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Yellowstone in the Fall -- need advice
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Jaime Ondrusek
(jondru) - F

Locale: Puget Sound
Yellowstone in the Fall -- need advice on 06/02/2007 19:40:55 MDT Print View


I'm a long-time lurker, but now it's time for me to emerge and humbly seek the advice of the best experts available.

Some background: A buddy of mine really wants to go backpacking in Yellowstone (or vicinity) this fall--probably September or early October. This is likely to be a comparatively short trip...I have a week available including travel to/from, so trail days would only be ~5 at the most.

I've got a whole 'nother set of questions about where exactly to go within Yellowstone (or vicinity), but that should be a separate thread.

My experience is as an overloaded old-styler, but I'm keen to make the transition to lighter weights, so I'll need your advice to avoid serious mis-steps, especially given the potentially cold conditions.

I'll skip a full gear list, as I'd like to focus on a few areas that concern me:

I'd really like to try a tarptent (probably the Rainshadow 2).

Question: Feasible for the likely conditions?

My gear closet includes a somewhat antique sub-zero (4-lb.) Marmot bag, a synthetic Marmot bag (the Wizard), and a homemade RayWay quilt -- but I'd really like to use the WM Megalite I just got instead. I would augment it with insulating clothing (see below).

Question: would I need a bivy or other moisture protection to keep the down bag dry?

Question: Pad...I've got a full-length Evazote pad, but I'm thinking about cutting it in two pieces. For this trip I'm thinking of a POE Ether in 2/3 length and have the shorter Evazote piece for the legs, doubling as a sit pad. What do you think?

Clothing/insulation: (some combination, but not all, of the following)
- MH rain jacket
- Montane Aero w/s
- Various Marmot DriClime w/s
- Patagonia Micropuff pullover
- possum wool sweater
- possum wool hat
- possum wool socks
- Smartwool and Glowing Sky merino underwear (shirts and longjohns)
- convert-o pants in quick-drying nylon
- Golite Reed rain pants

Question: from that list, which combination(s) would you recommend? Or am I missing a critical piece?

Footwear (largely following the advice of the recent BPL column on the subject):
- Inov8 Flyroc 310s
- Gore-Tex socks
- eVent shortie gaiters
- Toasty Feet insoles
- Feathered Friends camp booties (2-part: Epic layer + down insert)

Questions: 1) Does this seem feasible? 2) Can I avoid bringing snowshoes in Yellowstone at that time of year? I have a pair but they're heavy and I don't have much experience with them.

We plan to go freezer-bag, so cooking only water. I've got a Coleman F1 and an alcohol stove. I know y'all are pretty down on canisters in cold conditions, but I have used them successfully by helping them along with a chemical toe-warmer and a little piece of insulation for it to sit on.

Question: Can I likely get by with the F1 since it won't be (hopefully) deep winter? I hate white I need to seriously consider something like the Fyrestorm?

Thanks in advance for your considered opinions. I'm looking forward to learning from this august group!


(edited because I forgot a couple of relevant bits)

Edited by jondru on 06/02/2007 20:45:44 MDT.

Jaime Ondrusek
(jondru) - F

Locale: Puget Sound
Anyone? Bueller? on 06/08/2007 14:23:24 MDT Print View

It's been nearly a week, and no one is willing to help me out at all?

Have I posted in the wrong forum? Have I given offense in some way?


Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Historical Weather on 06/08/2007 14:50:59 MDT Print View

I have not been up there since I was a kid, but the northern CO weather can be fairly benign that time of year. With light gear just be weary that you may have to be able to get up and move fast if winter comes early.

Probably will not be much weather at all just a cooling of temperatures. A TarpTent is the perfect shelter for those conditions. With a lightweight bag and nighttime temps in the 20's (maybe) will your legs be warm? Also consider you may need a little more usual than underneath you when you are sleeping.

You can also warm up the cannister for your stove if necessary in your pocket, the little insulation between it and the ground will be the key.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Yellowstone in the Fall. on 06/08/2007 14:51:10 MDT Print View

Someone form the region like the Bozeman mafia--Ryan Jordan, etc. would give you the best seasonal advice but the short answer to your questions (assuming experience) is the tarptent and the down bag will be fine. You won't need a bivy, especially for such a short trip. A canister stove will work just fine in the conditions you will face. Snowshoes will not be necessary. Footwear seems dialled in. Ditch the Marmot dri-clime.


Edwin Lamberth
(ALFisher) - F
Re: Yellowstone in the Fall -- need advice on 06/08/2007 15:20:18 MDT Print View

My guess is that you might have posted in the wrong forum. Or maybe it's the intimidating number of questions. In any event, I think I know how to solve the problem. Read Ryan Jordan's thread about a fall trip in Yellowstone. Here is his gear list.

Note that he says on page 1 that he wished he had gone with the more conservative sleeping system.

If you go with a tarp tent, I don't think you will need a bivy.

Jaime Ondrusek
(jondru) - F

Locale: Puget Sound
thanks! on 06/08/2007 16:29:22 MDT Print View

Thanks guys! I apologize if I got the wrong's kind of hard to tell sometimes what should go where.

All of that is very useful info.

"Assuming experience": I do have experience with winter (November) on the Colorado Plateau, where many times it was COLD (< 20s). But that was heavyweight packing and the lightweight world is new (and wonderful) to me, so I value the advice.

thanks again,

Patrick McNair
(alcheon) - F
Yellowstone in fall on 06/10/2007 18:59:09 MDT Print View

I live and work in Yellowstone, so I have camped in every season it offers. Remember, even though we have been in a drought for some years, Yellowstone is a very wet place. At the time you are planning your trip, you can count on snow/sleet as a very real possibility. Don't bring a tarp, bring a tent. You may need to seek shelter in it from prolonged storms. As for gaitors, only bring them if you are planing on the Bechler region in soutwestern part of park, you won't need them otherwise. Good rain gear is a must, not only for the elements, but to cook in. You are in grizzly land here, and don't want food smells permeating your clothes. You will also need bear spray and a means of hanging your pack and food bag from the provided bear poles (about 30 feet of good cord will suffice.) Most important is to talk with the rangers here before you head out. They know the conditions, bear info, river crossing information, etc. They are a fountian of great info.