WhiteBlaze Pages
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$10 for printed copy(paperback). $6 for interactive PDF. $2 for printable PDF.
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-02-2014
    Location
    Millstone Township, NJ
    Age
    48
    Posts
    324

    Default Winter peak bagging insulated boots and clothing?

    I've read other posts mentioning insulated boots. Is that the way to go for winter peak bagging? Does anyone have a particular style or brand they recommend?

    I assume a balaclava and goggles on top. Again any particular style or brands?

    Gloves, same question. I've seen some "lobster style" gloves. Do people were a light thin glove under the main glove?

    Any tips, advice, links to check out are welcome. Thank you in advance!
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  2. #2
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-29-2009
    Location
    Citrus Springs, FL
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,673
    Images
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by somers515 View Post
    I've read other posts mentioning insulated boots. Is that the way to go for winter peak bagging? Does anyone have a particular style or brand they recommend?

    I assume a balaclava and goggles on top. Again any particular style or brands?

    Gloves, same question. I've seen some "lobster style" gloves. Do people were a light thin glove under the main glove?

    Any tips, advice, links to check out are welcome. Thank you in advance!
    Much of this depends entirely on location. For the sake of this conversation, I'll assume you're talking about the northeast since that's where you reside.

    Insulated boots are great if the conditions are truly frigid enough to warrant that level of protection. But, if it's even a bit warmer than the temperature range they are designed for, your feet will end up bathed in sweat. Mount Washington in February? Yes, absolutely. But, for Clingman's Dome, it would probably be overkill. A lot depends on your personal tolerance to cold conditions.

    Headgear would range from a simple fleece cap and sunglasses, maybe with a Buff around the neck, to a heavyweight balaclava and a cap under a down hood. As for goggles, they are really only required when it gets very windy, but in those conditions, they are worth having.

    Gloves are very personal. My hands get cold easy, so I need more protection than the average hiker. In general, I would say most of the time you are fine with a fleece glove and you can add a lightly insulated shell mitt for conditions beyond what the glove can handle. If it's going to be really cold, a specialized glove designed for mountaineering might be more appropriate. Frozen hands are a killer...
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Default

    I climb summits in the whites most of the winter. The most important "gear" to have is a brain. Fair weather hiking is the way to go. Expensive Gear does not equate to brains. For an extreme case see this https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2...r-in-the-wild/. You really should be willing to turn around in the morning when driving to the mountain if the weather conditions change.

    NH has a very large number of winter hikers, the recommend gear list is here http://hikesafe.com/index.php?page=full-gear-list. I routinely carry less gear for lower summits and adjust the gear up as the exposure increases. Pretty much if there is any above treeline exposure I need to bump up my gear list. When you are hiking you wont need a lot of gear on as your body is putting out a lot of heat but when you stop you need to get extra layers on quickly. Many folks don't plan for this and once you get chilled you need a lot of extra gear to warm up again. You need enough gear in the pack to keep warm when you aren't hiking as there is chance that you may end up being stranded either due to weather or injury. If you ever run out gear in the pack during routine hiking you should turn around as you don't have enough gear. Odds are you need a much large backpack. I routinely use the backpack I used for AT backpacks for a winter daypack.

    I carry an OR lightweight balaclava and have a much heavier windpro fleece version for nastier conditions. I use windblock fleece mittens with liner gloves underneath. If it gets really cold I carry OR goretex mitten shells with expedition weight liners. Unfortunately finding mitten shells with removable liners is tough these days. Most companies have switched to all in one designs which I despise as the liner tends to get damp and take forever to dry out. I ended up buying my windbloc fleece mittens from a company called Nomar in Homer Alaska. Go one size larger to fit in the liner gloves and handwarmers. I do carry a Downtek puffy Jacket for warmth when I am stopped but the rest of the gear is layers. Note that I don't hike with down, it compresses too readily when hiking and gets wet from perspiration. Great for survival and standing around after the hike.

    I use Darn Tuff winter weight socks (I buy military seconds at their annual factory sales) and if really going to get cold I wear liner socks underneath.

    Foot gear can range widely, hard core hiking with crampons is best with double plastic mountaineering boots but the trade off they are very expensive and very fatiguing. Its almost impossible to get them in wide widths. Most folks get away with insulated boots, Columbia Bugaboots are relatively cheap and pretty effective. Many folks buy winter boots too small. You really need to try them on with your winter socks and liners and make sure you leave room for toe warmers.

    For traction I recommend Hillsound trail crampons, be careful you buy the specific Trail Crampons models as they sell several. Many folks buy Kahtoolas, they are almost as good and somewhat more popular but the Hillsounds are somewhat better on ice plus the instep strap keeps them snugger which helps to keep them from failing. They also keep them on your feet, its amazing how often a Kahtoola will get caught on something and pull off. Many folks don't notice it initially and have to turn around to look for the one that pulled off . The Hillsound instep straps prevent this.

    Another important piece of gear are full gaiters. There is no way to keep warm feet if snow can get down into the boot. A gaiter keeps the snow out and provided extra insulation.

    With respect for outer layers I use goretex outer shells equipped with plenty of ventilation zips including pit zips for the jacket and side zips for the pants. Speaking of pants, make sure that they have adequate side zips so you can put them on and take them off while keeping your boots on.

