New England-area GTG #2: Winter Wonderland
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Tom Eickenberg
(teickenberg50@gmail.com) - F

Locale: Mid Coast Maine
Can't make it on 11/22/2011 12:24:52 MST Print View

Thanks for the invite; I am sorry I cannot make it. Please keep me in the loop for future NE GTG’s.

Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
re on 11/22/2011 14:10:42 MST Print View

Ugh, gonna have to practice using a pee bottle....

I don't have any winter gear whatsoever. I apparently sleep warm and do have a 20F WM Alpinlite which is crazy warm despite being way too roomy. If I filled all that extra room inside up with jackets, long johns etc, I bet I could extend the rating pretty far. Can always bring a couple hand warmers too.

I don't think I'm ready to spend a whole bunch of money on winter gear, but if we did an easy overnight I'd probably be game.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
winter trip on 11/25/2011 14:16:25 MST Print View

Well, I'm excited to hear that there's already another BPL trip in the planning stages. I hope I can join this time. I have plenty of winter gear. I have a winter tent, -20 bag, etc. So, I don't have any limits. Also, I'm fine with whatever distance you guys want to cover. I'll do 200 feet from the trail-head or anywhere under 20 miles.

I'm free the weekend of January 21st or 28th. Also, I could do something in Feb. Southern Vermont would work best for me, but western Massachusetts would be fine too. Also, if people want to hike in the Whites, I'd be more than happy to go there with you guys. We wouldn't need to do any alpine stuff.

We could to a piece of the Catamount Trail in southern VT, which is pretty much the winter alternative to the Long Trail and AT in Vermont.

http://www.catamounttrail.org

Keep me posted.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: winter trip on 11/25/2011 17:27:38 MST Print View

I'm interested. I've got my gear (might use someone's stove if my esbit won't work, but I haven't had it fail me yet). Since I generally don't plan too far ahead, I'll just wait and see what weekend in January y'all decide on. The only weekend, right now, I couldn't do is mid-Feb, as I'm going out to the west coast gathering then.

I'd be happy to share a cabin, but when it comes to tents - I'm not much of a sharer! I've got my own shelter I'll bring - either the Brooks-Range Rocket or the Scarp 1 with fabric inner. If I attend, I could also lend one if someone needed it. And I have a Scarp 2 with fabric inner I could lend as well. Both Scarps are new/unused, so if you 'break' it, you bought it! Also have a Golite 0 degree Adrenaline bag converted into a quilt I could lend someone (as long as you're sleeping in clothes and not naked). Guess that's about it.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Re: winter trip on 11/25/2011 17:43:04 MST Print View

Hey Doug,

Jealous of your West coast trip....I had planned on attending, but I wanted more of a hike than a gathering out there if I was going to make the effort. Keep me posted if you catch a trip out West like that. I know it's on my list for next year. I'll be hiking in AZ already off a work trip, ope to have more (anyone want to come?!).

I might need that 0 degree bag if you come up... stinking JRB won't put their High Sierra Sniveller quilt on sale, haha. I have a 15F Marmot Helium that I will use if the temps are right though.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: winter trip on 11/25/2011 17:46:41 MST Print View

"0 degree bag"

It's no longer a bag, it's a quilt. No hood, zipper removed. See pics here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=43297

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Re: Re: winter trip on 11/25/2011 18:25:48 MST Print View

Awesome. This is getting better by the day.

Tommy D, if we don't end up doing Southern VT for the group gathering, I'm still hoping to do at least one or two more weekend trips in the Glastenbury and Stratton area this winter, time depending. Who knows... maybe northern Vermont, too.

Avalance shovels could come in handy, by the way. Not necessarily for avalanches, but for shelter building. Always a highlight of winter camping. I've got one somewhere around here...

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: winter trip on 11/25/2011 18:30:33 MST Print View

"Not necessarily for avalanches, but for shelter building."

I'd LOVE to learn how to make snow shelters! The trip would be worth it just for that! Are you teaching Ryan?

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: winter trip on 11/25/2011 21:36:01 MST Print View

On a trip to the ADK's in February a kid built a Quinzee out on the ice. It certainly worked....but holy hell it was a lot of work. Glad it was this kid and not me haha.

I usually rock a tarp (in this case my two person Ray-Way) and build up walls of snow on three sides. Then on the side with the entry I build a little wind break out of snow. This of course is car camping w/ a nice shovel. :p

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/306412_128158997292759_100002959778490_134780_921017584_n.jpg

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: winter trip on 11/27/2011 06:42:11 MST Print View

Haha. It's been a while since I've built a real shelter entirely out of snow, but depending on where we go it might be possible. I do like Bryce says-- use the shovel to add to the comfort of whatever tent or tarp you set up. I tend to go with a tarp, but dig trenches and a pit to make a nice, large area to sleep in and cook in. With four-season tents, it's nice to dig out a pit in the vestibule so you can have an even better place to put your gear. In general, the shovel can be used to scrape out a perfectly flat sleeping platform after stomping the snow down to a solid pack.

