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HandyRandy
10-27-2018, 14:04
My hiking buddy and I are planning on backpacking the Whites mid-December. Weíre flying to Logan Airport in Boston. The best forms of transportation that I could find so far is the Concord Coach bus line or Uber. Any other suggestions?

We are thinking of just taking the AT because it hits a lot of the spots we would love to see. That would be Moosilauke, Franconia Ridge, and Washington. No huts unless itís required.

With those three waypoints of interest in mind and 9 days in December weather, should we take the AT? Or possibly some shortcuts?

Weíll land in Boston at 1PM on Dec 13th and need to leave from Boston at 8PM on Dec 23rd. That gives us 9 full days of hiking in between.

What kind of weather and temps should we expect? What sort of trail conditions and pace (miles per day) should we assume?

I will have poles, crampons and snowshoes, but do I really also need micro-spikes and an ice axe?

I would really appreciate your advice, thanks.

egilbe
10-27-2018, 14:21
My hiking buddy and I are planning on backpacking the Whites mid-December. We’re flying to Logan Airport in Boston. The best forms of transportation that I could find so far is the Concord Coach bus line or Uber. Any other suggestions?

We are thinking of just taking the AT because it hits a lot of the spots we would love to see. That would be Moosilauke, Franconia Ridge, and Washington. No huts unless it’s required.

With those three waypoints of interest in mind and 9 days in December weather, should we take the AT? Or possibly some shortcuts?

We’ll land in Boston at 1PM on Dec 13th and need to leave from Boston at 8PM on Dec 23rd. That gives us 9 full days of hiking in between.

What kind of weather and temps should we expect? What sort of trail conditions and pace (miles per day) should we assume?

I will have poles, crampons and snowshoes, but do I really also need micro-spikes and an ice axe?

I would really appreciate your advice, thanks.

Hire a guide service that specializes in Winter hiking. You have no idea what you are getting yourself into. A hiker from Florida was just rescued from slopes of Mt Madison this week because he wasn't prepared for a 3 foot snowstorm.

Feral Bill
10-27-2018, 14:29
What is your experience level? The miles per day can be zero, and the temperatures way below zero, without wind chill. Zero visability is also common. Elgibe may well be correct. That said, you might get a day or two of glorious weather. Best to do what it takes to not end up dead.

egilbe
10-27-2018, 14:30
Recommended reading list if you haven't read them already.

https://www.amazon.com/Where-Youll-Find-Decisions-Matrosova/dp/0996218157

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007HOKED0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

https://www.amazon.com/Critical-Hours-Search-Rescue-Mountains-ebook/dp/B076HVZFS3/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B076HVZFS3&pd_rd_r=1eebb6e2-da16-11e8-be04-2d6d4ad679d7&pd_rd_w=BSX07&pd_rd_wg=N9TTP&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=5QMRXV7EKR05SF5PY5HT&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=5QMRXV7EKR05SF5PY5HT

https://www.amazon.com/Desperate-Steps-Choices-Mountains-Northeast-ebook/dp/B01AIIPUBM/ref=pd_sim_351_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01AIIPUBM&pd_rd_r=1eebb6e2-da16-11e8-be04-2d6d4ad679d7&pd_rd_w=BSX07&pd_rd_wg=N9TTP&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=5QMRXV7EKR05SF5PY5HT&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=5QMRXV7EKR05SF5PY5HT

egilbe
10-27-2018, 14:42
https://www.ime-usa.com/ime/

https://redlineguiding.com/

those are two off the top of my head.

egilbe
10-27-2018, 14:58
https://www.mountwashington.org/experience-the-weather/higher-summit-forecast.aspx

peakbagger
10-27-2018, 15:59
I live about 3 miles north of the AT in the whites and have for quite awhile. I hike year round and stringing a couple of good days together is tough. Unless you have first class mountaineering gear and experience you are way in over your head. Folks pay good money to licensed guides to train for places like the seven summits in the whites in winter, and most guiding firms end up having to bail quite often due to extreme conditions.

Get a copy of "Where You'll Find Me - Risks, Decisions and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova" by Ty Gagne. Read it and you will see what you could get into. Sure some folks get real lucky and combine inexperience with great weather in the winter but many more get in trouble. Also invest in a NH Fish and Game Hike Safe Card, it may save you a rescue charge unless they deem your hike "reckless". Note that the although many of the day hiking routes are broken out fairly quickly, the AT may not be. Plan on no more than 1 mile per hour with 7 hours of daylight makes for short days if the trail is not broken out.

A section hiker was just rescued two days ago on Mt Madison. Only thee feet of snow but he was not ready for it.

Slo-go'en
10-27-2018, 16:54
Were in the middle of our third winter storm this season. If this is any indication of things to come, conditions mid December will be horrible.

Most winter hiking in the Whites is day hiking to summits. Most peaks have a "winter" trail which is shorter (and steeper) then AT to the top and is generally broken out, unless your the luck one to show up just after a storm. There is no way you'll be hiking the AT along the ridges. That's just crazy. Average progress on unbroken trail is 1/4 mile an hour and it gets dark about 3:30 PM. Keeping track of the trail can be a challenge. Doing a 9 day, continues linear hike simply isn't a good idea.

There are several winterized cabins and huts you can base camp at. One is the RMC Gray Knob cabin (caretake and woodstove, used at the discretion of the caretaker, $25 overnight fee) Located at tree line, one can summit Madison, Adams and/or Jefferson from there.

Another is the AMC Carter notch hut (caretaker and woodstove, but sleep in unheated bunk rooms, I forget that what they charge, $40 a night?)

Zealand Falls hut is also open in the winter. This is low elevation hut, mostly used by cross country skiers.

For 9 days, your going to want to bounce around the area. Best bet is to fly into Manchester and rent a car for the week and plan to spend many of those nights in a motel room.

peakbagger
10-27-2018, 18:32
If you are not set on backpacking there are a couple of hostels that are open year round that would be excellent spots for dayhiking. If you stick to the dayhike routes to the summits and hope for good weather you can start out slow and then work your way up if you luck out and get good weather. If there is good weather the major day hike routes tend to get broken out within 48 hours of a storm.

Microspikes are pretty much the standard traction gear used in the winter once the trails are broken out. Crampons are needed on a few trails and generally recommended to be carried if there is extensive above treeline. The wind and white outs is something you just have to learn about. There is one spot on the AT on Haystack Mtn where several folks over the years have died when they headed up above treeline in windy conditions and turned around, by the time they got back to Haystack they could not find there way back into the woods and ended up dead or near frozen when the rescue parties found them.

HandyRandy
10-27-2018, 21:21
Thanks for the advice guys. It seems we need to lower our expectations. Iím thinking we will start out in Pinkham instead. The bus will stop in a good spot it seems. Iím not interested in staying at hotels or shelters. We want to hike and camp. We will not venture too far if the weather forecast is dangerous and we will time our summits accordingly and just take what we can get instead of expecting to finish.

About the micro spikes, can the crampons suffice in all areas the micro spikes can? Meaning, if Iím bringing crampons, can I now leave the microspikes behind?

nsherry61
10-27-2018, 21:22
One thing about the White Mountains is that there are lots and lots of routes up to most of the ridgelines (and the AT), which also means there are lots and lots of exit routes off the ridges if the weather turns or your situation otherwise turns bad. That being said, you still have to navigate and find trails in winter conditions in alpine terrain which is not easy and can be nearly impossible at times even with well honed skills. If you haven't done extensive winter wilderness travel, I would definitely write a winter White Mountain, AT, backpack off your bucket list until you have honed those skills.

So yeah, you are unlikely to find 9 contiguous days of conditions that are conducive to safe and successful backpacking above treeline. In fact, you may only get a couple good days or none. So, if you want to try it, and you are ready, willing, and planning on making sure you can escape down off the ridgelines to a road or other lower altitude route, I'd say go for it. It could be the most amazing trip of your life. Probably not though, as it is a crazy hard hike, especially in winter. Whatever you choose, do take serious heed of the above posted warnings.

Finally, yeah, microspikes rock!

egilbe
10-27-2018, 22:03
Thanks for the advice guys. It seems we need to lower our expectations. I’m thinking we will start out in Pinkham instead. The bus will stop in a good spot it seems. I’m not interested in staying at hotels or shelters. We want to hike and camp. We will not venture too far if the weather forecast is dangerous and we will time our summits accordingly and just take what we can get instead of expecting to finish.

About the micro spikes, can the crampons suffice in all areas the micro spikes can? Meaning, if I’m bringing crampons, can I now leave the microspikes behind?

There are times when Microspikes are preferred because they are lighter. Less energy is consumed hiking with them on your feet. Crampons are heavier, but are required safety equipment above treeline. If you need Crampons, you'll need an ice age and you will need to know how to self arrest, which means practicing until you are confident you can stop yourself from sliding down over a cliff if you trip. Hiking in Winter is about energy conservation and making decisions that won't kill you out of ignorance. I can't imagine anyone living on the gulf coast knows how tiring it is to fight a 40mph wind when it's -10* F. When you are exhausted and you stop when it's that cold, you die. Simple as that. Someone is going to have to haul your stiff frozen corpse off the mountain. It can't be left up there. It's bad for tourism.

egilbe
10-27-2018, 22:04
Ice axe. Damn auto correct

peakbagger
10-28-2018, 06:55
Starting from Pinkham is not a great idea. If you go north you hit the climb up Wildcat from RT 16 within about an hour from taking off from Pinkham. Its very steep, too steep for snow shoes if its powder conditions. There are a series of steep ledges with wooden steps pinned into the rock and inevitably there is ice on the rock and on the steps. Southbound the Old Jackson Road doesn't get much use once you get outside of the local ski traffic around Pinkham. The snow really packs into the Great Gulf area and from there is one of the longest continuous ascents in the whites up to MT Madison (which also gets relatively little traffic). The closest option for camping is the Osgood tentsite down near the beginning of the ascent and Valley Way tentsite at the top. The only place with wood stove is Grey Knob a few miles further.

I guess you have to hope the early snow is fluke and we have a low snow early winter.

Slo-go'en
10-28-2018, 10:00
HandyRandy, camping is very restricted in the Whites due to the terrain. The trails are very steep and the forest on the side on the trail very dense. You can not simply hike and camp anywhere you like. With few exceptions, the AT through the Whites is either going straight up the side of a mountain or following a ridge line above tree line. While in theory you can camp above tree line if there is 2 feet or more of snow on the ground, finding a sheltered spot where you won't be blown off the ridge is not easy as these spots are rare. You need a tent which can stand up to potentially 100 MPH wind gusts.

The trails in December tend to be very icy. If there isn't much snow, they are a ribbon of ice. Microspikes are good on packed snow but not so good on steep icy trails where you have to do a lot of side stepping. Crampons are better unless their the old strap on type. For snow shoes you want short ones with a heel lift for going up steep trails. MSR's are popular. Old wood frame snowshoes are useless.

If you really want to do a 9 day hike in the Whites, please come in the summer or early fall.

Heed this sign!

