Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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Lioness
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by Lioness » Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:23 pm

headsizeburrito wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:36 pm

I was considering adding backup gloves/mittens to my pack last week when I was getting nearly blown over on Decalibron and imaging a glove blowing away. Any particular glove/mitten setup you like? I'm thinking about how to balance something that packs small/light enough to be a backup rather than just a second primary, but obviously it still needs to be warm enough. Better eyewear is definitely on my list, I've been eyeing (heh) some fancy Julbos. Wondering where people draw the line between mountaineering style glasses and full goggles. Wind? What are your criteria for a winter headlamp?
You definitely should have a backup. Think about it. You lose your glove then you don't hold your pole correctly because your hand is cold; you lose your balance, fall down the mountain, and we are discussing how you died on this forum.

I've added a glove leash. Something like this, but I made it myself.

https://www.amazon.com/Hukado-Adjustabl ... 517&sr=8-3
TomPierce
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by TomPierce » Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:29 pm

My primary mittens are some boiled wool Dachstein mitts inside a Mammut Goretex shell. Good down to about -20, but also easy to ditch the shells when it's warm and I just use the inner wool mitts alone. They allow some air in so my hands don't overheat. Surprising how many warm days there are when huffing up an access road. If it's likely to be really warm I'll at least start with some light fleece mitts. My poop hits the fan mitts are some older model Marmot Expedition mitts. I got them NWT off ebay several years ago. Crazy overkill, but yes, I've used them on occasion here in Colorado. Numb fingers and the resulting screaming barfies really suck. All the shells of my mitts & gloves have idiot cords on them.

I usually start with sunglasses, I have a few pairs around, some battered Julbo's etc. If it's cold as crap and sunny, goggles with a sunblocking lens. If it's overcast and cold/windy, goggles with a yellow lens. Big things for me are a double wall lens, good ventilation, and most important: Lenses that are really easy to swap out. If it's bitterly cold and windy you don't want to be messing with a lens change for very long. Some people use a sort of universal lens. I'm not keen on them; purely my opinion but they are mediocre at best in most conditions, worthless at night.

Winter headlamp: Lithium batteries, good lumens and (big) a remote battery pack, it goes down your shirt/jacket to warm the batts. If your batts die, be able to pop in fresh ones quickly.

Edit: I don't want to sound like a know-it-all. I've done some winter peaks over the years, and this is what works for me. Like most things in life, certainly in sports, there is an element of personal style/choice. I think mine is middle of the road when it comes to gear, but I err on the side of simple/bullettproof gear. I'll also pack maybe a bit more gear than others because I tend to go alone in the winter. I've also spent the night out in winter in a bolt hole/cave at -5, G*d knows why...It's brutally sobering to realize how cold it is at night in the winter when you stop moving, so I carry a pretty good down jacket, etc. just in case. Just me.

All just my opinions.

-Tom
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daway8
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by daway8 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:17 pm

headsizeburrito wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:36 pm
Wondering where people draw the line between mountaineering style glasses and full goggles. Wind?
One key thing to consider about eyewear is how well does it block light reflected off the snow - hard to find anything other than full goggles that really blocks out all the reflected light, which can great crazy intense on a bluebird day in winter (got disturbingly close to experiencing snow blindness one day by trying to wear normal summertime clip on sunglasses).
headsizeburrito wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:36 pm
I was considering adding backup gloves/mittens to my pack last week when I was getting nearly blown over on Decalibron and imaging a glove blowing away.
There's definitely some technique to gear changes in winter. Ideally do it in a wind sheltered place. If stuck in the open when needing to add/change gear, even a very small boulder can provide a useful wind break, and/or take off your pack and lay it down as a wind break. Takes some practice but I watched others swap gloves and add jackets on a open wind blasted slope without losing anything and gradually gained the confidence to do that when I had to. You have to very carefully consider the position of your body and plan your moves out so stuff blows into/onto you rather than away from you (easier to demonstrate than describe...). But anticipating the need for warmth and swapping when in a more sheltered location is preferable.

