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  • DelawareMike
    replied
    Forecast for 4700 ft on Mt. Marcy: BRRRRRR!

    Tuesday Night:Mostly cloudy, with a low around -27. Northwest wind around 9 mph.
    Wednesday Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near -9. Northwest wind around 11 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.
    Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around -25. Northwest wind 7 to 9 mph becoming east in the evening.

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  • JW1069
    replied
    -45 wind chills? Yep, too cold.

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  • ADKJack
    replied
    FWIW the coldest I ever remember starting a hike was -18 F. Sewards with Skidoc and Alistair. Never got any warmer and winds on top were in the 40mph range. I remember Skidoc asking me to check his face for any exposed skin or signs of frostbite as he checked both Alistair and me.
    It has been my experience that as temperatures drop below 0 F the humidity is usually greatly reuced, I find that I need to drink more frequently to keep from dehydrating and snacks are imperative.
    My winter pack is adjusted accoring to the hike, the weather and if I am solo or in a group.
    Solo I tend to try and balance weight to safety. I might pack less heavy thermal back up clothing with more lightweight but warmer down or primaloft.
    I will carry my Bivy, Sleeping Bag and if it is a long trip I have a 2 lb tent I carry as well. still I usually keep the pack weight at or below 35 lbs.

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  • Nessmuk
    replied
    In my early career I was an Air Force navigator. Quite a few years ago my crew and I headed off to Eielson AFB (Fairbanks, AK) for a 30 day rotation in a very cold December. As we were departing home, we learned of a KC-135 that had just then crashed shortly after takeoff up there. After diverting to Washington to pick up an accident investigation team, we landed that same day, surface temperature was minus 56F. Because jet engines are much more efficient even at idle when it is so cold, as soon as wheels touched down we had to immediate shut down two of our four engines in order to stop on the runway.

    Because of the crash there was no flying for the first week before resuming our flight missions headed much farther north. It was spooky with that crew's locked quarters right next to ours. For the first 8 days the temperature never got above -40. Then mysteriously on day 9 it went up to +40 before returning back down to the -40 and lower range for the remainder of our time there.

    Turns out that the crews on the multiple flight mission the night before we arrived had multiple long ground delays from southern based planes like ours blowing oil seals in the cold, among other cold caused problems. There were not enough mobile external heaters to go around to all the aircraft cabins while waiting hours for the repairs. Several of the crews noted cabin temps well below zero, with coffee freezing solid in their cups. The fateful crew had minor problems upon takeoff that should not have been fatal, but they were so cold that their thinking process and muscle control was slowed and they worried more about the minor problems than flying the aircraft. Gear still down when it should have been up, heavily loaded with fuel to the max, in a scheduled turn they lost sufficient lift while banking and side slipped into ground.

    The ice fog was thick every day - like sparkly crystalline air severely limiting visibility, though beautiful when it thinned somewhat in the low angle sunshine. But I had to get out for some hiking, even though we had only 3 hours of useable daylight between sunup and sundown. I layered up in bunny boots, wool pants plus thick insulated pants, and my parka with wolf fur snorkel hood, and headed out for a hike into the countryside, down to where the oil pipeline was then being constructed. I was warned that even with full cold protection gear, to watch out for my knees. At -50F I did keep my core and feet toasty, with the exception of my knees. With every step my knees compress the insulated pants enough to drive out the warm air, and then it decompresses to draw in the cold. Nothing serious, but it was an unexpected interesting effect to have chilly knees.

    Another interesting thing we were told was that you can't effectively warm yourself by any exercise that causes you to breathe hard. At -20 or lower, you will lose more heat warming the air you breathe than you gain from the exercise, and you risk internal frostbite in fast hard breathing. The wolf fur snorkel hood is amazing. The frost from your breath does not stick to wolf fur. Those with the newer fake-fur hoods had considerable frost build up inside their zipped up hood.

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  • Trail Boss
    replied
    Originally posted by Aspiring HP Queen View Post
    Sure, you can carry 10-15 pounds all winter and that's great if you don't hurt yourself, trip, break a bone or bang yourself up in some way. But what if you did?
    Here's the most ironic scenario from the Worry Wart's Can of Apocalyptic Worms: unconsciousness. No matter what you have in your pack, you can't use it!

    Based on the winter misadventures described on this forum, over the past three years, most folks fell victim to a combination of navigational error and fatigue and not a catastrophic injury. Anything is possible, just not probable. Know thyself, and the conditions, goes a long way to avoiding trouble.

    Hiking in extreme cold increases the risk of equipment failure and debilitating fatigue (more energy expended to stay warm). It'd be quite the calculated risk to get by with minimal gear. Not the level of risk I'm comfortable with and I normally carry very little. To each his own.

    FYI
    Warming trend begins this weekend. Pleasant winter hiking conditions are back.

    Leave a comment:


  • Commissionpoint
    replied
    -12F here too, but it was -17 up on the hill away from the water. The Malamutes seem to enjoy it, but I'm going to stay in today and try to finish the remodel on my half bath. Too cold to go out and play in the woodpile.

    Leave a comment:


  • randomscooter
    replied
    Originally posted by C29368 View Post
    -20F forecasted low for Lake Placid tonight!
    Saranac Lake airport bottomed out at -24F this morning at 5:51.