43906

Feral Bill
10-28-2018, 12:07
Have you considered the Adirondacks as an alternative? The High Peaks area around Mt. Marcy is a lot safer than the Whites, but still challenging and beautiful. Trails are mostly below tree line and well traveled. If the weather cooperates, you can bag some peaks as day hikes. I think you can fly into Lake Placid. I'll check. Yep, fly in via Boston, Uber to Heart Lake trailhead. Be prepared for weather as cold as minus 40 degrees at night. A sunny minus 15 day can be absolutely delightful.

Hatchet_1697
10-28-2018, 12:16
This was a very informative thread and I wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. I havenít made it to the Whites on my Northbound from Virginia section hiking of the AT, but know they are looming. I winter hike but not above tree line, and after reading this plan on doing the Whites in summer. I know my limitations and have heard some of the stories.

Thanks for the reading list, I started reading Critical Hours: Search and Rescue in the White Mountains ó so far itís riveting.

H



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Slo-go'en
10-28-2018, 12:27
Have you considered the Adirondacks as an alternative? The High Peaks area around Mt. Marcy is a lot safer than the Whites, but still challenging and beautiful. Trails are mostly below tree line and well traveled. If the weather cooperates, you can bag some peaks as day hikes. I think you can fly into Lake Placid. I'll check. Yep, fly in via Boston, Uber to Heart Lake trailhead. Be prepared for weather as cold as minus 40 degrees at night. A sunny minus 15 day can be absolutely delightful.

He's planning a mid December hike, so it's unlikely to encounter -40 temps, but last winter it went from being sort of mild to sub zero at night around mid December and didn't warm up again until we had the January thaw a month later. This winter is suppose to be milder, but with more snow. We'll just have to wait and see if that pans out or not.

nsherry61
10-28-2018, 13:00
. . . Crampons are heavier, but are required safety equipment above treeline. . . I can't imagine anyone living on the gulf coast knows how tiring it is to fight a 40mph wind when it's -10* F. . .

Seriously?!

Obviously one needs to know their limits, but crampons "required safety equipment above treeline"? Give me a break. Yeah, crampons are required on a few, very few, trails in the Whites. While wearing microspikes, I climb with and past people in the Whites above treeline all the time and only a few are wearing crampons or even switching from microspikes to crampons (on the Ammonoosuc trail for instance). Yeah, crampons have better bite and stability on steep and hard ice conditions, but they require heavier footwear, they weigh more themselves, and they are absolutely NOT required for safe travel above treeline in the Whites on most occasions in most places.

And, on the second note, what makes one so arrogant as to assume that just because someone lives in a tropical climate they can't have experience with serious mountaineering? Hell, let's take it a step further and question how someone that lives in New England could have any experience with serious mountaineering when the closest glacier or mountain peak higher than 10,000 ft is half a continent away from where you live. Sure, you can get some serious winds and snow and find serious, albeit short, ice routes, but there are roads and trails everywhere and you can day-hike to the top of every major peak. Heck, there is a trail to the top of nearly every major peak in the Whites.

Real mountains and real mountaineering doesn't have trails because the terrain is to tough to sustain a trail. ;-)

Slo-go'en
10-28-2018, 15:52
Seriously?!
Obviously one needs to know their limits, but crampons "required safety equipment above treeline"? Give me a break.

Well, there are places where if you slip, you can slide 1500 feet before an abrupt stop in the boulder field at the bottom. You do need some kind of traction on the hard, crusty, wind packed snow. I really don't trust microspikes in some conditions.

People do come to the Whites in the winter to train for artic conditions since the weather here is so extreme. Being caught in a white out above tree line in the Whites with a wind chill somewhere around -100 is as dangerous as anywhere else in the world. These mountains can't be taken for granted. They have proven deadly time and again.

The OP says he has snowshoes and crampons, so I'd guess he has some winter experience. But where? The Whites are unique and can not be underestimated, even in late October as recent weather has proven.

peakbagger
10-28-2018, 17:04
Folks can always buy gear but they cant buy experience. They can rent it by hiring a guide.

Crampons arent required above treeline as long as the conditions do not require them, the down side to not bringing them is having to turn around. A big issue is most people can climb up steep stuff far better then descending it. I have run into folks that have gotten into a fair share of problems where they managed to make it up a slope and had a real tough time heading down it. Ammonoosuc Ravine and Lions Head Winter route both usually need crampons. Falling Waters, The Old Bridal Path section above treeline especially on the NW side can definitely be a crampons not optional section and Liberty all on occasion need crampons.

sethd513
10-28-2018, 17:25
Iíve been hiking and camping for 6 years now. 3 years ago I started winter camping. I live in Massachusetts and usually always make the 4 hour drive to the whites. I always plan for the worse, I always have bail out options and I always make sure my wife and I are on the same page when we go. Listen to these guys they know their stuff. There are plenty of good views elsewhere if you are looking to save money on a guide service but I wouldnít make an adventure out of it if you arenít use to the area in the other 3 seasons.


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nsherry61
10-28-2018, 17:42
People do come to the Whites in the winter to train for artic conditions since the weather here is so extreme. Being caught in a white out above tree line in the Whites with a wind chill somewhere around -100 is as dangerous as anywhere else in the world. . .
And, they make a great training ground quite precisely because the mountains are so readily accessible and you can find extreme weather conditions without extreme terrain conditions and all while also having readily available emergency exits. Relatively speaking, the Whites are awesomely safe and accessible. The Whites are dangerous, especially in the winter, because they are so readily accessible and climbable for people with limited experience, even in the winter. It's awesome to see how much use they get in mid-winter, whereas most other major mountain ranges in north America get very little use in the winter because they are beyond the skill sets of even man fairly experienced mountaineers.

Feral Bill
10-28-2018, 17:58
He's planning a mid December hike, so it's unlikely to encounter -40 temps, but last winter it went from being sort of mild to sub zero at night around mid December and didn't warm up again until we had the January thaw a month later. This winter is suppose to be milder, but with more snow. We'll just have to wait and see if that pans out or not.
I know its not super likely, but I always like to be prepared. The weight of -40 gear is not that much more than -20 gear.

Miami Joe
11-01-2018, 00:22
Love this thread. Lots of knowledgeable people. Good luck, crazy Floridian. ;)

T.S.Kobzol
11-01-2018, 07:02
It can be done. Keep studying and preparing.

Try parking at Lincoln Woods anf head to 13 falls campsite. Thats a good hike over mild trail. From there you can try any surrounding 4000 footers with an option to return to this Basecamp.

If the weather is nice and trails are broken out and you feel confident from the same campsite you can string galehead,twin and guyot and stay at guyot campsite. Then if weather still cooperates (DO NOT DO THIS SECTION IN WINDS AND SNOWSTORM) go over bonds and bondcliff and down to the Pemi where you can stealth camp and hike out to the car. Or try bonds and retrace steps back to 13 falls and out to Lincoln Woods.


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Dan Roper
11-01-2018, 07:20
My thought on reading the two posts by the OP: He's yanking our chain. No way this guy is serious.

If he was serious, surely he would have started this thread with, "I am a seriously experienced cold zone, high altitude winter hiker."

For a Louisianan (or anyone, barring the 1% of backpackers that could handle these conditions knowingly) to offer offhand that he wants to do nine days in the Whites in mid-December is nuts.

A few of you, in the name of being "encouraging," are encouraging him that there may be ways to do this, without knowing his experience level. That's nuts too. No way anybody but a flat-out expert needs to be venturing into this level of unknown, risk, and peril.

T.S.Kobzol
11-01-2018, 07:56
yeah maybe but walking to 13 falls campsite is walking on nearly level ground over a dirt road frequented by many people every day and retreating via this path is probably the safest 'winter backcountry wilderness experience' attempt you can do. If this person really decides to venture out there then I want to be the one to give him one of the safest options I could think of while still having an adventure.




My thought on reading the two posts by the OP: He's yanking our chain. No way this guy is serious.

If he was serious, surely he would have started this thread with, "I am a seriously experienced cold zone, high altitude winter hiker."

For a Louisianan (or anyone, barring the 1% of backpackers that could handle these conditions knowingly) to offer offhand that he wants to do nine days in the Whites in mid-December is nuts.

A few of you, in the name of being "encouraging," are encouraging him that there may be ways to do this, without knowing his experience level. That's nuts too. No way anybody but a flat-out expert needs to be venturing into this level of unknown, risk, and peril.

ADK Walker
11-01-2018, 09:23
Maybe I missed it but I couldn't find if you shared your previous experience in alpine environments.

My personal mantra in the Whites in winter is "Be conservative in your choices".

This range in winter will require a fair amount of knowledge and previous experience to manage the many risks it will throw your way. People get lucky every year with the weather, their lack of experience and their gear choices but I've seen lots of things above treeline in the Whites that are flat out dangerous and the people doing them didn't have a clue as to what level of potential harm they were putting themsleves and others (usually their girlfriends) in.

That being said I think you can put together an incredible trip for yourself. Consider spending a day with a local guide and learning the basics of snow travel, snow stability and whiteout navigation. It would be fun as well as a great learning experience.

If I was looking to put together a 9-day winter trip in the Whites and it was going to be my first time there I would consider multiple trips with a return to a hostel/motel in between. Getting a week straight of weather that's condusive to being above treeline in the winter is highly unlikely.

Consider arriving in town and choosing from a few pre-planned objectives that work with the weather pattern your'll be experiencing.

An overnight up Lowes Path to Mt. Adams is a good trail to consider to get a taste of the Whites in winter. Consider this mini-adventure as a shakedown trip to see how you and your equipment would fare for an extended backpacking trip in the area. Return to town after climbing Adams and maybe Madiosn and then adapt, change, add or remove the bits of gear that are needing attention and head out again.

Re-evaluate the weather forecast and set out on another longer trip that best suits your interest and level of comfort in the conditions that you have now gotten some first hand experience with.

As for micro-spikes... everything in the Whites was climbed, hiked and traversed before they were even invented. That being said I never leave my micro-spikes at home when headed to the Whites. They make travel so much more efficent where crampons would be overkill for the conditions. (I still carry crampons in addition to micro-spikes the majority of the time in the Whites.)

Best of luck and definitey visit the Flat Bread pizza place in North Conway for dinner one night.

peakbagger
11-01-2018, 10:51
When I respond to a thread like this I think of the lurkers out there contemplating a similar trip and hoping that even if the OP is not serious other folks may be and maybe they will realize how much crap they can get in. I have dayhiked all the four ks in NH in winter but even I pick my days. Things can get really nasty quickly if I pick the wrong ones.

This past weekend my driveway in Gorham got plowed twice and my cable line needed to be replaced as trees loaded with snow had bent them over stretching the line. I drove 40 miles south and its looks like fall with the leaves still on the trees. Many folks just assume that because there is not winter conditions in southern New England that the conditions could not be that bad in the whites. It happens every winter holiday weekend where folks head up who have not done their research and on occasion they get in trouble and in even rarer times their body gets carried down the mountain.

Slo-go'en
11-01-2018, 16:10
I climbed Mt Willard down in Crawford Notch today and the trail turned into a ribbon of ice at about 2000 feet. There looked like less snow down at the southern end of the range then up here at the north end. For November 1st, this is a good start to winter.

