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  1. #1
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Default conditions on AT between Moosilauke and Kinsmans?

    I'm planning on starting a backpacking trip in the Whites next week (weather permitting). I understand from reading reports at newenglandtrailconditions.com that the black flies aren't here yet but will likely be here soon and I think I'm as prepared as I can be for that. My question is more about snowshoes/microspikes/waterproof socks with trail runners? The general consensus is that currently you can bare boot up to about 3,000 feet then you are putting on micro spikes to deal with the monorail and then above tree line you can bare boot again. I haven't read too many reports recently where people found snow shoes helpful. But what about sections of trail that aren't visited by people peak bagging a 4000 footer? For example the Kinsman Ridge Trail/AT between Moosilauke and Kinsmans? Would a monorail even develop there? If there is no monorail would it be correct to assume that there would be a lot more just rotten snow to deal with? Would snow shoes be necessary or just plan on some real slow going in that section? Anyone willing to hazard a guess on what the conditions might be like next week? All tips and advice welcome so I can be prepared as possible. Thanks in advance white blaze!
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 16/48
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  2. #2

    Default

    Monorail will soften with warm weather and postholing commences.

    The black flies were out in Buxton Maine last Saturday.


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  3. #3

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    You're in luck as this guy was nice enough to show you what the Moosilauke descent looked like on Monday



    Starts going down around 8 minutes in if the link doesn't take you to that point.

    SPOILER WARNING: They made it down Moosilauke just fine on the monorail, but had to turn back before Kinsman. Deep postholing once they hit the low traffic areas so they headed back to fetch snowshoes to try again. Hopefully they took a zero to stay out of the weather today.

    I'm with Peakbagger on this one, too early!
    Last edited by LoneStranger; 05-14-2019 at 15:02.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  4. #4

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    Plenty of indications that anything above 3000 feet is definitely going to be rotten snow and nasty going. With the warm weather this weekend I expect the snow pack is going to be posthole city. There were multiple wind events this winter so plenty of blowdown. North facing softwood slopes are going to hold onto the snow longer than south facing slopes. There are lots of puds along that stretch.

    Bring plenty of food and have a backup plan. Hike real early in the AM and plan on half the mileage. Snowshoes can help but it beats them up in mixed conditions. Lot to be said for doing a section south of the whites. I expect the Garfield to Twin stretch is going to be deep and nasty.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneStranger View Post
    You're in luck as this guy was nice enough to show you what the Moosilauke descent looked like on Monday



    Starts going down around 8 minutes in if the link doesn't take you to that point.

    SPOILER WARNING: They made it down Moosilauke just fine on the monorail, but had to turn back before Kinsman. Deep postholing once they hit the low traffic areas so they headed back to fetch snowshoes to try again. Hopefully they took a zero to stay out of the weather today.

    I'm with Peakbagger on this one, too early!
    Holy crap that guy is burning rubber, 77 days and hes in the whites? That's impressive!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by C4web88 View Post
    Holy crap that guy is burning rubber, 77 days and hes in the whites? That's impressive!
    Yup, he's gonna yoyo though if he doesn't slow down he may have to wait for Katahdin to open. He is traveling very light while his partner seems to be carrying more. They have been staying indoors frequently with lots of restaurant meals. Hammering out big miles since VA or thereabouts, but snow is going to slow them down now.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  7. #7

    Default

    That is Craig Mains, AKA "Hawk." He is traveling with T-Rex who is an experienced mountaineer who helped rescue those Russian skiers in the Alps. They are well equipped and have the strength and stamina to traverse the snowy/frozen tundra. He usually drops a vid either late at night or really early in the am, if anyone is interested in following. The issue with Mt. Katahdin is not the summit, The whole area is impassable, according to Baxter State Park...probably won't open until the first week in June. We are all waiting for the deep thaw and the SOBOs are going to be starting next month. Good luck SOBOs!

