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#9360 - 12/03/10 08:19 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
> regarding a traverse - I never planned anything like that having to return to my vehicle at the end of the hike. Crossing the Sierra in winter means you can't even get back via Tioga Pass. Just makes sense to do something along the spine of the mountains and enter/exit on the east side.

Dude!  If you do something as wild and crazy as this could be, you might find you have some willing local help in the shuttle/transportation department.   wink



(Any thoughts about moving this thread to "General Discussion"?)

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#9363 - 12/03/10 09:44 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Steve C
> regarding a traverse - I never planned anything like that having to return to my vehicle at the end of the hike. Crossing the Sierra in winter means you can't even get back via Tioga Pass. Just makes sense to do something along the spine of the mountains and enter/exit on the east side.

Dude!  If you do something as wild and crazy as this could be, you might find you have some willing local help in the shuttle/transportation department.   wink



(Any thoughts about moving this thread to "General Discussion"?)


I've spent over $1000 with Bob Ennis in Lone Pine over the last few years (I have him on speed dial)-- maybe I should get some sponsors for this trip grin
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#9364 - 12/03/10 09:45 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Steve C]
bill-e-g Offline


Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Loch Tablae, YNP
Re the bear can...

uh..

You realize you can build yourself a barcalounger with
cup holders in snow? Or chair, or..
But... if you wanna carry extra weight... knock yourself out. I'd carry 3 pounds of extra food instead of a bear can...
or another can of fuel to use for the huge amount of
snow you'll be having to melt.

If you haven't hiked big distances in the snow...
I'd highly recommend a late May hike ... there still
won't be hoards out or bugs... but the streams are more
of a concern... depending on snow pack year

Have fun

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#9366 - 12/03/10 09:59 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: bill-e-g]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: bill-e-g
Re the bear can...

uh..

You realize you can build yourself a barcalounger with
cup holders in snow? Or chair, or..
But... if you wanna carry extra weight... knock yourself out. I'd carry 3 pounds of extra food instead of a bear can...
or another can of fuel to use for the huge amount of
snow you'll be having to melt.

If you haven't hiked big distances in the snow...
I'd highly recommend a late May hike ... there still
won't be hoards out or bugs... but the streams are more
of a concern... depending on snow pack year

Have fun


Yosemite NP requires bear canisters year round. Can't find anything online about it for Kings Canyon, but I bet where it's required it is required year round. I'm mostly worried that the damn Barikade will freeze shut on me rather than those 2 extra pounds

will consider the snow lounger on a slow day - would make a good photo, too smile

fuel - still no clear word about what's better in the cold - liquid or gas - but I already know that if you need to bring a lot of fuel, liquid in a bottle tends to be lighter.

Hiking in snow? Well, I live in an ice box here. We have snow from early Dec through March, 100+ inches a year in a good winter. My kids build snow caves in what I shovel off my driveway. I haven't used snow shoes much, but you just become used to this cold stuff living here. And if I am about to go for a big long white JMT, I'll just have to spend some time in the cold Wisconsin outdoors "warming up" for it. The good thing if spending a winter here before heading there in April is that I will be acclimated to the cold to some extent and not see that as a major obstacle. Moving across the snow with a heavy pack on sometimes sketchy terrain is enough to worry about.

Late May isn't what I am looking for - would be too similar to my early summer hikes in big snow years except for the bugs. The idea is to experience real winter conditions. Hey, at least I am not planning a winter yoyo hike but knowing how these things go, somebody will eventually do that, too.
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#9367 - 12/03/10 10:25 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
bill-e-g Offline


Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Loch Tablae, YNP
I have no idea where you got that cans are req'd in Yose
in Jan and Feb.

As for the cold... I grew up in Green Bay...
Everything I have said or not said has nothing to do with
the cold. Sierra is the Bahamas compared to Wisconsin.
It's the simple fact that snowshoeing is
easily 4x harder than hiking on a nice trail.
If you haven't shoed any then you are in for a rude
awakening. Keeping your pack as light as possible will
greatly help. Not using monsterously large shoes will
greatly help. And busting trail by yourself... you
are gonna go "wtf was I thinking".
You can maybe do 10 miles a day... maybe. a big maybe.

Wish you a lot of luck.

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#9368 - 12/03/10 10:40 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
> fuel - still no clear word about what's better in the cold - liquid or gas - but I already know that if you need to bring a lot of fuel, liquid in a bottle tends to be lighter.

You're going to be carrying more fuel than usual, and those pressurized disposable canisters can add significant weight over the Aluminum bottles of Coleman fuel.

I am not sure about all the pressurized fuels, but for some types, the cold temperatures will reduce their pressure to the point your stove won't put out much flame. Of course, you're in Wisconsin, so you can better test out that problem with your equipment there.

I'll bet a hand-pumped Coleman fuel stove would beat the pressurized stoves for both weight/fuel volume and heat output in sub-freezing environments.

