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Winter ADK hiking gear

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  • Winter ADK hiking gear

    I will be moving to Syracuse next year and wanted to take advantage of this to do some hiking in the Dacks; maybe even go after the 46. I have plenty of experience in the Catskills, but not the Adirondacks. I realize that snowshoes are, in fact, legally required on the trails. However, I know that the microspikes vs crampons debate is fairly contentious. I am certain that there are countless threads on this topics, but I will admit that I don't really feel like sifting through the search...any preferences? Finally, I saw that the ADK mountain club recommends an ice axe for winter climbs. Is this really necessary? Thanks.

  • #2
    My two cents -

    1) Get microspikes. (Or Hillsound trail crampons, which look even more aggressive.) To me, they're the best innovation in hiking in the past 25 years. Incredibly useful in a variety of situations. (Like walking up an icy Tuckerman Ravine trail in ski boots...)

    2) Crampons - depends. I've owned them for the past 25 years and have hardly used them. Of course, when you need them, you really need them. To me it depends on your hiking style - if you're flexible enough to be a little selective about when you tackle the few peaks that are really rugged and alpine, you can climb anything up there without them. But, if you're the kind of hiker who thinks "I really want to climb Haystack this Saturday, pretty much no matter what the conditions", then you'll want them as one of your options.

    I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions - since we didn't have much of a real winter, talking about winter gear is the next best thing!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by sciencedude288 View Post
      However, I know that the microspikes vs crampons debate is fairly contentious. I am certain that there are countless threads on this topics, but I will admit that I don't really feel like sifting through the search...any preferences? Finally, I saw that the ADK mountain club recommends an ice axe for winter climbs. Is this really necessary?
      It's not a question of buying one or the other. Buy both. How badly do you want to summit?

      Typically, you will only need one or the other, but they both have their place.

      And I agree, Hillsounds are even better than MSs, and begin to blur the crampon/light traction divide.

      Ice axe: Again, How badly? But seriously, it can come in handy on some of the steep ascents, like Saddleback. There are very few times you are climbing or crossing a slide in the ADKs, and they are usually not completely iced over. But they can be...
      Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

      Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
      Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
      Past President Catskill 3500 Club
      CEO Views And Brews!

      Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

      Comment


      • #4
        I like an ice axe a lot, too. (General mountaineering length, not a technical one) It's very useful at extending your reach when you have to grab something to get over some nasty bulge. And it's easy to put on your pack and out of the way when you don't need it.

        Comment


        • #5
          You will certainly need some sort of traction for light duty.....second ... never needed my crampons till this year and oh boy did they come in handy on even the slightest hikes, ice axe, less uses than the crampons unless slide climbing....Years with deep snow one would never need crampons or ice axe for standard trails...But they look Cool on your backpack...
          ADK 46-R #6750W
          CL-50 - #51
          CATSKILLS- 9/39
          NPT Complete 7-6-13

          Hiking photos

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          • #6
            My ideas go a bit different. How are you for time? Are you in a rush to get all peaks complete, or are you just interested in hiking? Are you willing to turn back when conditions are tough?

            Consider that microspikes did not exist 5 or so years ago. Look at how many people completedd their winter 46 before they existed. They are not necessary. They do make things easier in some conditions. They can let you be a bit faster in some conditions.

            Some days, on some peaks, crampons may be necessary. Can you reach the treeline of some peak... look and see ice everywhere and say, "I'll come back another day." If so, you can get by without crampons. If you're the type that says, "I've come 95% of the way, and I'll be damned if I don't get this peak." Then you need them.

            There can be a few instances where an ice axe makes things easier. They can also be extra weight and a source of injuries. My suggestion here is don't get one until you know why and what for.

            You can do your winter 46 with only snowshoes. Hundreds or people have.

            Oh yeah.... something else. Gear can be cool and you can impress people with it. That may be another reason for getting all kinds of things.
            Guinness: Goes in brown, comes out yellow.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pete_hickey View Post
              Oh yeah.... something else. Gear can be cool and you can impress people with it. That may be another reason for getting all kinds of things.
              This is the primary reason I carry an ice axe in winter. I don't recommend doing so in the summer as it just makes you look silly.
              Hike Always.
              http://dunbarsm.wordpress.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Winter gear

                Originally posted by Dunbar View Post
                This is the primary reason I carry an ice axe in winter. I don't recommend doing so in the summer as it just makes you look silly.
                I always carry an ice axe and 100 ft. of climbing rope when I do Mt. Jo, just to look serious.

                All kidding aside, microspikes are very handy for traction in many conditions, crampons have their place. Over the years I have only used my crampons a few times in the Dacks. So I would say, if your budget is limited buy microspikes first and than a less expensive pair of crampons. As for an ice axe, I have one and only used it once while hiking up north.

                A good pair of snowshoes will get you through most situations in the Adirondacks but you should carry other equipment discussed to handle particular situations. Of the items mentioned the ice axe is the least necessary.
                What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

                Ralph Waldo Emerson

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RTSpoons View Post

                  Of the items mentioned the ice axe is the least necessary.
                  I wonder if the guy who slid into a crevasse on Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine was carrying one? Or wearing crampons?

                  Location, location, location... Conditions, conditions, conditions...

                  http://www.unionleader.com/article/2...WS07/704049967

                  .
                  “Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
                  -John Muir

                  ADK 46-R 7090W
                  Saranac Lake 6er (3x) 11U, UW
                  Catskill 3500 2265; 921W

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Photobug65 View Post
                    I wonder if the guy who slid into a crevasse on Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine was carrying one? Or wearing crampons?

                    Location, location, location... Conditions, conditions, conditions...

                    http://www.unionleader.com/article/2...WS07/704049967

                    .
                    Was he on ice or snow when he slipped? My understanding is that self-arrest on ice is something of an urban legend.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rik
                      Tuckerman's Ravine is now in the Adirondacks? Excellent...
                      Just saying... location (what High Peak or Mountain) and conditions (Deep fluffy snow, like last year or ice, more prevalent this year) dictate what gear may be helpful.

                      Haystack and some other bald peaks were pretty icy for some of this winter and ice axes and crampons were helpful... for me anyway.
                      “Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
                      -John Muir

                      ADK 46-R 7090W
                      Saranac Lake 6er (3x) 11U, UW
                      Catskill 3500 2265; 921W

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rik
                        Tuckerman's Ravine is now in the Adirondacks? Excellent...
                        Nice addition to the collection. Maybe that will finally make it the 47er's, so right now nobody has that patch.....
                        Walking With The Son

                        Trail Ready

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rik
                          Tuckerman's Ravine is now in the Adirondacks? Excellent...
                          Going to save me a lot on gas for spring skiing...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have the variety. Spikes, Crampons, Snowshoes. Spikes work well with gradual climbs, steps, and flats - not as good for severe pitches. Crampons have been good to have during winter 2011/12 and are better than spikes (heel and toe points) on more severe pitches and hard ice.

                            When you have ice gear you can walk on the ice and stay on the trail and you'll not be a part of making certain trail sections ever wider with each winter. I often wonder what the people who build rock steps think about in winter when they see paths on both sides of the steps made by people that lack ice gear.

                            Don

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                            • #15
                              As the sayings goes, Be Prepared. Carry crampons, ice axe, snowshoes and micro spikes...you never know when you will need them.

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