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Are you a seasonal hiker?
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/28/2012 02:36:43 MDT Print View

Do some of you find yourselves putting backpacking on hold once winter comes?
It's seems that the high sierras or other high elevation mountain ranges are the main destination of most backpackers on here, and most plan around the summer season for obvious reasons.

Luckily there are plenty of places around here that are mild in winter, but it does seem like a mad dash to get a bunch of trips in during the somewhat short hiking season in the mountains. I lack any snow camping or mountaineering skills, so it's going to be a while before I go can anywhere I want at any time of the year.

Edited by justin_baker on 04/28/2012 02:52:45 MDT.

Arlyn Janssen
re: Winter Hiking on 04/28/2012 03:50:04 MDT Print View

I grew up in Minnesota where the choice is lots and lots of bugs or lots and lots of snow. I'll take snow every time. I will soon return to the States after 2 years in South Asia and winter camping is one of the things I look forward to the most.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re:Winter Hiking on 04/28/2012 08:08:28 MDT Print View

Don't forget that the shorter days bring their own issues too. So lucky to be in CA where you can find places to go year round. I don't know how those folks in Minnesota do it. Camping in the height of the season is so easy here. Skills required for successful winter camping may seem like too much work to some.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re:Winter Hiking on 04/28/2012 08:25:19 MDT Print View

Don't forget that the shorter days bring their own issues too. ... I don't know how those folks in Minnesota do it.

You have to be resigned to shorter travel days and doing part of camp chores by artificial light. Skurka hiked a couple hours by headlamp each day on his UL in the Nation's Icebox outing.

The shortest of the short days run are limited mostly to Dec and Jan.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/28/2012 10:43:20 MDT Print View

This last year, I spent much of the winter in Tahoe. I never motivated myself to get to the Eastside, but Tahoe is an easy drive.

My favorite, most publicized, and best trips are in the Sierra. It feels like of 95% of my trips during the summer are in the Sierra.

The rest of the year is my time to explore the rest of the world.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/28/2012 16:13:03 MDT Print View

It's been getting that way - I try to escape the heat for the cool of the mountains during summer but if a winter storm is howling outside, it's probably not much better in a tent.

Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
Re: Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/28/2012 16:50:27 MDT Print View

I stick to day hiking in the winter. My hands and feet get painful when it gets cold and I've yet to find a system that works. I think I could handle it if I were to hike and then sleep, but the short days in winter mean I'd either be hiking after dark or hanging out in camp for hours and getting cold. Luckily winter is short in the southern Appalachians.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Are you a seasonal hiker?" on 04/28/2012 18:58:36 MDT Print View

Seasonal? No. Familial? Yes.

I could care less when I go backpack, but it has to first coincide with what is going on with my family, that is the greater influencer of when, where, and how often I get out for backpacking, not the seasons.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: "Are you a seasonal hiker?" on 04/28/2012 19:48:45 MDT Print View

I have a friend who is a seasonal hiker, but not in the sense the question was asked.

His camping season starts in October and finishes the following April (he does not like mosquitoes and/or sweating)

both.. on 04/28/2012 19:50:51 MDT Print View

Both seasonal and fair-weather.

Some part of the US the summer is intolerably hot and humid and buggy. Arkansas for instance, or Texas (big bend) In those parts you hike in cooler months, and avoid the trail in the summer.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Day activities in the winter on 04/28/2012 19:57:08 MDT Print View

For me i stick to day trips in the winter. I dont have the skill yet to take on the rockies in the winter. I to plan over the next few years to get avalanche training, and improve my skiing enough to start some back country touring trips. For now its well marked low slope day trips in the winter.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Seasonal Hiking? on 04/28/2012 21:00:29 MDT Print View

I would say I do 3-Seasonal hiking. NOT into the winter thing: I have a hard time keeping warm in cold weather, and the long hours of darkness would drag by.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
3 seasons on 04/28/2012 22:17:51 MDT Print View

3 seasons for me. I do the occasional winter trip in southern Utah, but for the most part I just switch over to snowshoeing and skiing in the winter.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/28/2012 23:52:01 MDT Print View

For the most part, yes...

Except my hiking season is November through April. I prefer to hike in my local backcountry and the summer is too hot and dry out there. I like the winter much better... no people, no snakes, few bugs, more water.

That being said, I usually sneak out "early" with a couple of late summer or early fall trips (mid-September to mid-November) to the Sierra to kick off my hiking season.

Louis Brooks

Locale: North Adirolf
Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/30/2012 15:34:05 MDT Print View

Being from Florida I typically start my hiking when most others are quitting for the winter. I hate the heat and prefer to camp when it is cold. (Mind you cold for me is sub 50) We are already reaching into the 90s during the day so unless I go north the season is pretty much over here until October.


Cliff McKay

Locale: Upstate New York
Are you a seasonal hiker? on 04/30/2012 21:25:04 MDT Print View

Yes, winter only!
I have focused on the ADK High Peaks area during the winter. I’m busy in the summer with bike racing so it is a good fit time wise. It clearly has more stay warm, be safe gear and higher risk but is very rewarding.

Start small, test gear and learn how your body reacts to cold. I have found most UL thinking applies during the winter with some adaptation.

Juliana Cho
I'm a migratory hiker on 04/30/2012 23:13:05 MDT Print View

I find myself backpacking year round, but I am lucky that I live in the bay area where I can migrate to non snowy/minimally snowy areas since weather is so mild over here. I find myself hanging out at Henry Coe and ventana wilderness frequently during the "winter" and spring months, and spend a bit more time in the sierras outside of snow season. I'd like to get into snow camping at some point, but currently am not equipped for that.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
When winter comes... on 05/01/2012 08:09:18 MDT Print View

...out comes the backcountry skis. :)

So not hiking, but a different form of transportation. Hut trips and at least one winter backpacking trip.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Are you a seasonal hiker? on 05/01/2012 18:59:14 MDT Print View

I'm a seasonal backpacker because I absolutely hate being stuck in the tent during 14 hours of darkness. However, I do dayhike during the winter, as long as it isn't icy in the Columbia River Gorge. I pretty much gave up winter sports after wrecking a knee cross-country skiing in the late 1980's.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: "Are you a seasonal hiker?" on 05/02/2012 00:57:04 MDT Print View

> His camping season starts in October and finishes the following April (he does not
> like mosquitoes and/or sweating)
Happens here in Oz too. Going walking in mid-summer can be very hot and uncomfortable - then it reaches blow-up days when you stay home with a bucket of water ready for the fires.

Winter is nice!