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#9369 - 12/03/10 10:46 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: bill-e-g]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
googled the caninster stuff - backpacker.com had some article about it. Can't see it on the official site, however, there's also no info that you may not be required to use them in winter. I bet anywhere above 9000 feet I'd be ok. In fact, with Tioga Pass most likely being my northern terminus, I would not camp in the low country in Yosemite at all, and the only other canister required areas that are low are Woods Creek (lockers under the snow if I should stay there) plus the low areas of the Whitney Zone. Lockers are near Rae Lakes and Tyndal, but I bet those areas are in deep winter in April. So, I guess I really won't need the thing. If I do place some caches out there, I may use a can for those, especially if low around VVR or Reds. I defintely don't want to get into silly hanging of food in winter - I'd rather carry the can.

10 miles a day is about what I am aiming for, but I may go slower if I can sort out some resupply around Taboose Pass or Kearsarge. Still don't even know if I am going north or south.

Once I settle on the foot gear I will be doing plenty of local shoeing to get the body used to it.
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#9370 - 12/03/10 10:53 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Steve C
> I'll bet a hand-pumped Coleman fuel stove would beat the pressurized stoves for both weight/fuel volume and heat output in sub-freezing environments.

very possible - but that's not necessarily the main advantage. Guys like Messner carried butane/propane burners up the 8000m peaks in the 70s and 80s already, and they should be worried even more about temps than me. I know they do drop pressure when they cool down, so you may have to heat them up in the bag before cooking.

The real benefit of liquid fuel is the light container for fuel, but it will take a lot of days to make up for the weight of the stove - still - cold weather performance and if you cook a lot to melt water and you may have enough reason to go liquid:

http://www.thru-hiker.com/articles/stoveweight_vs_time_14days.php



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#9371 - 12/03/10 12:31 PM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: bill-e-g]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: bill-e-g
Not using monsterously large shoes will
greatly help. And busting trail by yourself... you
are gonna go "wtf was I thinking".


having second thoughts on those snow shoes - because I now remember how easy it was to move with heavy gear on touring ski through the snow, even up pretty steep slopes when using skins. Still scared of the big downhills, but maybe if I ski the more level and uphill stuff, and snow shoe the steep downhills, I can get the best of both worlds, except for the extra weight and even higher cost of that gear.

I have enough time to refresh my ski skills before that trip to be ok at least on the generally easy slopes that dominate the majority of trail miles.
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#9372 - 12/03/10 01:26 PM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
bill-e-g Offline


Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Loch Tablae, YNP
It's not a well know fact about the can in winter.
It's from Dec. 15 to Mar. 30. And I couldn't find it so I
gave the wilderness center a call. There's some other
stipulations about not using the can but you are not w/i
those realms.
The ranger lady I talked to shares my passion about
winter camping (you'll find that a large number of
the rangers know how spectacular winter is in the sierra
and love it too if you ever ask them about it) and
she would be more than happy to talk to you.
Her name is Ray Santo. and you can call her at
2093720200 and follow the instructions to get ahold of
a ranger. Just leave a message and ask for her perhaps.

re the stove... no way I'd use canister.
white gas with a good base plate for winter is the way to go imo.

Since I think you are not doing this for quite some time
you got time to get some experience ... and find out
what you really are getting yourself into.

Good luck


Edited by bill-e-g (12/03/10 01:29 PM)

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#9373 - 12/03/10 01:29 PM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Couple of thoughts:

Fuel - the lower the temps, the harder it is to get a gas stove going. Having said that, I've used isobutane (I think that's what the combo butane/propane mixture is called) on lots of "summer" glacier climbs - not unlike your trip - and it works OK. Sometimes I've needed to put the cannister inside my jacket to warm it up. Sometimes the piezoelectric lighter doesn't work, so be prepared to light it by hand. I always pack a couple of cigarette lighters as well as wooden safety matches. But, those trips were only 1-3 days - relatively short. For something like your adventure, I'd use an MSR Whisperlite, a liquid fuel stove. Some of the models will burn nearly any flammable liquid.

Bear cannisters - independent of whatever the USFS/UPS regs are - you might consider some form of protection. A year or two ago I was at the Portal on the first day the road was passible all the way to the store, getting ready for a dayhike up to Trail Camp, and made a comment to the fellow parked beside me that we probably didn't need to worry about using the bear lockers and clean out vehicles since it was so early. He told me he worked in the backcountry all winter long, and frequently saw active bears, so ... I guess not all of them hibernate. I put my stuff in the bear locker...

Finally - an observation or two on pads. Am pretty sure yours has a slow leak, and I'd replace it. They shouldn't lose air overnight like that. Also - and you (and others) may be highly skeptical of this, but ... several years ago a mountaineer with lots more experience than I told me you sleep warmer if you put the air mattress down first, then the closed foam and then your bag. It seemed quite counterintuitive, but ... this guy had quite literally been to the ends of the earth, so I kept my mouth shut, and tried it. I found he was right. YMMV.

