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  1. #1

    Default Its stupid season in the Whites

    After several years of late onset of winter to the whites, we actually are having what was a previously normal winter with an established snow pack in the woods and record low temps on occasion in November. The snow has mostly been fed by coastal storm systems and with a warming ocean it means Mass and southern NH is getting rain while the mountains get the snow. There is already 1 to 2 feet of snow at higher elevations and its fairly dense stuff. Folks are driving up with fall hiking gear and getting into trouble. There was one rescue on Saturday of an under equipped day hiker who got lost on the summit of Lafayette on Friday and ended up over near Garfield Pond sometimes in the early hours of Saturday. He didn't have traction or snowshoes but ended up wading through drifts. The reports are sketchy but he did appear to make a good decisions by digging in for few hours overnight before finally making a cell phone call that he was in over his head (probably both literally in spots as well as figuratively. His itinerary was over on the Franconia Notch side so things may have been far different if his cell phone didnt work as I expect that approach would have been been a secondary search target. So the net result is he got a potentially expensive snowmachine ride out of the woods (unless he bought a hike safe card and even then lack of gear may have drifted over into the reckless category)

    Reading many trail reports from the weekend, plenty of folks out there doing the same, no snowshoes, no traction and cotton clothing all seemed to be popular. I expect it will continue as there is 10 to 16 inches of snow predicted by Tuesday which will be rain down south so the lemmings will continue to make the journey north with inadequate gear. No such things as fast and light when there is a snow pack.

    I was out on Saturday over in the Mahoosucs area and we wore snowshoes from the edge of the road for the rest of the day. We were breaking trail and at best we made 1 mile per hour. There is zero crust at this point so climbing snow shoes dont have much flotation.

  2. #2

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    And just like I said, it always rains here on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and sure it enough it did again this year. What a sloppy mess we have now. Although it might have been more like freezing rain up high.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  3. #3

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    This is the first year where I'm actually attempting winter hiking. After that foot of fresh snow, using snowshoes, a friend and I made a perfect packed trail up Kearsage, and got half way down before we ran into a group of eight hikers who just trashed the trail into a narrow gully... at which point we had to stop, and switch to microspikes.

    Lesson learned for me about winter hiking. Never assume some idiots won't come along and destroy the trail, making it more dangerous for me.

  4. #4
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Guess they should have asked you how they were supposed to hike...
    Lonehiker

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    Guess they should have asked you how they were supposed to hike...
    No, they should have known better or turned around when the snow was over their ankles.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    yeah. I woke up on Sunday morning to rain. The optimist in me thought if I go into the mountains and up I will eventually run into snowing instead of rain. So I decided to Fat Bike the same path I skied with a pulk on Friday and Saturday. I figured I broke the trail already... but unfortunately the warmer weather made the snow soft and it was getting worse as I kept biking up and the snow got deeper. So I turned around 2 miles into Sawyer Road.

    At least I tried. To the optimists - no it did not start snowing, to the pesimists - it was still worth doing. :-)




    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    And just like I said, it always rains here on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and sure it enough it did again this year. What a sloppy mess we have now. Although it might have been more like freezing rain up high.
    Let me go

  7. #7
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    No, they should have known better or turned around when the snow was over their ankles.
    Snowshoes are required when the snow is over your ankles? Damn, been doing that wrong for quite some time. I'm wondering if the 8 idiots thought that the two using snowshoes were idiots for using snowshoes when they weren't, obviously, really necessary...
    Lonehiker

  8. #8
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Tell that to the poor fool who had to be rescued in the Pemi. There is a reason for snowshoes.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    Snowshoes are required when the snow is over your ankles? Damn, been doing that wrong for quite some time. I'm wondering if the 8 idiots thought that the two using snowshoes were idiots for using snowshoes when they weren't, obviously, really necessary...
    Were you there that day? Why don't you tell us specifically about the conditions that you encountered that day, in that location, that made it not "obviously, really necessary" for snowshoes. What did you think of the footware choices of the eight guys? How did they fare on the top half of the trail over the rockier stretches, because I'm a bit curious.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 11-26-2018 at 17:34.

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    We were going to camp Friday night but we got to the site very early and my wife was slightly under the weather. I wasnít gonna make her bivy so we made a day hike out of Madison. We had plastic double boots, my bag was 33 lbs and hers 28. Long heavy overkill day for a day hike but I couldnít stand on Madison the wind was constantly so hard. Itís no joke up there and i love it. Canít wait to go back. Better safe then sorry. I use to have an huge fear of the whites. I still do. But make a plan and stick to it. Plans have bail outs. Plans also have proper attire. Plan for the worse? Iíd never day hike out there without a bivy and quilt any time of the year. Itís irresponsible but thatís my opinion.


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  11. #11
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Tell that to the poor fool who had to be rescued in the Pemi. There is a reason for snowshoes.
    Yes, there is a time for snowshoes. Didn't say otherwise. And yes it is a tragedy that someone messed up Puddlefish's pretty snowshoe tracks and made his hike so treacherous that he had to use microspikes.

