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One day 33 mi NH Pemi Traverse gear oppinions?
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Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
One day 33 mi NH Pemi Traverse gear oppinions? on 11/02/2006 13:51:47 MST Print View

Late next Spring I am planning on attempting a 1 day Pemi Loop (34 miles on 10 peaks with 10,000 ft in elevation gain in New Hampshires White Mountains). My big dilemma of course is what gear to take. Spring weather in the White mtns can range from blustery summer conditions all the way to winter storm whiteouts (of course this being New England you can see each extreme in the course of the same day). This traverse takes you over several high and exposed mountain passes that more often than not, see's very high winds rain/snow/sleet and just about anything else you can think of. The trip will take around 15 hours I am guessing. I have allocated about 7 lbs of food and water that I consider mandatory but I would like my total pack weight to be 10 lbs or less. So my question is, what gear and clothing system would you take for a one day trip like this and have total gear weight to less than 3 lbs? Note I will probably be hiking starting before dawn and then into the night.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: One day 33 mi NH Pemi Traverse gear oppinions? on 11/02/2006 14:51:32 MST Print View

I guess I wouldn't worry too much about packing for all potential weather conditions, and instead wait for a forecast of a few days of good weather. If the weather turns on you, find the nearest pre-marked exit route on your map and bail! Then all you need is the usual gear for a fair-weather day hike. The Ten Essentials should come in well under three pounds, including a "space bag" or plastic tube tent (3-5 oz).

Edited by Otter on 11/02/2006 15:23:25 MST.

john flanagan
(jackfl) - F

Locale: New England
Re: One day 33 mi NH Pemi Traverse gear oppinions? on 11/02/2006 15:36:17 MST Print View


I agree about waiting for favorable weather. Given "reasonable" weather, the thing that I'd be most concerned about is snow conditions. If it's solid, you're golden. It's bliss running over the nice solid recrystalized almost sidewalk that snowshoers have left for you! On the other hand it is distinctly less blissful if the snow is rotten {:P
I think that you're smart to start early before the snow has a chance to soften...maybe even start in the wee-wee hours of morning and go over the Bonds first (counter clockwise) so that you cover the least traveled and typically deepest snow while its solid. Given your weight objective, you're not going to be humping snowshoes...

OK here's a shot at your question.
Instep crampons (4 oz) - or machine screws in the soles of your footware.
LED Headlight with fresh batteries. (3 oz.)
Short Bivy Pad (5 oz.)
UL Bivy Sack or tarp (6 oz.)
1 pair dry socks (3 oz)
Hooded down or synthetic sweater (16 oz)
UL Vapor Barrier Mitts (4 oz.)
Gossamer Gear Whisper (4 oz)
Minimal first aid, including fire starter (2 oz)
= 3+/- pounds

Personally it would be beyond my comfort zone to be unprepared for a bivy... you don't have a lot of good "escape hatches" until you hit Franconia ridge. But that's just me. Good Luck!

Laurence Daniels
(GNR) - F

Locale: Boston
Cool is right on 11/02/2006 20:05:27 MST Print View

Great trip.

You seem to have some experience in the Whites so this might be all known to you but...

I think I might want to be humping some snowshoes depending on when in "late spring" you are going. April-early May? I would take them. June? Nah.

Also, depending on the day of the week you choose, like Saturday or even a holiday, I would feel just fine about not taking a bivy or bag, especially if the huts are open, even on a self-serve basis, where there will be shelter. I don't know if the huts have potable water or not at that time, but they are open around Mid-May. Relying on others in place of taking your own gear is a no-no, however, and I would take a poncho-tarp at least and a space blanket or something.

This has less to do with your gear list, but I would also think about hitting Flume first and go clockwise, regardless of the snow depths, as I find Franconia Ridge and Garfield Ridge FAR more manageable in that direction than in reverse. Also, after the South Twin climb, it is a significantly easier go the rest of the way. Psychologically, hitting the highest peak early in the day is helpful to me.

Why don't you give us the gear list you are initially thinking of and let us tinker. Cheers

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
No go with snow up high on 11/03/2006 06:28:20 MST Print View

Hey Guys,
Thanks for the great responses. I am still new into this ultralight thing so any help I can get is greatly appreciated. So first off I am definitely not going till after the snow is gone. The snow up on the ridges is normally gone by late spring/early summer, so this just gives me more time to train. Also at the time I am going, the Galehead hut will be open and I always carry cash in case the need for an unexpected stay comes up. The other great thing about this route is the abundance of exit points, so my hiking buddy and I always take a spare car and leave it at the farthest point of the trip.

