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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Snowshoes are essential
    I almost always carry them on winter hikes but don't always use them. The more popular trails in the White Mountains get packed down within a day after the end of any major snowfall. Often to the point where snowshoes aren't necessary. In back country with limited foot traffic, yeah, you'll almost certainly need 'em.

    Impossible to go anywhere in the White Mountains last winter without spikes or crampons. It seemed we had more ice than snow. Many of the trails were just rivers of ice.

  2. #62

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    Yes. Whites are different. I thought somewhere you said you wouldn't take them on a LT through. That would

    I'm typing this on a top of the mountain in a tent and it snowed all night. The walls are pushing in , it seems like 10 inches...i haven't looked outside yet... And I didn't bring snowhoues

    But I think it will be ok. Today I go over S.Twin, Guyot and Bonds back to the car.
    Let me go

  3. #63
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    I suggest taking the bypasses at either end of Mt. Mansfield, especially at the south end. I can never remember if that's the nose or the chin. There are places on the northern LT where a misstep could really ruin your day.

    Keeping to the trail is a challenge in winter, if there are no prior tracks to guide you. Parts of the northern LT are hard to follow even in summer. The footpath is completely obscured, so no clues to be had looking down at your feet. Snow and ice often cover the blazes. The view outward is better in winter but the distinctions between trail and non-trail often disappear.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Yes. Whites are different. I thought somewhere you said you wouldn't take them on a LT through. That would

    I'm typing this on a top of the mountain in a tent and it snowed all night. The walls are pushing in , it seems like 10 inches...i haven't looked outside yet... And I didn't bring snowhoues But I think it will be ok. Today I go over S.Twin, Guyot and Bonds back to the car.
    Good luck, your probably somewhere along there right now. It takes a couple feet of snow to cover up all the rocks and sticks on the trail to make using snowshoes practical. Anything less then that and its just a lot of work to walk through. And of course, above tree line where the snow gets wind packed or just blows off into the trees lower down, snowshoes are not usable, but you do need crampons. The snow is always deepest on the trail for the 1/4 to 1/2 mile just below tree line as that's where all the snow ends up collecting when it blows off the exposed areas.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #65

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    Out of the woods now. Yeah I could have used them today but it was ok. Breaking trail all day from Galehead to South Twin, Guyot, Bond and Bondcliff
    Let me go

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Out of the woods now. Yeah I could have used them today but it was ok. Breaking trail all day from Galehead to South Twin, Guyot, Bond and Bondcliff

    You have me aching. Would have liked being there doing what you did. What a great experience breaking trail. Kudos. What were the temps and winds and snow depth?

  7. #67

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    10 inches on top of existing snow with deeper drifts here and there, probably 15 degrees without wind chill, wind on occassions probably gusting to 60 mph ... basically it took all my strength to remain upright. Bonus, saw two snowshoe hares on Bondcliff happy as clams.
    Let me go

  8. #68

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    Let me go

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    10 inches on top of existing snow with deeper drifts here and there, probably 15 degrees without wind chill, wind on occassions probably gusting to 60 mph ... basically it took all my strength to remain upright. Bonus, saw two snowshoe hares on Bondcliff happy as clams.
    Glad you made it out alive. Wonder how the other guy made out?
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #70

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    Yeah. I was wondering when we'd get a report from him. It's his thread after all ;-)
    Let me go

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    10 inches on top of existing snow with deeper drifts here and there, probably 15 degrees without wind chill, wind on occassions probably gusting to 60 mph ... basically it took all my strength to remain upright. Bonus, saw two snowshoe hares on Bondcliff happy as clams.
    Yeah, but I bet you felt you were really alive. Prolly slept well too.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Glad you made it out alive. Wonder how the other guy made out?
    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Yeah. I was wondering when we'd get a report from him. It's his thread after all ;-)

    Made it out just fine, gents. I'm going to get some photos onto my computer than do a brief write-up.
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    Long Trail Winter 2016 | December 19th - ......
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  13. #73
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    Mt. Carrigan Shakedown Trip

    Day 1: 9.7 mi
    Day 2: 7.1 mi

    I got dropped off at the Sawyer River Road summer parking lot (the gate was open to the upper lot!) around 8:30 and began my 5 mile hike up towards Carrigan's summit. Temps were in the low 30s, and a light snow began falling about a mile in (maybe 1.5mi? Right as I crossed over that first river). I took my time getting to the summit itself, letting a few groups of hikers go past me, each sporting microspikes and the typical Osprey/Gregory 25L day packs. At that point I had no traction and wasn't feeling it necessary, so I kept going bare booted. Halfway up the climb I shed my fleece layer, leaving me with my long underwear top and my Marmot shell, which did me fine to the summit. I stopped at the upper ridge walk to take photos, temps in the low 20s and wind howling across the ridge, and got chilly, but that's the photographer in me going any length for a photo. I'll have to get better at that during the thru.

