Hey guys, I'm planning a trip to the White Mountain Wilderness, NM for my Thanksgiving break from school this semester. Being from Austin, TX, I don't know much about mountain conditions during this time of year, so there's a lot of uncertainty in the planning. I understand that, even for seasoned veterans, there's no predicting mountain weather, but you can certainly play the odds. I've only been on a few backpacking trips, one was into the Gila Wilderness in March, where there was still a few inches of snow everywhere but no precipitation, and the other was in August in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, when there was no snow but tons of precipitation. I survived both without knowing very much what I was doing. I've learned a little bit since then but I need some help anticipating the conditions and the gear. Here's what I have already--and also used in Wheeler Peak:
- cloudveil peak pants
- golite stratus jacket
- moonstone UL cirrus jacket
- synthetic and wool base layers
- warm hat and sun/rain hat
- Inov-8 terroc 330s
- golite feather-lite (circa 40 degree down)
- Thermo-lite bivvy
- open jet alcohol stove
- BPL ti esbit stove
- golite lair 1
- Adapt ultralight poles w/snow baskets
That's where I'm at. I'm anticipating that I might need a little more insulation to survive the temperatures. I know the Lair 1 isn't big enough (because I'm bringing my roommate along) so I'm looking for something snow-worthy and light to accommodate us, but I don't know what features to look for in a cold-weather shelter. I don't know whether my Terrocs will have enough traction on snow/ice for me to feel safe. As a side note, I've thought about a heat exchanger face mask thing before to complement my warm hat . . . are such things also more valuable for their condensation-prevention effects?
As I mentioned, I'm bringing a friend. He has a Gregory Reality pack and some XCR trail runners. We're starting him from scratch, so if you have any clothing suggestions for him, we'd both appreciate that as well.
And while we're here, I need more than gear help. Frankly since I haven't dealt with these conditions before, I don't know what's possible and what's safe. Can we hike up mountains without technical gear? Do snowstorms happen at this time of year? Should we modify our mileage estimates and food rations for the conditions we'll face? Basically I need a primer on ALL this. I've done summer backpacking in the mountains with no problem, now I need the knowledge to do it in the late fall . . . without dying.
Thanks for anyone that might offer their guidance.