This is where the serious ice started.
43973

Surprised there was actually a view from the top. The AT climbs straight up that big hill to the left.
43974

Finally, Mt Washington in the clouds as another rain storm moves in
43975

egilbe
11-01-2018, 18:44
I've only hiked Willard in Winter. Its a cool little hike with a great view.

43976

Slo-go'en
11-01-2018, 20:40
I've only hiked Willard in Winter. Its a cool little hike with a great view.

43976
Yea, Willard, Avalon and Tom are good winter day hikes. Reasonably short and well traveled. About the easiest way to hit a couple of 4000 footers doing the Avalon/Tom loop.

It was obvious a lot of people had gone up Willard, probably last weekend, and turned the trail into ice. I saw 7 other hikes during the time I was on it. I meet a group of 4 which I caught up to shortly after leaving the parking lot and tagged along with them to the top, then meet 3 more coming up as I was going down. And that's on a Thursday in marginal weather.

The front desk guy at the highland center said there was 3 feet of snow up at the Avalon/Tom junction. It will be interesting to see how it looks up there after this weekends storms finally clear. Rain the valley, slush up high.

QuietStorm
11-02-2018, 14:42
When I finish the southern AT in a week, I'll have NH and Maine left. As tempting as it is to try and hike some miles this winter, I'm waiting until next spring-summer. I've hiked over 1700 miles of the AT but that doesn't make me an expert or ready to hike the Whites in winter. Be realistic, be safe, and most importantly, don't put SAR teams in danger getting your asses off the mountain.

demonace
11-02-2018, 15:34
Maybe I missed it but I couldn't find if you shared your previous experience in alpine environments.

My personal mantra in the Whites in winter is "Be conservative in your choices".

This range in winter will require a fair amount of knowledge and previous experience to manage the many risks it will throw your way. People get lucky every year with the weather, their lack of experience and their gear choices but I've seen lots of things above treeline in the Whites that are flat out dangerous and the people doing them didn't have a clue as to what level of potential harm they were putting themsleves and others (usually their girlfriends) in.

That being said I think you can put together an incredible trip for yourself. Consider spending a day with a local guide and learning the basics of snow travel, snow stability and whiteout navigation. It would be fun as well as a great learning experience.

If I was looking to put together a 9-day winter trip in the Whites and it was going to be my first time there I would consider multiple trips with a return to a hostel/motel in between. Getting a week straight of weather that's condusive to being above treeline in the winter is highly unlikely.

Consider arriving in town and choosing from a few pre-planned objectives that work with the weather pattern your'll be experiencing.

An overnight up Lowes Path to Mt. Adams is a good trail to consider to get a taste of the Whites in winter. Consider this mini-adventure as a shakedown trip to see how you and your equipment would fare for an extended backpacking trip in the area. Return to town after climbing Adams and maybe Madiosn and then adapt, change, add or remove the bits of gear that are needing attention and head out again.

Re-evaluate the weather forecast and set out on another longer trip that best suits your interest and level of comfort in the conditions that you have now gotten some first hand experience with.

As for micro-spikes... everything in the Whites was climbed, hiked and traversed before they were even invented. That being said I never leave my micro-spikes at home when headed to the Whites. They make travel so much more efficent where crampons would be overkill for the conditions. (I still carry crampons in addition to micro-spikes the majority of the time in the Whites.)

Best of luck and definitey visit the Flat Bread pizza place in North Conway for dinner one night.





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demonace
11-02-2018, 15:36
Maybe I missed it but I couldn't find if you shared your previous experience in alpine environments.

My personal mantra in the Whites in winter is "Be conservative in your choices".

This range in winter will require a fair amount of knowledge and previous experience to manage the many risks it will throw your way. People get lucky every year with the weather, their lack of experience and their gear choices but I've seen lots of things above treeline in the Whites that are flat out dangerous and the people doing them didn't have a clue as to what level of potential harm they were putting themsleves and others (usually their girlfriends) in.

That being said I think you can put together an incredible trip for yourself. Consider spending a day with a local guide and learning the basics of snow travel, snow stability and whiteout navigation. It would be fun as well as a great learning experience.

If I was looking to put together a 9-day winter trip in the Whites and it was going to be my first time there I would consider multiple trips with a return to a hostel/motel in between. Getting a week straight of weather that's condusive to being above treeline in the winter is highly unlikely.

Consider arriving in town and choosing from a few pre-planned objectives that work with the weather pattern your'll be experiencing.

An overnight up Lowes Path to Mt. Adams is a good trail to consider to get a taste of the Whites in winter. Consider this mini-adventure as a shakedown trip to see how you and your equipment would fare for an extended backpacking trip in the area. Return to town after climbing Adams and maybe Madiosn and then adapt, change, add or remove the bits of gear that are needing attention and head out again.

Re-evaluate the weather forecast and set out on another longer trip that best suits your interest and level of comfort in the conditions that you have now gotten some first hand experience with.

As for micro-spikes... everything in the Whites was climbed, hiked and traversed before they were even invented. That being said I never leave my micro-spikes at home when headed to the Whites. They make travel so much more efficent where crampons would be overkill for the conditions. (I still carry crampons in addition to micro-spikes the majority of the time in the Whites.)

Best of luck and definitey visit the Flat Bread pizza place in North Conway for dinner one night.

Finally a very thoughtful post about how to manage this trip and actually that is exactly the info we were looking for and that is our plan after EXTENSIVE research. We will be doing a series of smaller trips testing out several different builds of gear. We are very experienced hikers but know our obstacles and take EVERY precaution but I want to thank everyone that has been posting positive comments on this thread. Your advice will all be considered.


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rickb
11-02-2018, 16:17
Finally a very thoughtful post about how to manage this trip and actually that is exactly the info we were looking for and that is our plan after EXTENSIVE research. We will be doing a series of smaller trips testing out several different builds of gear. We are very experienced hikers but know our obstacles and take EVERY precaution but I want to thank everyone that has been posting positive comments on this thread. Your advice will all be considered.
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FWIW, The Notch Hostel is worth looking into as a base of operations for hikes originating/ending in the southern part of the Whites.

I have not stayed at many Hostels, but I am thinking this one is unique for all sorts of reasons.

Good facilities and you would probably run into a lot of like-minded people with a wealth of local knowledge there. Some shuttles.

demonace
11-02-2018, 16:21
Yes we wonít be doing any hostels but maybe a hut but mostly hammock and maybe a trench and BIVY setup with pads. Def gonna be testing a ton of gear configurations.


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Hatchet_1697
11-02-2018, 16:51
Do us a favor, post an update after your adventure, Iíd like to know what worked (gear, planning, etc.), what didnít work, and what you would do differently next time.

Thanks, good luck, and be safe. H


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demonace
11-02-2018, 16:54
Do us a favor, post an update after your adventure, Iíd like to know what worked (gear, planning, etc.), what didnít work, and what you would do differently next time.

Thanks, good luck, and be safe. H


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Absolutely there will be tons of pictures and maybe even videos posted for yíall.


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HandyRandy
11-02-2018, 17:09
Hey guys. So now youíve met my buddy, DemonAce above. We have decided to break the trip into segments and rent a car instead of relying on public transportation. That should make it much easier. Weíre just gonna get out there and have fun and learn a lot.

Slo-go'en
11-02-2018, 17:22
Hey guys. So now you’ve met my buddy, DemonAce above. We have decided to break the trip into segments and rent a car instead of relying on public transportation. That should make it much easier. We’re just gonna get out there and have fun and learn a lot.

That's the best plan. I highly recommend a hike up to the RMC Gray Knob cabin for a starter.

egilbe
11-02-2018, 18:47
Yes we wonít be doing any hostels but maybe a hut but mostly hammock and maybe a trench and BIVY setup with pads. Def gonna be testing a ton of gear configurations.


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a Hut? They are closed in the Winter, Except for Lonesome Lake, Zealand, and Carter Notch. Those three are in fairly sheltered areas so don't have to worry about Winter storms destroying them as much. Its Caretaker season, so they are unheated, mostly.

peakbagger
11-02-2018, 20:04
Might be a confusion on terms. There are AMC Huts, as Egilbe mentions only three are open in the winter under caretaker basis. All three are down in the valleys. They have a wood stove in a common area and cooking stoves and a water supply but the sleeping areas are unheated. Carter Notch is decidedly the coldest of the three. The huts have various occupancies and are usually full on Saturday nights. You need reservations to stay in them and have to pay to stay. They have hot water and some limited snacks for sale but you need to bring your own food.

There are also AMC Shelters These are three or four sided shelters without a door and elevated above the ground. They usually hold 8 to 12 campers and have no facilities except for an outhouse. They are free to use and can get full on weekends in winter. With the exception of a campfire in front of the shelter there is no good way to warm up. Many folks prefer to use a tent dug into the snow as it tends to be warmer than a shelter.

RMC on Mt Adams has one sheltered cabin just below treeline with a wood stove operated by a caretaker in the evening. It has a nearby water source (spring) and an outhouse. It doesn't have a cooking stove but does have places to use your camping stove. No reservations, they are first come first served and there is a fee. It will fill up most weekends. It is a very important place to know about as if you get in trouble on Adams, Jefferson or Madison its where you need to head to. Nearby is Crag Camp, it has no source of heat but does have an outhouse. It is very exposed to wind and weather. There is a fee to use it and gets the overflow from Gray Knob. The final important RMC location is the Perch which is similar to an AMC shelter. Its a 3 sided lean to with wing walls on the open side. It has an out house.

Finding a camping spot is not easy but easier in the winter if there is 2 feet of snow cover as you can camp above treeline except for a few areas, covered on the third page of the back country regulations https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5363715.pdf. Below treeline camping is tough until you drop down about 1000 feet of elevation to get to open woods.

The bummer is winter time high pressure systems which usually cause nice daytime weather, causes radiational cooling at night so the nice weather usually is accompanied by very cold nights. With 8 hours or less daylight in December, nights are long and cold. If a weather front comes through you need to get down low and dig in for a day or two or preferably bail into town as fronts are usually accompanied by high winds.

Slo-go'en
11-02-2018, 20:33
Dispite all your research, I have a feeling you guys are going to have a painful learning cruve. That's okay, you don't know what your getting into unto you get into it.

These mountains can be brutal in December and I have a feeling this will be one of them. We'll know better after Thanksgiving. Will keep you posted.

rickb
11-03-2018, 08:42
Seems like most of the responses you are getting geared to the Presidentials.

Other sections, including over Moosilauke and the Kinsmans, Franconia Ridge and the Carter Ridge all provide their own significant challenges, but are decidedly different. To different degrees they would give you a chance to tent, camp at empty shelters and enjoy quite winter solitude without the same commitment that a multii-day trip (or even a peak bag) over the Presidentials would. Each has a different flavor. Still concerning, but in differnt ways. Some of these sections offer alternative routes To the AT to reach the height of land than you might want to consider.

As for micro spikes in the Whites, like most I think they are great but even in wooded sections of the AT it is good to have something more if you face a steep stretch of hard ice on a shaded section of trail. My guess is that I am not the only one who has been turned around by that. Even though micro spike would ďprobablyĒ work. Or work better for those with more confidence in them than me.

