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Any insane winter backpackers?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Any insane winter backpackers? on 12/25/2012 13:23:56 MST Print View

I'm looking for some winter backpackers to take on Yosemite this winter.

I'm planning on doing it solo but of course it's more dangerous in the winter and a partner would yield additional safety.

I'm looking for someone in the 25-45 range and fit (so we are about the same fitness level).

You should probably also have the right gear and/or budget to purchase the right gear. Backpacking can get expensive :-(

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Any insane winter backpackers? on 12/25/2012 15:13:37 MST Print View

In Yosemite in winter, if you call yourself a backpacker it probably means that you are going to one of the low elevation trails such as at Hetch Hetchy. There, the snow doesn't get terribly deep and you might make it without skis or snowshoes. However, for most of the park, you will be up into the deep snow country pretty quickly, and you will need either cross country skis or snowshoes. If you travel out the Glacier Point Road, it is common to see a ski track on the right and a snowshoe track on the left, so you can tell where everybody is heading. If you are looking to just spend a night or two out in the snow and then return, then that is the way. OTOH, some people are really trying to get from Point A to Point B in the park, and there the skis and snowshoes become vital, and you actually spend less time camping. As an example, a standard trip is to ski across the park from east to west. There is a free skiers bunkhouse at Tuolumne Meadows. First come first served.

--B.G.--

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Any insane winter backpackers? on 12/25/2012 19:20:07 MST Print View

You better up the high range of folks you are looking for. In my experience, us older folks can run circles around you younger kids. We just ache more the next day. Sometimes. I just did a short (2 mile) snowshoe from my yard last weekend, taking 1.75 hours to go that distance in snow in places up to the bottom of my knees where I dug down. It's tough going in fresh snow. Oh, I had to shovel my paths and garage approach at home first, bring firewood up to my deck, check the Post Office for more vintage stoves before I took off Saturday a little before 2. I hope you get some company, it makes these early winter nights a little shorter.
Duane

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Any insane winter backpackers? on 12/25/2012 19:26:29 MST Print View

"In my experience, us older folks can run circles around you younger kids."

The trick is that we keep walking in circles and we never tell our age. That keeps the kids guessing. Or, at least that is what Teddy Roosevelt used to tell me.

--B.G.--

Raquel Rascal
(flutingaround)

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
I'm trying on 12/26/2012 06:57:01 MST Print View

I'm trying to become a winter backpacker...but not an insane one. I want to get out there, but I don't want to kill myself with aerobic exercise. I'm studying paleo/primal techniques now anyway that discourage a lot of cardio, and I want to test out those theories this winter to see how I feel. It just occurred to me that these HIT (high intensity training) philosophies are opposite of what ultra backpackers do.

I'm not going to fly to do it because I have plenty of deep snow in my back yard. Luckily, I have found a group of people in a local club that are into this and go out every year. It is a wide range of ages and the philosophy is "take it easy" and "just learn" of the group. I'm glad I found them because they are a good fit for me.

I'm 41, but I'll agree that age has nothing to do with whether you want to make the commitment to the appropriate gear. People I have been talking to in my age group simply don't want to spend $1000-$2000 to get the correct gear AND I hear a lot "I hate the cold".

When you say "insane" do you mean people that push themselves and go more miles?

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
paleo? on 12/26/2012 12:23:40 MST Print View

I'm a paleo / primal nerd and they don't discourage cardio. Our ancestors were runners... so feel free to run. It's one of the reasons we don't have any hair. So that we could do cardio and have evaporative cooling keep us from overheating.

It's persistence hunting. There are tribes in Africa that still do it... basically chase an animal until they overheat :)

HIIT is different in that yeah, long duration cardio is important but people did HIIT activities tool. :)

I was joking when I said insane. It's just that most people don't backpack in the winter.

If you have the RIGHT gear you should be plenty warm. It's just that most people don't do it with the right gear so they feel miserable.

I think the hot tent that I am setting up will be a big game changer. This way I can spend those hours in the tent without worrying about being cold and can just relax in my hammock :)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Any insane winter backpackers? on 12/26/2012 12:30:14 MST Print View

I really want to get into winter snow backpacking but don't have the gear, so maybe next winter. Good luck and post some trip reports! I really want to hear how your hot tent works out.

Richard Niemi
(rickniemi) - F - M

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains
Any insane winter backpackers? on 12/26/2012 12:44:32 MST Print View

I'll be heading up to Yosemite for some snow camping this winter. I have back country skis and snowshoes. I also purchased a Badger Pass Season Ski Pass ($149 till Dec 31st) so I can dial in my downhill back country ski techniques. I'm over your age range and I agree with some of the other comments that age doesn't mean how far a person can travel on snow in a day and sometimes age means experience.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: I'm trying on 12/26/2012 13:15:54 MST Print View

> It just occurred to me that these HIT (high intensity training) philosophies are
> opposite of what ultra backpackers do.
Snicker!
Maybe HIT is not all that relevant in low-land 3-season stuff, but try skating uphill with a pack on in winter!!!!

Chers

Raquel Rascal
(flutingaround)

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
Roger. on 12/26/2012 13:40:57 MST Print View

I'm new to HIT philosophies and I'm still trying to learn how that translates to backpacking. I need educating. :)

Kevin- What is a hot tent??

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Start small on 12/26/2012 20:02:38 MST Print View

Raquel, if you or others don't have all the gear for winter/snow camping, go later in the winter when the days are longer, the nights warmer and the snow is firm. I've been out in mid to late April and used my summer sleeping bag one multi night group trip to Lassen VNP with mtnsteve. Gotta check temps and weather where you are going. Gear you may need then is warm boots, dry wool socks for after your hike in, maybe a warmer bag and a extra pad or cheap ccf pad, few extra clothing layers or warm jacket. No new tent, fancy clothes or parka, ymmv. I've even humped in a extra sleeping bag in the Fall before I could afford one warm bag in my earlier days. Those old 5lb. bags add up in a hurry.
Duane

James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
I love winter! on 12/26/2012 22:27:19 MST Print View

Kevin,
Sounds like you might be going a little further than I intend to do for introductory winter trips, but we're about the same age (33 here) and I'm going to get into winter overnights this season too so I'm interested. I'm taking a snow travel and camping course near Mammoth in mid-February to get the basic skills and gear figured out, will be ready for trips after that. Just did a great dayhike in some great snowfall today and can't wait!

I've purchased all the necessary clothing, need to get boots/snowshoes and I'll probably rent a 4 season tent, warmer sleeping bag and larger capacity pack for my first trip or two to see if it is something I'm really into before I splurge on these big ticket overnight items. Keep me posted on your schedule and perhaps I could join on an outing in Feb/March.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
hot tent on 12/27/2012 23:20:02 MST Print View

Raquel: A hot tent has a stove inside for heat. Toxic gases and smoke are vented outside through a pipe.

Edited by AndyF on 12/27/2012 23:21:33 MST.