  8. #8
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrifty Endurance View Post
    That is Craig Mains, AKA "Hawk." He is traveling with T-Rex who is an experienced mountaineer who helped rescue those Russian skiers in the Alps. They are well equipped and have the strength and stamina to traverse the snowy/frozen tundra. He usually drops a vid either late at night or really early in the am, if anyone is interested in following. The issue with Mt. Katahdin is not the summit, The whole area is impassable, according to Baxter State Park...probably won't open until the first week in June. We are all waiting for the deep thaw and the SOBOs are going to be starting next month. Good luck SOBOs!
    He may be well equipped and experienced, but he's not very considerate. Hiking in Northern New England before Memorial day (or even later this year) can be very damaging to the trail, hence strongly discouraged by those that maintain it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    He may be well equipped and experienced, but he's not very considerate. Hiking in Northern New England before Memorial day (or even later this year) can be very damaging to the trail, hence strongly discouraged by those that maintain it.
    I respectfully disagree with your comment about Hawk. Have you followed him at all on any of his AT adventures? He is the most considerate of hikers and follows ALL trail etiquette. He stays on trail, even when it is muddy and wet for miles. He never skirts around. He even educates people on the reasons why you need to stay on trail. Post-holing does more damage not only to the person doing it but the trail. The ATC is fine about snow shoes and EVERY legit hiking blog sites agree on wearing snow shoes and micro-spikes or crampons when needed, so I do not understand your objection. I don't know what they do in Vermont, but in New Hampshire, winter sport is an active pass time, especially in the Whites. The Appalachian Mountain Clubs also conduct several winter hikes with snow shoes on trail.

  10. #10

    Default Mud Season

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    He may be well equipped and experienced, but he's not very considerate. Hiking in Northern New England before Memorial day (or even later this year) can be very damaging to the trail, hence strongly discouraged by those that maintain it.
    Thrifty Endurance, I will let Deadeye speak for him/herself, but I think the point is about hiking in mud season, not about snowshoeing and postholing in the snow.

    Here is what the AMC's Manager of Trail Volunteers and and Leave No Trace Programs has to say about hiking in the issue: "Some maintainers would like to see most trails closed in mud season, but we prefer to ask people to hike responsibly in all seasons." https://www.outdoors.org/articles/am...-dos-and-donts The article goes on to explain proper etiquette for hiking in mud season. To call hiking in mud season inconsiderate seems a bit much.

    My daughter and I are looking to do the Moosilauki - Kinsmans section again this spring, but it is probably not going to happen until early July. We are going to wait for the snow to be gone, and next have to wait for the end of black fly season. Good luck to those who try it earlier.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrifty Endurance View Post
    That is Craig Mains, AKA "Hawk." He is traveling with T-Rex who is an experienced mountaineer who helped rescue those Russian skiers in the Alps. They are well equipped and have the strength and stamina to traverse the snowy/frozen tundra. He usually drops a vid either late at night or really early in the am, if anyone is interested in following. The issue with Mt. Katahdin is not the summit, The whole area is impassable, according to Baxter State Park...probably won't open until the first week in June. We are all waiting for the deep thaw and the SOBOs are going to be starting next month. Good luck SOBOs!
    Well shoot I'll be following him, I like his attitude too. Hope my start date doesnt get burned cause of the weather, I'll be at KSG starting June 1st. Plan on trying to summit the 2nd!

  12. #12
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    Default

    Deadeye is referring to the policy of the Green Mountain Club that the Long Trail not be hiked between April 15 and Memorial Day. Even if the snow cover is gone below 3000 feet, the trail will be muddy and hiking further erodes it.

  13. #13

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    IMHO, the LT has far fewer hands maintaining it than the AT through the whites. The approach in the Whites has been there is no choice but to harden the trail by effectively paving it with stones. Its a lot more difficult to deal with the lowlands along the LT (especially in south VT near Stratton Pond). Those who head north into the Mahoosucs and Maine quickly learn that the hardening approach pretty well stops at the end of Centennial trail. From there north there are some impressive sections of hardening but they are a minority.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubyvermonter View Post
    Deadeye is referring to the policy of the Green Mountain Club that the Long Trail not be hiked between April 15 and Memorial Day. Even if the snow cover is gone below 3000 feet, the trail will be muddy and hiking further erodes it.
    Good point. I had not noticed the Deadeye is located in VT. The different perspectives on the mud season in the White and the LT are interesting.

  15. #15
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Default

    Thank you everyone! The Craig Mains aka "Hawk" videos in particular have given me a real clear picture of the conditions. He attempted the section with snow shoes yesterday and was STILL post-holing even with snow shoes on and he turned back. He declared the section "impassable" and sounds like that is currently the case.

    Anyone willing to take a guess in how many days/weeks before the trail in this section is in a more reasonable state?

  16. #16

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    Its highly dependent on the weather pattern. We need sunny days and warm nights and they have been in short supply of late. Putting on my "guessing hat", two to three weeks, June 1st . You may still find some snow but it will be a nuisance. I was out last Wednesday and the hardwoods were fine up to 3000 feet on the south and north slopes but once I got on the ridgecrest with a band of dense softwoods it was 2 feet deep of packed rotten snow. I had my small climbing snowshoes and they really didn't help much. I expect if I had my high flotation shoes they would have been better but high flotation shoes are dangerous for climbing steep stuff and impractical to carry.