    Hats are a pain as most are made for fashion. I use a fleece lined hat with goretex shell and built in ear flaps. Sadly I haven't found a replacement. Even the hat I use is not optimal as it lacks a drawstring or something else to keep it on my head in heavy winds. I usually have my hood on by then and the hood keeps the hat on.

    For base layers I use Mountain Hardware polypro. There is cheap polypro out there but it usually exhibits a tendency to retain odors, the higher end stuff usually has some sort of construction that limits this. Merino Wool also works but its expensive and less durable. It doesn't retain odors like poly pro. I carry expedition weight top and bottoms that I can wear over the base layer for emergencies, normally my outer shell pants and the base layer if fine but I will add in a wind block fleece under the jacket in cold conditions. I usually ditch the shell into the pack and hike with the windblock fleece. The military has a ECWS system for base layers which is hard to beat.

    A hint for winter hiking is to avoid big meals, eat snacks constantly but avoid stopping and having a big meal as the blood used to heat your extremities goes to your stomach and you get cold hands and feet. If you insist on big meal then put on a extra few layers before you eat or bring a hot thermos full so soup. Water should be insulated water bottle carriers. Poor mans approach is slide them in a pair of thick socks. Hydration bladders don't work well despite the advertising to the contrary. I have had more than a few hike participants have their tubes freeze up. If you insist bring a wide mouth bottle so when the tube freezes you can transfer the remaining water to the bottle.

  5. #5
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-18-2014
    Location
    Lewiston and Biddeford, Maine
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,643

    Default

    https://www.amazon.com/Not-Without-P.../dp/1934028320

    read this, then think that if you are askng these types of questions, should you really should be peakbagging in the Winter?

    I've worn Summer hiking boots in the Winter when it was -15F. With two pairs of socks and my gaiters, my feet were nice and warm. There was no wind, however. Wind will kill you. Im also not afraid to bail out on a hike if I feel conditions have deteriorated too much. I also only live an hour or two from the White Mountains, so its not a huge deal to go back another day when the weather is more conducive to surviving.

    Winter hiking, I'm always prepared to spend the night, or maybe two. I pack a sleeping bag, tent and sleeping mat, I have several pairs of glove liners, socks and hats. I have OR Alti mittens, crampons, goggles and snowshoes. Its not an ultralight hike by any means, but I've survived with all my fingers and toes and many people cannot say the same.

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    65
    Posts
    4,528
    Images
    3

    Default

    Most anything I'd add would mostly be repeating what peakbagger already said... but in the spirit of WB posts, I'll repeat anyway!

    We climb all year 'round, in winter nearly as much as the rest of the year, including high peaks in Colorado. We're kinda working on our winter CO 14er list, a tough list, only 8 people are on record as having done them.

    It sure sounds like our gear is similar to those folks in NH. Rarely will I drag out my mountaineering double plastics, generally only for multi-day trips. I mostly wear insulated boots like these (but older model):

    https://www.rei.com/product/105748/m...oof-boots-mens

    I used to have a pair of similar Columbia's, finally wore them out. I personally have never had any foot sweating problems, and just don't relate to that particular popular complaint. I do wear sock liners under my thin wool socks, perhaps that makes a difference. Agree that the fit should be generous enough for proper toe circulation. Make sure your toe box is generous, and if to get there the fit is too sloppy, take up some volume with a second set of foot beds.

    WE use microspikes most of the time, occasionally needing full crampons. My microspikes are getting really worn out, I might check out that brand PB mentions for a replacement...

    We (my wife and I) always use glove liners under our heavier gloves, because it's generally a bad idea to go all the way down to bare hands, and you can do most anything in glove liners you can do with bare hands. Over those liners, I have a bomber pair of regular mountaineering gloves, and sometimes I carry a pair of softshell gloves, kinda like these, but a discontinued REI version:

    https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/produ...ll-gloves-mens

    Balaclava (OR brand) and ski goggles, gaiters, again, repeating peakbagger.

    Lots and lots of layers everywhere, I prefer merino wool, and I've had a couple 1/4 zip merino wool tops for years and years, just be gentle on washing. Goretex pro hard shell is the final layer, a bomb-proof Arcteryx Alpha jacket. Expensive, but worth it. Lots of heat regulating zips, great hood, generous length.

    And furthering what egilbe says, we carry a small bivy sack on most winter hikes, and always fire stating equipment. I did get lost one time in deep winter, very high up, at night. A warming Fire would have saved our lives, but thankfully we got found again using our trusty map and compass, and a nearby peak *still visible, even in pitch dark). A bad GPS waypoint led us astray! Lesson learned.

  7. #7

    Default

    Really depends on the conditions. Good advice above and bring more than you need for your first trips if you're not sure.

    If it is going to be above 0f, I generally don't need insulated boots, but they won't hurt. I also have a pair of merrell overlook that I've used on a couple trips last year and they were adequate. I prefer my old backpacking boots with no insulation if it's staying above 0

    Many layers for on the move, and I always ask myself this question (especially on winter day hikes): "if I am immobilized right here or at any point on the hike, would I be screwed?". Out of that comes the need for emergency shelter, adequate dry & warm gear for night time temps, etc.

  8. #8
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-02-2014
    Location
    Millstone Township, NJ
    Age
    48
    Posts
    324

    Default

    Super helpful - thank you all! I've got some reading to do and then eventually some gear to test. Thank you!
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

++ New Posts ++

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •