View Full Version : Hiking in snow

03-16-2013, 18:09
So i've got a 5 day hike planned from Harper's Ferry to the Mason/Dixon and back the Harper's Ferry. I'm headed out Monday morning and they are calling for a few inches of snow Sunday night, Monday, and Tuesday totaling in potentially about 5-6 inches.

I've never done a snowy hike and am wondering how difficult it is is to navigate the AT in this section when it's snow covered. I know there are white blazes but I'm afraid that they'll be difficult to see in the snow.

tips, advice?

03-16-2013, 18:19
With 5-6 inches the trail will still be easy to navigate. The biggest concern would be some of the rock scrambles up near penmar they could be a bit slick. The only other problem that I've had is fresh snow getting caught up in the toe area of my trail runners. This will be very shoe specific. Have a great trip. Hiking in the snow is very nice once you get comfortable doing it.

03-16-2013, 19:36
Not a thru-er yet, but living here in lake effect Michigan and hiking year-round, I know a little about snow hiking. I agree with Malto. My experience is that generally, with only up to 6 inches, navigation won't be that hard. The times I have been on the AT, I believe the blazes are well above that level in the sections I have seen. However, rock scrambles and stuff - that is the harder part - while you may see a depression where the trail is, some details (rocks, roots, etc.) get covered up and can gotcha. That amount of snow, I don't even posthole (I supposed if it was a really dense/wet snow, maybe) I just walk in spite of it. But like I said, be careful of hidden footing gotchas - slow down a little. For me, that is one time trekking poles REALLY help - cause I can trip over ANY hidden rock or root. Enjoy.

03-16-2013, 19:38
Oh, and I my wife and I lived in Lutherville back in the early 90's....

03-16-2013, 19:55
The main problem is that it will be just plain sloppy. I would recommend water proof boots or socks (gortex) and gaiters or your gonna have cold, wet feet for 5 days...

03-16-2013, 20:45
It could be upwards of 5 inches or more Monday. I'd keep track of the weather for that area. Hiking in melting snow is not fun, I did it yesterday. Takes you a lot more time. If there is ice, you will need traction device like yak trax.

03-16-2013, 21:07
Take an extra pair of socks or two.
Most likely you'll be glad for them.
It'll be beautiful.

03-16-2013, 23:54
Take an extra pair of socks or two.
Most likely you'll be glad for them.
It'll be beautiful.

You'll love it if you have warm boots, hiking poles, and extra socks. Figure on about 2/3 of the distance you'd normally cover in a day at first. It will melt pretty quickly if the forecast holds, so be prepared for mud. Have Fun!

03-17-2013, 02:22
Yeah gonna suck a little but you will be fine. Good training buddy.

03-17-2013, 16:21
Take extra pair of socks for the trail , keeping an additional dry pair for camp. Take along gaiters to keep the snow out of your shoes.

Tread carefully for there's rocks under that snow. Have fun .

03-17-2013, 17:08
Not sure what you plan on packing but don't forget a pad or something similar to sit on.

03-17-2013, 17:59
And don't forget your sunglasses! I was out for an overnight last week in NY after 4 inches of snow. I was having a great time postholing through drifts and stomping through the snow, when I realized the sky was looking purple and the shadows were looking red. I didn't have my sunglasses, and I was getting zapped by the UV. So I turned back to the trailhead and headed home. PS If in doubt about UV blocking, ask your eye doctor's office if they can check your sunglasses for you; it takes seconds if they have the right machine.

Other random notes: as jerseydave said, bring a sit pad. Something I found useful winter hiking: pack a warm layer like a fleece or down sweater ON TOP of your food bag. So when you stop to eat, you're reminded to layer up before you get cold.

03-17-2013, 19:29
thanks for all the tips, tricks, and advice y'all! i'll be sure to post when i get home on friday and let you guys know how it went.