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  1. #1
    Captain Ozzie
    Join Date
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    Default Winter Thru-hike of LT?

    Hey just wondering if anyone has attempted a winter thru hike? I'm flying home from a beautiful summer in New Zealand in a few days and can't think of any place I rather come home to than Vermont's woods. Anyone with information about winter trail conditions or winter thru hikes on the LT please pass info this way. thanks

  2. #2

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    PM Wolf 23000
    He almost froze one year attempting this I believe.
    Good luck.
    I would think it is possible with the right gear.
    Long nights and heavy pack though.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  3. #3
    Captain Ozzie
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    I'm dialed in with gear, but I'm sitting in 80 degree sun so I don't know what kind of winter we've been having in new england...I'm wondering about snow just swallowing the trail (and me) and I haven't done the northern part (done the AT part) so I don't know how exposed those mountains would be in the winter....

  4. #4
    Registered User Pokey2006's Avatar
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    I understand Vermont has been having record snowfall so far this year.

    I share this link all the time, but it really is a great resource for New England trail conditions: www.viewsfromthetop.com Especially if you're doing any winter hiking, you'll want to check in there to get very detailed info.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
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    Essex, Vermont
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzieninja View Post
    I'm dialed in with gear, but I'm sitting in 80 degree sun so I don't know what kind of winter we've been having in new england...I'm wondering about snow just swallowing the trail (and me) and I haven't done the northern part (done the AT part) so I don't know how exposed those mountains would be in the winter....
    The Northern trail is a completely different experience. Since the trail is not maintained for winter use, there are some serious issues with winter thru-hiking the LT:
    - blazes can be below knee level, and the trees are often crusted with snow, so you can't find the blazes at all. You're often confirming that you're on the trail by other evidence, such as sawn limbs.
    - imagine the 'green tunnel', normally trimmed to 8' high and 4' wide: the floor is now raised by 4' of snow, while the ceiling is bowed over by the weight of snow on the branches, and you have to duck-walk through a 'white tunnel' barely 4' high
    - cracks in the bedrock are covered by snow bridges - you think you're walking on ground, but you crash through the snow to rocks below
    - above tree line, the trail is obliterated
    - all those little springs and rivulets are now ice falls
    - all those winter blow-downs won't be cleared until spring
    - etc.!

    You get the picture. It can be done, but if you aren't familiar with the trail, you'll spend lots of time searching for the trail. Count on less than 1 mph on average. There are plenty of areas that get enough winter traffic that the trail is as easy as summer, but in between you have a lot of trail breaking to do. It can be extremely challenging, but that can bring great rewards, too.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Default

    There was another thread on this recently:
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=56535
    The general conclusion is that it's tough. To add to what deadeye said:
    in many places the trail is not packed out, so it'll be physically hard;
    in many places there will be no one on the trail at all, even on popular trails there may be no one on the trail except on the weekend;
    it's not a good idea to go alone;
    temps could be extreme, the record low for VT is -50F, you should be prepared for -20F to -30F and ready to bail if it's below that;
    (Deadeye, what temps do you think should be planned for?)
    spruce traps.

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    January 10th I hiked from VT11/30 (Manchester) north to the top of Bromley. Postholed quite a bit, hard staying on trail. Took just under 3 hours for 3 miles.

    This is a very tame section during the summer. Not nearly as much fun in January.

  8. #8
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
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    Temps (and all conditions) vary widely. I've hiked on the LT at -30 in January, but it's +30 today (Jan 18) across the state. Typical is around 0 at night, 20's by mid-day. It's actually nicer when it's good and cold, you sweat less and things are generally drier. OTOH, you can't beat 40 degrees and sunshine when you've been cooped up all winter!

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