Traveler
11-04-2018, 09:13
As for micro spikes in the Whites, like most I think they are great but even in wooded sections of the AT it is good to have something more if you face a steep stretch of hard ice on a shaded section of trail. My guess is that I am not the only one who has been turned around by that. Even though micro spike would ďprobablyĒ work. Or work better for those with more confidence in them than me.

Agreed that micro-spikes in the Whites as the only means of footgear traction should be re-thought. They are fine in some circumstances, but something more is usually needed as elevation changes trail conditions, ice mass, and other variables. Though I used to carry crampons with me all the time in winter, the advent of micro-spikes that are easy to use and light spoiled me on hikes in terrain where challenges were not too high. I got complacent and started tackling higher elevation trails in them and discovered micro-spikes can create a false sense of security as they can be fairly stable climbing under certain conditions, descending can be quite different.

One painful and hours long descent where each step is a potential broken bone waiting to happen is usually all it takes for a gear decision like this. Though I still bring micro-spikes, I no longer go on trails having significant elevation gains in early to late winter without crampons. Nor do I carry an ice axe with only micro-spikes, which gives me pause to make the turn around decision. Conversely, I always carry the ice axe when I have crampons with me.

Not sure if that helps with any decisions, but areas like the White Mountains do demand a lot of respect. To paraphrase A. G. Lamplugh, "The mountains are not inherently dangerous. But to even a greater degree than the sea they are terribly unforgiving of carelessness, incapacity, or neglect".

nsherry61
11-04-2018, 10:46
For what it's worth, I have never taken any traction devices more substantial than either microspikes or MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes into the Whites in winter. I probably have a dozen or so, above treeline winter ascents I've done in the last three years. I have have always figured I would just turn back if I found a need for more traction. I am perfectly capable of thinking about what I am climbing over and thinking about descending, so I am not fussed about climbing something I can't descend. That's just climbing common sense that is hard for some people to take seriously, but part of life if you love climbing.

That being said, I have climbed routes with others that were using crampons and past groups of people that had crampons and some members belayed with ropes. So, everyone has their personal level of confidence or desire for firm vs. just adequate footing and security. But to suggest that crampons are required above treeline in the Whites is seriously overstating the issue.

Slo-go'en
11-04-2018, 10:53
After years and years of abuse, my trusty Koflach boots finally self destructed. The plastic shell became brittle and pieces started to break off:
43983

Thankfully, last night a friend of mine who used to be a hot shot ice climber (and now winters in Florida!) loaned me his old climbing boots (although they aren't double boots, they should be warm enough) and my crampons sort of fit. I prefer 10 point spikes, which leaves the middle open. This makes it much easier to hike on mixed ice and rock. I can finally climb above tree line again :) I don't actually like the two front spikes as they can trip you up, but I couldn't find any 8 point crampons at the time I had to replace my old ones, which broke.

43984

HandyRandy
11-04-2018, 11:25
I want to try out the TSL Symbioz Elite snowshoes in a medium size. Which boast a rating of 260lbs. 23.5Ē by 8Ē. They have a more flexible deck for cushioning and extra grip. I know that a flexible deck will float less efficiently, but how much so? I weigh only 150lbs myself, but I wonít be anywhere near that 260 lbs limit even with all my gear and I suspect we will try to bag the peaks with less gear by leaving shelters, food etc. behind at a base camp whenever possible. My friend is worried that the notorious weather will frequently leave lots of fresh snow for us to break through. Do we need to be over prepared with the largest sized snowshoes and the ones that excel at floating?

demonace
11-04-2018, 11:38
I want to try out the TSL Symbioz Elite snowshoes in a medium size. Which boast a rating of 260lbs. 23.5Ē by 8Ē. They have a more flexible deck for cushioning and extra grip. I know that a flexible deck will float less efficiently, but how much so? I weigh only 150lbs myself, but I wonít be anywhere near that 260 lbs limit even with all my gear and I suspect we will try to bag the peaks with less gear by leaving shelters, food etc. behind at a base camp whenever possible. My friend is worried that the notorious weather will frequently leave lots of fresh snow for us to break through. Do we need to be over prepared with the largest sized snowshoes and the ones that excel at floating?

Link the picture HandyRandy


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egilbe
11-04-2018, 12:06
In most cases, unless it's the day after a snowstorm in freshly fallen snow, the trail will be packed out enough where you won't need larger snowshoes. If you do need to pack out the trail, keep switching off with someone else so neither one of you get too exhausted. Exhaustion leads to hypothermia, which leads to death very quickly. Best case scenario is that you meet up with another group and you all take turns packing out the trail. I have yet to summit if I've had to pack out a trail for any distance. If the trails not already packed out, I'm resigned to building trail Karma and only going up part way.

Slo-go'en
11-04-2018, 12:47
I use short snowshoes as the trails are narrow and steep. You want just enough surface area as to not posthole and give you traction. In mid December there may or may not be enough snow to really use snowshoes. There has to be at least 2-3 feet of snow to cover up all the rocks and smooth out the trail. Ice is really the predominate trail condition in the early winter.

The snow blows down from above tree line and collects in the trees just below tree line, so it can get pretty deep for the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile below tree line. That's also where the trail is the steepest, which can be difficult to navigate with snowshoes. Having shoes with heel lifts are really nice when going up the steeper parts of the trail.

demonace
11-17-2018, 20:23
GulfCoastWinterHikerhttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181118/6df5c07d7bc1f743bdf15b55bb839a6b.jpg


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Slo-go'en
11-17-2018, 20:49
GulfCoastWinterHikerhttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181118/6df5c07d7bc1f743bdf15b55bb839a6b.jpg


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Now all you need is some real winter boots and gaiters.

CalebJ
11-17-2018, 21:02
The trail gloves won't do?

Slo-go'en
11-17-2018, 21:25
This is what it looks outside my doorway right now (8PM, 11/17/18)
44076

The summits haven't really cleared in weeks and that means it's been snowing up there the whole time. More snow coming mid week, followed by single digits for Thanksgiving. This shaping up to be a real winter already.

demonace
11-17-2018, 21:28
Sounds like the perfect time to see ďrealĒ snow for the first time [emoji108][emoji106]


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egilbe
11-17-2018, 22:08
Sounds like the perfect time to see “real” snow for the first time [emoji108][emoji106]


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Hire a guide :-)

jackwagon
11-17-2018, 22:51
As others have said, we're not sure how much experience in cold you've had. There are lots of things besides just staying warm while hiking that are key to enjoying the trip, and maybe to survival.

Everyone has talked about the hiking, but since you are also planning to camp, what are you using for a stove? Canister will work, but requires a water bath to keep going when temps get more than a few degrees below freezing. For your drinking water, be sure to keep your water from freezing in your water bottle. There are several methods, I like the OR water bottle parka. It's possible to use a water bladder with a sip hose down a bit below freezing if you're careful (blow the water back from the tube into the bladder after you take a drink), but if temps get low it's nearly impossible to keep it from freezing. If you're near a stream and feel like you need to ensure that the water is safe, you can't plan to use a filter since freezing would likely break the ceramic filter, making it unsafe. You can boil, use a Steripen, or chemicals (although chemicals take much longer when it's cold). If you are planning to melt snow, plan on using quite a bit more fuel, and sometimes there's not much snow around, for example if a warm front comes in and rain turns the snow into ice. There may already be enough snow there to make that less likely, but it can even happen in January.

Since I think you said you're planning to hammock, you won't need to consider how to stake out your tent if there's no snow and the ground is solid.

For what others have said, they have a lot of good advice. I think you will have fun, and some good experience. Most of us who have done years of trips started as newbies and survived. On my first couple of winter trips I didn't sleep much through the night because I didn't have appropriate gear, but I learned each time. You may have to find some pieces of better gear for the conditions after you've spent a couple nights out, but you'll still have fun and be doing something that most other people don't even consider trying to do. Just be aware of your abilities, and accept that you may have to turnaround.

Have a great trip, and let us know how it goes!

HandyRandy
11-18-2018, 21:24
The plan is to use a twig stove and an alcohol stove as a backup. Iíll have the Solo Stove Lite and heíll have the Solo Stove Titan. The alcohol stoves will be a Starlyte XL2 and a Fancee Feest. Weíll be carrying quite a bit of backup items just to be safe.

CalebJ
11-18-2018, 21:35
?
How many twigs do you expect to find in the snow, and /or how much alcohol are you carrying to melt water?

demonace
11-18-2018, 21:40
Hold up. Are you telling me that when it snows we wonít be able to make a fire???


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CalebJ
11-18-2018, 21:50
I'm saying I wouldn't rely on finding enough of the right size pieces of wood to feed a stove of that type versus carrying a more appropriate tool for the job. Building a fire is one thing, but feeding a compact wood stove on a backpacking trip with a snow pack on the ground is another.

egilbe
11-18-2018, 21:51
Hold up. Are you telling me that when it snows we won’t be able to make a fire???


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You realize the snow is getting deep now, right? All your twigs will be buried or covered in ice and snow. Ever try to burn frozen wood? It doesn't burn. It's like trying to burn an ice cube. Forget alcohol. It will be too cold to light. Not enough BTU's to melt snow efficiently.

egilbe
11-18-2018, 22:08
See if you can get something lit off this stuff:
44099

Hatchet_1697
11-18-2018, 22:38
https://andrewskurka.com/2015/gear-list-winter-backpacking-stove-system/

Good advice on winter stoves


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Hatchet_1697
11-18-2018, 22:47
There several of us grey beards following your quest; some support the pull of adventure, others think youíre nuts ó all want to make sure you understand the risks and return home safe with all your fingers and toes. Youíre young and can embrace the suck, but frostbite and hyperthermia are unapologetic b*tches.

The question I have, are you bringing a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)*(5 watt power), or just a Satellite Messenger (considerably less power) like the Spot or inReach?

The inReach is nice because family can track your location on an online map, but the Spot/inReach are geared towards recreational use and can have spotty coverage. On these devices the antenna must be pointing straight up (vertical) when activating to provide an accurate GPS location, otherwise the coordinates can be off over a mile delaying the SAR response.

Iíll spare you the engineering as to why this happens, but will say a PLB is preferred for a trip like this. If the unexpected happens, and things go sideways in a bad way, rescue in 8h is much better than 24h.

Keep posting!

Hatch



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CalebJ
11-18-2018, 22:53
How would the antenna orientation affect plotted location? I understand having signal degredation and not picking up enough satellites for an accurate fix...

Feral Bill
11-18-2018, 23:03
https://andrewskurka.com/2015/gear-list-winter-backpacking-stove-system/

Good advice on winter stoves


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Very good advise there. Please heed. I have always used white gas stoves, including weather down to -35 F. Practice at home and be careful. You do not want to burn yourself

Hatchet_1697
11-18-2018, 23:38
Lol, great question, but for a different forum. Most White Blaze guys arenít RF antenna geeks so I know better than to go there on this forum. Now backpacking gear and skills, theyíre all over that!

NH Fish and Game along with the Civil Air Patrol did field testing in the Whites, I forget the specific model, but when the device was on its side the coordinates had a surprisingly large error ellipse. You can call NHFG and ask them what they recommend. The manufacturers also provide specific instructions on device orientation.

