Winter Hiking

The Best Pee Bottle is not a Bottle

You can't really pee out the front door of your tent at a crowded campsite

Sometimes you can’t leave your tent to take a pee. There might be a rain or snowstorm outside, it might be frigid cold and windy, or you might be surrounded by other campers at a crowded tent site where you can’t simply …

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What is a Rutschblock Test?

Snow Column Testing

A Rutschblock test (pronounced ROOTCH BLOCK) is a snowpack compression test used by winter adventurers, backcountry guides, and avalanche forecasters to test for avalanche danger. It is designed to simulate the shock that a skier, snowboader, or snowshoer/climber, exerts on the snowpack …

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EMS Level 1 Avalanche Course

Avalanche Forecast: Tuckerman Ravine

If you do any backcountry skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, or mountaineering, I recommend that you take an Avalanche Rescue and Forecasting course. I took a great 3-day certification class from the Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School this past weekend, and found it …

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How to Build Snow Shelters

Quinzee Snow Shelter

Building snow shelters is an important winter skill which can be used in emergency situations in the backcountry. Snow is a great insulator and works by preventing warm trapped in its crystalline structure from escaping. But more importantly perhaps, is that snow …

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Neoprene Winter Glove Idea

Neoprene Hiking Gloves

Lightweight Winter Glove Woes I’ve been having a real problem this winter dialing in my lightweight winter gloves. I sweat a lot when climbing up peaks or breaking trail and I have a tendency to soak out lightweight polypro or gore windstopper …

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Is Solo Winter Hiking Safe?

Ambition Can Blur Decision-Making in Winter

I was reminded of the dangers of solo winter hiking while climbing Mt Avalon (3, 442 ft) in Crawford Notch. There’s a balance between ambition and self-preservation that one needs to be cognizant of if you hike in the mountains or any …

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EMS Climbing School: Mountaineering 201

Silver Cascade Waterfall in Crawford Notch Mountaineering 201 I was back up in the White Mountains last week to take the second Mountaineering Class in the EMS Climbing School’s winter curriculum and I had another great experience. This time, I climbed 700 …

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Review of EMS Winter Climbing 101

Ice Climbers Walking near Frankenstein Cliffs

I took the first mountaineering and ice climbing course offered by EMS, Winter Climbing 101, in their winter climbing school curriculum on Saturday and I had a blast! I learned far more than I expected too, and I had a really good …

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Snowshoeing in Trail Runners

I did a long hike approach snowshoe (7.2 miles round trip) over the weekend to the base of North Hancock, including 16 water crossings. We still have snow on the ground, but I figured that doing the crossings wearing my Inov-8 trail …

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Defining a Winter Packing System

We finally have significant snowfall in the White Mountains and I've got a two night camping and hiking trip scheduled this weekend. All I have to do now is to figure out how to get all of this gear (there's still more …

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Mountains Make Their Own Weather

Last week, I heard a great talk at the AMC Boston Winter Hiking Program given by Larry Takiff on Mountain Weather and Avalanche Awareness. Larry is a very seasoned winter hiker and climber with international experience. The gist of Larry's talk was …

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