View Full Version : sleeping bag for the Ammy in Janury

Scouter Bill
12-01-2008, 12:32 PM
I may need a new sleeping bag to be tent camping high on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail on 17 and 18 January. The average summit temperature then is -15Ī5C. My down bag is not rated, but it has a single-side loft of 1ĺ in. which, given DougPaulís US Army Quartermaster insulation table, correlates to 30F. Iíve had good success using it and a liner several times in Hermit Lake Shelters in early March when the temperature is (on average) 5F higher. Is it unwise to plan to use my bag/liner on the Ammy in January? If so, what bag rating do you recommend?

12-01-2008, 01:13 PM
Maybe you could rent something. I'd want something with a rating of -10 or -20. Inside a tent with 2 pads and a liner or extra layers you might be okay if it was mild weather, but you can't plan on that in Jan on Mt Washington.

12-01-2008, 01:39 PM
Couple issues come to mind:
1. Not sure what you mean about "high on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail". Finding a comfortable, safe and legal camping spot above Gem Pool but below treeline might be tough.

2. Though the "normal minimum" for the month at the summit is -20 C, making -15 C a reasonable to expect temp for 2000 feet lower, -15C strikes me as somewhat balmy for nighttime in that location on what is often the coldest weekend of the year. It might be -5 but it also might be -30 C. Often windy too. Brrrrrrr.


Kevin, Judy and Emma
12-01-2008, 02:42 PM
Can camp above tree-line if there's 2 feet of snow-pack. Good luck with the wind. January mean speed 46.3 from the west. You'll get the full brunt of it near Lakes of the Clouds. Lakes is only 1276' lower than the summit of Washington.


David Metsky
12-01-2008, 03:11 PM
Can camp above tree-line if there's 2 feet of snow-pack.
But not within 1/4 mile of the hut, even in winter.

Rent a -20F bag and you'll need a real winter tent.

12-01-2008, 04:49 PM
i use a 0 deg. marmot synthetic all my hiking is done in fall and winter and i use a fleece liner during the dead of winter. The coldest i have been was around -20 but i was in a mountaineering tent. i was plenty warm enough but if you already have another bag then i would suggest if you plan on doing a lot of winter camping then i would suggest on getting a -20. bag if money allows but if only doing it once then just rent.

Kevin, Judy and Emma
12-01-2008, 06:06 PM
and no camping on frozen bodies of water.

But not within 1/4 mile of the hut, even in winter.


12-01-2008, 06:52 PM
Having camped in that neck of the woods before, I used a zero degree synthetic bag, two pads, and a liner in the pack in case I needed it.

12-01-2008, 07:39 PM
Are you doing a traverse and dropping down the ART to camp? If not, be advised that base road probably won't be open this winter, so don't count on access from the bottom.

12-01-2008, 09:32 PM

==You're discussing overnighting "high" on the windward side of the regional high point (and locally chauvinistic winner of "Universe's Worst Weather") during the heart of winter.

==Your current bag will clearly not be sufficient and you want to know what you'll need? I have a forty-below-rated bag, and I'd still bring the extra down clothes. And the rest of the checklist, too.

==The point about a "real" four-season tent is that the wind will likely try to rip it to pieces. By the way, "average" data about weather there may be a bit misleading.

Not knowing your level of qualification for such an outing, I raise the issues, just in case. I've been cold enough to fear it, and that particular spot is known for not messing around.

That said, it sounds like a blast! Best wishes for a successful trip.

Scouter Bill
12-01-2008, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I never considered renting and thatís what Iíll do since I donít foresee an ongoing need to upgrade my current bag; EMS N. Conway has -20F bags. Iím going with others who did this last year. They ďmake base camp before it gets really steepĒ so itís definitely below tree-line, perhaps near Gem Pool. I have a 4-season REI Arete 2 ASL backpacking (not mountaineering) tent that should be sufficient. Iíve ascended several times in early March from the east, reaching the summit twice and turning back above tree-line a couple other times; I have the skills and judgement to attempt it from the windward side. We are, however, planning to ďgo from the Cog Railway lotĒ, so base road closure is a problem. How do we find out if itís open or closed?

12-01-2008, 11:51 PM
This can make a difference in which sleeping bag will be adequate for you. I am a warm sleeper and have used a 0 degree sleeping bag at -25 (it was -25 at about 8pm I am sure it got colder than that during the wee hours). I would take that into consideration when looking to rent a bag. I DO NOT like to sweat when I sleep especially in the winter!