The model this guy used a couple weeks ago seems to have worked well.

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2018/10/25/rescuers-in-new-hampshire-get-to-stranded-hiker-in-waist-deep-snow




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Slo-go'en
11-18-2018, 23:40
There shouldn't be any problem getting water, the streams are all flowing strong. Even cold as it's been, it be a while before they freeze up solid. Keeping you water bottle from freezing might be a issue though. This is when using Nalgene bottles is worth the weight, and having an insulated sleeve for it. Store it cap side down, that helps keep the cap from freezing in place.

Alcohol stoves can work in the extreme cold, but they need to be insulated from the ground and have a wind shield. The Caldara cone system is good for that. It just takes 2-3 time the amount of fuel then normal to boil water which was 32.5 degrees to start and it's 15 degrees out. It also takes a long time.

There is a lot of down branches on the trails (no one seems to bother picking them up and moving them) from the last few wind and wet snow storms. There should be enough sticking up out of the snow to be reasonably easy to forage. Still, not the best option, but could work. Just be sure to collect twigs along the way to camp, as the picking might be slim at campsites and most of that down wood is at lower elevations.

A gas canister stove still the most practical option, but be sure to start with a full size cylinder and have an insulated pad to put it on. If you find you need something hot to drink NOW!, a canister stove is the quick, no fuss way of getting that hot drink. You don't want to be messing with a wood or alcohol stove when your borderline hypothermic.

White gas is definitely the best, but finicky.

I don't think these guys will find the Whites to be anything like they expected.

Feral Bill
11-19-2018, 00:05
There shouldn't be any problem getting water, the streams are all flowing strong. Even cold as it's been, it be a while before they freeze up solid. Keeping you water bottle from freezing might be a issue though. This is when using Nalgene bottles is worth the weight, and having an insulated sleeve for it. Store it cap side down, that helps keep the cap from freezing in place.

Alcohol stoves can work in the extreme cold, but they need to be insulated from the ground and have a wind shield. The Caldara cone system is good for that. It just takes 2-3 time the amount of fuel then normal to boil water which was 32.5 degrees to start and it's 15 degrees out. It also takes a long time.

There is a lot of down branches on the trails (no one seems to bother picking them up and moving them) from the last few wind and wet snow storms. There should be enough sticking up out of the snow to be reasonably easy to forage. Still, not the best option, but could work. Just be sure to collect twigs along the way to camp, as the picking might be slim at campsites and most of that down wood is at lower elevations.

A gas canister stove still the most practical option, but be sure to start with a full size cylinder and have an insulated pad to put it on. If you find you need something hot to drink NOW!, a canister stove is the quick, no fuss way of getting that hot drink. You don't want to be messing with a wood or alcohol stove when your borderline hypothermic.

White gas is definitely the best, but finicky.

I don't think these guys will find the Whites to be anything like they expected.

Assuming your seal is not corrupted by ice, try putting those Nalgenes full of hot
water in your insulated boots for the night. Win-win.

T.S.Kobzol
11-19-2018, 03:10
A gas canister stove still the most practical option, but be sure to start with a full size cylinder and have an insulated pad to put it on. If you find you need something hot to drink NOW!, a canister stove is the quick, no fuss way of getting that hot drink. You don't want to be messing with a wood or alcohol stove when your borderline hypothermic.
.

This is a reason why I bought my first jetboil this year...I know I'm late to the party but I figured it could be super quick in a pinch. [emoji846]

I have used alcohol stove and it worked but sometimes you're exhausted when you start making camp in the dark and every minute is a luxury.

I have also used my Woodburning stove in deep snow but I carried fatwood with me.



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peakbagger
11-19-2018, 10:13
I was out on the AT in Shelburne NH on Thursday. We had a loop hike over including a relatively low altitude section between Gentian Pond and Dream Lake on the AT. Only 2.1 miles on the AT. This stretch should have taken us an hour. Well after 2 hours we turned around after about 1.1 miles. Blazing of the AT in the whites is generally secondary to following the trail bed except for around intersections. Unfortunately with 12 to 18 inches of fresh snow and no track the trail bed was not easy to find in open woods. It was overcast so the woods are monochromatic and faded white blazes on trees dont show up very well. Some sections of the trail are cut through thicker younger softwoods and is fairly easy to follow but were loaded with large blowdowns. We were barebooting in this as the snow pack isnt well developed yet so climbing over blowdown with snow shoes is usually much harder as the branches catch on the crevices on the shoes. Once the snow has packed down a bit the blowdowns will usually get locked into the snow with one major exception which are the dreaded spruce traps encountered near treeline but on occasion anywhere there are small firs. Near treeline powder will form "wells" of lose snow around fir trees and frequently cover the trees so it looks like it just a wide snow field. A hiker will be walking along and the next thing they know it they may drop over head deep into a hole full of loose snow. Its a major effort to escape as if they have snowshoes on the snowshoes get trapped in the branches which initially bent downward. When the hiker tries to lift their foot, they are pulling the branches back upwards. Frequently its quite a effort to get out of and a good way to get soaked due to the exertion required.

We had an agreed upon a turn around time and when we exceeded it we turned around. A lot of folks get in trouble including myself assuming that despite being half way or more than half way that the fastest way down is to keep going. This is false thinking as trail conditions can get worse slowing forward progress to zero. I participated in a 18 hour day hike once where we made that assumption and ended up coming out at 1:30AM the next day. Trying to find a trail in the dark in winter with headlamps is not particularly easy and its almost guaranteed you will loose it multiple times. Speaking of headlamps buy some lithium batteries, they work much better in cold conditions. Regular alkalines loose a lot of capacity when cold.

The other thing to keep in mind is in above treeline areas it can be impossible to find where a trail heads down into the woods. The signs and cairns easy to follow in the winter can drift in and the actual trail into the woods can drift in even with the woods on either side. That means when you need to get off the ridge you may not be able to and if you try to cross country it through the dense softwoods near treeline they can be continuous spruce trap reducing forward travel to almost zero.

egilbe
11-19-2018, 11:21
What peakbagger said. It's really scary to being caught in a whiteout and have the trail completely disappear.

Many of the trails leading to safety become completely obliterated by drifting snow. People tend to walk with the prevailing winds to their back and the prevailing winds in bad weather lead you into wilderness areas with snow that can be 10's of feet deep, lead to avalanche prone areas, or off headwalls where a slip and fall lead to death, especially in the Presidentials.

Snowing right now and forecasting another 6-8 inch snow storm for tomorrow and single digits temps for Thanksgiving week.

peakbagger
11-19-2018, 11:49
Note we had a GPS track and even that wasnt enough to keep up on route. When we started zig zagging to try to stay on the track it was another reason to go home.

One of the guiding services has a website that lists the escape routes from the AT in Winter along the Presidential Traverse Route and compass bearings from landmarks. The standard approach is if in doubt go Right when southbound or left when northbound. There are exceptions but frequently the otehr direction dumps you in a large basin like the Great Gulf Wilderness, Dry RIver Wilderness , and the Pemi wilderness. These are all visited rarely in the winter and many tend to have cornice's which forms on the leeward side of steep slopes. Cornices can be real bad news as they can quickly form an avalanche and if the person survives the initial drop they are potentially buried deep and snow and suffocate.

Note the declination is around 17 degrees in the area, if you dont compensate for the declination, you most likely will miss the escape route where it goes into the trees. The Jewell trail, Lowes Path and the Ammonusuc Ravine trail are somewhat infamous for this due to the long distance from the ridgecrest to treeline. Even with good bearing Haystack has a few fatalities and frost bite incidents where folks an find the Falling Waters trail due to high winds and blowing snow.

sethd513
11-20-2018, 09:14
I was going to go up Thursday. Iím seeing -25 at camp with -40+ windchill. Needless to say Iím waiting till Friday to camp. I have that option because Iím only 4 hours away.

I wouldnít camp out there even if I was staying in caretaker huts without a white gas stove, bomb proof bivy, -20 or warmer sleeping bag and knowing what my base and mid layers take to dry out on my body. You should have atleast r6 or more insulation. Honestly there are many great places to experience winter. The whites might not be the best place to start but itís one hell of a place to learn


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Traveler
11-20-2018, 09:16
We had an agreed upon a turn around time and when we exceeded it we turned around. A lot of folks get in trouble including myself assuming that despite being half way or more than half way that the fastest way down is to keep going. This is false thinking as trail conditions can get worse slowing forward progress to zero. I participated in a 18 hour day hike once where we made that assumption and ended up coming out at 1:30AM the next day. Trying to find a trail in the dark in winter with headlamps is not particularly easy and its almost guaranteed you will loose it multiple times. Speaking of headlamps buy some lithium batteries, they work much better in cold conditions. Regular alkalines loose a lot of capacity when cold.



Perhaps one of the least discussed trail safety measures, and potentially most valuable, is an agreed time or place where the turn around decision can be made. Glad to see this mentioned in your post and hope others see this as well!

CalebJ
11-20-2018, 09:37
I was going to go up Thursday. I’m seeing -25 at camp with -40+ windchill.

Where do you see it going that low? Don't get me wrong - Thursday's forecast is brutal. I'm just not seeing it quite that far down.

Slo-go'en
11-20-2018, 10:25
Where do you see it going that low? Don't get me wrong - Thursday's forecast is brutal. I'm just not seeing it quite that far down.

It may not go sub zero, but will get darn close. Those low temps are generally coupled with strong winds as the cold front comes in, so wind chill will be well below zero. Conditions will be more like February then November, that's for sure. Modest improvement in temps for Saturday-Sunday.

We're only suppose to get a couple of inches of snow today/tomorrow but there will be significantly more at higher elevations. The sun came out and the summits cleared for a little bit yesterday, just enough to see there is a lot of snow up there! First time I've seen that bright light in the sky in at least 10 days. Living in the shadow of Mt Adams does have its down side. Don't get to see the sun very often in the winter.

sethd513
11-20-2018, 10:35
I was referencing mountian weather forcast dot com. Itís usually pretty comparable to mount Washington weather in my opinion. Sometimes itís actually pretty conservative in comparison to mount Washington weather. They give you summit predictions per peak and then a lower treeline prediction.

This is all really good information in this thread. I always assume I know nothing so itís a good read especially at the beginning of the season.


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CalebJ
11-20-2018, 10:35
I definitely see -16 to -20 in a couple of forecasts for Thursday, just hadn't seen one go down as far as -25. Either way, quite a day for November.

sethd513
11-20-2018, 10:36
I was referencing mountian weather forcast dot com. Itís usually pretty comparable to mount Washington weather in my opinion. Sometimes itís actually pretty conservative in comparison to mount Washington weather. They give you summit predictions per peak and then a lower treeline prediction.

This is all really good information in this thread. I always assume I know nothing so itís a good read especially at the beginning of the season.


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https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Madison/forecasts/1636


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sethd513
11-20-2018, 10:44
I definitely see -16 to -20 in a couple of forecasts for Thursday, just hadn't seen one go down as far as -25. Either way, quite a day for November.

