Saturday, March 19, 2016

What I Learned This Winter

Mt Madison- I celebrate the last day of Winter with one more glorious, frosty hike!  Temp 10 to 15 F, wind 40 to 50 MPH on top of the rock pile. Yeah, old man winter is blowing us a goodbye kiss.

Ellen bracing against wind near the summit
For My Future Reference

New Sleeping Bag, What I learned This Weekend-
REI Expedition -20F Bag. I sleep in my truck at the trailhead to test this baby. Temp gets down to about 10F. The bag is super cozy! But I still need 1 layer long understuff on me and 1 layer underneath me. If I use this bag at -10 I think I'll need an insulated bag liner or I could wear my long underwear, puffy pants, puffy jacket, balaclava, or all of the above.

Layering for Hiking, What I learned this Winter-
If Under 30F:
Bottom- Very thin long underbottoms with Gramicci thin stretch nylon pants. Rain paints above treeline or if below zero F.
Top- Patagonia waffle base layer. REI waffle zip mid layer if under 20F or above trees. Rain jacket if below zero or above trees. light puffy jacket for additional mid layer if extreme cold.

If Above 30F:
Bottom- Skip the underbottms. Use nylon pants only. Rain pants above trees.
Top- Patagonia waffle base layer only. Don't even pack the REI mid layer. Bring thin puffy jacket for mid layer above treeline, with rain jacket for wind.

Extra Layers- Heavy puffy jacket and pants for emergencies or long rest stops in all temps.

Note- Contact Lens were a huge help for strong winds and temps under 30F on Mt Washington, Mt Jackson, Mt Madison!

Boots- My Keene's, (Summit County 3), rated for -40, are super warm, and relatively light. My feet stayed warm today with 2 wool socks even though they were damp with sweat. For extreme cold or multi day hikes I should try vapor barrier bags to keep my feet completely dry, or rent Scarpa Inverno double plastic mountaineering boots from MIT Outing Club to try them out.

Mt Madison, Hike Leaders- Joe Comuzzi, Ellen Tsai.