Hiker Rescue, Desolation Trail - "Frozen Feet"

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peakbagger

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I am waiting for Fish and Game to post the link to the report. I doubt they were actually frozen but numb and wet, definitely as the ground has not yet frozen and the recent snow would have made for wet conditions.

A tough trail for this time of year as its north facing and tends to be quite wet. Up in Gorham it was cloudy all day and temps at my place just barely broke 32F.
 
November is my favorite month of the year to hike. It's cold, but not too cold, and conditions are fast. Plus, it's quiet, I have had multiple hikes lately and saw nobody. Unfortunately, most people from down south don't realize it's not summer anymore and the high-country catches them off guard. Cold feet huh, I switched to my colder boots last week, waded through cold slush and snow for hours, no problem.
 
We traversed the Kilkenny Ridge a couple Novembers ago and I made the mistake of wearing my Speedcross trail runners, not having an alternative other than my winter boots. Dealt with some slushy snow and pretty cold feet on Day 1 before receiving a reprieve with dry trails on Day 2. I learned my lesson and picked up a pair of Salomon Ultra Mid 3 boots which have come in handy on more than one occassion. Lesson learned!
 
"Rescue." They went back down Desolation from the summit, through Carrigain Notch, and never even encountered rescue personnel. Genius.
 
Before 11 am, I was headed to the SPNHF Ammonoosuc River Forest on Saturday morning to explore the old B&M rail grade in the southern block of the forest when I was passed by F5 heading west on Rte. 302. I thought it was Kevin Jordan, but turns out it was Bob Mancini (Kevin drives F3); I wondered where he was headed and if they were involved in a mission, and then thought 'just my luck, there will probably be a team assembling a command post at my trailhead'. Got to the trailhead and F14 was parked there, go figure.
I wasn't sure who it was, and followed his track for a ways, noting the warden was not wearing Limmers. I lost his track, and even backtracked to try and pick it back up, and then waved and said hi to the clump of brush I thought the officer was hiding in where the track seemed to disappear to. I then started thinking about how it must be tough for the warden to try to accomplish wildlife/hunting patrols, while having the spector of getting called out for a rescue at the end of the day weighing on you.
I had headed out myself with a new pair of waterproof work boots that I used due to them being so comfortable, but once I started bushwhacking down towards the river, I wished I had worn rubber mud boots. It was windy and I was feeling cold and vulnerable, so I backed out back to the trail. In a few minutes I ran into CO Matt Holmes, he was wearing his rubber mud boots and had just made a circuit off the trail, down to the river, back upstream and out to the trail following some sort of track. "Did you see the rail grade Matt? No Andrew, I must have crossed over it without noticing."
After catching up with Matt who I haven't seen in a couple of years, I mentioned to him how I had been thinking about how it must be tough for them to invest in long foot patrols when they know they may get called out for a mountain rescue at any moment. Matt was the consummate good-natured dedicated professional he always is, and shrugged his shoulders and told me how much he was enjoying his patrol, and I knew what he meant. After warming myself on the trail I made my way back to where we had chatted and found the rail grade a mere 30 ft from where we were talking, very nice things to see and think about.
I thought it was also funny that the only 2 dudes rambling these woods were both wearing scarlet red Johnson Wool jac shirts, but I had just finally removed a shoulder patch from mine the day before.
 
Cold feet huh, I switched to my colder boots last week, waded through cold slush and snow for hours, no problem.

Mind sharing which boots you use? How cold can you take them?
 
