some passes close for the winter, but other passes are year-round passes. If you incorporate the year-round passes in your route, you can get across all year long. Yes, you might have to wait a few days (or weeks if the storm is big and the temperatures stay low) if there has been a recent snowstorm, but a window will open. So it just depends if you have the time to wait it out if your timing is off. Unlike in the East where the snow may come and stay all winter, it doesn’t work like that in the West.

Offline jamawani

Re: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2021, 04:00:06 pm »
The latest spring snow in Wyoming that I have seen was in July.
The earliest fall snow in Wyoming that I have seen was in August.
However, spring snow may occur later and fall snow earlier.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2021, 10:45:59 pm »
What are you saying?  It could nsow any time in Wyoming?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2021, 08:55:04 pm by hikerjer »

Offline jamawani

Re: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2021, 06:50:09 am »
I have seen 200+ people crammed into the McDonalds i Jackson on July 4th.
Almost all wearing shorts & t-shorts - - with snow coming down outside.

In Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Bighorns, the Snowy Range -
Yes, it can snow any time of the year.
July and August snow is usually ont a one-day event.
Snow in June or September is more frequent and at lower elevations.
I'd guess every other year - and it is a 2-3 day intense cold snap.

May and October can have full-scale blizzards.
I skied this past October on a foot of fresh snow.
Temperatures in the mountains were in the single digits F.
October storms are the deadliest.

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/crime/2017/10/11/university-louisville-professor-found-dead-wyoming-after-hiking-trip/755754001/

Offline BikePacker

Re: Earliest snow in the northern Rockies...
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2021, 08:19:02 am »
when does snow typically arrive in those states making it difficult to get across the mountain passes .....  Northern Tier routes.
Chris - I have only toured the Northern Tier one time.
I was in the North Cascades, WA mid-July.
The travel was not impeded with any snow falling;
however, there was plenty of unmelted snow along the route in the upper elevations ...
I mention this cause IF that is 'normal' then you'd wanna know so that you prepared with that in mind,
e.g., IF you plan on camping.