Sorry itís saying -22 now for that forcast it was a pinch higher last night. But this is At the peaks. I donít mind going out when itís saying -10 because I like a buffer. If something happens I have room for the temp to drop or change In conditions. Either way anything under 0 is dangerous and itís good to be mindful of everything.


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CalebJ
11-20-2018, 10:52
Sorry itís saying -22 now for that forcast it was a pinch higher last night. But this is At the peaks. I donít mind going out when itís saying -10 because I like a buffer. If something happens I have room for the temp to drop or change In conditions. Either way anything under 0 is dangerous and itís good to be mindful of everything.

Agreed. My suspicion is that we'll (my February trip, not the OP's) adjust plans if the forecast is worse than -10 and/or significant wind (more so than usual, that is).


Is it possible you're looking at celsius numbers at Mountain Forecast?

peakbagger
11-20-2018, 12:27
The thing with the forecast for Thursday is that on Saturday its supposed to be in the 40s and sunny. The way to go in winter is pick your days and find something else to do on the extreme days. That is what really makes it hard to do a multi-day point to point trip. The weather patterns in November and December tend to rotate through on about a 3 to 4 day cycle. Later in the winter the patterns tend to shift to longer stretches of good weather.

T.S.Kobzol
11-20-2018, 12:47
I was going to go up Thursday. Iím seeing -25 at camp with -40+ windchill. Needless to say Iím waiting till Friday to camp. I have that option because Iím only 4 hours away.

I wouldnít camp out there even if I was staying in caretaker huts without a white gas stove, bomb proof bivy, -20 or warmer sleeping bag and knowing what my base and mid layers take to dry out on my body. You should have atleast r6 or more insulation. Honestly there are many great places to experience winter. The whites might not be the best place to start but itís one hell of a place to learn


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I am actually going to camp this Thursday, maybe sawyer pond, test some new gear that i plan to use this winter at Baxter State Park.


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sethd513
11-20-2018, 12:55
I am actually going to camp this Thursday, maybe sawyer pond, test some new gear that i plan to use this winter at Baxter State Park.


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Thatíll be sick. We have good gear to take but my wife is going this time and if sheíll go I do what sheís comfortable with. She was fridged last time we went so I got her some new stuffs in hope of feeling warmer and gaining confidence.


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HandyRandy
11-20-2018, 14:40
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181120/b9150dc5da897ea210bd242a5e7c3ecc.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181120/801ed112e7a831588b6aa4a1b407b5db.jpg
Joking aside, thanks for the advice and tips. We are looking forward to learning what this place is like!

rickb
11-20-2018, 17:46
I am actually going to camp this Thursday, maybe sawyer pond, test some new gear that i plan to use this winter at Baxter State Park. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I rather like Sawyer Pond from the Kank.

I took my now wife there (or perhaps she took me ) on our finest backpack together. There is something to be said for Trails in the Whites with virtually zero elevation gain. There not very many, but that is a good one so long as you can rock hop right at the start.

T.S.Kobzol
11-20-2018, 17:54
funny part is that I've been up Carrigain 3 times and I've skied the road from 302 a few times but I have never been to the pond. :-) But I have always thought this could be a fun winter outing. My wife has to work on Thanksgiving so I'm free to go camping as long as I make it back home by noon time on Friday :-) Keeping fingers crossed that I get out of the house on Thursday morning. There are always some societal roadblocks ;-)





I rather like Sawyer Pond from the Kank.

I took my now wife there (or perhaps she took me ) on our finest backpack together. There is something to be said for Trails in the Whites with virtually zero elevation gain. There not very many, but that is a good one so long as you can rock hop right at the start.

rickb
11-20-2018, 18:41
It just dawned on me that my way in might be overrun by snowmobiles by now.

Slo-go'en
11-20-2018, 20:47
It just dawned on me that my way in might be overrun by snowmobiles by now.

I don't think they have opened the gates to the snowmobile trails yet. Only trails on state land can be used before mid December if there is sufficient snow, which is still marginal in most places out side of the northern Presidentials.

peakbagger
11-21-2018, 10:29
I have a snowmachine trail at the front of my property (not by choice), its not open until December so the woods are quiet until then.

Sawyer Pond has been a party spot in the non winter season for years. The only time is quiets down is when Sawyer River road washes out (which seems to be occurring far more often).

T.S.Kobzol
11-23-2018, 14:21
I would not go there in the summer. Well I'm back and I was there alone broke trail all the way. It was cooold [emoji846]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181123/4a0a051f24c2d95a4794d9664de243eb.jpg


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Slo-go'en
12-05-2018, 11:42
Well, it's almost mid December. I wonder if the OP and his friend are still coming up this way? The sun finally came out today, haven't seen that bright light in the sky for well over a week. But of course, now it's wicked cold.

sethd513
12-05-2018, 12:08
Iím hoping to get up there a couple times this month. Weíll see how the weather plays out. Itís such a great area to live near because you can be flexible with your trips. Much harder to decide when a plane ticket is involved. Wear your snowshoes!


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demonace
12-09-2018, 20:32
Yup we are geared to the teeth and making tons of contingency plans thanks to all the knowledge shared on this thread. You guys have really helped shape our trip. Canít wait to get there. Lot of testing being had with all of our gear. Learning everyday more and more. Again thank you all for all your feedback!


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Slo-go'en
12-09-2018, 23:56
Good luck. The temps are going to be wicked cold until the weekend, then it warms up and we get another slush storm. Rain/freezing rain/wet snow. Looks like Sat, Sun and Mon will be nasty. You don't want to be out in it. Ideal hypothermal conditions. Then it goes back into the teens at night to turn that mess back into ice. There are usually strong winds associated with the cold front moving in too.

Apparently there isn't a whole lot of snow except around where I live and that has mostly turned into concrete, but there will be plenty of ice. Active trails are real icy, all trails have a lot of branches and occasional down trees across them. Any stream crossing are high water and ice cold.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 01:29
Dear me, didn’t read through all this thread, but based on some of the responses, you’d think he was attempting K2. You’ll be fine. Good gear, planning, common sense and the right attitude will see you through fine.

Traveler
12-13-2018, 07:59
Dear me, didn’t read through all this thread, but based on some of the responses, you’d think he was attempting K2. You’ll be fine. Good gear, planning, common sense and the right attitude will see you through fine.
Probably the same thoughts highly experienced mountaineer Kate Matrosova had when she left to climb Mt. Adams, who died in that process. Given the large number of people who have perished in these mountains I think it wise to ask questions or provide information if one doesn't have a lot of experience in them, especially during winter months.

egilbe
12-13-2018, 08:23
Dear me, didn’t read through all this thread, but based on some of the responses, you’d think he was attempting K2. You’ll be fine. Good gear, planning, common sense and the right attitude will see you through fine.

Over 200 people have died in the White mountains. Some of them were very experienced, with the right attitude, good gear, planning and common sense. People come to the White mountains to train to climb K2. Why do you think that is?

BradMT
12-13-2018, 09:42
Over 200 people have died in the White mountains. Some of them were very experienced, with the right attitude, good gear, planning and common sense. People come to the White mountains to train to climb K2. Why do you think that is?

Because the region is readily accessible to millions of people. Period.

You really think the Whites are different than the mountains in Montana in winter? Actually they are... the mountains here are more severe, higher, and colder.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 09:48
Probably the same thoughts highly experienced mountaineer Kate Matrosova had when she left to climb Mt. Adams, who died in that process. Given the large number of people who have perished in these mountains I think it wise to ask questions or provide information if one doesn't have a lot of experience in them, especially during winter months.

I did multiple week long winter trips in the Presidential's in the 1970's when I was a teenager, with another teen and no adults. I've also done winter solo there. I've summited all the Presidentials, including Adams at -15F. It's not technical climbing. You go prepared and use your head.

The Presidentials are no different than any other mountains in winter, or mountains anywhere. They can all kill you if you exercise bad judgement.

Again, the White's are just more accessible to ten's of million's of people... that skews statistics.

CalebJ
12-13-2018, 09:49
It's as if you're attacking someone asking legitimate questions and those trying to answer with reasonable advice to ensure the OP is prepared. What is your point, other than to engage in a 'mine is bigger than yours' contest that has no value whatsoever?

BradMT
12-13-2018, 09:52
It's as if you're attacking someone asking legitimate questions and those trying to answer with reasonable advice to ensure the OP is prepared. What is your point, other than to engage in a 'mine is bigger than yours' contest that has no value whatsoever?

Not at all, it's just the attitude of some here that this guy is a fool for wanting to go to the Whites in the winter because he's from LA. You obviously missed all those posts...

CalebJ
12-13-2018, 09:54
Obviously.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 09:58
Here's one for you:


my thought on reading the two posts by the op: He's yanking our chain. No way this guy is serious...

For a louisianan (or anyone, barring the 1% of backpackers that could handle these conditions knowingly) to offer offhand that he wants to do nine days in the whites in mid-december is nuts.

demonace
12-13-2018, 10:03
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181213/622af7501290c2cb0ff7f7dd245906c5.jpg


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demonace
12-13-2018, 10:03
Us Gulfcoast hikers are on our way!!!


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BradMT
12-13-2018, 10:04
Bottom line, they can't learn unless they go and do. They'll start low, and be below timberline the first night at least. That will be an eyeopener. They can keep going based on conditions, or go get a hotel. It's fairly straightforward to come down and out.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 10:06
Us Gulfcoast hikers are on our way!!!



Go Team Gulfcoast!

Slo-go'en
12-13-2018, 10:11
Us Gulfcoast hikers are on our way!
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Thought you were already here. It was -11 this morning. At least it's warming up a little for the weekend and the slush storm might miss us.

demonace
12-13-2018, 10:13
Thought you were already here. It was -11 this morning. At least it's warming up a little for the weekend and the slush storm might miss us.

That would be nice. Iím not going for slush. Iím going for cold and snow. Lol.


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Slo-go'en
12-13-2018, 10:14
The Presidentials are no different than any other mountains in winter, or mountains anywhere. They can all kill you if you exercise bad judgement.


Actually they are. Three weather fronts clash over these mountains and the winds are often hurricane force. The weather can change in hours.

Like the sign says "The area ahead has the worst weather in America". Turn back now.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 10:19
Actually they are. Three weather fronts clash over these mountains and the winds are often hurricane force. The weather can change in hours.

Like the sign says "The area ahead has the worst weather in America". Turn back now.

All mountain weather can change in a matter of hours.

CalebJ
12-13-2018, 10:28
Again, you've continued trying to turn this thread into a 'mine is bigger than yours' argument that has no value whatsoever. If you have useful advice, it's a great place to contribute. If you're just going to highlight people that urged reasonable caution, then you're making a mess of a valuable thread.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 10:34
Again, you've continued trying to turn this thread into a 'mine is bigger than yours' argument that has no value whatsoever. If you have useful advice, it's a great place to contribute. If you're just going to highlight people that urged reasonable caution, then you're making a mess of a valuable thread.

That's the way you WANT to see what I said... my advice was clear from the beginning. Go do it.

BradMT
12-13-2018, 10:35
As I originally said:


You’ll be fine. Good gear, planning, common sense and the right attitude will see you through fine.

stephanD
12-13-2018, 15:55
Good luck and be careful

illabelle
12-14-2018, 06:43
Dear me, didnít read through all this thread, but based on some of the responses, youíd think he was attempting K2. Youíll be fine. Good gear, planning, common sense and the right attitude will see you through fine.