Before 11 am, I was headed to the SPNHF Ammonoosuc River Forest on Saturday morning to explore the old B&M rail grade in the southern block of the forest when I was passed by F5 heading west on Rte. 302. I thought it was Kevin Jordan, but turns out it was Bob Mancini (Kevin drives F3); I wondered where he was headed and if they were involved in a mission, and then thought 'just my luck, there will probably be a team assembling a command post at my trailhead'. Got to the trailhead and F14 was parked there, go figure.
I wasn't sure who it was, and followed his track for a ways, noting the warden was not wearing Limmers. I lost his track, and even backtracked to try and pick it back up, and then waved and said hi to the clump of brush I thought the officer was hiding in where the track seemed to disappear to. I then started thinking about how it must be tough for the warden to try to accomplish wildlife/hunting patrols, while having the spector of getting called out for a rescue at the end of the day weighing on you.
I had headed out myself with a new pair of waterproof work boots that I used due to them being so comfortable, but once I started bushwhacking down towards the river, I wished I had worn rubber mud boots. It was windy and I was feeling cold and vulnerable, so I backed out back to the trail. In a few minutes I ran into CO Matt Holmes, he was wearing his rubber mud boots and had just made a circuit off the trail, down to the river, back upstream and out to the trail following some sort of track. "Did you see the rail grade Matt? No Andrew, I must have crossed over it without noticing."
After catching up with Matt who I haven't seen in a couple of years, I mentioned to him how I had been thinking about how it must be tough for them to invest in long foot patrols when they know they may get called out for a mountain rescue at any moment. Matt was the consummate good-natured dedicated professional he always is, and shrugged his shoulders and told me how much he was enjoying his patrol, and I knew what he meant. After warming myself on the trail I made my way back to where we had chatted and found the rail grade a mere 30 ft from where we were talking, very nice things to see and think about.
I thought it was also funny that the only 2 dudes rambling these woods were both wearing scarlet red Johnson Wool jac shirts, but I had just finally removed a shoulder patch from mine the day before.

I read this post while drinking morning coffee while up in VT for opening weekend of rifle season.
I packed a couple of different boots, including a) new insulated (not very) waterproof Merrell's, b) Fabiano Rias (resoled by and slathered in Limmer) and c) rubber pull on hunting boots. As much as I love my Fabiano's when going up high, nothing beats rubber boots when slogging in wet November snow on top of muddy skid roads and boggy bits.

Had a chance at a buck but blew it when trying to close the deal and he bolted before I could get a shot. Ugg.
 
I have a pair of no longer made Columbia boots with the rubber bottoms and leather uppers, they are great in cold wet conditions. The trade off is due to my very wide feet, I have to go up one size and despite various fixes, my foot moves around in them more than I like.
 
I have a pair of no longer made Columbia boots with the rubber bottoms and leather uppers, they are great in cold wet conditions. The trade off is due to my very wide feet, I have to go up one size and despite various fixes, my foot moves around in them more than I like.
Back in the late 70's when I was completing my Winter 4's rubber bottom Sorel Pac Boots were very popular for Winter travel including above tree line with crampons. So called Winter Limmers were out there also but they amounted to an insulated tongue over the summer version. I remember hiking in one or the other for overnight Winter Backpacking and carrying the other a long with all the other gargantuan gear of the time in my pack. Interesting how things have evolved for the better IMO. But in the day we tried to use the best that was out there to offer. No doubt during this time a rubber bottom boot is handy even as sloppy as they can be for travel. I still have all my toes.
 
Back in the late 70's when I was completing my Winter 4's rubber bottom Sorel Pac Boots were very popular for Winter travel including above tree line with crampons. So called Winter Limmers were out there also but they amounted to an insulated tongue over the summer version. I remember hiking in one or the other for overnight Winter Backpacking and carrying the other a long with all the other gargantuan gear of the time in my pack. Interesting how things have evolved for the better IMO. But in the day we tried to use the best that was out there to offer. No doubt during this time a rubber bottom boot is handy even as sloppy as they can be for travel. I still have all my toes.

Remember the white "Mickey Mouse" boots (of Korean War fame) with the air valve (that some people used to inflate the boots...LOL). I never owned a pair, but once I did hike with a guy who wore them.
 
