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Thread: Resue on Mt. Washington

  1. #31
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cushetunk View Post
    "Just bring the snowshoes," is an easy argument in retrospect, but it ignores what even most experienced hikers do.

    Let's face it, most days you don't need snowshoes. Few bemoan this change more than me. (I once stated on this board, with only a little hyperbole, that "If you're not wearing snowshoes, it's not winter hiking.") But it is what we've got. Not only are the trails almost always packed out, but with our increasingly common thaws the snow off trail is often less deep and more dense--and easier to travel through--than it was twenty years ago.

    I have agonized at trailheads over whether I would need snowshoes. Once or twice, I've judged it wrong and had to turn back. Luckily it was never in serious circumstances.

    The past few weeks, with the cycle of storms and cold weather, called for snowshoes. But I can appreciate how someone could misjudge that.
    Better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
    Last edited by skiguy; 01-14-2018 at 04:53 PM.
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  2. #32
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    I've had enough times that I wanted snowshoes and didn't have them that, now, I keep them with me. Nothing worse than following a nice packed out trail for three miles and then coming to the end of the packed out trail. With no snow shoes, I had to turn around.

  3. #33
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    To answer Chris's question about MSRs having adequate flotation, IMHO, the older moulded Denali design really doesn't have much for floatation on unpacked snow. The removable tails help a bit but they mess up the balance of them somewhat. They are good for following a marginally packed out trail or one that was packed out but now has fresh snow. I think the Lightnings had marginally more floatation. I have several pairs, the Army Surplus magnesium ones (with different bindings) are great powder shoes with good flotation. They don't have a claw or a rotary binding setup so not so good for uphill travel. My 25 year old Tubbs Katahdins have good flotation and were good climbing snowshoes but are bit wider than the many of the current snowshoes so they are not so good in an established track. I do like heel lifts so unless I plan to be breaking a trail I use the Denali version with a heel lifts.

    Unless the F&G folks have recently bought new gear I believe they stick with the long version of Sherpa's (the design is still available from a Canadian firm). They probably have double the floatation area.

  4. #34
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I'm in Lightning Ascents and they are a fine shoe. That being said, they replaced my Sherpa's with the full crampon binding. In deep powder I would grab my Sherpa's with out blinking, they out float the MSR's hands down. I also miss the webbing strap system, I could put them on easier then the bindings on the MSR's. I have actually considered going back to my Sherpa's.

  5. #35
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I'm in Lightning Ascents and they are a fine shoe. That being said, they replaced my Sherpa's with the full crampon binding. In deep powder I would grab my Sherpa's with out blinking, they out float the MSR's hands down. I also miss the webbing strap system, I could put them on easier then the bindings on the MSR's. I have actually considered going back to my Sherpa's.
    There are plenty of Sherpas and parts around. Check out EBay. I have used Sherpas for years and when all the new gizmo shoes started showing up I cashed in on Sherpa decks and bindings. One of the things I like best about Sherpas is their field repairability. I do have some newer shoes Tubbs, Denalis, and lightenings. Although the Sherpas are still my fav.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  6. #36
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    I own three pairs - MSR Evo (22 + 6" tail - they are to be worn when the trail is very likely to be packed, and when I think I might be carrying them), Tubbs Flex Alp XL (28), when I know I will be breaking trail all day and the snow is 18+, and my go-to Tubbs Flex Alp (24) for most everything else.

    I prefer snowshoes to microspikes and crampons. Wore them on both Jays today even though I did not have to.

    Tim
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  7. #37
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I own three pairs - MSR Evo (22 + 6" tail - they are to be worn when the trail is very likely to be packed, and when I think I might be carrying them), Tubbs Flex Alp XL (28), when I know I will be breaking trail all day and the snow is 18+, and my go-to Tubbs Flex Alp (24) for most everything else.

    I prefer snowshoes to microspikes and crampons. Wore them on both Jays today even though I did not have to.

    Tim
    I'm very similar. I find snowshoes to be much easier on the brain when conditions aren't solid, and the climbing bar is a big perk. When it comes to flotation, I've compromised and use the Tubbs Flex VRT 28", it gives me enough float in deep stuff to get by, and are great for everything else. I don't go out looking to break trail for many miles though, and I don't do it solo. Given my size (over 300lbs with pack and winter gear), getting snowshoes that offer significant flotation, I start getting drawbacks with weight, width, and structural integrity (my 34" aluminium rail shoes 'banana-ed' on me before snapping).

    I very rarely leave my snowshoes in the car, but an out and back sled trip on a packed trail is a good candidate (e.g., Liberty Springs). I have to be pretty much certain I won't need them in order to leave them. It seems to me that many people are the opposite - they'll only bring them if they are sure they will use them. It's a subtle distinction, but it's important.
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  8. #38
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    I think one of the scenarios that gets people caught deep into it without snowshoes (and I did this once) is to head fast and deep into the forest on broken solid trail only to return in warming afternoon temperatures and posthole-ready snow. A cold morning followed by warming above 32F can cause some problems.

    I love my MSR Denali Classics. Picked up a second $99 pair last year. They are terrible for flotation, great for ascent in typical northeast conditions. I find them fine trail breaking in a few feet on trail but certainly not as deep powder shoes. As PB mentioned, the flotation tails change center of mass too much to be useful.
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  9. #39
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    There are plenty of Sherpas and parts around. Check out EBay. I have used Sherpas for years and when all the new gizmo shoes started showing up I cashed in on Sherpa decks and bindings. One of the things I like best about Sherpas is their field repairability. I do have some newer shoes Tubbs, Denalis, and lightenings. Although the Sherpas are still my fav.
    No need for EBay. My Sherpa's are in great condition.

