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What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

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What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby mambwe » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:55 am

I'm planning on doing a 2-day/1-night Presidential Traverse in either January or February with a couple friends. I have a pair of La Sportiva Nepal Evo boots that I used last winter in the Whites and on Rainier in August. Will these be warm enough? Or do i need double plastic boots? My feet haven't been cold in them yet. But, I've also never done a hike being exposed to the elements for so long in super cold condition. I used them this winter on a 2-day attempt at the Bonds and I was fine. We camped one night but had to cut the trip short due to an injury.

I don't like the idea do renting plastics and trying them on such a big hike. I did a 1-day traverse in the spring of this year.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby gcap » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:05 pm

mambwe wrote:Will these be warm enough?


Can't answer that without knowing the temperature and conditions - which you obviously don't know until a day or so before your hike :) Any Guide service would recommend doubles for Feb. overnights in the Whites.

You might be able to rent Sportiva Baruntse's, which will fit like your Nepals. Or buy a used pair for $250 - $300.

You should be fine in your Nepal's if careful - though doubles would add to your safety margin. If you go Nepal's, I'd recommend a VBL sock to prevent the boot from getting wet from perspiration on day 1. If they get wet, they'll freeze overnight, leaving you unhappy on day 2. If you can't do VBL's due to sizing, then put your boots in your sleeping bag at night to prevent freezing. Bring an extra pair of socks to sleep in and wear on day 2. Dry your wet socks in your sleeping bag at night and jacket on day 2.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby nartreb » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:17 pm

> I used them this winter on a 2-day attempt at the Bonds and I was fine. ... My feet haven't been cold in them yet.

I'd stick with what you've got. I'd much rather have boots that I know fit me comfortably and are broken in.

Everybody has a different comfort level for boot insulation. Some people's feet get cold quickly, some stay hot. Mine tend to overheat as soon as I move. I generally wear uninsulated leather boots (usually with thick socks) when winter camping in the Whites.

I'm assuming your two-day trip to the bonds was via Lincoln Woods - this means you weren't exposed to above-treeline winds all day long, the way you might be on the Presi Traverse. You definitely want to carry some more warm gear than you actually used on that hike - in particular, be prepared for the possibility of hunkering down in some crude approximation of shelter. But that doesn't mean you have to be completely swaddled the whole time you're hiking (except that you will probably need a windproof layer on your entire body). Wearing too-warm boots is like wearing a too-warm jacket, except you can take the jacket off a lot more easily.

I'd recommend a VBL sock to prevent the boot from getting wet from perspiration on day 1

See, this makes no sense to me. Why let your feet sweat that much in the first place?
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby gcap » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:22 pm

I'd recommend a VBL sock to prevent the boot from getting wet from perspiration on day 1

nartreb wrote:See, this makes no sense to me. Why let your feet sweat that much in the first place?


I just can't help it! Wish I could tell my feet not to sweat - that would be awesome.

An approach usually starts in much warmer conditions that the trip objective. It's the objective that dictates the boot choice - thus too warm a boot on approach, thus sweaty feet, thus a VBL to prevent soaked boots (Nepal EVO's are very hard to dry out).

Or double boots with a liner that you can dry at night.

Works great for me, but maybe not others.

nartreb wrote: I'd much rather have boots that I know fit me comfortably and are broken in.


Given the choice - I'd much rather have my toes than comfy / broken in boots :)

OP - to natreb's point, only you know your feet's tolerance to cold. Throughout the winter (before your trip) asses your lower temp limit with your Nepals, consider sweat issues that come with overnights and a single leather boot. Make your decision based on those facts.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby John Duffield » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:03 pm

Interesting project. Where are you planning to camp? One of the huts?
Th short days and daylight would also be a consideration at that time of year. I think I'd like a full moon for insurance. Just in case I got caught a little short of the stop.
Per internet, full moons are
Sunday, 27 January 2013, 05:38:24 am
Monday, 25 February 2013, 09:26:06 pm
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby mambwe » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:28 pm

I don't think any of the huts along the traverse are open in winter. Our plan, for now, is to bring our 4-season tent and find a place to camp. We haven't looked yet at possible sites. That full moon info is very useful. Thanks.

I will update when we figure out where we intend to camp.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby Biscut » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:09 pm

I beleived closed in winter...Madison hut gets some really cool ice flows oozing out of it. I had an experience on Adams during a winter overnight about 10 years ago. Basically got caught with not enough boot. Have all my toes but it scared the hell outa me and although my feet tend to sweat and stay warm decently....if I stop for too long they get cold quick.

For me, I found a a happy spot with a boot like your in now for a day trip but go with double for overnight. IMHO it's worth the extra bit of insurance.

IDK what size you are but if you are looking for a double boot and are US 12 PM me. I am selling Koflack Artics that are like new.

Make sure your tent is up to the task! The weatehr can be real nasty. And as mentioned is sure does get dark early in the winter months.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby mambwe » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:52 pm

Our tent is a North Face VE25 4-season tent. Is should be more than fine.

