Apr 16, 2013 at 11:09 am #1301812
GG LT4's with snow baskets
Stoic merino S/S tee
Arcteryx light softshell pants
Shelter/pack/big stuff (104 oz)
Stakes (4 groundhogs, 4 easton nails, 2 ti nails)…4.5
Polycro groundsheet for 2…2.5
OP sack + nylofume bag…2.0
Zpacks cuben dry bag pack liner…1.5
Northern lites elite snowshoes…40.0
Sleep system (39 oz)
Katabatic Gear Alsek 22F quilt…21.6
3 3' pieces of cord for quilt…0.3
Suluk46 24x74x1/8 foam pad…1.9
Regular neoair xlite…12.2
Kookabay inflatable pillow…1.4
Clothing (50 oz)
TNF Triumph anorak…5.9
MYOG rain skirt…1.4
TNF Verto windshirt…2.8
Patagonia r2 vest…8.0
Patagonia capilene 4 hoody…8.0
Mountain hardwear polartec gloves…1.6
REI polartec hat…2.0
Norrona facemask/neck gaiter (helps keep warm at night with quilt)…1.4
Arcteryx phase SL long underwear…3.4
Cooking (6 oz)
Mini bic lighter and matches…0.8
MSR titan kettle 0.85L…4.4
Miscellaneous (36 oz)
Bear bag kit (50' of line and mini biner)…2.0
Food stuff sack…1.9
Bandana (cut down)…1.0
Highgear altimeter watch…2.5
1L aquafina bottles (2)…2.0
Camera in loksak…7.0
Toiletries + repair kit + first aid kit + aqua mira…10.0
Total is 14 lbs, 10 oz. That's just about 12 lbs without the snowshoes, which is pretty good for a shoulder season trip IMHO.
-As you can tell, this is more stuff than other people have brought in the past. (Please don't laugh at me for bringing a pillow…) We are planning on a 4 or 5 day pace and I have no interest in sleeping next to a fire for that long.
-Chris S. and I are sharing the Trailstar. He's bringing a pocket rocket and canister, so I don't have any stove listed.
-You'll notice I didn't include any gaiters. The only pair I have are some REI high gaiters that are like 10+ oz. Planning on just wearing the hydroskins if I'm postholing (which should be limited given our route stays pretty low.)
-Still not sure if I'll bring the snowshoes. That will be a last-minute decision based on the NOHRSC snow data. I don't look forward to carrying them for 80+ miles just to use them for 5-6 miles.
-I think I have too much clothing, but I haven't been able to justify to myself deleting any individual item. The windshirt, R2 fleece vest, and neck gaiter could probably be left behind, but provide some additional comfort and safety margin. They certainly would not be necessary out here on a trip in late May, but I've never been to MT before. Thoughts on this from those with more experience would be appreciated.Apr 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm #1977327
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
I would NEVER laugh at someone bringing a pillow!!!! Love my Montbell. And the mask makes sense for the weight – I hate a cold nose.
While I have never been to MT either, you definitely seem to have too much/redundant clothing in my novice opinion.
Given that you have the Xenon I would ditch the R2 vest. If temps are to be THAT low I would bring more oomph in the puffy jacket department than both pieces. Your windshirt/rain jacket give you additional layering flexibility if things get that bad.Apr 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm #1977363
Nice snowshoes. I hadn't seen that model before. My guess is they won't be needed if you're headed over Sun River Pass. Unless we get a spring dump, worst case scenario is probably holing up for a few hours if you hit the pass in mid afternoon and it proves too soft.
Regarding the clothing, I always hate recommending less clothes in case it doesn't work out, but I'd bring either the R2 vest or the Cap 4 Hoody. That's a fair bit of insulation that should suffice for an average forecast.
I'd probably nix the somewhat bulky foam pad, bring just one water bottle and pack everything in a lighter pack if you got one. My tentative 2013 list is up in my profile.Apr 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm #1977381
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll delete the R2 vest. Even if it's 33F and raining the Cap4 should be enough insulation on the move. Dan, good call on the extra water bottle and foam pad… I bring those by default on all my trips out here, but there's little need for either on this trip.
Definitely hoping there aren't any big storms between now and then. It would be nice to leave the snowshoes at home (and for there to be less water content to melt off.)Apr 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm #1977403
Last July I ran into someone in the Bob with no water bottles – he just had a plastic cup clipped to his pack and he'd scoop a cup full at each stream. Obviously there's some water treatment implications for that strategy, but the simplicity of it was great. FWIW, last year I drank directly from streams after losing my lone bottle. I'm not recommending that – just illustrating that there's an awful lot of streams.Apr 17, 2013 at 10:20 am #1977658
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
One comment suggested the trip is late May, but it wasn't really clear … when exactly are you going? Hiking through there in June 2011, my hiking partner and I ended up bailing (which itself was an adventure) and walking around the southern part of the Bob because soft snow slowed us down enough that we ran low on food, and the creek crossings were perilous. We started into the Bob going south (from East Glacier) on June 20th that year, and were the first ones in there that year — you could tell by the lack of tracks in the snow plus forest service could give us no real idea about conditions.
