Pulk sled backpacking recs

Items that do not fit the categories above.
Forum rules
  • This is a mountaineering forum, so please keep your posts on-topic. Posts do not all have to be related to the 14ers but should at least be mountaineering-related.
  • Personal attacks and confrontational behavior will result in removal from the forum at the discretion of the administrators.
  • Do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website.
  • Posts will be removed at the discretion of the site administrator or moderator(s), including: Troll posts, posts pushing political views or religious beliefs, and posts with the purpose of instigating conflict within the forum.
For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ericsheffey
Posts: 37
Joined: 12/22/2019
14ers: 30  2 
13ers: 7 1
Trip Reports (6)
 

Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by Ericsheffey »

Hey y'all,

My climbing partner and I are trying to gain more winter backpacking experience this year, especially with more mileage with pulk sleds and either snowshoes or splitboard. Last month we did a multi-night backpacking trip in RMNP and camped near Black Lake, spending the daylight hours ice climbing at Black Lake Slabs and then hunkering down in our tent just below tree line (as per NPS wilderness permit regs) at night. That was a good trial run for winter backpacking, but we are looking for somewhere that we can camp completely above treeline, is fully snow covered so that we can pull sleds, and preferably doesn't have too much complex avy terrain.

Anyone have any recommendations?

I've considered Boreas Pass or Jones Pass as options, but I can't say those areas excite me very much either as I've explored them quite a bit already on other trips. Where do folks go for winter/snow backpacking in CO?



(Photo of us constructing our "Home away from home" on our backpacking trip last month. Nightly temps were around 0F with real feels around -10F, so definitely snowy and cold, but looking to up the ante a little bit more. I actually wrote up a whole TR about the trip on here, but then never published it since it seemed too boring for the site lol)
20240102_144927(0).jpg
20240102_144927(0).jpg (272.82 KiB) Viewed 1324 times
"Pick an objective, go until something stops you, retreat, learn, and try again. That's the formula for success." - Will Gadd
pvnisher
Posts: 1727
Joined: 9/28/2006
Trip Reports (8)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by pvnisher »

Sorry, no real recommendation, just curious how you've found using a sled in steep terrain. It seems reasonable in flat or rolling, but man, side hilling and traversing just seems miserable!
markf
Posts: 115
Joined: 11/14/2007
14ers: 56  2  9 
13ers: 21 1 2
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by markf »

pvnisher wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 8:33 am Sorry, no real recommendation, just curious how you've found using a sled in steep terrain. It seems reasonable in flat or rolling, but man, side hilling and traversing just seems miserable!
There are kits you can buy to put aluminum runners on the bottom of a pulk, and detach them when they're not needed. Side hilling, traversing, tight turns and underbrush can be a drag, but so is snowshoeing or skiing with a full multi-day pack. IME, if there's full snow coverage from your starting point to your destination then a pull is no more difficult than a pack on your back, and usually less difficult.
mark
User avatar
SchralpTheGnar
Posts: 1890
Joined: 2/26/2008
14ers: 51  49  1 
13ers: 38 30
Trip Reports (22)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by SchralpTheGnar »

You can go wherever you want where it’s permitted, a better way to frame this question would be to let us know what you’re objectives are and then frame around that.

Best part about winter camping is no bugs
User avatar
Cruiser
Posts: 1993
Joined: 11/24/2005
14ers: 50 
Trip Reports (6)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by Cruiser »

I have nothing helpful to contribute about where to camp but boy is it frustrating when the pulk tips over and stuff falls out in the snow. I drilled holes along both sides of mine so that I could add gear ties across the cargo to help hold it in place cuz ime is not a question of if it's gonna tip but when.
Where ever you are... There you are.
User avatar
Ericsheffey
Posts: 37
Joined: 12/22/2019
14ers: 30  2 
13ers: 7 1
Trip Reports (6)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by Ericsheffey »