    I reached the summit around noon, slightly disappointed in my timing of 3.5 hours to cover 5 miles, but I'm also going to have to get used to the fact that not every thru-hike can be accomplished at 3 mph. I didn't venture up the old fire tower, but instead snuck off to the side little clearing in the woods and quickly ate a sandwich after putting my fleece back on. The wind wasn't constant, but the temperatures were much chillier. At this point there were 20+ people in the vicinity of the summit so I packed up my stuff, donned my Microspikes, and began my venture down Desolation Trail.... it appeared from the snowfall and lack of previous tracks that I was the first person to head that way in quite a while. I had no issue in my light traction, but some steps on my descent left me in snow deeper than my nearly knee-high gaiters. I flew down that segment and got to the bottom where it crosses Carrigan Notch Trail pretty quickly, running across two 48'ers (one of whom was a hiker friend of my dads) and pushing on towards Nancy Pond Trail. Deciding to cross both of the trail's rivers before stopping, I carefully navigated each being cautious to not get my boots wet or misstep. I found a nice flat spot alongside the second river around 1530hrs, with sunset at 1610hrs. I plan to hike later into the dark once Santa and I are on the trail, but in this instance I was happy to stop and get camp set up. I was able to set up the Direkt2 tent within 8 minutes of dropping my bag. I got all my gear set up inside, set up my stove just outside the tent door, and got dinner ready, only to realize that I forgot a friggin (I assure you this was not my word of choice) lighter to ignite the stove with. Dinner was a string cheese stick and a cold Pop-Tart.

    With nothing else to do I slept from 1630 to 2100, waking up to pee and shed a few layers. One of the things I'll have to get used to is appropriately choosing layers to sleep with. I had initially fallen asleep with my compression shorts, fleece pants, long underwear top, fleece top, and puffy down jacket on. At 2100 I shed everything except my underwear base layers for the rest of the night. When I awoke at 0630hrs (yeah... 14 hours of sleep!) I was concerned to find just how much moisture had been absorbed into my sleeping bag. Despite shedding the layers and hopefully sweating less, I made the mistake of being super comfortable and burrowing down inside the bag itself, exhaling a ton of moisture into the bag. This is something I will not do again, as I left the bag unzipped on my heating forced-hot-water radiators today to dry out. I'm considering a VBL, but I'm wondering if by adjusting the ventilation (both vents in the tent were open, but due to snow falling I left the door closed) I'll be able to not have this issue.

    Camp was struck in 45min or so as I took my time, and I was on the trail by 0800. There was 1" or so of new snowfall overnight, on top of what appeared to be relatively untravelled trail, so I stopped and strapped on my snowshoes just to check how they worked with the extra weight of my pack. I followed along with what I believe were moose tracks (doubt anyone is riding horses in the Whites) and made my way up the 1,200' climb to Norcross Pond. The trail got pretty narrow from there on, but the snowshoes continued working well and I hiked the mile or so to Nancy Pond, then began the descent back to NH302. About a half mile from Nancy Pond I met a solo hiker, we chatted for a minute then continued on. I think we both caught each other off guard, hats on covering our ears and otherwise silence in the woods. Didn't expect to see anyone.

    I stopped to send my dad a text around 10, estimating my arrival at 302 for noon exactly. I descended a bit faster than I thought, and he managed to arrive at the trailhead at the exact moment I was walking into the parking lot. Serendipitous.


    Take homes:
    1) Don't be a moron. Bring a f'n lighter. Seriously can't believe I left that out.
    2) Need a vapor barrier for my feet. My boots were wet, my socks smelled like hell after day 1. This will be horrid after a month.
    3) Need to either practice better moisture management in the tent/sleeping bag, or add a VBL for that too.
    4) See 1.

    Honestly, other than that I think I did a great job, utilized most of the gear I brought, save for my change of clothes and other socks. SPOT worked well checking me in and tracking (on day 1... day 2 it seemed to not care), and the apparel did a great job and covering different bases of exterior temps and body temp regulation.

    I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts regarding the VBLs and other experiences with moisture control with sub-freezing temps.


    20161203-IMG_9859.jpg20161203-IMG_9879.jpg20161203-IMG_9894.jpg20161203-IMG_9936.jpg20161204-IMG_9948.jpg20161204-IMG_9942-2.jpg
    --
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    Long Trail Winter 2016 | December 19th - ......
    Endurance Adventuring / A.T. Resource Blog - www.2180miles.com

  14. #74
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    Nice report. Especially the "take homes" part.

    In my limited winter camping I've not had the same issues with H20 vapor. I don't "burrow into" the bag as you describe. In extreme cold the bag is over my head and I'm breathing through an opening just big enough for my face. Usually just a base layer, dry socks and cap between me and the bag.

    Last cold-weather outing, I remembered the lighters but failed to account for my Platy bag being frozen almost solid in the morning. Worse yet, there was still some liquid water in it, but I coudn't get at it. Grrrr. Dumb.