    Here at Random Scoots it was a balmy -12F.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aspiring HP Queen
    replied
    There are so many conditions that factor in. Last year (not on purpose) we hiked on the two coldest days of the year. First we hiked Algonquin/Wright/Iroquois on a sunny bluebird day where it was minus 5-8 Fahrenheit all day but it was DRY and not much wind and we carried our BIG down puffy jackets from Feathered Friends. I wasn't cold all day. Even on top of Wright when it was pretty windy, we had on goggles, our big jackets and big hoods over hats, and we were actually warm enough to spend 15 minutes up there with no issue. We wore wool baselayers and good gear, so we stayed warm and dry. I was much colder and more miserable the day we hiked Seymour last winter when it rained for 4 hours, then snowed but the temp was 25-30F. I'll take -5 and windless and sunny to 30 with wind and rain any day. Wind and water are the real killers, not the temperature by itself.

    You are more likely to get hypo-thermic in 30 and wet than 0 and cold. On another day last winter, we ended up doing Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong in minus 10 (minus 40 wind chill on Gothics!). Because we were out for almost 10 hours, we did think the margin of error made the hike close to foolhardy. Crossing the ridge of Gothics in high wind was tough. We talked a lot after that hike about what else would make our hike safer.

    Much comes down to what you bring for survival. We carry LOTS of extra gear in winter for emergencies. Fiddlehead carries at least 30 pounds all winter and I more like 20-25. I always carry my severe cold weather mittens as back up, my Feathered Friends down puffy which is for severe climates, sometimes my down pants, full set of dry wool top/bottoms and socks plus back up mittens/gloves, extra hats, glove liners, handwarmers, hot liquids in a thermos, a personal locator beacon, etc.... Fiddlehead carries a bivy, foam pad, tons of extra clothes/jackets/hats/layers, rain gear...

    We talk often about "what if." Do we have enough gear to last 10 hours outside if one of us falls and breaks a leg? Some people think we carry too much stuff, but I personally wouldn't hike in super cold weather without all that extra gear. It's a good hike if we don't have to use it. It's different for everyone though. My hands get cold FAST. So I might bring more hand gear than the next guy. Everyone feels cold differently, but having the appropriate gear, enough layers and dry clothes makes a big difference. You clearly have a higher risk factor in extreme cold, so it pays to ask yourself these questions. As Altbark said somewhere in a post, it's all about risk management. Sure, you can carry 10-15 pounds all winter and that's great if you don't hurt yourself, trip, break a bone or bang yourself up in some way. But what if you did? Plus, think of how good shape you'll be in after hiking all winter with a 20-30 pound pack!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mavs00
    replied
    I think its a pretty individual thing. For me, I'm a pretty warm hiker so I don't mind "hiking" in any cold temp. I found though that too much below zero, and I just don't enjoy it as much. You start focusing on keeping moving and then rather than on what your doing. It gets distracting to me, so I don't enjoy it as much.

    I think that Random Scoots words of wisdom are more germane as it relates to outdoor activities in cold weather (reduced margins of error) then any comfort factor.

    Bottom line, it's more of a "am I still enjoying this" when you get to extreme colds temps rather then physical. I actually find extreme heat more of a physical obstacle for me rather then cold. Too much over 90-95 (with humidity) and I struggle mightily.

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  • C29368
    replied
    -20F forecasted low for Lake Placid tonight!

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  • rockysummit
    replied
    Camped one night -35 in the early-mid 80's at Lake Colden. Temps never got to zero that weekend. Scary cold. Made an early exit. When I lowered my tailgate back at the truck, the clear plastic tubing that slides over the tailgate cables ( in U shape when closed) just shattered like dry ziti thrown at the floor when they straitened out.

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  • ScAtTeRbOnE
    replied
    You could just train with "The Ice Man" Wim Hoff

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  • langer318
    replied
    I'm one of those people who tends to get cold easily but I've been pretty successful in managing my temperature. Here in the Daks I've spent the night out in -30 below. Making breakfast in the morning we got creative and did jumping jacks and pushups to keep warm while waiting for water to boil. I've since learned to cook in the vestibule of my tent making things much easier. I've hiked and ice climbed in -20 below and it make things much more fun
    In Alaska I spent 5 days at 17K camp with the high temp being -25 dropping to -40 at night. It was in the area of -40 on our summit day but clear with no wind whatsoever making it much more bearable. Comfort in the cold is all about being prepared and having your clothing system down and making sure you don't make the simple mistakes that could cost you like loosing a mitt.

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  • Orono Stewie
    replied
    Wuss Group

    Three years ago, I had signed up for an ADK day hike to Street & Nye in late January. I received a telephone call 2 days before to say that they most of the group had phoned to cancel due to expected cold. Disappointed because I had already booked a hotel room, my wife and I hiked anyhow. The Saturday temperature was not bad at -15 F, but Sunday was mitten weather, about another 10 degrees cooler, too cool for my better half, but I enjoyed the sun for a very pleasant hour at Marcy Dam out of the wind. My car was a reluctant starter Monday morning.....in the 'good old days' nothing without a block heater would have been running.
    Later I regretted to learn on this forum that another group had hiked Street & Nye, a good choice for a day with a strong wind.
    Don't know what my minimum would be, but that was close.

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  • mudhook
    replied
    -22 on a clear calm Catskill day, not too many years back. I have made snow on colder days in the 70's and once walked to class at -40. Bic pens shatter at -40, equipment starts to fail below 0, which can cause lots of problems because of the difficulty of taking your mittens( gloves are for warmer days) off to fix at those temps. Wind and wet at +40 can be more dangerous IMO.

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