pvnisher wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 8:33 am Sorry, no real recommendation, just curious how you've found using a sled in steep terrain. It seems reasonable in flat or rolling, but man, side hilling and traversing just seems miserable!
So the thing is, I'm not really a big fan of backpacking OR pulling sleds, but it's a means to an end :lol: . Historically, 90% of my time backpacking is in pursuit of peakbagging, not for the joy of backpacking itself, and if I could do everything light and fast I would, but for some objectives that just won't be reasonable. So, to answer your question more directly, the idea of pulling a sled at all is still kind of miserable for me, but I'm hoping that with more experience and honing my gear, it will get less miserable lol.
"Pick an objective, go until something stops you, retreat, learn, and try again. That's the formula for success." - Will Gadd
User avatar
Ericsheffey
Posts: 37
Joined: 12/22/2019
14ers: 30  2 
13ers: 7 1
Trip Reports (6)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by Ericsheffey »

SchralpTheGnar wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 9:45 pm You can go wherever you want where it’s permitted, a better way to frame this question would be to let us know what you’re objectives are and then frame around that.

Best part about winter camping is no bugs
The no bugs part is definitely an upside. After being eaten alive by swarms of mosquitos for several days in the Wind River Range a few years ago, I will never not appreciate a bug free day again. Fair point re: objectives, I think I left it a little intentionally vague so as not to stir up too much of a different conversation, but my partner and I are trying to work towards larger-scale expeditions in the Alaska range over the next few years. We'll be spending a few weeks in the PNW this year, climbing some more glaciated peaks to continue to build glacier experience, and we're hoping to fine-tune our expedition skills here in CO as well (pulling sleds, week+ long snow camping trips, altitude training, etc). Most of what we are looking for is milage, exposure to weather, and honing our overall expedition camp skills. I've heard a lot of people go to Alaska with adequate technical experience but lack the experience of spending long days in tents in cold/snowy weather, pulling sleds every day or every other day, and otherwise just surviving day-by-day in a harsh environment. We definitely have been building our technical experience for several years now, but are lacking on these other items.

Edit: Editing this to add, one of the things I forgot to mention in my initial post is that, although it seems obvious that anywhere that's permitted could work, I also know that many places may not be conducive to pulling sleds. We thought about pulling sleds when we went backpacking in RMNP, and it's a good thing we didn't since the trail was barren and windscoured for several miles. I'm trying to come up with some more options for long stretches of accessible terrain that would be consistently snow-covered, especially at or above treeline.
"Pick an objective, go until something stops you, retreat, learn, and try again. That's the formula for success." - Will Gadd
User avatar
SchralpTheGnar
Posts: 1890
Joined: 2/26/2008
14ers: 51  49  1 
13ers: 38 30
Trip Reports (22)
 

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by SchralpTheGnar »

When I was as younger I had dreams of doing bigger climbs, expeditions all over the world, then got married and had kids and that desire went away as I got older. The most important thing you need for this stuff is moxie, and large doses of it! So please go and get after this and post TRs so I can live vicariously through you. 😀

When training for long miles pulling a sled the best options around the state that I found was connecting the huts,Tennessee pass and Vail Pass areas and we would just tent camp. This isn’t really above treeline but you can get long miles in.

Above treeline, long miles conducive to pulling a sled, I never found, it’s just too windy, rocky, and /or steep, I’ll be interested so read what others suggest. What I think you’ll need to do is break up those training goals, long miles connecting huts and then above treeline camping. For the above treeline camping, we spent 2 nights in the Boulderfield in January and that was brutal in the best possible way.
User avatar
madbuck
Posts: 1008
Joined: 6/16/2009
Trip Reports (6)
 
Contact:

Re: Pulk sled backpacking recs

Post by madbuck »

Comparing to the distance and gain that you mentioned for Glacier Gorge,
Maybe Cameron Pass would be an interesting option?
Blue Lakes trail toward Clark Peak? Blue Lakes trail is a steady but gradual grind in the woods, lack of avy danger until treeline where you could camp and then assess additional skiing.
Also by Cameron Pass, even more gentle but above treeline, but also more avy risk, would be American Lakes

In RMNP Wild Basin, Thunder Lake or Bluebird Lake are gradual grinds with skiable, full snow (except for the very early section if wind-scoured, fine after any recent snow), although I don't know anything specific about surrounding summits in the winter.

A last thought would be Flattop in RMNP.
Post Reply