I usually only do 1 or 2 winter trip now because I have a young daughter at home. I also don't live that close to the mountains, so when I go it is usually a 3-day weekend and I don't like doing that a lot . Especially in the winter. Because of this I won't be buying anymore boots. I've done overnights in the white mountains with my Nepals. It was single digits and super windy and we were fine. We weren't as exposed to the weather as we will be on this trip. If we get too cold we will turn around. We will have a list of all possible bail out points.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby adventurer » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:54 pm

mambwe,

A friend and I did the traverse in the winter of 2009. We found the info on this site very helpful in our planning.
Here's the link: http://chauvinguides.com/PresiTraverse/presiguide.htm

Have fun and good luck!
"When you travel, if you avoid the people, reject the food, ignore the customs, and fear the religion..... you might as well stay home"
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby RyderS » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:47 pm

For boots: my friend and I tried the winter Prezi Traverse last year, and he was outfitted in EVOs. Things got chilly for him if he stopped for any lengthy period of time, but I don't remember him having to deal with frozen boots. I think others on this thread hit it dead on: don't let 'em freeze overnight. I was using some some old school Koflach double plastics and they kept my feet pleasantly warm all the way down to -5 to -10ºF standing temp (wind chills were down to -25 to -30).

For strategic shelter: The only hut on the route that might be open during the winter is the RMC Gray Knob Hut (on the west shoulder of Adams? Someone correct me if I'm wrong). I'd check with the folks at Pinkham Notch to make doubly sure. All of the AMC huts are definitely closed. Hermit Lake is open, but it would take you miles out of your way. The Valley Way Tent Site is a pretty decent vantage point to hunker down before launching into the Traverse proper. Camping spots and escapes get more difficult to come across after crossing Washington...
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby kozman18 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:56 pm

Gray Knob and Crag Camp (RMC huts) are both open in the winter (Gray Knob being warmer due to an intermittently used wood stove). If heading north to south (the usual traverse route), you have to descend from the base of Mt. Adams to about 4,300 feet to reach the huts. What you lose in elevation (maybe 1,000 feet?), you gain in not having to schlepp a tent, air matresses, etc. And, the next day is a long one since you have to regain the ridge and then have more than half of the traverse left to finish. The huts are a good place to keep in mind if you get stuck in bad weather.

Tenting -- I am planning the same trip this year, with a tent. My guess is that if I choose to bypass the RMC huts, then I am likely to end up on the ridge somewhere as the first day ends (near Jefferson/Washington). Given the wind, I will need to get off the ridge (probably towards the Great Gulf due to prevailing winds) and find a place to dig out a tent platform. That's my plan (so far), but I am interested in other ideas.

[Edit]

Camping spots from Chauvin Guides website:

1. Valley Way Campsite; This campsite is located on the Valley Way Trail 3.1 miles from the trailhead and .7 miles before the Madison Hut.
2. On the Israel Ridge Trail at the junction of the Randolph and Gray Knob Trail; Follow the escape route down to tree line. This is a good campsite and is not as far down as it first seems. To return to the ridge follow the Randolph Trail to Edmunds Col.
3. Sphinx Col; Follow the Sphinx Trail down a few hundred yards to some sheltered areas. This is the last good spot for nearly 5 ½ miles of above tree line travel.
4. Junction of the Crawford Path, Eisenhower Loop Trail and Edmunds Path; From the junction head south Southeast a couple of hundred yards to a sheltered area.
5. There is good camping on the Crawford Path once it enters into the trees.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby John Duffield » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:55 pm

I believe, Grey Knob is the one I was thinking of. It's the one with the organ?
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby kozman18 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:45 pm

I think Crag has the organ (or had it before they rebuilt the cabin), but I could be wrong. Crag is on the rim of the King Ravine ( great view); Gray Knob is a little further south. There is a trail connecting the two that passes a spring (water in the winter without the need to melt snow). Huts open year round with a modest fee per night.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby John Duffield » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:35 am

You're correct. Crag has the organ. I've been in both and found Grey Knob a little cosier, esp that upper loft. I think this is the way I'd go. But again, it would mean about half hour each way extra. But breaking out of the treeline is worth all of it.
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Re: What boots do I need for a Winter Presidential Traverse?

Postby kozman18 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:03 am

Agreed, Gray Knob is a great spot in the winter. But, the OP was for a 1 night traverse. Dropping down to Gray Knob leaves a huge second day that would be tough to finish even in optimal weather. After looking at a map, the best halfway point is Sphinx Col (dropping down to tree line to the east). I've stayed there in the spring when there was a good deal of snow. Assuming a good snow year, it should be a good winter camping spot. And, if the weather turns you can bail into the Great Gulf (no picnic getting out though, and you end up a long way from your vehicles).

Not sure I would schlepp a VE tent all that way. 11 pounds is pretty heavy on top of winter gear. . .
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