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WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT)
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Poll: WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT)
Yes 5 / 13%
No 31 / 79%
Depends on weather 3 / 8%
39 total votes
 

sandstone


Jan 13, 2009, 10:59 AM
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Re: [andrewd] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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Your gear list looks about right. I personally wouldn't take the bag. Don't weigh yourself down with too much stuff. Sounds like you're aware of the bad weather there, and you know to go down fast if it gets bad. You've studied the maps and have your GPS coordinates ready. Give it a go.

Your puffy parka will be in the pack most of the time, so you can use it to insulate your bottles, and ditch the bottle insulators.

You probably know to keep your food handy and nibble on it all day. Make sure you take enough, two bars seems sorta slim. It can be a long day, dependant on conditions.

My first trip to Mt Washington (January, several years ago) I arrived a day before my partner, so I decided to make a recon hike up to Huntington Ravine to check ice climbing conditions. I wore just polypro and GT, thinking that if I had worn that to 14K in CO in winter, and worn it up Liberty Ridge in early spring, then I would be just fine on a fast hike part way up Mt Washington. Wrong. Of course I was cold when I started the hike, but I figured I would warm up. Wrong again. I thought my nuts were going to freeze off! I finished the hike, and learned my lesson. Wear the fleece layer.


fresh


Jan 13, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Re: [brownie710] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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brownie710 wrote:
angry wrote:
. If you plan to stay overnight, you will. Meaning that if you bring all the stuff needed to spend the night you'll be so slowed by it that you'll definitely spend the night.

.

this is gospel and written about numerous times, angry has spoken and spoken wisely!
but it will only make a 20-30 minute difference, tops. not like it's irrelevant, but it's not nearly as important as navigation because it's not overly physically demanding to climb mt washington. wind, whiteouts, fog, and avalanches are the main dangers. probably in that order, if you're taking lion's head.

1. have windproof and warm stuff
2. have a rope and compass so you can find your way down in a whiteout (one guy stays at a cairn, the next guy takes the rope and wanders around to find the next cairn)
3. read the avalanche report, pay attention to the weather forecast
4. start early

everything else is preference.


andrewd


Jan 13, 2009, 11:05 AM
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Re: [sandstone] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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sandstone wrote:
Your gear list looks about right. I personally wouldn't take the bag. Don't weigh yourself down with too much stuff. Sounds like you're aware of the bad weather there, and you know to go down fast if it gets bad. You've studied the maps and have your GPS coordinates ready. Give it a go.

Your puffy parka will be in the pack most of the time, so you can use it to insulate your bottles, and ditch the bottle insulators.

You probably know to keep your food handy and nibble on it all day. Make sure you take enough, two bars seems sorta slim. It can be a long day, dependant on conditions.

My first trip to Mt Washington (January, several years ago) I arrived a day before my partner, so I decided to make a recon hike up to Huntington Ravine to check ice climbing conditions. I wore just polypro and GT, thinking that if I had worn that to 14K in CO in winter, and worn it up Liberty Ridge in early spring, then I would be just fine on a fast hike part way up Mt Washington. Wrong. Of course I was cold when I started the hike, but I figured I would warm up. Wrong again. I thought my nuts were going to freeze off! I finished the hike, and learned my lesson. Wear the fleece layer.

I yeah I plan on wearing that fleece! Mt washington weather SUCKS....which is part of the fun!


andrewd


Jan 13, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Re: [fresh] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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fresh wrote:
brownie710 wrote:
angry wrote:
. If you plan to stay overnight, you will. Meaning that if you bring all the stuff needed to spend the night you'll be so slowed by it that you'll definitely spend the night.

.

this is gospel and written about numerous times, angry has spoken and spoken wisely!
but it will only make a 20-30 minute difference, tops. not like it's irrelevant, but it's not nearly as important as navigation because it's not overly physically demanding to climb mt washington. wind, whiteouts, fog, and avalanches are the main dangers. probably in that order, if you're taking lion's head.

1. have windproof and warm stuff
2. have a rope and compass so you can find your way down in a whiteout (one guy stays at a cairn, the next guy takes the rope and wanders around to find the next cairn)
3. read the avalanche report, pay attention to the weather forecast
4. start early

everything else is preference.

I have to laugh....It seems that everyone who as been to Mt. Washington actually takes the mountain seriously....yet everybody that hasn't just takes the piss on it saying....Ahh you don't need all that crap.

Well i'm sure in some cases you can do it just fine with the min insulation and gear buuuuut that might happen like 3 or four times a year. The rest of the time you have to pack for the worst.


fresh


Jan 13, 2009, 11:21 AM
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Re: [andrewd] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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andrewd wrote:
I have to laugh....It seems that everyone who as been to Mt. Washington actually takes the mountain seriously....yet everybody that hasn't just takes the piss on it saying....Ahh you don't need all that crap.

