November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Winter hiking
Display Avatars Sort By:
Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Winter hiking on 10/21/2012 19:37:21 MDT Print View

Was hoping to do more "fall" hiking this year, but for those that know Colorado know that "fall" can be be rather...short, to say the least. I think that any upcoming weekend adventures may need to be prepared for more as winter, with snowshoes, etc, rather than just "shoulder seasons". I've read may forum posts, but was unable to find much in the way of articles - searching for articles with the current site software can be a bit cumbersome.

Does anyone have suggestions for reading? Is there a "gold standard" for books? Something in ebook format is preferable.


PS. This summer was first with UL setup and the first year we've (me and wife) really done many miles away between campsites. I have very little experience with winter camping and will likely be borrowing or renting snowshoes initially.

Edited by Gallen1119 on 10/21/2012 19:41:35 MDT.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Winter hiking on 10/21/2012 20:01:44 MDT Print View

Just found this on Amazon, "AMC Guide to Winter Hiking & Camping by Yemaya Maurer & Lucas St. Clair." Is it good?

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book on 10/21/2012 20:39:27 MDT Print View

You're where I was a little more than a year ago. I don't know the book you're referring to, but my first purchase was a NOLS Winter Camping guide. What surprised me was how much better this book was at covering winter camping essentials, even though that's not its main focus:

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
AMC book on 10/21/2012 20:56:04 MDT Print View

I have the AMC book and it's pretty good. It's the same book that we used for the Winter Camping School last year with the CMC.

Did you know that Andrew Skurka is talking at CMC headquarters on winter hiking soon?

Wednesday, December 5, 21012
Colorado Mountain Club
“Winter Backpacking Gear & Skills”
Details TBA

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
CMC classes on 10/21/2012 20:58:53 MDT Print View

Have you taken any CMC classes?...they are fantastic for the price. Wilderness Trekking Course? Backpacking Course?

Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Winter HIking - Camping on 10/21/2012 23:13:58 MDT Print View

+ 1 to Allen& Mikes's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book from Falcon Press.

The NOLS book is excellent too and includes a chapter on travel on snow. The Backpacker Magazine published a fairly good book as well.

If you plan on camping out, take a class, learn how to build a snow cave and snow trenches, and make your self a bed time hot water bottle. Also, brush up on map and compass. navigation is much more challenging in winter.

Freedom of the Hills by Mountaineers is always worth reading. It contains detailed diagrams on snow shelters.

Edited by btolley on 10/22/2012 09:40:06 MDT.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Allen & Mike's book on 10/21/2012 23:39:00 MDT Print View

Another +1 to this very informative book.


Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Winter Hiking Camping on 10/22/2012 09:48:10 MDT Print View

To the OP,
If you search on this winter hiking camping section in the BPL forum, some folks have posted their packing lists and discussed gear options in various thread.

There is a chapter in the Backpacking Light book Ryan Jordan edited on winter SUL backpacking. This chapter is mainly for advanced winter campers and assumes that you know how to build a snow cave but it does include a gear list that might be helpful. For shelter, the chapter assumes when the temperature drops at night, you are sleeping in a cozy cave at 32 degrees or warmer.

Winter camping in the snow is not everyone's cup of tea so for the first trip or too you might want to rent or borrow gear and/or extend the use of 3 season gear. You do not want to spend 500 dollars on gear and then decide you hate winter camping. For example, rather than buy a sub zero down bag, you can combine a 3 season with a summer bag or put a quilt around a 30 agree down bag.

Edited by btolley on 10/22/2012 09:49:32 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Winter hiking on 10/22/2012 10:21:59 MDT Print View

Allen & Mike's is THE book to start with.

I'll offer a few tips myself for anyone starting out with winter camping;

Start slow. Try camping in the snow really close to the road - close enough so that if you decide to bail you will be able to do it no matter how foul the weather gets. This also allows you to take extra clothing and gear just in case. It's not easy to figure out what will work for you in terms of clothing and sleeping gear for the winter, and it's better to start out taking a few extra items and then culling what you didn't need than to go out with not enough and get cold or worse.

And especially in the fall and early winter, when the weather has cooled off but there's not much snow on the ground yet, it's easy to get caught by heading out for what seems like a short distance, making camp, getting a big snowfall overnight, and finding that it is a lot harder to get back out through the foot or two of fresh snow - snowshoes or not. That easy day's walk can turn into two long hard days of slogging. So I would suggest being very conservative about how far you from the trailhead.

Being out in the winter is a great experience, if you have the gear and skills to deal with the conditions. It's a different game from summer backpacking, and it takes some time to learn the rules of the new game.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: winter camping on 10/22/2012 10:25:32 MDT Print View

Good advice thus far. FWIW we've got some articles in the editorial works which will address these questions as well.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Re: re: winter camping on 10/22/2012 10:41:20 MDT Print View

David, when are those articles coming out? I'm looking forward to them, also going to try winter camping for the first time this year. And yeah, its snowing in the sierras right now -- looks like a good winter season is in the works!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: winter articles on 10/22/2012 11:41:07 MDT Print View

I don't know the precise schedule, I just write them.

One is a beginners starting point, an introduction for people with non-winter experience but a decent base in warmer conditions. The other is a comprehensive overview of tools for human powered oversnow travel.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Re: re: winter articles on 10/22/2012 12:31:26 MDT Print View

Sounds fantastic, thanks.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Allen & Mike's RC Backcountry Ski book on 10/22/2012 16:11:26 MDT Print View

As a former Nordic ski patroler and Army ROTC winter survival instructor I feel Allen & Mike's winter book is THE best for both beginners and experienced winter campers/trekkers.

Mike's cartoons have at least 1/2 the information, plus they stick in your mind a long time. (That's helpful for us memory-challenged geezers.)

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Winter Hiking / Dave C Articles on 10/23/2012 15:10:12 MDT Print View

One of Dave's articles "Intro to Winter" is scheduled for tonight/tomorrow.

Edited by dandydan on 10/23/2012 15:10:43 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Winter hiking on 10/23/2012 15:59:44 MDT Print View

With all the spam mess, I'm surprised we're getting any articles this week!

Winter is not quite my thing, but since I missed the summer and most of the fall (I'm up to 2 miles now), I really want to get out there. I'm looking forward to the upcoming articles! In my neck of the woods, though, it's mostly dealing with wet.

One concern at this time of year is going out overnight, getting hit with a couple feet of snow and being unable to get the vehicle out of the trailhead parking lot. It's a good idea to park at lower altitudes and to have chains, a shovel and a bag of sand or kitty litter in the car.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/23/2012 16:04:25 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Winter hiking on 10/23/2012 16:49:04 MDT Print View

Daves article is up, it looks good, will have a proper look at it after dinner.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Winter hiking on 10/23/2012 20:37:29 MDT Print View

Awesome advice from all! Thanks so much. I love this forum, even with all the spam. I know we will get all that worked out, and I will continue to read and post until that happens.

I bought Allen and Mike's book and will read.
Great advice on starting close to the car. I like that idea.
Was looking CMC website about winter camping school. Unfortunately for a couple of the mandatory January lectures I am OOT for work. Will look at hitting Andrew's talk in December.
Will check articles tonight!

Again thanks to ALL!