Forum Index » Hiking Partners / Group Trip Announcements » New England-area GTG #3: It's in the Negatives No Matter What Temperature Scale (as long as its Centigrade or Fahrenheit...)


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Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
New England-area GTG #3: It's in the Negatives No Matter What Temperature Scale (as long as its Centigrade or Fahrenheit...) on 01/31/2012 07:35:50 MST Print View

There is talk on the wires of another group over-nighter, most likely in the White Mountains, but the Adirondacks is another possibility. The goal would be for a route that does not require mountaineering gear (ie no Presi-traverse), since some of us are still figuring out their standard winter hiking kit.

Last hike, the newbie winter hikers learned some valuable lessons and it would be great to both build on those as well as try and get some more of the New England-area hikers that have been hiding in the woodwork to come out!

I'm thinking Feb 25/26th weekend, mostly because that's my next free weekend, but the date can be hashed out amongst us all.

I'm feeling veklempt, talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic: Date and Location.

edited: fixed the date

Edited by TinCanFury on 01/31/2012 09:48:54 MST.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Feb 25th/26th? on 01/31/2012 07:52:47 MST Print View

Hey sounds good to me, I'm free that weekend. I assume you meant that sat/sun the 25th/26th? I like the idea of the adirondack high peaks because its closer. I was just up in the whites this weekend - hiked up to Franconia ridge, it was a perfect day with almost 30 degree temps and very little wind. But it took me a good 6 hours to get there :) I did not need my axe up there even though I though I would. Snowshoes were optional, crampons did the trick a bit easier on the way down. I'd love to do another hike this month.

I got some good gear testing in, and I know my needs better now. I did not stay overnight, I still have not gotten a good winter shelter or sleeping bag. It would be great to join the group for the first winter overnight. I could rent a winter bag from EMS if necessary.

In terms of no mountaineering gear necessary, what did you want to be able to leave behind? Are high peaks too intense of an idea? We could always choose one with little to no scrambling sections if that's the goal. I for one would love to practice with my axe, but I'm down for whatever.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Feb 25th/26th? on 01/31/2012 13:03:26 MST Print View

It sounds like there are some good ideas on the table. I like the idea of a High Peaks trip.

I think another good option would be doing a winter summit of Mt Madison, with an overnight at the Valley Way Campsite. We could hike up to the campsite, setup camp, and then hit the summit in the morning. At that point, depending on the weather, we could either cross over to Mt John Quincy Adams or head down. I think that would be a perfect trip to test our skills and equipment, prior to a full traverse.

Also, I'm already planning a trip to the White Mountains with a group of four friends. We just met for coffee and had our first brainstorm and gear check meeting. We haven't set a date yet. Once that trip has been finalized, I'll have a much better idea of my availability.

Sounds excited! I hope I can get on-board for NEGTG 3!

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
ADK or Whites work great for me on 02/01/2012 18:40:52 MST Print View

The date, most likely won't work for me, I would need to push it a week. I am drying gear this weekend, then back out for a practice trip next weekend, then hopefully a presidential traverse 17th-19th (start helping me wish for amenable winds please). I will need to take a weekend off and spend it with the girlfriend our else she will find out I am cheating on her with the mountain love.

I would be able to help more with picking a location in the Adirondacks than the Whites. If a high peak is of interest then ice axe, crampons, and mountaineering would be required for any of them that are worth the effort in my opinion (unless it does nothing but snow for the next few weeks). There are a few high peaks below tree line or have little exposure that might be of interest to climb but not many unless you are after the coveted 46er badge. There are also many mountains that aren't on the list that are excellent climbs I have a few trip ideas if we head to the ADK. If we decide to go high and climb a substantial peak, I would have no problem running an impromptu ice axe and crampon technique and self arrest lessons. That and something small can happen on Saturday with a peak attempt on Sunday. As far as conditions in the high peaks go, I was there for the last 5 days it is a bit bleek down low. Lots of ice!!! At a minimum on some very small climbs microspikes would be required but even the very minor climb we did on Saturday required crampons and ice axe. There is no snow to speak of below 2000' only ice. Around 2500' there is a foot or so, and up high at tree line there is between 3-6' depending on aspect and exposure. Solid wind swept ice above tree line. Great mountaineering terrible snowshoe conditions so far this year.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
No can do on 02/01/2012 18:42:12 MST Print View

Gotta wait til March perhaps.

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: No can do on 02/01/2012 20:14:08 MST Print View

Ditto. February is mighty busy for me. March may be as well, but more of a possibility.

Also, a Presi Traverse is probably out of the question in general unless we all become beasts in short order. Washington and Adams pretty much require ice ax, crampons, serious mountaineering, and all that jazz. For the Whites, you'd be much better off in the Pemigewassett Wilderness, maybe going up Bondcliff or the Twins-- great views, hard climbs, but totally possible with just snowshoes. Mount Isolation in the Dry River Wilderness or Eagle Crag near the Wild River Wilderness would be good, too-- easier, but still rockin.

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Re: No can do on 02/01/2012 21:04:46 MST Print View

Most likely I will be unable, funds are tight.