Well i'm sure in some cases you can do it just fine with the min insulation and gear buuuuut that might happen like 3 or four times a year. The rest of the time you have to pack for the worst.
you'll get a kick out of the three or four parties you'll probably encounter hiking up in cotton sweatshirts and tennis shoes Smile a lot of people don't take it seriously. it's a weird mountain, because below treeline it's a nature hike. above treeline it can be world-class bad weather.

anecdotally, there was a guy I heard of who had climbed everest who was talking to someone else about washington. he said he'd been there in the winter three times, summited once. the other guy asked why? it's not such a big mountain. he replied, "because I don't want to kill myself."

anyway I'm not saying you shouldn't bring whatever you want, I'm saying you should have your priorities right. I would not advise planning to bivy on washington. just have a sound strategy for getting down. but hey, do what you think is best, and have fun! it's a beautiful place.


andrewd


Jan 13, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Re: [fresh] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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I like the rope idea. What is the distance between cairns? does it very? And are they all the way up? I've only ever made it to just past the alpine gardens.


andrewd


Jan 13, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Re: [fresh] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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In reply to:
you'll get a kick out of the three or four parties you'll probably encounter hiking up in cotton sweatshirts and tennis shoes Smile a lot of people don't take it seriously. it's a weird mountain, because below treeline it's a nature hike. above treeline it can be world-class bad weather.

Yeah saw a guy up there last year in a light windbreaker, a camel pack and BDU's (cotton) he poked his head above the tree line and was like "no way am I going any further.... it was funny


fresh


Jan 13, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Re: [andrewd] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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andrewd wrote:
I like the rope idea. What is the distance between cairns? does it very? And are they all the way up? I've only ever made it to just past the alpine gardens.
they're only above treeline, about 100 feet apart. it might be incredibly slow, but better than sitting it out.


Factor2


Jan 13, 2009, 2:21 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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kimgraves wrote:
No down

Take the bag

Take a bivi sack

Add goggles.

Start EARLY - 3am to be at the Lion's Head trail by daylight.

Best, Kim

Does it really take that long to get to lions head? I'm pretty sure we did it in about an hour tops. It would vary on snow conditions though i suppose


Partner kimgraves


Jan 13, 2009, 3:25 PM
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Re: [Factor2] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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I've only done it three times. I seem to remember that it takes a couple of hours. We've always spent the night at Hermit Lake and then gone down then up in the morning. We would get up at 4am in order to be on the trail by 6 and at the Lion's head by 7ish. But we were carrying overnight gear - It' surely faster with a day pack. But I'd still leave a couple of hours before dawn.

Days are short. One time we were failed because we missed our wakeup alarm and were an hour behind. Some large guided group got in front of us and we couldn't pass. They were moving so slowly we couldn't stay warm enough and lost our edge. The earlier you get on the road the more chance you have to avoid the clusterfuck.

Best, Kim

Edited to add: Okay, hereís my list for a day trip up the Lionís head:

40L Pack
3L water in Camelback
Ice ax (you need this only to control the glissade down)
Trekking poles (optional Ė you either donít leave home without them or you do)
Crampons (G12 or equivalent)
Boots (always a problem: do you take doubles or not)
Socks
Heavy weight lowers
Windproof (softshell) pants
Belay pants
Light weight uppers
R1 hoody
Windproof (softshell) jacket with hood
Belay (DAS in my case) jacket
2 pair windproof gloves
Belay gloves
BD Winter Bivi Sack
Goggles
Lightweight nylon cap for climbing to tree line
Insulated balaclava
Windproof balaclava
First aid
GU/CliffShot or equivalent * 1/40min*16 hours
Watch
Cell phone/walkie-talkie
Compass (A GPS takes too much time Ė you donít want to stand around waiting to acquire the sats. You should be able to see the route or you should be heading down.)
Map
Headlamp
E-light

Contrary to my earlier advice, NO Sleeping bag- with the belay jacket and pants and bivi sack youíre in good shape to survive until help comes. This is a WELL traveled route. Youíll see LOTS of people even in bad weather. When you break your leg you need to hold out until help arrives. NO bivi. If you need to bivi you didnít start early enough. Forget the shovel and avi beeper. Lionís head has next to zero avi danger.

In my three times Iíve never broken out the belay gear because Iím moving fast enough to stay warm. If youíre not moving fast enough to stay warm, youíre doing something wrong Ė head down.

Washington is no joke. And itís as good a time as Iíve ever had.

Best, Kim


(This post was edited by kimgraves on Jan 13, 2009, 4:32 PM)


budman


Jan 13, 2009, 3:47 PM
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Re: [andrewd] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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If I remember right winter conditions include 100 MPH 3 out of every 4 days. About the bag, ask Hugh Herr. Oh yeh, day hike, LOL.