But if we have time, I'd be all for making a quinzee or digloo or whatever you call them. They're great for sleeping in. And extremely warm.

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Location? on 11/30/2011 17:49:32 MST Print View

I was thinking a bit too much about this today at work, and I think I've come up with enough locations that we'll have to do three or four trips over the course of the winter to even scratch the surface. Some of my ideas...

1. Stratton Mountain and Pond, VT-- great base camp area near Stratton Pond, with challenging hike to Stratton Mountain for the dayhike. Maybe not too secluded, though.

2. Glastenbury Mountain, VT-- Not sure about the approach, but the summit is pretty cool, and there's a fire tower that we could camp right next to.

3. Pemi Wilderness, NH-- So many options in here. One really nice one is near Norcross Pond on the east side of the wilderness. Or the west side, we could hike in from Lincoln Woods and do a dayhike up one of several mountains.

4. Griffith Lake and Baker Peak, VT-- another possible base camp further from the road, with an easy-ish hike up to a good view.

5. Wild River Wilderness, NH-- Lots of good places to camp at low elevation, and then either hike up to Carter Dome, Moriah, Baldface, or other cool mountains.

I've totally left out the Berkshires, which would be a fine location as well.

I'm partial to trying bushwhacks, too, since winter is the time for that in New England (as far as I'm concerned... less undergrowth). And we can come up with trips ranging from one night to five or six if we feel real crazy (or unemployed).

Any thoughts?

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Location? on 11/30/2011 18:43:26 MST Print View

All the suggestions are intriguing, but I admit I have not researched them much. Three things I'd like if possible in our location are:

- Is there a hut (not a shelter) for us to stay in? There was some interest in this, but also "bring your own shelter" was as popular or more so perhaps a nice-to-have.

- How far is basecamp from the trail head? I know a lot of us are new to winter backpacking, so having the ability to bring in extra layers, etc. to base camp may be important as a lot of us aren't quite sure what we'll need to bring to keep warm/comfy.

- Are any of these locations significantly colder than another? I figure the Berkshires will be the warmest, but wondering since the colder we go, the more gear we'll prob need (to purchase). This isn't a deal breaker, but just curious.

Thanks!

Bryce <- trying to find people who ~actually~ use VBLs on regular basis, and in what temps are they useful.

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Re: Location? on 11/30/2011 19:27:50 MST Print View

Oh yeah... forgot about that. But it's a good point.

Out of the list above, Stratton is really good in many ways, which is why I've been pushing that as a location for a while (not just because it's closer to me than most other places!). The shelter isn't fully enclosed, but it's so big that it might as well be. You can easily fit 20 people in that thing with room to spare, and it's more enclosed than most AT shelters. Most of the enclosed lodges on the Long Trail are much further north, or not really great destinations.

As for distance from trailhead, it's 4 flat miles. Not bad at all. There's also a loop... we could make camp near the trailhead, hike over the mountain on day two, and camp at the shelter area after.

Let's see... The White Mountains have the huts, but those are pricey even with the self-service in winter. The RMC cabins on Mt Adams are possible also, but I don't know if there's any place to tent near them-- it would be cabins or nothing I think.

We could definitely do Alander again, with that little cabin up there. That about exhausts my brain for now.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
I'm In. on 11/30/2011 21:06:49 MST Print View

Bryce,

Thanks for the invite, I would have completely missed this opportunity!!!! I am in for sure, I keep my schedule in the winter nice and open for just this very reason. The only time I have booked right now is Jan 27th-Feb 3rd, I will be in the ADK's enjoying hopefully extremely cold deep snow.

I read through everything so far, here are my thoughts. The locations that Ryan posted are great, I have a little bit of hear say knowledge about a few of them. I think the best one is Glastenbury Mountain, I have heard that this is a relatively mellow but long hike. So making it to the summit might not be able to happen. The experience will be great regardless. I also think it has a crazy ghost story about it if it is the one I am thinking of. If it is I will prepare my best theatrics for the trip! I would say anything with a pond in it is a bad idea for a intro to winter trip. NH is to unreliable with weather, could be above zero, could be -20 and nasty. A second option right across the way from Glastenbury is Haystack Mountain. A little less remote, better water opportunities (no melting drinking water is a plus).