    I snowshoe fairly extensively (more than most, not as much as others) but don't even give it a thought as I pass, or am passed, by someone doing something different than I am. I've yet to hike a trail, used by fat tire bikes or hikers with microspikes or Moose, that I haven't been able to navigate in my snowshoes. Guess you could find some scenario where this could happen but I've yet to encounter it.

    Will leave it to the self-proclaimed HYOHers to add further comment about this travesty.
    Lonehiker

  12. #12

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    There was a high profile death near Mt Madison a few years back by a person who decided to do a fast and light winter above treeline hike with no snowshoes.
    https://www.outdoors.org/articles/ap...kate-matrosova

    There was also an AT section hiker who had to be rescued from Mt Madison four weeks ago who got trapped in drifts without snowshoes.

    https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/...af02e768e.html


    They attribute the first hikers death to hypothermia and bad decisions. I believe based on personal experience from multiple hikes was that the start of her trouble was encountering unexpected deep snow in a stretch of trail that tends to collect it. Even with snowshoes its a tough stretch as the trail is quite steep, without them its basically swimming in snow. The author of the book about the attempted rescue just skips over this and claims the trail was packed down a few days before but personal experience is it will fill up with snow blown in from an adjacent ravine even when there is no snow.

    If folks want to hike without snowshoes in the whites and are willing and mentally alert enough to turn around great. Unfortunately they usually arent thinking clearly due to the onset of hypothermia and press on regardless. BTW, in the Adirondacks the choice is skis or snowshoes or a ticket. The rangers can and do enforce the rule.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 11-26-2018 at 17:49.

  13. #13
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    :-) My favorite :-)
    Let me go

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    There was a high profile death near Mt Madison a few years back by a person who decided to do a fast and light above treeline hike with no snowshoes.

    https://www.outdoors.org/articles/ap...kate-matrosova

    They attribute her death to hypothermia and bad decisions. I believe based on personal experience from multiple hikes was that the start of her trouble was encountering unexpected deep snow in a stretch of trail that tends to collect it. Even with snowshoes its a tough stretch as the trail is quite steep, without them its basically swimming in snow. The author of the book about the attempted rescue just skips over this and claims the trail was packed down a few days before but personal experience is it will fill up with snow blown in from an adjacent ravine even when there is no snow.
    Yah. My tracks were practically gone on the way back down. I climb it in crampons and carried my snowshoes. It was annoying but who cares. It was awesome. Whatís the point of fast and light if you canít tell your story. I pack my food to the snack at the hour. Iím better about packing less In winter but I pack what I need and the best I have. In summer Itís so light Itís different. I actually brought a lantern last time took the dog to isolation and the batteries were dead. Yes that was stupid but I had a fully charged headlamp.


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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Wow, shots fired! lol Funny video!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    Yes, there is a time for snowshoes. Didn't say otherwise. And yes it is a tragedy that someone messed up Puddlefish's pretty snowshoe tracks and made his hike so treacherous that he had to use microspikes.

    I snowshoe fairly extensively (more than most, not as much as others) but don't even give it a thought as I pass, or am passed, by someone doing something different than I am. I've yet to hike a trail, used by fat tire bikes or hikers with microspikes or Moose, that I haven't been able to navigate in my snowshoes. Guess you could find some scenario where this could happen but I've yet to encounter it.

    Will leave it to the self-proclaimed HYOHers to add further comment about this travesty.

    Scroll up. I admitted that I'm new to winter hiking, and that I learned a lesson. I've been on snowshoes a total of maybe 10 miles, there was zero way I was going to able to walk in a newly formed V shaped rut with snowshoes on without snapping my ankles. It wasn't about ruining my pretty tracks. Don't be fatuous Jeffrey.

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    In the Adirondacks it used to be (probably still is) the rule that you don't posthole on snowshoe tracks. Much the same, you don't snow shoe over ski tracks. It's not a matter of hiking your own hike to do so. It is a matter of compromising someone else's hike. No different, really, than yielding right of way to horses while hiking, or bikers giving way to people on foot. These are standards that enable us all to share the wilds.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    . . . If folks want to hike without snowshoes in the whites and are willing and mentally alert enough to turn around great. Unfortunately they usually arent thinking clearly due to the onset of hypothermia and press on regardless. . .
    Say what? Having snowshoes somehow provides one with common sense? You can die not turning around when you should have while wearing snowshoes just as easily as you can die not turning around when you should without snowshoes. I think this thread is not about common sense, it's about common courtesy.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  20. #20
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    In the Adirondacks it used to be (probably still is) the rule that you don't posthole on snowshoe tracks. Much the same, you don't snow shoe over ski tracks. It's not a matter of hiking your own hike to do so. It is a matter of compromising someone else's hike. No different, really, than yielding right of way to horses while hiking, or bikers giving way to people on foot. These are standards that enable us all to share the wilds.
    This is a poor analogy. Both are hiking why should one's choice of equipment, or lack of, take priority over another? If you come upon "single" use trails i.e. groomed ski trails then of course you hike to the side. But in this case that doesn't appear to be the case. The poster was simply butt hurt that a group hiking "trashed" his "perfect packed trail". Not my words but his. As to the success of this group of 8 idiots; I personally don't care if they made it 100 yards further or 4 miles further. The point is that they have as much right to hike up the trail as anyone else regardless of what equipment they are using.
    Lonehiker

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