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Winter hiking gear

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere outside Yosemite National Park

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Winter hiking gear

Postby centurycyclist » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:16 pm

I am hoping to do some half/whole day hikes this winter in the Mammoth/Yosemite area I am a pretty experience summer hiker, but snow gear eludes me. I have a great pair of waterproof gaiters, waterproof boots, but wanting to buy snow shoes (have no idea what kind to get!) Also, wondered if I needed ice crampons? Any other "must-haves" for the day pack? Thanks!
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Re: Winter hiking gear

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:51 pm

If you have not taken a mountaineering class, leave ice gear out of the picture and stick to gentle slopes. Ice crampons and axes are extremely dangerous to people who have no practice using them.

For snow and icy trails, microspikes and/or snow shoes are best. Your day pack should have adequate supplies for an emergency bivouac - layers of clothing, tarp, a shovel for making a snow cave - in shallow snow it can still be useful to build snow berms and create a branch ceiling that can be tarped over - and adequate food. I always take a stove in winter (canister stove with an insulated sit pad made of foam to use as a base) to make hot beverages, and to melt snow for water if needed.

If you are not going to backpack the snow shoes can be whatever is adequate for your body weight plus pack. Backpackers need more snowshoe to attain more "float" in powder with a heavier pack on your back. I favor MSR over any shoe with only a single crampon on the toe - the more teeth your snowshoe has, the more stable you will be on slopes.
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