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Thread: week in Janury

  1. #1
    Registered User Caveman of Ohio's Avatar
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    Default week in Janury

    Hey I would like to do a two week long section on the Long trail starting at the Pine Cobble Trail. I have a -10 sleeping bag, four season tent, crampons, snowshoes, and heavy duty winter clothing.Any other advice would be helpful. I know route finding can be tough and wondering if anyone has waypoints for the trail.

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    Registered User Yukon's Avatar
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    Ambitious, I like it. There is a "sticky" thread in the Long Trail forum that someone converted the topo maps to a GPX file, which should be able to be put into a GPS unit. I still have yet to try it though.

    As far as the trail, my guess is you will be doing a lot of trail breaking that time of year. Some spots along that route are popular for snowshoeing, but others will be unbroken. Your biggest obstacle is going to be the Glastenbury section. That mountain sees a HUGE amount of snow each winter and it will definitely be quite a trek, hope you are in good shape!

  3. #3

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    While it is possible you will luck out with some "january thaw" weather, it is also quite possible (and common) to have temps dip to -20 or less, usually in late january. It can go from nice January thaw temps to -20 in the course of a few hours as a cold front roars in.

    I don't think a -10 bag will be nearly warm enough for a 2 week trip where you can't predict the temp extremes you might encounter.
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    Registered User mirabela's Avatar
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    Definitely get a vapor barrier liner, if you don't already have one. With a -10F bag you'll likely need it. Bring serious ground insulation.

    Ambitious plan, sounds like fun. That hump from Rt. 9 to Stratton could be epic and then some.

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    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    I'm a hard adventure boy - i mean really - I go for it - whatever it is - I've spent nights out in Colorado and Wyoming and Canada (and in North Carolina) in so much cold and snow, you wouldn't believe - but boy, let me tell you, a week Long Trail Adventure in January in regular January conditions (and I've end to ended the LT) ---- You are going to freeze your a## off ---- I can't imagine going over Glastenberry Mountain -- Kid Gore Shelter will be covered in snow ---completely - I mean you won't even find anything but the roof -- heck, there is already a foot of snow there right now! --if you're going north of Killington, absolutely nuts --- it will be a complete alpine adventure --- trail breaking, route finding, post-holeing - snow shoeing where you can -- hand and feet travel over ice and rock - crampons -- your packs will be super heavy --- it can probably be done but putting up new ice routes on unclimbed mountains in Alaska might be much easier ---- pick a slightly warmer winter hike ----- like above zero degrees and you'll have more fun --- really dude.

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    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Ok - about my previous post, if you go, I'm in. P/M me, really. I'll bring some whiskey - it'll be fun

  7. #7

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    You will usually get warned against a trip like this here, this is like the 3rd winter LT post since spring, no one wants to advise a trip that is dangerous especially on the internet where you know little about the people you advise. It can certainnly be done, if you have the experience and skills you know it and don't need to worry about us. If you don't, try something shorter first, personally I have never gone winter camping without a woodstove for more than 4 days. Those 4 day true winter trips were good, usually best afterward by the woodstove with a cold beer and a belly full of good food. I would follow the vapor barrier advice, especially if you have a down bag, Andrew Skurka has good info on his site.

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    Registered User Caveman of Ohio's Avatar
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    Well I am waiting to get my 60 day notice at work and it might push me back into late Jan ot early Feb for a start date. I am not looking to do the whole thing but just a little section of the trail in the winter.

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    Unless you already have significant winter experience, I'd say start a couple of days further south in Mass where the weather might (or might not) be a little milder and bailout is definitely easier. In a 2 week period you will get some challenging weather. Keep track of the weather forecasts and be prepared to retreat to a town for a blizzard or cold spell. I've bushwhacked in VT in midwinter with a combination of xc skis and crawling; it was very difficult. The Catamount Trail parallels the long trail and might be a better choice -- the trail is cut for winter conditions http://www.catamounttrail.org/

    Don't go alone.

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    Don't leave your car at the Pine Cobble Trail trailhead. Looks relatively safe, but our car's window was busted out there this summer and others have reported similar. Cops only go past the lot once per day and don't seem interested in doing anything more than taking the report. I know they have bigger problems, so I'm not blaming them for not "staking out" the lot or anything, but it's just not a secure place to leave a vehicle.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

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    Registered User mirabela's Avatar
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    Hey, one other thought -- if a leg of the LT is what you have your heart set on, it might make some sense to pick a segment further north where the bailouts are easier. Minus the major numbered highways, the access roads to most of the southern LT pretty much shut down in winter. If you take on a stretch where the populated valleys are a little nearer at hand -- like, say, Lincoln Gap north to the Winooski, or even to Mansfield -- getting off the trail, should the need arise, will not be as hard. It still won't be easy ... but if you get stuck in a bad weather pattern halfway between Rt. 9 and Stratton, you're a *really* long way from anything.

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    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    I'm all for adventure, but the section that you're thinking of doesn't have many bailout-points. IIRC, from highway 9 to the base of Stratton there is a stretch of 20+ miles without any road crossings. In the winter on unbroken trail with 8 feet of powder and a poorly marked route, it is quite possible that it could take 3-4 days to slog through those 20+ miles.

    As others have said, be prepared and don't hike this alone. If you get yourself into some trouble, there's no help available.

  13. #13
    Registered User mirabela's Avatar
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    In the winter on unbroken trail with 8 feet of powder and a poorly marked route, it is quite possible that it could take 3-4 days to slog through those 20+ miles.


    If it's really unbroken, it could take longer than that! Just finding it, let alone breaking it with a heavy pack, can be exhausting and time-consuming. Especially down there where the ridges are a little broader and the landforms a bit featureless, it would be very easy to get hopelessly off-route.

    This is another reason to consider a stretch further north. If you hike Lincoln Gap to the Winooski, for instance, the trail will be broken out within a few days of any major storm at least from Lincoln Gap to Mt. Abe, from Mt. Ellen to Stark's nest, from Ap Gap to Molly Stark's balcony, around the summit of Burnt Rock, from Ethan Allen to the Camels Hump hut clearing, and from Spruce Knob down to the River Road. That leaves you *plenty* of turf to routefind and break on your own -- including the drift-prone and potentially buried and unbroken stretches from Mt. Abe to Mt. Ellen, from Stark's Nest down to Ap Gap, from the balcony all the way to the Hedgehog Brook trail, from Burnt Rock clear over the Allens (!), and from the 4-way junction at the hut clearing most of the way down Bamforth Ridge.

    It will still be a big job.

  14. #14
    Registered User Yukon's Avatar
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    From Rt. 9 over Glastenbury to FR 71, is a 20 mile stretch with no road crossings. Glastenbury sees an amazing amount of snow, I have been snowmobiling that mountain for 20 years and it never ceases to amaze me how much is up there. With that being said, if one was in a bad situation they could technically start to walk the snowmobile trail down of the mountain if they had to, and would most likely be able to get a ride from someone back to a town on their snowmobile, but it should never be counted on. The snowmobile trail crosses the AT/LT a few times on the mountain and would be easier to walk then breaking trail in 5 feet of snow for miles on end...

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