Here's one for you:.....
BradMT, all sorts of people read this stuff, and like you, many of them will not read the entire thread. Given the serious conditions that the OP is planning for, most of the comments have been appropriate, and given by people with relevant knowledge and experience who are trying to prevent tragedies from occuring. If you wish to chastise someone for their comment, it's helpful to quote them - as you later did. Nobody wants to hear of another White Mtn death, especially one where someone skimmed through a WB discussion and got the wrong idea.

TwoSpirits
12-14-2018, 08:31
I hope you have a safe and fun trip. I hope when you get back that you will share your experience.

Traveler
12-14-2018, 08:32
I did multiple week long winter trips in the Presidential's in the 1970's when I was a teenager, with another teen and no adults. I've also done winter solo there. I've summited all the Presidentials, including Adams at -15F. It's not technical climbing. You go prepared and use your head.

The Presidentials are no different than any other mountains in winter, or mountains anywhere. They can all kill you if you exercise bad judgement.

Again, the White's are just more accessible to ten's of million's of people... that skews statistics.

I see. So your experience was in relatively good weather conditions and you were prepared for them. Which was the basic temper of the advice provided here, with an emphasis on weather, given the geography of the Whites puts them in the crosshairs of weather systems that can generate incredibly sudden and severe weather conditions and the highest wind velocities ever recorded in North America.

Scoffing at advice proffered to those asking for it seems unproductive to the conversation, though the content beyond your distain seemed balanced given the experience you claim.

Slo-go'en
12-14-2018, 09:51
An experienced and well equipped hiker was carried down from Carter Notch hut the other day. He tried to go down a steep, icy section of trail towards the hut from Carter dome with his snowshoes which don't work on steep, icy trail and injured a leg. Another hiker found him trying to self-rescue, but that wasn't possible so the other hiker went down to the hut and a rescue was initiated. Hikers at the hut got him back to the hut where he spent the night and was carried out the next day.

If this had happened on a less traveled section of trail it could have had a different ending. Even with proper gear for above tree line, with sub zero temps and winds, you might live through the night, but how much longer is debatable.

Over the course of the winter there will be a number of these rescues. Even experience hikers can make bad decisions, like not bothering to switch to crampons when conditions warrant them.

BradMT
12-14-2018, 10:08
I Scoffing at advice proffered to those asking for it seems unproductive to the conversation, though the content beyond your distain seemed balanced given the experience you claim.

Wow. You need a refresher course in basic reading comprehension. No where did I scoff at advice. Show me where I did!

All I said was "based on SOME of the responses, you’d think he was attempting K2"... where's the disdain? Where's the scoffing?

Grow up...

Crushed Grapes
12-14-2018, 11:24
What a weirdo

demonace
12-15-2018, 09:00
Doing fine so far all trails we hit were well packed out. Only using snowshoes off trail to set up camp. On night 2. Had some heavy winds near Kinsmen but temps only got to 27 last night. 1st night dropped to 17 but not too bad.


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demonace
12-15-2018, 09:01
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181215/67b6a195cd163f8067704bc99e86b384.jpg

Lonesome lake


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Traveler
12-15-2018, 09:04
Wow. You need a refresher course in basic reading comprehension. No where did I scoff at advice. Show me where I did!

All I said was "based on SOME of the responses, you’d think he was attempting K2"... where's the disdain? Where's the scoffing?

Grow up...

You just provided the evidence you claim did not exist. I wish you well.

Hatchet_1697
12-15-2018, 09:07
Doing fine so far all trails we hit were well packed out. Only using snowshoes off trail to set up camp. On night 2. Had some heavy winds near Kinsmen but temps only got to 27 last night. 1st night dropped to 17 but not too bad.


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Thanks for the update, good luck!


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rickb
12-15-2018, 10:18
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181215/67b6a195cd163f8067704bc99e86b384.jpg

Lonesome lake


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That photo across the lake is a classic shot of the Franconia Ridge :-).

Wishing you some sunny skies later today and for the rest of your trip!

HandyRandy
12-15-2018, 15:09
That photo across the lake is a classic shot of the Franconia Ridge :-).

Wishing you some sunny skies later today and for the rest of your trip!

Lonesome lake was awesome! Our next goal is to do Franconia Ridge.

This is what I call a ďpanelfieĒ. I like to think I invented it lol.
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181215/7d4b50c69502d7ce181f830287641586.jpg

BradMT
12-15-2018, 18:48
You just provided the evidence you claim did not exist. I wish you well.

Good grief... I disagreed with your North-Eastern-Centric limited view of mountains and you got your panties in a wad. Guess what, mountains are the same worldwide... they're cold, windy, and can kill you. There's nothing especially unique about the White's except they have pretty severe weather for as low as they are. Otherwise, population density explains their statistics...

demonace
12-15-2018, 18:58
After hiking and camping for 2 nights we got a hotel to do a gear shakedown. Can you tell we came over prepared! Lol. But better to have and not need than to need and not have!


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demonace
12-15-2018, 18:59
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181215/a8e8b75f6ab4abfc72accf2e4d504972.jpg


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Slo-go'en
12-15-2018, 19:01
Conditions are about to change drastically Monday into Tuesday. A cold front triggering snow will move in. That will make Franconia ridge real interesting. Then it warms up and maybe rains on the weekend? Be careful.

BradMT
12-15-2018, 19:04
It's all good... you're prepared!

demonace
12-15-2018, 19:13
Conditions are about to change drastically Monday into Tuesday. A cold front triggering snow will move in. That will make Franconia ridge real interesting. Then it warms up and maybe rains on the weekend? Be careful.

Yeah we checked the weather I am glad itís getting colder. Above 32 makes for some pretty wet crap which is another reason we are in a hotel. The snow the first night was like sand but now itís crunchy and sloppy. Boots are soaked


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BradMT
12-15-2018, 19:23
nm...........

BradMT
12-15-2018, 19:30
nm........

Slo-go'en
12-15-2018, 20:10
Okay great, but the smart thing is not to get into one of those situations in the first place.

Back on topic, The timing of the next cold front isn't good for being on the Franconia ridge on Monday. It will start to snow early Monday morning and basically do that for the next 24 hours. If the going gets rough heading towards Lafayette, turn back before it gets too crazy. If you wait a day and head up to Liberty Springs on Monday, you can hike up to Liberty spring in the storm. It's kind of fun to hike while it's snowing, except when it's above tree line and you can't see more then 3 feet, just trying to make out the next Carin to mark the trail. It will be real cold Tuesday morning and possibly quite windy above tree line. That will make the wind chill well below zero. Instead of any attempt to cross the whole ridge, just make it a trip up to Lafayette and back and use Liberty spring as a "base" camp. Or go someplace else, like into the Pemi.

demonace
12-15-2018, 20:18
Okay great, but the smart thing is not to get into one of those situations in the first place.

Back on topic, The timing of the next cold front isn't good for being on the Franconia ridge on Monday. It will start to snow early Monday morning and basically do that for the next 24 hours. If the going gets rough heading towards Lafayette, turn back before it gets too crazy. If you wait a day and head up to Liberty Springs on Monday, you can hike up to Liberty spring in the storm. It's kind of fun to hike while it's snowing, except when it's above tree line and you can't see more then 3 feet, just trying to make out the next Carin to mark the trail. It will be real cold Tuesday morning and possibly quite windy above tree line. That will make the wind chill well below zero. Instead of any attempt to cross the whole ridge, just make it a trip up to Lafayette and back and use Liberty spring as a "base" camp. Or go someplace else, like into the Pemi.

That is exactly our plan we are going to head up Flume slide tomorrow, hit Mt Flume then Liberty and camp at Liberty springs. Monday we will try to hike to Lafayette and back to Liberty to stay another night then use Tuesday to travel by car and scope out our next section. Looks good so far to do an attempt at Isolation or Washington on Wednesday or Thursday. We are checking all the weather stations daily.


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peakbagger
12-16-2018, 08:04
Looks like you really lucked out on the forecast, the overall temps for the week are at or above normal. Tomorrow may be dicey. You may want to drive on Monday and hike Tuesday.

demonace
12-17-2018, 13:16
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181217/d69956d58b4c45b41a1e87560955dc71.jpg

Fresh powder. Franconia ridge.


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Slo-go'en
12-17-2018, 17:42
Glad you had snowshoes, eh? There will be a few more inches by morning. Watch out for ice just under the fresh snow on the way down.

T.S.Kobzol
12-18-2018, 04:40
Up Flume slide? Tsk Tsk Tsk [emoji846]


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peakbagger
12-18-2018, 09:26
Looks like you made a good call on a travel day. -9F on the summit with 66 MPH winds gusting into the 80s today. Should be nice hiking Wednesday and Thursday but Friday looks to be a washout.

Streams freeze up in the winter and if there is heavy rain, the frozen up stream bed can form dams that let loose unexpectedly. It can get real nasty real quick. The weekend also looks nice although I expect the streams will be running high Saturday morning and most ice bridges will be gone until the next cold snap.

This USGS gauge is located on the Pemi area SE of Flume https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nh/nwis/uv/?site_no=01074520&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060. Anything over 400 CFS and water crossings get real interesting.

Slo-go'en
12-18-2018, 11:59
Looks like we'll get more snow today then yesterday. The cloud deck is at about 1800 feet, so it's a white out up high.

Crossing small streams with snowshoes on is aready a pain. Streams are running high as it is , more rain will make it worse.

demonace
12-18-2018, 15:14
Well we made it through the night but it was rough. Got down to 2 degrees with probably negative 26 windchill. 35mph winds. We made it to Liberty Monday by 11 then trekked over to Little Haystack, well to the alpine zone, stepped out into the wind and said ďnopeĒ and came back to Liberty tent site for the 2nd night. Lots of blow down but fun!!! Now to regroup again and plan our next section. Looks like tomorrow will be nice!!! Where can we get trip reports?


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demonace
12-18-2018, 15:17
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181218/97b5300560b3631d029390eeb34392bf.jpg
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181218/86a19dd9f9a4e3ea4bbc516986a03eba.jpg
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181218/5c56700dd393d5bfb209884db4ea6d1d.jpg


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T.S.Kobzol
12-18-2018, 16:27
trip reports?
https://www.newenglandtrailconditions.com/nh/

egilbe
12-18-2018, 18:58
Good call baing because of the wind. It's not the cold that kills you, it's the wind. Somebody was rescued off Lafayette a few days ago. He was prepared, got list in a whiteout and posted to Facebook for help. He survived for 7 hours waiting for help to show up and has mild frostbite, but he's alive.

demonace
12-18-2018, 19:11
Yes when we were atop Liberty someone told us about that guy. I can see how it gets cause the trail was pretty blown over coming down this morning. Any campsites or AMCís that are open near Washington or anywhere in the presidentials? We have 4 days left. Tomorrow and Thursday look good for Washington attempt but Friday will be a wash and we have to hike down Sunday morning.