As far as gear goes. My shelter of choice is a Shangu La and a bivy, but in all reality a three season tent with the least amount of mesh is very acceptable. The only thing extra you have to do with a 3 season vs 4 season on the east coast is brush snow off a little more frequently IF it snows. The most important thing about tents in the winter is great ventilation, and as many bodies covered in goose down as possible to make a nice cozy sleeping arrangement. Stoves should all be white gas for simplicity in large groups and a max of 6 people to 3 stoves (one is a back up) and 2 x 2L minimum pots. If 8 people go then 3 cooking stoves and a 4th backup will work. It looks like with Glastenbury there isn't a water feature so melting snow most likely will have to take place which will mean alot more fuel. We can discuss that as planning progresses. Ice axe and crampons won't be necessary in Souther VT or Western Mass. A few shovels will be, a comfortable camp kitchen is the most important part of winter camping.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 12/02/2011 06:41:18 MST Print View

Guys (and gals), I just caught wind of this thread. I'd love to go and I could probably arrange any of those time slots. Keep me posted. If you have an email conversation going, please include me - mmarasco@mail.niagara.edu. Thanks! Also, not sure if anyone was considering the Adirondacks as a possible destination but my best friend's aunt owns Raquette River outfitters and has been hiking/skiing the area for years and years - she can definitely clue us in to some areas that are off the beaten path. Just a thought. Either way, I'd love to do a trip with some fellow BPLers!

My winter kit is a bit patchy- I use two 30-degree bags layered- This has gotten me comfortably to 10f, and I'm confident I could take it even lower. I'm not sure if I can get my weight down to the range of my Ohm, though. My backup pack is a Gregory z55, older model that weighs 53 oz, so not the worst option. Shelter is a bit heavy - BA Copper Spur 1. Though without the inner tent it's not so bad at around 35 oz including heatsheetz ground cover. Don't own snowshoes, but could borrow some from a friend.

Well, please keep me updated. I have a severe lack of outdoor-minded friends, so it would be cool to meet some of you. Cheers!

Edited by BabyMatty on 12/02/2011 10:59:35 MST.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 12/02/2011 07:48:14 MST Print View

Don't know how feasible of a trip it would be for some of you, but I've read a bit about PA's Laurel Highlands Trail. The 72-mile point to point crosses a few roads along the way, so shuttling should be fairly convenient. What really makes this trail cool is that there are spots every 6-12 miles with a few lean-to structures that have fireplaces with chimneys! And get this - PA DCNR stocks them with dry firewood! See more here-

http://www.shol.com/featheredprop/lhht_info_right.htm#Shelter%20Information

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Stuff on 12/05/2011 17:55:46 MST Print View

The dates are a dead heat.... wish there were a tiebreaker or two. :p

I've been researching gear. I'm going to try and rock a Vargo Ti Wood Stove and pick up a "real" knife to air in fire making (currently use a glorified razor blade for 3 season). I have snow shoes, and am going to layer summer quilt and summer bag for this outing. I am currently research overboots...

Anyone else researching?

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Stuff on 12/05/2011 19:49:50 MST Print View

I'm researching until my eyes bleed :)

Just in response to Jeremy's post about which areas are most suitable: Glastenbury would be a good hike, and I'd forgotten that there's one lean-to only two or three miles from the road, then it's 8 miles from that lean-to to Glastenbury. There's bound to be a lot of snow and it'll be a tough hike, and we'd have to figure out the timing of the weekend. Friday night, into the first shelter (might be very challenging due to darkness and tricky trail finding), saturday night to Glastenbury, sunday out? That would be a big day on sunday, the trail will be broken out already.

As for Stratton, the shelter is .2 miles away from the pond, so wind off the pond wouldn't cause much of a problem. It would be a nearly 4 mile trek into the shelter on the friday night, though, which could be tough depending on when everyone gets there.

Bryce, I've got a pair of 40 Below Light Energy Overboots... they're pretty rockin. Definitely worth looking into. As for other things, I'm going to need to work some gear ideas out before next month, I guess.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Re: Stuff on 12/05/2011 19:50:35 MST Print View

I am not doing any specific research, but I think mother nature can help decide when we should go. The later the better, this warm weather the mountains are having right now is making me very mad. I can start looking at trails if we can narrow it down to two or three choices.

I like:

Glastenbury Mountain, VT

Haystack Mountain, VT

Any other thoughts...

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
RE: New England-area GTG #2: Winter Wonderland on 12/06/2011 08:11:24 MST Print View

I won't be able to make it, but it sounds like fun! Thanks to Bryce for letting me know about this. Hopefully I'll be able to do next years. Another location would be around Mt. Mansfield, there are a few Long Trail shelters (One is a sweet cabin, and other fully enclosed I think), a nice summit, and a bunch of trails. With the weather we've been having you might need to go a bit further north to get to the good snow.