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  1. #1
    man of the hills
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    Default January snow conditions?

    Hi all,

    First, just wanted to thank everyone for the information shared on this forum. I've been browsing the topics for a few weeks now and have learned so much!

    I'm planning a NOBO in January and was just curious if anyone had input on what snow conditions (depth) I might expect. I'm mostly wondering if snowshoes will be a necessity or simply a convenience. I know in the Whites a lot of the trails get pretty windblown and that results in some hefty snowloading in places, but I've also had days in the Pres. range where you can bareboot all day.

    Thanks for any advice!

    Mike

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Default

    you will need snowshoes in northern vermont. i used to hike around jay peak a lot in the winter. the white blazes on the trees were at ankle level

  3. #3
    Just Hikin' Along
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    Default

    I hiked a couple of short southern sections of the LT late last January and early February. Above 2500' the snow was thigh deep and even with snowshoes was almost impassable. I did as much as I could each day, which was very little, then camped. It was part of my winter "get out in the snow" program.


  4. #4
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    Snow conditions can/will vary tremendously with latitude and elevation, but snowshoes will be an absolute necessity in January. You may get lucky and have some low-snow or hard-packed stretches where some yaktrax or other traction device is all that's needed. Some parts of the trail will be well-used and easy to follow, other sections will be obliterated with snow, blowdowns, and trees bent over the trail by the weight of the snow.

    The best part is when the snow is 4 feet deep, and the trees are bent over, putting the trail in a 3 foot high tunnel: you get to duck-walk for miles. Or maybe the best part is 4-5 feet of loose snow, with the blazes covered with white so you can't find the trail. The trail is not built or maintained for winter use.

    Of course you could get lucky and have relatively low snowfall and mild weather and be finished by mid-February!

  5. #5

    Default

    Did Codding Hollow road to Westfield last January and snowshoes were an absolute necessity. Also cut your miles per hour in half, your daylight in half and double your base weight, caloric requirements and zero days. We had white out conditions more than once and made very few miles on a couple days.

    Winter on the LT is not great for making miles, but lotta fun being out there.

  6. #6
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, snow cover can vary from year to year. Post #5 sums it up pretty well.

    Unlike the White Mountains, most of the Long Trail is sheltered and not exposed to the wind. Unless it's a low snow year, I wouldn't expect to bare boot too much.

    Check trip reports on Views From The Top before going.

  7. #7

    Default

    Went up Stratton in January. Definitely needed sowshoes.
    You are never too old.

  8. #8

    Default

    You could get lucky tho. I think it was 2 years ago, there was little more than a dusting at the stake on Mount Mansfield until mid January.

  9. #9

    Default

    Past few years have been pretty mild up in vermont, but Snow shoes are still a definite must bring. This is also the one time I switch my hiking stick, for ski poles to hike with. (Cross country poles, long and light)

  10. #10
    man of the hills
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    Default

    Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I have as long as I want/need to do the trail, so am planning to hike according to conditions. Sounds like the snow pack is pretty variable in everyone's experience. I will definitely check the Views board regularly in the approaching weeks.

    If anyone has any other advice, I'm more than welcome to it!

  11. #11
    Registered User
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    I snowshoe on a regular basis from App Gap at Rte 17 to Jonesville and even though winters can vary I would count on several feet of snow. The more exposed areas near the Hump will have drifting and icing conditions as well. Last winter the snow depth was more than usual and a few times I had difficulty in route finding as blazes were totally obscurred or buried in places.

  12. #12
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    snowing in FBKS right now

    HOWDY!
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymtnsteve View Post
    snowing in FBKS right now

    HOWDY!
    Right back at ya, Hard to believe it's been over fours years. Sounds like life in the frozen north is doing you well. Sometime I miss it, but FBKS I could not get into to. Take care.

  14. #14
    man of the hills
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymtnsteve View Post
    snowing in FBKS right now

    HOWDY!

    Fairbanks, eh? I'm in Thorne Bay, down on Prince of Wales Island, and it's dumping rain (like it ever does anything else)...wish it was snow here, too!

  15. #15
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oruoja View Post
    Right back at ya, Hard to believe it's been over fours years. Sounds like life in the frozen north is doing you well. Sometime I miss it, but FBKS I could not get into to. Take care.
    well its not that Fairbanks is so nice or that it grows on you...its just that after you live a few years in Fairbanks your not FIT to live anywhere else
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by smokymtnsteve View Post
    well its not that Fairbanks is so nice or that it grows on you...its just that after you live a few years in Fairbanks your not FIT to live anywhere else
    Yeah, KZND in Anchorage used to have a promotion that if you won "first prize was a week in Fairbanks, and second prize was 2 weeks."

    Don't miss Fairbanks or SkAnchorage, miss all the rest tho.

  17. #17

    Default

    The Catamount trail is another option for good snowshoeing. It is designed as a winter cross country skiing trail. The blazes are light blue disks, which if I recall correctly, are nailed up pretty high, so you can see them over deep snow. The Catamount zig zags over the LT.


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