Backpacker Radio #191 | Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail 2.0: High Snow Year Considerations, Gear Changes by Section, and More

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are chatting all things Pacific Crest Trail, round two. We are joined by our pal and two-time PCT thru-hiker, Michael “Grizzly” Ivey to talk through our top advice for hiking the PCT, with a special emphasis on doing so during a high snow year, which 2023 is shaping up to be. We go through suggestions for traveling through a snowy Sierra, including estimating food carries, how to approach water crossings, grouping, self-arresting skills, and more. We also chat through some more general tips including how to budget zero days, evaluating what type of hiker you are, and how to mentally approach the hike overall during a year with a large potential for chaos. We wrap the panel by breaking down how our gear changed from one section to the next during our own PCT hikes.

If you like the PCT, we think you’ll love this episode.

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PCT Panel with Chaunce, Badger, and Grizzly

Time stamps & Questions

00:05:04 – QOTD: If you worked in fast food, would you prioritize the drive-thru orders or the in-store orders?

00:08:20 – Reminders: Vote for BPR in the Sports Podcast Awards! Replace sweet sweet Leah and become our video person!

00:12:53 – Introducing Grizzly

00:15:33 – Zach Tip #1: Be ready for everything that comes with a high snow year

00:18:10 – Daniel’s 2017 High Snow Year Trek post

00:21:10 – Zach Tip #1a: You can’t carry too much food

00:25:38 – Zach Tip #1b: Creek crossings in swift water above your mid-thigh are dangerous

00:30:26 – Discussion about snow bridges

00:33:01 – Zach Tip #1c: Avoid hiking solo, especially at water crossings

00:39:31 – Chaunce Tip #1: Know your own limitations

00:43:27 – Grizzly’s trail resume

00:47:10 – Grizzly Tip #1: Identify what kind of hiker you are and how that will affect your hike

00:50:51 – Zach Tip #2: Go into your hike with a flexible mindset

00:59:00 – Chaunce Tip #2: Learn how to self-arrest and practice it before getting on trail

01:05:25 – Grizzly Tip #2: No matter how dialed in your gear is, you’ll learn something new

01:14:03 – Chaunce Tip #3: Budget your zero days

01:23:37 – Zach Tip #3: Sun umbrellas are the shit

01:29:03 – Shoutout to Rachel!

01:29:20 – Grizzly’s PCT gear swaps

01:36:25 – Discussion about shoes

01:39:35 – Chaunce’s PCT gear swaps

01:40:50 – Zach’s PCT gear swaps

01:46:00 – Favorite spots in the desert

01:52:00 – Discussion about trail angels near the southern terminus

01:54:44 – Favorite spots in the Sierra/NorCal

01:59:20 – Favorite spots in Oregon

02:02:40 – Favorite spots in Washington


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Comments 2

  • Doug Laher : Apr 10th

    Thanks for mentioning Trevor’s accident on Apache Peak…one of the most dangerous sections of the entire PCT under the right circumstances. It’s not fear mongering…you’re educating people about the realities of the Trail. Our family learned that the hard way.


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