What gear for early season snow?

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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What gear for early season snow?

Postby bcitsthere » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:19 am

What gear do you recommend for this fall time of year where it seems that the peaks are getting dusted with snow? I do not really know what the conditions are like this time of year (I'm new to CO). It seems from reading a few reports that the snow isn't hard enough for crampons and there isn't enough snow for snowshoes. But would you still recommend bringing one or the other just in case you get some weather or find a bad patch of snow? What about an ice axe? I've used all of the above gear and am familiar with it, but I have only used it in the middle of winter when it is quite clear what you need to bring.
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Postby joe4186 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:22 am


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Postby Scott P » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:28 am

Gaiters, trekking poles, waterproof boots. Warm clothes of course.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
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Postby CO Native » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:32 am

yaktrax can be helpful too.

dark sunglasses for those snow covered slopes on sunny days.
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Postby Scott Rogers » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:35 am

But don't use polarized lenses, those tend to let you see right through ice, and then you could have a slippery and painful day. But thank God the snow is here finally! I was going into withdrawals.
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Postby doumall » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:47 am

For walkups (class 1 and 2 routes), the above posts are spot on. For climbing, you may need tools and/or crampons due to ice.
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Postby Hunter » Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:14 pm

A hiking buddy experienced in winter ascents. If I was interested I'd bribe someone like ScottP (toys for his son?). Being a parent of two young ones I know it would work for me! Anyway, back to the subject. Nothing you can buy at REI can replace street smarts. Especially above TL during a blizzard that wasn't in the forecast.
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Postby bartspedden » Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:28 am

Scott Rogers wrote:But don't use polarized lenses, those tend to let you see right through ice.

Sorry you had a bad experience with polarized lenses. I love mine though and haven't used anything but polarized lenses in 15 years... guess it's just preference.

This time of year brings colder temps and higher winds, so clothes are more important then snow/ice gear. As the weeks roll on from here, it wouldn't hurt to bring an ice axe. We'll start getting small snow fields that'll be fun to glisade down. I'll also be throwing in the googles from here on out.

If you're camping anywhere near treeline make sure to have a 4-season tent and guy it out well. The winds were strong enough last weekend that even with all the guy lines staked out my bibler 3 season poles still bent a little.

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Postby Bobo » Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:53 am

Early season snowpack can have stability issues (especially in areas that get wind loaded), be aware.
"At this point the runner might philosophize a and consider just where he or she is in the Imogene Pass Run. You've climbed 1945 ft of elevation in 5.45 mi, at an average of 356 ft./mi., 6.8% gradient. To reach Imogene Pass you must climb 3365 ft in the next 4.60 mi, at an average of 731 ft./mi., or 13.85% gradient. Your effort so far has simply been a warmup. The steep gradients of the named hills below are now less than the average gradient ahead." - IPR course description
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Postby Bill Cummings » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:18 am

I put in an extra vote for Yaktrax and trekking poles.
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Postby KentonB » Sun Oct 07, 2007 2:16 pm

CO Native wrote:yaktrax can be helpful too.

Alternatively, I've loved my "StabilIcers". A bit more expensive (and a tad heavier), but built to last. Perfect for getting around on ice and particularly well-worn, ice-packed trails. I've never regretted buying them and I hear they don't break as easily as Yaktrax (but I've never owned Yaktrax).
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Postby Slow Moving Fun Seeker » Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:07 pm

These guys are a bit pricey but work great for additional traction in packed snow. Real easy to put on/take off and fit over any kind of shoe/boot.

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