Also I do not have any winter gear for above tree line i.e. ice axe, crampons, winter stove, shelter and experience.

If the trip is more moderate and I have the money for it then I will try and make it.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
Options so far on 02/02/2012 07:14:23 MST Print View

Ok, so it looks like March is best for all. Bryce feel like putting another poll together?

I think it's fair to say we will not do any hike that will require anything beyond snowshoes. Crampons, ice axen, etc will not be a requirement as most people don't have most of these things. We could perhaps plan another trip for people that do have the equipment and take Jeremy up on his offer.

Options thrown out so far:
1)Mt Madison, with an overnight at the Valley Way Campsite. Optional Addition: Mt John Quincy Adams

2)Pemigewassett Wilderness - Bondcliff
3)Pemigewassett Wilderness - Twins

4)Mount Isolation in the Dry River Wilderness
5)Eagle Crag near the Wild River Wilderness

Are the ADKs out of the question or should we ask Jeremy to think of a couple hikes?

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
ADK options on 02/02/2012 08:14:02 MST Print View

ADK trips that I can think of are:

1. Hurricane Mountain Big Crow Loop- I would have to check the mileage on this one but a loop up Hurricane Mountain from 9N that follows the ridge around and picks up big crow mountain would be great. No 46ers but it has a great view from the fire tower on top of Hurricane I am told and Big Crow has a killer view of the great range. All mellow terrain the only part that could be tricky is a part of the trail would be a heard path which could be a total bushwhack or it could be one steep short of a maintained trail. I would have to lean toward it being closer to a bushwhack since there isn't a high peak in the area.

2. Hike into Lake Colden and try Mt Marshall. This would be a long hike in and Mt. Marshall is a trail-less high peak. I haven't personally done this trip but I have heard nice things about it. Avalanche pass could be a bit tricky. I would want to do my homework on this one if it is of interest to make sure it isn't too technical in that area.

3. Hike into Johns Brook Lodge area and stay at one of the lean tos and do a bushwhack up to the col between saddleback and basin along Chicken Coop Brook. I came down this way last year, very easy to navigate and summiting Basin from that side would be less technical than from the trail on the steeper more exposed side. This trip has the most risk of turn around due to technical difficulty/ navigation around a field of spruce traps but also has the most reward in views if we gain the summit. Regardless the Johns Brook area/garden is beautiful to hike around. There is also a non-technical route up the brothers and possible big slide mountain if there is time and the conditions are right (haven't done this second half but it looks fun).

4. Hike into the Ausable property along their main road and set up camp at the DEC sites just south of the club's land along Gill brook. Try and climb Mt. Colvin one day which is a less technical 46er with a decent view of the Great Range from the summit (minimal exposure up top) There is also a great overlook of the Ausable lakes and great range at Indian Head not far from the camp sites that could be done early Sunday morning before the hike back down to the car.

Lake Colden/Mt. Marshall aren't on the lists because I don't have experience on this one so no clue without some homework.

In order of low risk of technical to high risk:
1. Hurricane loop
2. Colvin/Indian Head
3. Basin

In order of greatest reward to lowest:
1. Basin
2. Hurricane loop and Colvin/Indian Head (tied I think either have great views Colvin/Indian Head would be harder hiking)

I am up for the Whites I have no experience up there other than Tuckermans and Huntington Ravine on Mt. Washington, but that is a long haul for me so there is a chance I won't be able to make it back up there after my traverse attempt.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Feb and March? on 02/02/2012 08:41:51 MST Print View

Maybe we can split this into two trips, feb and march? Thoughts? I'm thinking maybe we do one trip where we can use our ice axes and crampons, and another where they won't be necesary? Personally I'd love to hit some ADK high peaks this month. I'll be going with friends on the weekend of the 10th so I can report back on conditions then. I'm still down for the last weekend in Feb if anyone else wants to keep that date and do a trip regardless? If not I'll try to get a different weekend off, but so far that one is a good one for me. Without tons more snow, snowshoes will be useless as they were in the whites last weekend. There's snow, but its not fresh enough or deep enough to warrant the need of the snowshoes. I wore them in and found them to be a waste of weight. I switched to crampons. Crampons and hiking poles were all I needed for the presidential ridge between falling waters and bridle path. I had my ice axe but never needed to use it. Maybe we can come up with enough microspikes/crampons to lend some out? I also see tons of ice axes on ebay for under $50 used, sometimes under $30. Might be worth it for some people who are interested to grab a cheapie to start with?

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Feb and March? on 02/02/2012 09:19:12 MST Print View

Adam, did you mean Franconia Ridge?

I was on Mt Washington from Friday to Sunday and found my beloved microspikes to be useless. On Friday, the combination of rain and snow created a cement-like mixture that balled up pretty quickly to the microspikes, rendering them useless. After a few minutes of use, I had balls the size of softballs built up and no traction. At the lower elevations, there was a thick layer of smooth ice just under the wet snow. Off-trail, I'd say that there was 18 to 20 inches of snow, and deeper drifts in places. Our solution was to use snowshoes for traction, although I suppose crampons with anti-balling plates would have worked too. All season, I've had a love affair with my microspikes, but I really witnessed their limitations this week.