Sorry, my mind is failing. Gale force is average, Hurricane 3 out of every 4 days, and 100 MPH about every 3 rd day.


(This post was edited by budman on Jan 14, 2009, 2:30 PM)


andrewd


Jan 13, 2009, 3:53 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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I think a lot of that "time" estimate depends on many factors: Fitness levels of your self and your group. The weather, and the traffic on the trail. I know it can take a while.


altelis


Jan 13, 2009, 6:26 PM
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Re: [andrewd] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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andrewd wrote:
I have to laugh....It seems that everyone who as been to Mt. Washington actually takes the mountain seriously....yet everybody that hasn't just takes the piss on it saying....Ahh you don't need all that crap.

Well i'm sure in some cases you can do it just fine with the min insulation and gear buuuuut that might happen like 3 or four times a year. The rest of the time you have to pack for the worst.

well, at least except for me. i practically lived on that mountain during college- and never once stepped foot on it other than between the months of november and early march. and i said no bag. don't be ridiculous- there is no reason for a bag unless you are really looking at doing the presy traverse instead of pinkham to pinkham.

worst comes to worst if you make it to the summit and the weather totally craps out on you, you should be able to convince the dudes in the weather station to let you sit it out (though this SHOULD NOT be part of the "plan"). also, as some one else stated, it might be true that your route doesn't take you through avy terrain (unless you weren't totally clear about your route, see below....) but i think the shovel is the more versatile tool as opposed to the bag. but if your route really doesn't include avy terrain, i wouldn't bring it ....

my experience is it'll take around 2 hrs to get from pinkham to tuckerman's rescue cache on skis or pinkham to the top of the alluvial fan in huntingtons on foot. for whatever reason those two times are almost exactly the same. take that as you will, i travel lighter and faster than many and use speed to keep me warm below tree line.

what is your real plan? cause some say tuck's to lions meaning they take the tuckerman ravine trail till the start of the winter lion's head, which is close to the turn-off for huntingtons and WAY below hermit lake shelters. others mean they are planning on going all the way up, over and through tuckerman's ravine to meet up with the winter lion's head in the alpine garden. which do you mean? cause there is a BIG time difference between them, and this time of year you'll either be climbing ice or up a ski-route in tuck's.....

plan on LEAVING pinkham at 4 (if that 2 hr estimate seems like your type of speed). like many ranges, the bad weather tends to come in in the afternoon, as the air over the ocean warms up a bit and gets sucked into the low/cold air system above the whites.

and no offense to kim, but it shouldn't take you more than 1/2 hr from getting up to starting to hike. especially given the nice warm area you have for packing/changing in, plus the fact you don't need to melt snow, there is running water there. have fun, and if you have any more questions, please let me know!


Alpinisto


Jan 13, 2009, 6:55 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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Based on the two times I've done it (going back again first weekend in February), I'd say Kim's gear list is just about spot on. The only tweaks I'd make are:

1) Hardshell jacket, which I find more windproof than even the best softshells.

2) Swap out insulated mittens for the belay gloves. When you need mucho de warmth for your hands, I fnd nothing beats mitts. (I *love* my BD Mercury's.) A couple chemical handwarmers as backup wouldn't hurt...

3) 2L-3L water in Nalgene bottles inside insulated carriers, rather than a Camelbak (which *will* freeze up).

Personally, I wouldn't carry the bag for a daytrip, but only you can make this decision, based on your own experience, fitness level, WX conditions that day, etc.

From your posts, it sounds like you've done the Rockpile before and respect what the mountain can do. The weather up there changes fast, and it...can...fuck...you...up...and in a hurry.

Attempted a Presi Traverse last Feb and got stuck in a whiteout for 2+ hours on the col between Madison and Adams. Fortunately, we had a GPS and maps and were able to navigate to Thunderstorm Jct and get down below treeline, but it was hairy going for a while.

One thing I almost always bring now, even on dayhikes, is a 3/4 length Thermarest. When folded in half lengthwise and rolled up, it's not much bigger than a Nalgene bottle, but will help keep an injured person up off the snow, reducing the risk of hypothermia whilst waiting for help to arrive or before starting a self-rescue. Just something to think about.


Factor2


Jan 13, 2009, 7:13 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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I was down there a few weeks ago and we left the lodge at 11 am, summited via lion's head, and were back down by 2 pm. We weren't going exceptionally fast or anything. On the other hand, we tend to go very very light.

My list included
in the 35 L pack
1 ice axe
1 pair of crampons
1 litre of water
1 chocolate bar

Wore a base layer coupled with an outer jacket and gloves


graniteboy


Jan 14, 2009, 1:33 PM
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Re: [andrewd] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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Maybe someone already caught this..I didn't have time to read every last post....BUT The two items I don't see on your list that are mandatory gear for winter trips in my part of the world are these: a beacon and a shovel. Oh, and the knowledge of how to use them.