I do remember it was bear to find crampons that would work with sorels. I had these odd eight pointers with 4 points at the toe and four at the heel with nothing in the middle except a wide stainless strap. They were okay for soft snow but one New Years day hike on icy snow I could barely walk due to the flex in the boots and lack of support under my arch. I do need special extra large set of microspikes for my size 14 wide Columbias. I sitll have my Sorels upgraded with the fancy foil faced replaceable liners I bought at Labonvilles. They still have a lot of flex in the sole.
 
Mind sharing which boots you use? How cold can you take them?
Not at all. I wear Oboz Bridgers 10'' model 400 grams 3M Thinsulate insulation. They are designed to go very cold. With the right socks, you can hike in the Whites with them and not worry at all.
 
Not at all. I wear Oboz Bridgers 10'' model 400 grams 3M Thinsulate insulation. They are designed to go very cold. With the right socks, you can hike in the Whites with them and not worry at all.
I just bought a pair last winter, they seem to be about as warm as my Sorel Conquests. I’ve done a LOT of hiking and snowshoeing in those, but the Bridgers seem to be more supportive. Though the Conquest Achilles strap does work.
 
Not at all. I wear Oboz Bridgers 10'' model 400 grams 3M Thinsulate insulation. They are designed to go very cold. With the right socks, you can hike in the Whites with them and not worry at all.
Have these also, big fan. They also fit my feet better than any other footwear I own which is nice.
 
Remember the white "Mickey Mouse" boots (of Korean War fame) with the air valve (that some people used to inflate the boots...LOL). I never owned a pair, but once I did hike with a guy who wore them.
The white ones were what was used in aircraft during the Korean War. There were also black ones that were used by the ground troops. The black ones were a bit lighter and less clunky and technically not quite as warm - but plenty warm. Hiking crampons would work ok - more a matter of technique. Snowshoes (pre the Sherpa revolution - they were wood and leather) were fine too. The biggest problem was the moisture build up because of the vapor barrier.

I did my first round of NH winter 4Ks (46 at the time) and NE winter 4Ks (63 at the time) in them, plus a multi day winter presi-traverse.
 
Remember the white "Mickey Mouse" boots (of Korean War fame) with the air valve (that some people used to inflate the boots...LOL). I never owned a pair, but once I did hike with a guy who wore them.
Also very popular back in the day on The West Buttress.
 
Not at all. I wear Oboz Bridgers 10'' model 400 grams 3M Thinsulate insulation. They are designed to go very cold. With the right socks, you can hike in the Whites with them and not worry at all.
Thanks!

My new winter boots are last year's Merrell Moab Insulated which has 400 grams of Primaloft Gold. They were pretty unimpressive up hunting last weekend in 25F ish temps. But then, they were pretty wet too. Toes leaked pretty quickly crossing brooks and boggy spots [1] and I think the non-GoreTex waterproof breathable simply doesn't breath well. My plan is to slather the toe seams and tongue with some Seam Grip and to try them with VB socks between my liners and wool socks (my standard cold weather approach).

Would be curious what sock combinations you use.

[1] - I should emphasize that I find that November hunting and tracking (particularly in working forests) taxes the waterproofness of boots in ways that hiking does not - so it's not like I'm shocked by the lack of waterproofness. Just hoping they stay warm enough for winter hiking.
 
Thanks!

My new winter boots are last year's Merrell Moab Insulated which has 400 grams of Primaloft Gold. They were pretty unimpressive up hunting last weekend in 25F ish temps. But then, they were pretty wet too. Toes leaked pretty quickly crossing brooks and boggy spots [1] and I think the non-GoreTex waterproof breathable simply doesn't breath well. My plan is to slather the toe seams and tongue with some Seam Grip and to try them with VB socks between my liners and wool socks (my standard cold weather approach).

Would be curious what sock combinations you use.

[1] - I should emphasize that I find that November hunting and tracking (particularly in working forests) taxes the waterproofness of boots in ways that hiking does not - so it's not like I'm shocked by the lack of waterproofness. Just hoping they stay warm enough for winter hiking.
Silk liner sock by Fox River over either Smart Wool or Darn tough mid weight wool.
 
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