Also, we used our axes quite a bit on our summit day.

I should mention that we crossed a pretty sketchy snow bridge at one point on the lower section of the Huntington Ravine Trail, and I was really glad I had my weight distributed on snowshoes. I have some illustrative pictures, but they're on my other PS so I'll have to add them later today.

ANYWAY, March works for me too. I'd be happy to join either group if the dates work for my schedule.

One other gear option is rental. My *understanding* is that the EMS in NH and NY rent plastic boots, crampons, and ice axes. I'm not sure if you have to be part of one of their official programs, but I've seen the gear in NH.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Feb and March? on 02/02/2012 09:54:21 MST Print View

Sounds like Whites and ADK conditions were very similar. We started the weekend in only crampons because of the lack of snow but by yesterday afternoon there was a foot of fresh snow down as low as the ADK Loj apx. 2200'. All melted in yesterdays rain which is why we came out a day early.

Also important to note that it was extremely warm. The coldest temps we had were high single digits on Monday night. Yesterday afternoon was 47F at the bottom of the valley.

The EMS in Placid rents basically everything you need except clothing I would assume that they all do the same.

Edited by earn_my_turns on 02/02/2012 09:56:39 MST.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Re: Re: Feb and March? on 02/02/2012 10:11:50 MST Print View

I did mean franconia ridge, yes. I was there on saturday. Drove up friday night, got there late. Sat was a beautiful day, with warm temps and sun. There was new snow on the trail, but not more than 4-6 inches of new snow. I guess by going a day later I got to walk on top of all that crap you guys dealt with, and there was a new layer of snow that covered it from the night before. It was a few inches of snow on top of a mix of ice and hard packed snow. The ridge was much icier, but the trail was pretty tame overall. I had anti balling plates on my crampons - I use the hillsound pro crampons. My snowshoes were fine, its just that I didn't need the extra weight of them that day.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Feb and March? on 02/07/2012 13:47:11 MST Print View

You can also probably rent ice gear from IME in Conway.

i'm saving my Presi traverse run for the spring/early summer.. i'm not nuts like you guys ;)

Isolation would be pretty good. I did that last summer as a easy 2 day hike. it's like 9mi(?) to the summit with a campground a bit before that. so you could hike in, set up camp, peak bag, camp (or wait till day 2 for summit).

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Whats the good word? on 02/13/2012 10:12:34 MST Print View

Where and when is the collective thinking?

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
whites too far for me on 02/13/2012 10:27:14 MST Print View

I have to work later than I wanted for the last weekend in Feb, so the whites are going to be a little far for me. I could do the adk mtns though. I was just up on cascade and porter this weekend. There was not a lot of snow. It was comical watching people ruin their snowshoes on the rocks, and to see them fumbling in the dirty snow! I left mine in the car and used the hillsound pro crampons for the 3rd time and again, they rocked. There were patches of ice and by the end of the day the snow had been beaten down and it was icy/crumbly surface without much padding underfoot, making my soles sore from the crampons at the very end of the hike. Unless they get pummeled, there are plenty of opportunities for peaking without ice axes. My friend used microspikes and his poles and had no problems. The axe is useful, but totally not necessary. I could have gone with spikes myself and left the real crampons behind. I saw many people on the trail with absolutely no traction at all (stupid, if you ask me.) If anyone has proposed new dates let me know, but I'm still free the last weekend of Feb.

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Whats the good word? on 02/13/2012 10:55:12 MST Print View

I do love the idea of this trip, but I'm definitely out for this month, and not too certain about next month. I'll keep my eye on this thread, though. Whites or ADK's... can't really go wrong.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
ADK conditions on 02/19/2012 08:27:41 MST Print View

I was in adk yesterday for a day hike and I got turned around trying to climb the brothers/Big Slide. I had my dog with me so I left my crampons in the car so that we wouldn't get up something that we couldn't get back down. below 2000' there is no snow, between 2000-3000' it is solid ice on anything reasonable steep or 2-4" of snow/ice on flat trails. Above 3000' I believe there is more snow than ice depending on aspect, slope, and wind. At this point this "winter" climbing can only happen with possibly micro-spikes might even require crampons.

I would not recommend we go to the ADK for the second trip, there won't be anything to climb that doesn't require technical ice scrambling skills.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Re: ADK conditions on 02/19/2012 11:34:56 MST Print View

Damn, what a crappy winter we are having. Its nice not to deal with snow in the city, but I almost can't believe how little snow there is in upstate NY. I might pass if snow doesn't fall again, part of what I love about the winter hikes are the snow covered trees, the silence, and the lack of pain in your feet from nice soft snow :)

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
It's snowing!!!! on 02/24/2012 10:34:36 MST Print View

I should have talked more trash about the ADK conditions in November or December becuase they are getting a ton of snow from last night to tomorrow morning. Up to a foot in Lake Placid and as much as 2' at elevation. Does anyone want to go to the ADK mountains the weekend of March 17th-18th?