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M Notes from the Field: The Wintry Fringe Season in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness

by Ryan Jordan

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Article Summary:

In addition to being home to Backpacking Light's 2012 Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camps, housing a well-known section of the Continental Divide Trail, and being the subject of one of my recent photo essays, the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness offers a taste of the raw and remote.

During the final days of October and first days of November 2012, a group of hardy souls completed a loop trek on the Eastern slope of the range, crossing several passes in the midst of winter's fringe - that time of year that (may be) too early for snowshoes, but just late enough to be uncomfortably wet and cold.

This Notes from the Field essay presents my reflections on the use of ultralight gear during a change of season when we more often than not accept the inevitable increase in pack weight as insurance against discomfort and risk.