No announcement yet.

Post holing

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Post holing

    Say you are walking in snowshoes, and you put on crampons to navigate a patch of ice, which you know is the first of many such patches (given recent weather, social media posts, etc.), each separated by nice snow. But since you haven't hiked the trail before, you don't really know how far the next ice patch is. How quickly do you put back on the shoes?

    We all want to minimize post holing, but also hate to change gear 15 or 20 times a hike.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  • #2
    Unless you're doing a Great Range traverse, or some other multi-peak adventure (perhaps the Dixes?) I doubt you would find conditions that warranted more than 1 or 2 footwear changes in a day. In my experience if you're on your way up a peak, once you encounter ice that requires a change to crampons, the trail generally requires crampons until you get near the summit. Sure, maybe you'll find a few patches of drifted snow interspersed within the ice, but I'd just wade through them the best you can, since they will probably more ice shortly after. I wouldn't feel too bad about post holing here since once you've climbed above ice that requires crampons to navigate you're probably not ruining someones ski trail ... though I'm sure someone would be happy to argue with me about that.

    If you ARE doing multiple steep peaks in a single go, then the wardrobe changes are just part of the adventure I'm afraid.

    On a more serious note, take my advice with a at least grain of salt, as I've moved over to the White Mountains where the concept of wearing snowshoes is an exotic and generally taboo practice... and as I adapt to this culture my attitudes towards snowshoes might not match those that exist in the High Peaks as well as they once did.


    • #3
      I'm curious as to the etiquette on this too. The other day I was doing Street and Nye, carrying my snow shoes according to the rules, the second people who signed in. I didn't put them on right away because there was only two-three inches at the trailhead, and I know I had to rock hop (and tight rope walk) Indian Pass Brook. Tough in 'shoes. As we ascended I was waiting to shoe up until we were struggling with snow depth and/or post holing. The snow depth was never more than 2-3 sugary inches over a cement hard snow spine, I never came close to post holing at all, so my group (and the nice guy in front of us) bare booted or spiked up to the junction, and then Nye after dropping our packs. I overheard some person exasperated about "why didn't they wear their snowshoes?" as we returned to the junction before Street, and later same person lumped us in on a facebook post with actual postholers who ruined a trail in the Great Range. We wore the snowshoes to Street and out because it kept snowing all day and was getting slippery. If I had a breech of protocol I'm supremely sorry (I'm relatively new to Winter hiking), but I don't see the harm in anyone bare booting or spiking up a winter trail when they're a. safe, and b. doing no damage to the trail.
      46/46 S
      2/46 W
      10/46 solo


      • #4
        Originally posted by t46psk View Post
        ... I've moved over to the White Mountains where the concept of wearing snowshoes is an exotic and generally taboo practice...
        All you're confirming is that there are more newbs in the Whites who don't get it. After all, this gem was produced for winter hikers in the Whites:

        Looking for Views!


        • moosebeware
          moosebeware commented
          Editing a comment
          This never gets old. I love wearing snowshoes...but expect that this weekend, in the Whites, we'll be in the minority...

        • t46psk
          t46psk commented
          Editing a comment
          I had not seen this yet.... Hilarious.

      • #5
        In my experience, the conditions that warrant crampons will not switch back and forth to snowshoes, being that there is not enough snow to support snowshoe travel and the trail is mostly ice. I've encountered conditions during shoulder seasons (fall and spring) where I've gone from boots to spikes to crampons to snowshoes and back, all a result of a building or declining snowpack.

        As for wearing them when you think you aren't doing any damage...I see this most often. It's not that you are doing damage, it's that snowshoe travel is generally more efficient and easier and leaves no trace, so to speak. Why would you continue to carry them on your pack when they could be on your feet? I am much happier in snowshoes, as booting or spiking makes me feel like I am walking in sand. I am faster in snowshoes whether it is a packed snow trail, a few inches of powder, or breaking trail in two feet of snow. Sometimes, the spikes or boots will leave divots in the snow pack that then detract from a snowshoe's (or skis) ability to make contact with the ground, as I found last weekend when the yahoos wore crampons up my broken trail to Saddleback. I had no purchase in their tracks and my snowshoes would catch the end of their divots. They made an absolute mess of everything.

        I'm going to NH this weekend and expect that the Mr. MB and I will be the only people in snowshoes...
        #8335W, Solo 46W
        NE 111 113/115

        One list may be done, but the journey is far from over...
        Half Dome, 2009


        • Yury
          Yury commented
          Editing a comment
          MB, what snowshoes do you prefer on a packed trail?

      • #6
        A Great Range trip is what prompted the question. We shoe'd up to the Basin ladder, then switched to spikes. It was ice / snow / Ice / snow to the summit, and we stayed in spikes until 10 minutes past the summit. Similar situation from the base of the Saddleback cliffs to Orebed. I thought, and still think, we did the right thing, but some jackass who passed us near JBL inquired if we were the postholers that ruined his trail.

        Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk


        • gebby
          gebby commented
          Editing a comment
          Pretty steep from that Basin ladder on up and over the top of Basin and lots of ice and I'm sure that the area immediately around JBL is packed solid and no one is wearing snowshoes there, unless there has been tons of snow since last weekend, so I'm sure you did the right thing! The fact that you're asking the question and raising the issue indicates to me you're a conscientious hiker!

      • #7
        Originally posted by moosebeware View Post
        I am faster in snowshoes whether it is a packed snow trail, a few inches of powder...
        Moosebeware, what snowshoes are you taking about?
        Are these full size snowshoes preferred by KatskillKev or lightweight children's snowshoes?
        Last edited by Yury; 03-09-2018, 10:35 AM. Reason: Typo


        • Yury
          Yury commented
          Editing a comment
          Wait a moment!
          Gebby, are you sayin that Evo's were on her pack instead of her boots?
          Why is that if she is faster with snowshoes on her boots?

        • gebby
          gebby commented
          Editing a comment
          At that point they were on MB's pack and all I can say is she is fast either way!

        • moosebeware
          moosebeware commented
          Editing a comment
          Gebby, Thank you for the compliment...maybe to carry too much stuff...

          Yury, this was going from the Garden to the JBL, which had little snow on the trail...The snowshoes were put on during my ascent of the Orebed, but you'd know that if you read our TRs.

      • #8
        If you want to get into semantics, many ďpuristĒ mountaineers would never be caught ascending in snowshoes. The proper method is to kick-step-kick-step etc. while wearing crampons. That being said, the ADK isnít really a place for purist mountaineering unless you're an ice climber (which is really winter sport climbing around here anyway) We have agonizingly long approaches for relatively moderate length ascents with almost no true vertical sections on the commonly used trails.

        I find it much easier to walk in snowshoes if my heels or toes are digging in even slightly, so if Iím leaving tracks Iím leaving snowshoe tracks. In the higher elevations where rock and ice become intermittent and I need to pay more attention to my footing I usually switch to crampons. Itís all condition dependent though. Iím sure thereís still plenty of trails that justify being in snowshoes for most if not all of the ascent, and others where thereís currently a mix of rock and hard ice near the summit.

        My advice is to first consider your personal safety before worrying about ruffling somebody elseís feathers. Secondly, consider what kind of shape youíre leaving the trail in for the next people coming through, whether theyíre right behind you or after the next freeze when your small divots become ankle twisters.

        Also, as an occasional back country skier I couldn't really care less how hikers use the hiking trails while I'm on skis. It bothers me a little when other skiers complain about this. I ski on the ski trails on powdery days and hike on the hiking trails the rest of the time.

        I was wondering how long it would take for this conversation to spring up this year.
        Last edited by FlyFishingandBeer; 03-09-2018, 10:51 AM. Reason: A word.
        My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


        • Yury
          Yury commented
          Editing a comment
          FlyFishingandBeer, I strongly disagree.
          We have delightfully long approaches.

        • FlyFishingandBeer
          FlyFishingandBeer commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah... yeah you're right. I stand corrected. Thank you.

      • #9
        Originally posted by slowandsteady View Post
        ...carrying my snow shoes according to the rules
        This is the rub.

        8 inches means on the terrain. Not on the trail. Not that 2 or 3 inches on a packed trail is less than the 8 inches referred to in the regulation.
        And that's why people commented on your lack of use of the snowshoes. Just thought it should be clarified.

        Reference and quote from an older go-round on the topic.

        What does the regulation state? That's the easy part -

        Regulations - New York State Register and Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (NYCRR)
        Chapter II - Lands and Forests
        Part 190: Use Of State Lands
        ß190.13 Wilderness Areas in the Adirondack Park
        f. Miscellaneous restrictions.
        3. In the High Peaks Wilderness Area, no person shall:
        vii. fail to possess and use skis or snowshoes when the terrain is snow-covered with eight or more inches of snow

        As others commented situations vary. It takes a lot for a ranger to write you a ticket. Normally it's said the Rangers would rather have a conversation with you and explain why and under what conditions that you need to be wearing your snowshoes. I suppose the conversation gets more difficult if you are postholing each step and you do not have have any snowshoes.



        • #10
          I'm kind of an outlier in all of this since I can only put one snowshoe in the track, at best, sometimes. Which just goes to show, there are various reasons to bare boot. I ran into a guy who would rather walk through 2 feet of snow with microspikes, than to snowshoe. These microspikes that everyone loves (I don't care for them a whole heck of a lot) has made the post-holing situation worse. Apparently some think they can just put on their jingle bells and they're a versatile winter hiking machine. Not having to even think which snowshoe would be best for the conditions.

          Interestingly though, he made it only about 50 feet beyond the broken trail, before giving up and turning around. So there is that. Talk, and ideas, but that is what is prevalent at the trailhead. The commitment is made at the trailhead, or back at home, since he didn't even bring snowshoes with him. It was raining of late by him. And he forgot to look at the calendar. Or does Spring start March 1st? Another snowstorm coming, by the way! Yippee. No sarcasm.
          Last edited by CatskillKev; 03-12-2018, 09:57 AM.
          I might be kidding...