So for gear on this trip I have found that no matter what the weather report says at the beginning of the day, a beautiful day in the valley can be totally opposite up higher. Last May I had a near hypothermic experience attempting this trip in a day, so I am abit skiddish about leaving things behind and praying for good weather.

Clothing list
Icebreaker Wool T or Silkweight T (depending on weather)
Pataguch running shorts, visor and Montrail Vitesses’s with shortie gaiters

Carried: (try and figure out what gear company I am obsessed with???)
Pataguch Houdini (top and bottom) 7 oz
Pataguch Specter rain coat and Golite Reed pants 11oz
Pataguch Micropuff vest 6 oz
Ibex wool liner gloves 1.3 oz
Wild Things powerstretch headband .5 oz
Golite Ion pack (I will be first in line when that sucker comes out) 9 oz
100 oz Platypus hydration 5 oz
My 10 Essentials kit 5 oz
Sea to Summit 70 liter liner (also emergency bivy) 3.4 oz
Total weight 3.3 lbs

Gear Explanations:
I am bet people are looking at the fact that I am carrying both wind pants and rain pants, but the rain pants alone will not be enough insulation in cold temps and those rain pants weigh as much as silkweight long johns and provide more protection.

Any thoughts?

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: No go with snow up high on 11/03/2006 09:09:05 MST Print View

Jonathan, comments on your gear list:

Clothing Worn: Good choices. I'd take a ballcap and some sunglasses, the summits are dusty and windy.

Clothing Carried: I'd be tempted to skip the wind shirt, the Specter is quite breathable. I'd also be tempted to skip the rain pants, you have wind pants. You could spend the weight of rain pants on a pair of 1.5 oz polypropylene ultralight tights from Sahale. The combination of the tights and wind pants is awesome in cold weather. Rain pants really slow you down because of their lack of breathability. Especially, if you are moving fast and climbing, your legs are going to heat up and you need to dissipate that heat well to keep moving fast. Another option would be to replace the tights/wind pants with a powerstretch tight, which provides a remarkable amount of weather protection in foul conditions without the need for rain/wind gear. Another good option is the Patagonia Cool Weather tight, same deal. If you went to a hooded wool shirt, like the Smartwool Shadow Hoody, which also has thumbloops, you might skip a hat/headband and gloves altogether. I did this on a trek in the Arctic this past june, and it worked great; I wore extra socks on my hands when it was really cold, but that was only once in 10 days. The benefit of this is that it the wool hoody makes changes to the body's comfort really easy and fast, no fiddling with hats/gloves.

Water: 100 oz of water is a ton to carry. How many hours do you expect to take between your longest waterless stretch?

S2S 70L Liner: I'm confused at what this is for.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: No go with snow up high on 11/03/2006 09:51:55 MST Print View

Hey Ryan,
Thanks for the feedback. Great idea on the Sahale tights, I have never heard of those before and I do agree that rain pants are uncomfortable. As for the 100 oz (still up in the air on this one) of water, I tend to be a guzzler. I am working on this and trying to train myself to need less, but I figure why deny myself if it will help me perform better. Currently I do have the ability to run 15 miles on a single bottle of water, but I do come back pretty parched. As for times between water holes, I would be guessing max around 8 hours. I do carry small amounts of aqua mira, but it tends to be a toss up as to how much H2O you can find on the ridges. As for the S2S liner, I just use it to keep my stuff dry. Around this time of the year with the snow melt I have encountered pretty deep water crossings (one time up to my arm pits and I am 6’4’’). I do have a smaller version of this liner that I could use, but the larger can double as rain protection in a forced bivy situation. As ashamed as I was to have my girlfriend catch me, I did test it, and I was able to get my whole lower body into the liner and seal my raincoat over the top.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
reed add-on on 11/13/2006 19:49:12 MST Print View

I think I learned at this website to add a 16" opening up the seam from the bottom so that the pant can be put on over your footwear (Vitesse). Also, I do not think you will have to go 8 hours without a water source. There is water at Liberty Springs tentsite, not far off the trail. There is a spring right on the trail just below the Garfield tentsite. Then the hut and at Guyot shelter. Once down into the woods beyond Bondcliff you will find a stream.