Personally I carry a pair of thin liner gloves, a pair of sturdy climbing gloves and a beefy pair of gloves with pouches behind the hand where you can zip some hand warmers into places (also add hand warmers in the palm as well when it gets real cold). I start with the lighter options and typically swap over to the beefy ones if I'm about to pop up on a wind blasted ridge.
markf
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by markf » Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:30 pm

TomPierce wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:29 pm
My primary mittens are some boiled wool Dachstein mitts inside a Mammut Goretex shell. Good down to about -20, but also easy to ditch the shells when it's warm and I just use the inner wool mitts alone. They allow some air in so my hands don't overheat. Surprising how many warm days there are when huffing up an access road. If it's likely to be really warm I'll at least start with some light fleece mitts. My poop hits the fan mitts are some older model Marmot Expedition mitts. I got them NWT off ebay several years ago. Crazy overkill, but yes, I've used them on occasion here in Colorado. Numb fingers and the resulting screaming barfies really suck. All the shells of my mitts & gloves have idiot cords on them.

I usually start with sunglasses, I have a few pairs around, some battered Julbo's etc. If it's cold as crap and sunny, goggles with a sunblocking lens. If it's overcast and cold/windy, goggles with a yellow lens. Big things for me are a double wall lens, good ventilation, and most important: Lenses that are really easy to swap out. If it's bitterly cold and windy you don't want to be messing with a lens change for very long. Some people use a sort of universal lens. I'm not keen on them; purely my opinion but they are mediocre at best in most conditions, worthless at night.

Winter headlamp: Lithium batteries, good lumens and (big) a remote battery pack, it goes down your shirt/jacket to warm the batts. If your batts die, be able to pop in fresh ones quickly.

Edit: I don't want to sound like a know-it-all. I've done some winter peaks over the years, and this is what works for me. Like most things in life, certainly in sports, there is an element of personal style/choice. I think mine is middle of the road when it comes to gear, but I err on the side of simple/bullettproof gear. I'll also pack maybe a bit more gear than others because I tend to go alone in the winter. I've also spent the night out in winter in a bolt hole/cave at -5, G*d knows why...It's brutally sobering to realize how cold it is at night in the winter when you stop moving, so I carry a pretty good down jacket, etc. just in case. Just me.

All just my opinions.

-Tom
I tried Dachstein mittens, they're a little narrow for my hands. A removable shell is excellent with any mitten, it lets you mix and match parts for optimum temperature control. Black Diamond, OR and Smartwool make convertible/flip-top mittens that switch from a mitten to a half-fingered glove. These are great for trying to do tasks that require some manual dexterity, like lighting a stove or adjusting clothing, but you need to re-warm your fingers every minute or so. Idiot cords on shells are mandatory for me.

Lithium batteries last longer than alkaline and are lighter, and aren't affected by cold. They maintain almost full power until they are almost dead, then die relatively quickly. A remote battery pack makes a lot of sense for alkaline or rechargeable batteries, but I'm not sure what the benefit would be with lithium batteries, since their lifespan isn't affected by cold. Phone batteries die awfully fast in the cold, so I carry a power bank and keep the phone and the power bank close to my body to keep them warm.
mark
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Plugugly
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by Plugugly » Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:53 am

TomPierce wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:29 pm


Edit: I don't want to sound like a know-it-all.

-Tom
You were an expedition leader on Denali...I wouldn't be too concerned about anyone thinking you're a "know it all." This is one of the best threads I've read.
Rudy can't fail.
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Tornadoman
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by Tornadoman » Thu Dec 24, 2020 7:46 am

A lot of good advice on this thread, I will just add a little bit.

Weather- Pick it carefully. I like a forecast of sunny skies, wind gusts under 40 mph, and wind chill forecast to be above -10 degrees. Colder and windier than that it becomes increasingly uncomfortable. Also look at the weather for the time period just after your hike. If a big storm is forecast to arrive, winds are likely to increase and if something goes wrong you will be out in truly dangerous conditions. I like to leave a safety window and not go out just prior to a storm. Just my 2 cents.
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nyker
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by nyker » Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:21 am

While this was posted by the NYS DEC, the helpful hints and recommendations they mention are relevant for other mountains as well:

https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/112826.html
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+Gravy
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by +Gravy » Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:37 pm

Just giving this a bump. Great thread and info thank you.
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CaptC02
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by CaptC02 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:23 am

Bring a dog to cuddle with in case you have to spend the night out with minimal leg humping because that might make you break a sweat
Pretty fly for a white guy
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by +Gravy » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:29 am

...
Last edited by +Gravy on Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nyker
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by nyker » Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:59 pm

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Gandalf69
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Re: Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Post by Gandalf69 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:53 am

If you need practice hiking in cold, ski areas have uphill access before the lifts open. I recommend bringing a snowboard or ski's to get down quickly. I go often before work, of course its not "14er" hiking but its still hiking.
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