    You are actually lucky, this stretch of trail is not heavily used in the winter, thus the monorail is not as compressed as it would be on popular routes (like Falling Waters or Wildcat ridge down into Carter Notch). What the video shows is just rotten snow, if the temps and sun angle is good it breaks down quicker. On a popular winter trail with softwood cover the monorail is basically wet ice and it can last longer. If the snow is just rotten, hordes of unequipped hikers can actual help a bit as their postholes actually speed the breakup of the rotten snow, a very rare occasion when anything good can be said of postholers. Note the other trap in spring is that if it was cold night the snow may hold you up in the AM and then break down in the afternoon. I have been caught that way in the spring, bareboot to the summit way out in the woods and then end up postholing with snowshoes in the afternoon and taking a couple of hours to do the last mile.

    I expect more than a few hiking folks are going to get a big surprise on Victoria Day (for the Canadians that flock south) on the 20th and Memorial day the week after. The spring ravine skiers on the other hand love it. I expect a few bikini ski runs from Tuckerman's will pop up on social media

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubyvermonter View Post
    Deadeye is referring to the policy of the Green Mountain Club that the Long Trail not be hiked between April 15 and Memorial Day. Even if the snow cover is gone below 3000 feet, the trail will be muddy and hiking further erodes it.
    The AT/Long Trail is shared 100+ miles up to Maine Junction, so it is not possible to avoid this section for AT thru-hikers. I think we need to use clarifying language on this forum. If you are talking about the Vermont Long Trail after the Maine Junction, where it veers left, then most of those thru-hikers don't start until later, like end of August/September. ATStrong

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrum View Post
    Thrifty Endurance, I will let Deadeye speak for him/herself, but I think the point is about hiking in mud season, not about snowshoeing and postholing in the snow.

    Here is what the AMC's Manager of Trail Volunteers and and Leave No Trace Programs has to say about hiking in the issue: "Some maintainers would like to see most trails closed in mud season, but we prefer to ask people to hike responsibly in all seasons." https://www.outdoors.org/articles/am...-dos-and-donts The article goes on to explain proper etiquette for hiking in mud season. To call hiking in mud season inconsiderate seems a bit much.

    My daughter and I are looking to do the Moosilauki - Kinsmans section again this spring, but it is probably not going to happen until early July. We are going to wait for the snow to be gone, and next have to wait for the end of black fly season. Good luck to those who try it earlier.
    Thanks, I totally get the concern about "mud season," but as I noted on another comment here today, we need to use clarifying language on this forum. The AT/Long Trail shares 100+ miles from Williamstown/North Adams MA to the Maine Junction where the Vermont Long Trail veers left and the AT continues north. It is NOT POSSIBLE to put a "Do not hike" in April to Memorial Day for AT thru-hikers. Some start as early as January. IF you are talking about the VERMONT Long Trail after the Maine Junction, then those thru-hikers normally don't start until after Memorial Day. Honestly, I don't know of anyone who would even attempt a Vermont Long Trail hike BEFORE Memorial Day. ATStrong

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by somers515 View Post
    Thank you everyone! The Craig Mains aka "Hawk" videos in particular have given me a real clear picture of the conditions. He attempted the section with snow shoes yesterday and was STILL post-holing even with snow shoes on and he turned back. He declared the section "impassable" and sounds like that is currently the case.

    Anyone willing to take a guess in how many days/weeks before the trail in this section is in a more reasonable state?
    I thought seeing that might be helpful

    North facing slopes will likely have snow well into June. As Pb mentioned, we need warm nights or some warm rain to break it down any sooner. Snow was really deep this year. Anything above 3k you were pushing through tree limbs that are usually well over head. Great fun then, but it is making for a really long rotten snow season before we can even get started on the mud. I'm headed up to check on my Cohos section this weekend and not sure if I should bring the clippers or my snowshoes.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by somers515 View Post
    Thank you everyone! The Craig Mains aka "Hawk" videos in particular have given me a real clear picture of the conditions. He attempted the section with snow shoes yesterday and was STILL post-holing even with snow shoes on and he turned back. He declared the section "impassable" and sounds like that is currently the case.

    Anyone willing to take a guess in how many days/weeks before the trail in this section is in a more reasonable state?
    Hawk is planning a Yo-Yo within his SOBO Yo-Yo. He is a "purist" so he will make the 16 miles he missed that was impassable. I did three treks of the Whites in winter. The problem with snow shoes is it can't support your weight if the snow is "soft." You will still be post-holing in snow shoes...which frankly, sucks! ATStrong

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