  15. #75

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    I have vbl socks and a vbl sleeping bag liner and a vb shirt that i sometimes use. Usually when the temps are forecasted to be below zero. I also have vb pants but those look seriously tinfoil weird but yeah it all works fine to trap heat and control outgoing moisture.
    Let me go

  16. #76
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    Given the conditions, I'd want more than one way to create a spark or a fire. Not just a single lighter, in other words.

    Otherwise sounds like a nice trip.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

  17. #77

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    As soon as you get out of your bag, before you do anything else, you need to stuff it away. This pushes all the warm, moist air out of it before it has a chance to chill down and condense. My routine is to unzip the bag, sit up and put on my upper layers, pull out my feet and put on the lower layers, then stuff the bag and roll up the mat. Don't delay on the mat or it could freeze to the bottom of the tent.

    It's really tempting to start hiking in the morning with everything you got on. But it doesn't take long to warm up and start sweating and getting all those layers damp. So, you have a choice of stripping down just before you put the pack on or do it 10 minutes later.

    You might want to look into gortex socks instead of a VBL.

    Don't have just one lighter, have three - a back up to the back up. And maybe some matches to back up the lighters.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #78

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    I almost think for a winter LT through a synthetic bag should be considered.

    There are integrated VBL sleeping bags out there too.
    Let me go

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    I have vbl socks and a vbl sleeping bag liner and a vb shirt that i sometimes use. Usually when the temps are forecasted to be below zero. I also have vb pants but those look seriously tinfoil weird but yeah it all works fine to trap heat and control outgoing moisture.
    Would you mind sending me a link to your VBL socks? I tried searching the Internet last night and found a very sparse marketplace for them. Still debating the bag liner or not.


    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Given the conditions, I'd want more than one way to create a spark or a fire. Not just a single lighter, in other words.

    Otherwise sounds like a nice trip.
    Yes of course, I didn't specify that but it is my intention. I'll bring at least 2 lighters, Santa (who I'm hiking with) will also have one or two of his own. I'll probably bring a book of matches as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    As soon as you get out of your bag, before you do anything else, you need to stuff it away. This pushes all the warm, moist air out of it before it has a chance to chill down and condense. My routine is to unzip the bag, sit up and put on my upper layers, pull out my feet and put on the lower layers, then stuff the bag and roll up the mat. Don't delay on the mat or it could freeze to the bottom of the tent.

    It's really tempting to start hiking in the morning with everything you got on. But it doesn't take long to warm up and start sweating and getting all those layers damp. So, you have a choice of stripping down just before you put the pack on or do it 10 minutes later.

    You might want to look into gortex socks instead of a VBL.

    Don't have just one lighter, have three - a back up to the back up. And maybe some matches to back up the lighters.

    Great tips for the morning routine, Slo. Thanks for that. I agree, easier to start a bit chilly and warm up!

    I'll have a look into Gortex sox instead of the VBLs, especially if VBLs are as hard to come by as I'm finding.

    As stated above, my plan will be for multiple lighters and matches, I just didn't clarify that in my initial trip report post.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    I almost think for a winter LT through a synthetic bag should be considered.

    There are integrated VBL sleeping bags out there too.
    My bag for this trip is a -15* synthetic Mountain Hardwear Lumina Z-Blaze bag. The temp rating might have been why I was sweating more on the 25 degree night this past weekend, but I'd rather be comfortable in lower temps as we get further into winter so I went with a lower rated bag from the get-go.
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    Long Trail Winter 2016 | December 19th - ......
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  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    Nice report. Especially the "take homes" part.

    In my limited winter camping I've not had the same issues with H20 vapor. I don't "burrow into" the bag as you describe. In extreme cold the bag is over my head and I'm breathing through an opening just big enough for my face. Usually just a base layer, dry socks and cap between me and the bag.

    Last cold-weather outing, I remembered the lighters but failed to account for my Platy bag being frozen almost solid in the morning. Worse yet, there was still some liquid water in it, but I coudn't get at it. Grrrr. Dumb.
    Thanks for the kind words. I get longwinded when writing about my days, but I do believe that's why my blog became so successful during my A.T. hike.

    Now that I'm more aware of the issue at hand with moisture in this bag, I'm definitely going to go to further lengths to make sure I'm solely breathing out of the mummy face hole in the bag and not hiding down inside it. By starting in just underwear base layers (maybe even a fresh pair for sleeping that would not have the moisture of swear from my day of hiking?) I'll allow the bag to warm me up instead of trying to go in warm and sweating more. Dry sox, yes; hat on, yes.

    I began the night with my Nalgene bottles in my sleeping bag to keep them warm, but after a while got tired of the cold water against my feet and put them upside down in my hiking boots. In the AM they were not frozen, so that worked well this time. While hiking I typically store them upside down so they freeze at the bottle's bottom first, and not at the wide-mouthed opening. Little tricks that I'm sure I'll hone further in on during and after this upcoming trip.
    --
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    Long Trail Winter 2016 | December 19th - ......
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