Yesterday I had a thought: it's been superwarm this year, without a lot of snow. Is it reasonable to move my PCT start date up and walk through the southern Sierras in early May?
Poking around a bit, it's been close to 70 degrees in Yosemite Valley over the past few days, at 4000' elevation.
Today, there's just an inch of snow on the snow sensor pad at Tuolumne Meadow, at 8800' elevation.(http://cdec.water.ca.gov/jspplot/jspPlotServlet.jsp?sensor_no=11727&end=02%2F20%2F2015+12%3A00&geom=huge&interval=30&cookies=cdec01)
Forecast is for a few flurries and all, but nothing big for the next 10 days.
And I looked through this guys blog from last year--he went through the big passes in mid-May. Here's a post from Forester Pass on May 14th last year, which has bare earth at 13,200'.
The snows are not going to be any deeper this year. I'll be at Forester Pass around April 30th/May 1, so two weeks before he went up and over. This can be done--I'll need to make sure I have a bit warmer clothing, like what I took snow camping a few weeks ago, but I expect the conditions to be no worse than then. If the conditions are rough, I'll jump off the trail at Kearsarge Pass and head down to Independence. If they're doable, I'll return back after a resupply in Independence and keep on truckin' to Mammoth.
I called Jack at the PCTA and moved my departure date to March 17th.
I'll also return back from my other trip and fly into Mammoth and pick up the trail there--probably from Horseshoe Lake, where I plan on dropping off the trail in early May if all goes well!