In a different snow year of course things might be very different.
And FWIW — despite soft snow at times in the Bob slowing us down, for the most part our feeling from walking on snow in Montana that trip was that snowshoes wouldn't have been worth carrying. I.e., if we had had to carry and then at times wear snowshoes along the way, I suspect that we still would have found ourselves running low on food (and still in somewhat of a maze of the most challenging creek crossings I've ever had to deal with).Apr 17, 2013 at 10:43 am #1977664
Brian, the trip is starting May 25th. There is considerably less snow this year than there was in June 2011 (about 33 inches vs. 49 inches snow water equivalent), so hopefully we'll have an easier time than when you were there.
Regarding your comment about snowshoes, we're going to be spending most of the trip below 5500', so I'm hoping that the majority of the time will be on snow-free trail. However, we do have to do about 15 miles above 5500' which would be really slow if it was constant post-holing through slush. If this were in the Sierra, I'd expect the snowpack to be consolidated enough by the end of May that you could walk on it without snowshoes before noon, and with slow but reasonable progress later in the day. Any comments based on your experience if that's a realistic expectation in MT or not?Apr 19, 2013 at 8:12 am #1978359
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I certainly can't predict what things will be like for you, but definitely in your situation I wouldn't be carrying snowshoes for that distance. What I might do if concerned is adjust pace to try to start that 15 mile stretch at the start of the day, so that if you do end up dealing with soft snow it will only be toward the latter part of it. There's a lot of daylight to hike in that time of year.
OTOH, while you've got a lower snow year, you're also starting in there nearly a month earlier than I did. My experience was that the rangers weren't willing to make much in the way of predictions, I would nevertheless call and see what they have to say. You want to make sure that you're not talking just to some random person in the office at that time, but to the backcountry ranger who gets out and sees stuff for him/herself on the ground.
And with a late May start, do be at least as concerned about the "creek" crossings (think perhaps more like small rivers) than about snow. Going southbound out of East Glacier the first day into the Bob we tried the Ley "purple route" to cross the Two Medicine river and then hopefully have little in the way of crossings for a while afterwards. When we got there we looked at the river and then at each other and just laughed. No friggin' way, so we backtracked to follow the "red" route going generally upstream with lots of smaller crossings of feeder streams and ultimately were able to cross Two Medicine later when it was somewhat diminished. Still a challenge, as were some of the feeder streams.
Don't take the water crossings for granted — bigger danger there than is generally offered in backpacking by much of anything else.Apr 19, 2013 at 8:45 am #1978372
Thanks Brian. The water crossings are definitely going to be the crux of this trip. Fortunately we don't (and wouldn't) cross anything nearly as big as Two Medicine.Apr 23, 2013 at 8:50 am #1979693
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Looks like a good list. I'd strongly recommend some kind of gaiters, even if they just slow down water and especially snow flushing through your shoes they'll keep your feet much warmer.
Most likely I'll be bringing almost exactly the same aray of clothing you have on your original list. Difference is I'll have a substantially lighter quilt and be packrafting. And have no rain gear and a massive drysuit.
The pocket rocket will make a good fire starter, too.Apr 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm #1981353
John St. LaurentParticipant
@johnstlLocale: Pacific NW
Andrew: Last year I made note descending the Headquarters Creek basin that the snow pettered out at about 6,000'. Snowshoes were very welcome above about 7,000' (looking at the map, I donned mine at 7,400'), but not really needed below that. I should add that a lot of the benefit of the snowshoes came from the crampons, not the floatation. The cabin at Gates Park is at 5,300'. Although it snowed the first night enough to turn things white, the snow was thin and easily walkable, and likely was gone by the end of the day.
If the snowpack turns out be similar to last year's, this might be helpful data for your decision-making.Apr 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm #1981796
@schasseyLocale: Bay Area
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I'm more than curious- where did you source snow baskets that fit the GG LT4 tips?
Thanks, and good luck in the Open!Apr 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm #1981800
The LT4 tips are pretty standard, so most baskets work. I tossed some Black Diamond snow baskets on mine.Apr 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm #1981816
John, thanks for the first-hand info, that is very valuable. Chris and I just spent the weekend in Kings Canyon at around 8600' and did just fine sans snowshoes (TR in the works.) Will more than likely leave them at home at this point.
The "snow baskets" on my LT4s are the ones they came with…about 1.5" in diameter, not the traditional 4" diameter ones. I managed to completely destroy them this weekend, so time to find some new ones…Apr 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm #1982096
@schasseyLocale: Bay Area
Interesting, as I tried both Black Diamond and Leki snow baskets on my LT4s and the threads didn't match for either.
Perhaps they've changed tips? I bought mine in the fall of '11.
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