  10. #40
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    345 True???

    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    I agree.

    I keep a dedicated GPS (with user replaceable batteries) running to record a track and, if necessary, for navigation.
    This got me curious about way finding down from LOC in whiteout or lost trail condx.

    Obviously, you gotta be there but...

    Looking at a few maps as well as Google Earth, it seems like the AMMO (summer) trail runs in a straight line from the rear corner of the hut for 0.2 miles on a bearing of 345 true.

    It sounds too easy, but would following this bearing get a winter hiker into the trees and on the trail home no matter what?

    cb

    (I'll be doing Monroe in a week or so and let you know!!)
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  11. #41
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    This got me curious about way finding down from LOC in whiteout or lost trail condx.

    Obviously, you gotta be there but...

    Looking at a few maps as well as Google Earth, it seems like the AMMO (summer) trail runs in a straight line from the rear corner of the hut for 0.2 miles on a bearing of 345 true.

    It sounds too easy, but would following this bearing get a winter hiker into the trees and on the trail home no matter what?

    cb

    (I'll be doing Monroe in a week or so and let you know!!)
    Actually, in bad visibility it is not that easy. The area drifts substantially and everything blends in to make quite confusing. Combined with the thick and technical nature of the terrain, many have had the same issues in that area.

  12. #42
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    Sherpa Clones https://www.irlsupplies.com/subgrouping.htm?cat=5845

    They used to list most of the parts separately.

  13. #43
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    This got me curious about way finding down from LOC in whiteout or lost trail condx.

    Obviously, you gotta be there but...

    Looking at a few maps as well as Google Earth, it seems like the AMMO (summer) trail runs in a straight line from the rear corner of the hut for 0.2 miles on a bearing of 345 true.

    It sounds too easy, but would following this bearing get a winter hiker into the trees and on the trail home no matter what?

    cb

    (I'll be doing Monroe in a week or so and let you know!!)
    I think every time I have gone through there in Winter the packed footbed (i.e. the "default" route everyone was following based on whoever tracked it out first) was in a different spot than the official trail location, in some cases very different. So taking a bearing at the hut of where the actual trail starts sounds like a good idea in theory but that may not put you on the actual packed track that is being followed by most foot traffic (i.e. the easiest route with the least likely drifting, spruce traps, etc). It might bring you down the official trail but the trail might be in untouched arm pit deep snow. You'll be heading in the right direction overall but the effort level might be substantially different, which could wind up being a big risk.

    I'm hardly as experienced as many here in Winter hiking but that was one thing I quickly discovered about Winter. The "trail" is an ever changing thing from storm to storm, week to week and year to year. In the areas that get a ton of snow/drifting and markers are obscured trails behave much more like bushwhacks than in Summer. Unless you're a glutton for purity and trail breaking you'll likely follow the route everyone else did because it takes far less effort. And how efficient that route is depends very much on the skill level of the first guy or girl that set out to do it first.

    When I did Owl's Head for the first time (and likely only time) in Wiinter Tim had shared a history of his GPX tracks over several seasons so I could get an idea of how the route went. There were many variations and even the route he had done just 4 weeks before me had been obscured and replaced with another route the day I did (a much dumber...ahem...less efficient). So you really need to know the overall area well and key points of interest that will determine which way you want to go, what fork to take when a track splits (very common on Ammo - there were 4 different tracks when I did at beginning of DEC), etc. The actual official trail is not necessarily what you are shooting for, which adds to the degree of difficulty when you lose the packed track and that packed track is "not where it is supposed to be". I always pre plot waypoints in my GPS in Winter for spots I want to know how to get too if everything goes sideways on me and I have nothing to follow.
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  14. #44
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    The Berlin Daily Sun has an article in the Tuesday edition (1/17) that has an interesting twist. Wayne Presby the owner of the Cog claims he was contacted by F&G if he had started running the snowcat up the cog and speculating that having snowcat access would help save lives. He put in a dig against the group that is opposing his plans for the Cog hotel and the snowcat operation. Given the reported location of the rescue I don't expect it would have helped to have the snowcat running, as the topo from the cog Row to the brook looks pretty gnarly. I expect we will be hearing more grandstanding by Wayne when he thinks it will help him sway the public.

    Of course the big question is would the hiker been soloing the Ammo without the Cog plowing the road to begin with? Accessibility has substantially increased the winter use from the Cog which therefore exposes more people to potential risks in winter. I guess the genie's bottle has been uncorked.

  15. #45
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The Berlin Daily Sun has an article in the Tuesday edition (1/17) that has an interesting twist. Wayne Presby the owner of the Cog claims he was contacted by F&G if he had started running the snowcat up the cog and speculating that having snowcat access would help save lives. He put in a dig against the group that is opposing his plans for the Cog hotel and the snowcat operation. Given the reported location of the rescue I don't expect it would have helped to have the snowcat running, as the topo from the cog Row to the brook looks pretty gnarly. I expect we will be hearing more grandstanding by Wayne when he thinks it will help him sway the public.

    Of course the big question is would the hiker been soloing the Ammo without the Cog plowing the road to begin with? Accessibility has substantially increased the winter use from the Cog which therefore exposes more people to potential risks in winter. I guess the genie's bottle has been uncorked.
    This is a spot on post well done. It use to be a whole other bag of donuts when the Cog base Road was not plowed.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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