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egilbe
12-18-2018, 19:18
No Huts above Treeline in the oresis that are open. I believe the Highland Center in Rt 302 is open all year. Pinkham Notch Visitors center. RMC huts on Jefferson and Adams are open. Valley Way tentsite. It's a long ways between rt 302 and Pinkham Notch, however. It's not something I would attempt without perfect weather conditions and forecast. Now that you've experienced what the cold wind feels like above Treeline, imagine what Kate Matrasova had to deal with colder temps and higher winds.

demonace
12-18-2018, 19:23
Is Gulfside trail above tree line?


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demonace
12-18-2018, 19:37
Also I see a parking lot near the top of Washington but that is probably closed huh?


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egilbe
12-18-2018, 20:03
Gulfside trail is all above Treeline. Pretty spectacular views when there are views. The parking lot on the top of Washington is where the cog railway and autoroad puke out lazy tourists. Closed in the Winter.

HandyRandy
12-18-2018, 20:56
Up Flume slide? Tsk Tsk Tsk [emoji846]


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We went straight up Liberty Spring trail and WOW that was a steady climb! It was a lot of fun getting to break trail seeing the fresh powder in front of you. Which was the case on Franconia Ridge yesterday and Liberty Spring on the way down after that weather last night. These mountains are incredible.

peakbagger
12-18-2018, 21:01
The only services remotely on the presidential ridge are the RMC cabins and the Dungeon at Lake of the Clouds if it is not full of ice and is for emergency use only. There are no services on the summit of Mt Washington unless you paid the big bucks to a guiding outfit. The Gulfside is very exposed although it does have some cover from the wind behind Mt Jefferson. If you do go anywhere on the presidential ridge, plan your bail out points well and realize that most of them are into the prevailing wind. Avoid the Great Gulf and Oakes Gulf both are rarely traveled and refuge is an extra days hiking.

Slo-go'en
12-18-2018, 23:25
If you went up to Gray Knob tomorrow, you'd have a half decent day Thursday. You may not make the summit of Adams, but just going up to Isabela (formally Adams 4) is a full on above tree line experience and is mostly protected from the prevailing wind.

Friday it could rain all day, but it might stay snow up at tree line. So, the debate would be to hang out in the cabin Friday and wait it out or get wet hiking out? It does cost $20 per person per night though, but it beats camping out in the snow. A winter White Mountain trip isn't complete without a stay at "The Knob". I recommend taking Lowes Path from Lowes gas station on RT2. The last mile is really, really steep.

demonace
12-19-2018, 02:28
Think we are just gonna do Crawford path staying at Naumen and see how far we can make it Thursday then just turn around and wait out the rain back at the site.


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jackwagon
12-19-2018, 11:03
If you wanted to drive around to Pinkham, you could hike on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Hermit Lake where there are tent sites, or shelters available (Pay at Pinkham in advance). From there, it's two miles up to Washington on the winter Lion's Head trail, and half of it is out of the wind. Great views into Tuckerman and Huntington ravines. It's not the AT, though, but a better chance of summiting than when coming from the west.

Slo-go'en
12-19-2018, 11:11
Think we are just gonna do Crawford path staying at Naumen and see how far we can make it Thursday then just turn around and wait out the rain back at the site.


It's a heck of a climb up the AT from Naumen, but you can probably make it up to Mt Pierce. Past there you on the exposed ridge and how far you get from there depends on the wind. But, I'm sure your well on your way up Crawford now, you'll find out tomorrow.

Slo-go'en
12-21-2018, 10:19
Think we are just gonna do Crawford path staying at Naumen and see how far we can make it Thursday then just turn around and wait out the rain back at the site.

The heavy rain has moved in, along with strong winds. 85 mph gusts on Mt Washington. It's really windy here in the valley, so it's howling up high. At least it's warm - for the moment. Mt Washington will approach record high temps for December today. But that's not going to last long, with temps plummeting tomorrow as the cold front comes in changing the rain to snow and with even stronger winds.

There are only tent platforms at Nauman and it's a pretty exposed site, so if these guys are riding out the storm up there in a tent, they are in for one wild ride.

T.S.Kobzol
12-21-2018, 14:28
Thanks for the report. I have hoped maybe for snowing at higher elevations. [emoji26]


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Slo-go'en
12-21-2018, 15:22
Thanks for the report. I have hoped maybe for snowing at higher elevations. [emoji26]

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Not until the cold front gets here and then there will only be a trace to 1". Maybe another couple of inches from the lingering flurries late Saturday. Looks like the summit got 2.6" of rain in the last 24 hours, a high of 43 and a 105 mph gust of wind. When the cold front does get here, it's going to get real cold again and stay that way for the rest of the week. Looks like there is still a lot of rain to move out first.

demonace
12-21-2018, 19:52
Ok here is the update guys:
We went up Crawford at lunch Wednesday, and set up the hammocks just below the tent site to block the winds that were coming.
Thursday we left at 8:30am and hiked 8 hours to the top of Mount Washington, had dinner and left at 6pm to make it back by 11:45pm but yes winds were probably at 45mph, but thank goodness it wasnít too cold. We had planned on staying up there today but the wind driven rain got everything wet so we hiked back down in the rain. This is the end of our trip. Itís been awesome but that last bit was quite tough. Thank you all for your help.


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demonace
12-21-2018, 19:54
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/e41165248501e744acfc2cdc774d6f07.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/85422170c4652e7ff7498679f09dfefc.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/7f4db4e23e398f4e8f031e6046ecc61a.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/6a7092920e676196393980d5d411325f.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/350e0f685da5c37d268d857d9a170e04.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/f85566961bf21084fe658aef52a8ba38.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/5ed306a55835bb344c55acaeada4c956.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181221/4d62c3e877d671afdf71fec7b46bc2bb.jpg


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peakbagger
12-21-2018, 19:59
Wow you scored a nice day for doing Washington up the ridge. Glad you had a fun time and hopefully learned a lot.

Looks like this rain is going to reset our early winter ;)

mclaught
12-22-2018, 00:41
Props to you guys for pulling it off. That was quite a trip.

Slo-go'en
12-22-2018, 00:46
You guys seriously lucked out with the weather. But you can see now how it can get ugly if your timing is off. A week earlier or a week later and it would have been quite a different experience.

I'll guess your hooked now and will be back to explore more. Those are some great photos. The afternoon shots clearly show the weather moving in. Makes for a great sunset, but misurable next day.

Feral Bill
12-22-2018, 00:47
I am glad that you had a safe, enjoyable trip.

Old Hillwalker
12-22-2018, 10:16
Kudos you guys. Glad you had cooperating weather for most of your adventure. Many happy returns.

HandyRandy
12-22-2018, 14:35
The White Mountains are certainly the most challenging terrain I have yet to come across! I learned a lot for sure. The value of staying dry and the power of wind are two great examples. It was interesting to see just how much the snow changes over time. We did have pretty good weather for the most part, yet everyday still did present new kinds of challenges. I think we got a good mix of weather and terrain to learn as much as possible in a short time frame. I have lots of ideas to do better next time.

That slackpack trek from Mizpah to Washington and back was a killer! My buddy loves doing big miles, but I think I would like to keep the miles under 5 a day next time if thereís snow on the ground.

Hereís a couple more cool pics:
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/b14e34b22c49af96a07b04493c39dc6d.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/3cab202d1f8680accd9a4014b6277e21.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/30c9e0c45622dba1ddc76b642ae4a3ad.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/b81907297d1ad678a838b6651f819d21.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/16ff12316ff52a628c423f00fad852f1.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/f0a316c4fe900e88027b7c6556251411.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/815695831a509aadca00c38f58be12d9.jpg

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20181222/16a7e3b04131f2663aa052cab54df65e.jpg

Dan Roper
12-22-2018, 16:24
I was chief among skeptics when this thread opened. I pictured a bunch of good ol' southern boys (I'm one) going off on an adventure without having the slightest clue what they might be getting into.

These gents did their homework and are obviously in good condition. It looks like they had a blast. The photos are magnificent.

Well done, Cajuns!

demonace
12-22-2018, 17:32
GulfCoast Hikers FTW. lol


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HandyRandy
12-22-2018, 17:58
Thanks Roper:)

BTW, hereís a few pointers that may help. It may be common knowledge, but in case notÖ

The blowdown on Franconia Ridge from the Liberty Springs junction to Little Haystack is obnoxious. Bring extra clothes because you will get wet brushing up against the trees and from literally crawling through the snow to get under some trees.

Mizpah Cutoff is deep and soft. Bring big snowshoes. We had to break it on the way in.

Webster Cliff trail also had a fair bit of blowdown. Expect a little challenge.

ADK Walker
12-22-2018, 21:19
Nice work guys!!!!

Slo-go'en
12-22-2018, 22:23
You guys were definitely treated to some great conditions. You lucked out big time. It's a pretty amazing world up there isn't it?

Mitzpah to Washington is definitely a big hike, even in the summer. In some ways it's easier with snow covering all the rocks.

BradMT
12-25-2018, 15:38
OMG, shocking. They survived and are in good health. :D

egilbe
12-25-2018, 16:57
OMG, shocking. They survived and are in good health. :D

And yet they a body was carried out Sunday and someone was rescued Saturday. They picked a perfect window to hike the Whites this December

sethd513
12-25-2018, 17:13
And yet they a body was carried out Sunday and someone was rescued Saturday. They picked a perfect window to hike the Whites this December

Do you have any links for the news articles? They did have good weather absolutely. We were planning a camp for this Friday coming up but Iím putting it off till Saturday. Iíll take potentially zero degrees vs 32 and rain.


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egilbe
12-25-2018, 18:53
https://www.wmur.com/article/crews-trying-to-reach-stranded-hiker-near-kinsman-mountain/25660214

egilbe
12-25-2018, 18:54
https://www.wmur.com/article/hiker-killed-after-being-struck-in-head-by-falling-ice/25666656

HandyRandy
12-25-2018, 18:56
We found this weather forecast source to be impressively on point. Just be sure to screenshot the forecast before you lose your mobile data connection.
https://www.mountain-forecast.com/subranges/white-mountains-new-hampshire/locations

By default it shows Celsius and tap the little arrows to get more detail about the day youíre looking at.

sethd513
12-25-2018, 19:35
We found this weather forecast source to be impressively on point. Just be sure to screenshot the forecast before you lose your mobile data connection.
https://www.mountain-forecast.com/subranges/white-mountains-new-hampshire/locations

By default it shows Celsius and tap the little arrows to get more detail about the day youíre looking at.

Thatís what I use [emoji1303] along with the mt Washington observatory and atweather.com itís all good.


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BradMT
12-26-2018, 00:39
And yet they a body was carried out Sunday and someone was rescued Saturday. They picked a perfect window to hike the Whites this December

No, they exercised good judgement, as I suspect they would have in bad weather.

BradMT
12-26-2018, 00:45
https://www.wmur.com/article/hiker-killed-after-being-struck-in-head-by-falling-ice/25666656

What does getting hit by falling ice have to do with bad wether?

Tragic, but seriously?

jackwagon
12-27-2018, 11:16
Glad you guys had a good trip. I love the Whites, lots of great areas that are readily accessible without spending days slogging to get to them.