The shovel can make the sleeping bag somewhat redundant because, when you hafta bivy, I'd much rather be doing that inside a cave withOUT a sleeping bag rather than out in the wind with a sleeping bag. But of course, bivying in a cave with a bag, a blonde, and a bong is best.


altelis


Jan 14, 2009, 2:01 PM
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it was mentioned, however it seems like andrew's intended route doesn't really take him into avy terrain- that is if he stays on route.

it is pretty easy to wander into convexities near the tops of the ravines (mainly on the way down...)


HIGHER_CLIMBER


Jan 14, 2009, 2:22 PM
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Re: [coastal_climber] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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coastal_climber wrote:
andrewd wrote:
I typically have to pack and unpack my pack about four times, until I can finally weed out the stuff thats not necessary.

That's what your missing.

Exactly


qqac


Jan 14, 2009, 3:44 PM
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Snagging a crampon and turning an ankle is a real possibility. A sleeping bag is worthwhile emergency gear. Distribute emergency gear (shovel, jetboil kit, sl bag) among the group for packing and the load won't be so bad. Also, definitely bring more food.


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Jan 14, 2009, 5:41 PM
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qqac wrote:
Snagging a crampon and turning an ankle is a real possibility.

DON'T glissade with your crampons on! Take them off and put them back on. Or don't glissade.

Best, Kim


chossmonkey


Jan 15, 2009, 6:09 AM
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I'd take one bag that compresses small between the three of you.

If you are forced to bivi you could probably cram two into the bag and share the warmth then take turns switching out and warming up.

If someone gets injured they can be put into the bag while one or both of the others go for help.


qqac


Jan 15, 2009, 6:19 AM
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Re: [kimgraves] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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kimgraves wrote:
qqac wrote:
Snagging a crampon and turning an ankle is a real possibility.

DON'T glissade with your crampons on! Take them off and put them back on. Or don't glissade.

Best, Kim

Kim, that could happen just walking, not even glissading. You can snag a crampon on your pants, or on a branch or root under the snow, as you are walking.


altelis


Jan 15, 2009, 8:44 AM
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Re: [qqac] WOULD YOU TAKE A SLEEPING BAG ON MT. WASHINGTON WINTER HIKE (DAY HIKE TO SUMMIT) [In reply to]
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qqac wrote:
kimgraves wrote:
qqac wrote:
Snagging a crampon and turning an ankle is a real possibility.

DON'T glissade with your crampons on! Take them off and put them back on. Or don't glissade.

Best, Kim

Kim, that could happen just walking, not even glissading. You can snag a crampon on your pants, or on a branch or root under the snow, as you are walking.

holy shit man. with an outlook like that, how do you even get out of bed in the morning? What if you get light headed and fall and crack your head open! Or what if when you get into the shower you might slip and inhale deeply in shock and aspirate the water? Or what if you have not waited long enough for the coffee to cool and you could get 3rd degree burns on your esophagus! Or perhaps you recognize that driving to the cliff is the most dangerous part of the day and just sit in your car, parked and paralyzed, only to then be hit by that dump-truck careening out of control, t-bones your car and turns you into a vegetable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


i_h8_choss


Jan 15, 2009, 8:55 AM
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So if you take one.....are the other two in your group going to take one too???? How many miles roundtrip is this "hike"?. If you have a bag....you are going to want to bivy....if you dont have it.....just get off the mountain. Be smart up there.


karlie


Jan 15, 2009, 11:43 AM
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Andrew,

I have summited Washington many times in the winter and have also been turned away at Lions Head a couple times as well. Here's my two cents:

Cliff bars will be hard as a brick, bring chocolate bars or something fatty that won't freeze too badly and keep in chest pocket. I like to get some calories from juice as well or something, makes a delicious slushy up there.

Bring an extra pair of goggles or use cat crap, you'll be warm from hiking for several hours and end up with a layer of ice inside otherwise.

Most parties that are struggling up there appear to be wearing way TOO MUCH. Consequently they end up with the problem of heat management and have to slow down because they are out of shape or too warm to speed up. Remember this is a walk-up hike, more or less. It is not uncommon for parties to summit and make it back to log out in less than 6 hours comfortably. It's great that you are well prepared, but I never bring my sleeping bag.

The last two times I summited comfortably, I was only wearing a breathable softshell, balaclava, and two layers beneath. My point is that if you are moving you will be warm, even in high winds and -15 temps. And if you're in shape, there is no altitude to slow you down so you can move pretty swiftly up there. Have fun! Maybe I'll see you up there!Blush
PS: On the weekends it's downright BUSY with hikers. Get an early start!

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Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Alpine & Ice

 


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