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#9375 - 12/03/10 01:37 PM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: KevinR]
bill-e-g Offline


Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Loch Tablae, YNP
Ok, I give up re. the can. If you see a bear above 9K feet
in Jan or Feb I'll give you 20 bucks though.

wrt to the pads... yes that is the way to do it.

Warm - closed cell on bottom (or nothing), sleep on infatable
Cold - inflatable on bottom, sleep on closed cell

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#9380 - 12/03/10 07:10 PM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: bill-e-g]
gmisk Offline


Registered: 12/03/10
Posts: 5
Loc: CentralCal
By the way...this winter trek was fist accomplished by Orland Bartholomew, a CentralCal guy from Big Creek, in 1928 on cross country skis. It is documented by Fresno author Gene Rose in the book "High Odyssey."
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#9389 - 12/04/10 11:15 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
At Costco, they sell snow shoes. I wonder if the snow shoes they sell would be good for your trip, plus, personally, I'm curious about these snow shoes for myself. Would anyone care to comment on the quality of the snow shoes at Costco. Below is a link to where they sell them online. Thanks.


http://www.costco.com/Common/Search.aspx...&lang=en-US

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#9392 - 12/05/10 05:42 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: lynn-a-roo]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Am not personally familiar with the Yukon Charlie brand (it's relatively new) but have heard good things about the company. That particular model is rated as "Recreational" - great for occasional snowshoeing over flat/rolling terrain.

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#9394 - 12/05/10 08:11 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: KevinR]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
for goofing around in the snow in the midwest these Yukon Charlie (he's from China if he exists) shoes are a good deal. Wouldn't go up a steep mountain with shoes like that. It's all about grip and bite when you're hitting slopes, and MSR has some of the most aggressive snow shoes, but obviously with a price tag as steep as the slopes they are designed for.
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#9395 - 12/05/10 08:14 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: bill-e-g]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: bill-e-g

Warm - closed cell on bottom (or nothing), sleep on infatable
Cold - inflatable on bottom, sleep on closed cell



great info - but why? You'd figure it's going to be the same overall insulation. If not, why not bring two of the warmer kind? Two foam pads?
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#9396 - 12/05/10 08:42 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: Fishmonger]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
A good pad below you is vital especially if you're on snow. The second you touch ground below you in a down bag, it's so cold you don't feel like your even in one.

I spent a hellish night sleeping on snow near the top of the Kaweah gap on a Thermarest pad because between the smooth floor of my tent, the smooth face of the Thermarest and my smooth down bag I would be off my pad with the slightest movement. To make it worse I was on a hill. I never used a Thermarest again after that trip. wink
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#9401 - 12/05/10 03:23 PM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: RoguePhotonic]
bill-e-g Offline


Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Loch Tablae, YNP
I use the Neo Air shorty and a long Z-Rest year round
if camping above 9K-ish.
I like the extra cushion ... if you are young and
are comfortable with only closed cell then that's
the way to go.
The closed cell next to your body is warmer more or less
b/c a mass of air is gonna move around in an air matt.
and you are going to have to continually heat it.
Something like that and thermodynamics... wink

I completely agree with the shoe responses above.
On multi day trips you have to rely on the shoes not
failing. I wouldn't entrust a "recreational" shoe
to a huge endeavor.

Just a note ... if there is any misunderstanding... I am
very very pro Bear Can. I follow all the rules for food
storage and never have lost food to any animals.
You will see bear tracks in April at high elevations.
I wouldn't go then w/o one. And one of the caveat for
no can in Yose in Jan/Feb is that you need to be
above 7200 ft.

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#9419 - 12/06/10 08:29 AM Re: help me get ready for a Muir Trail snow shoe trip [Re: bill-e-g]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Since I just did a JMT with single foam mat in summer without throwing out my back, I may do dual foam for winter. I will do some testing in the snow this winter once I get the tent and sleeping bag sorted, since I have several Z-Rests (short to long) and two inflatables to choose from.

Re tent - starting to turn away from the bombproof Everest shelters in favor of a lighter single wall tarp tent (MSR Twin Peaks or Twin Sisters) based on the advice from somebody who has been out there in April to May on ski. Saves easily 5+ pounds over a full tent, costs a lot less, and uses the poles you already carry for support. I know there's probably going to be that 100-year storm when I am out there, but when it gets really bad, I'll just have to dig a snow cave, something I've done before and didn't enjoy much.

I think in the coming weeks I need to head out to the local ski hill to see if I can still do it - that snow shoe thing is starting to sound like a lot of work and possibly too slow for the distances that need to be covered. I'd still need to bring a pair for the parts I won't dare to ski.
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