winter camping

10:28 p.m. on May 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I've been road camping in gifford pinchot for a few years, and have been wondering about planning a winter trip. I recently read Helena Thayer's book Polar Dream and thought maybe this year Id give it a try with perhaps one partner. I did a winter campout once in the boyscouts years back and im familiar with clothes for chilly weather being a skier.

The local rangers tell camping is permited at the snow parks. Im considering a combination of snowshoes and sled for moving my gear. I've got a wiggys ultralight FTRSS that's rated at -20, more than warm enough and an eight man alaskan guide tent and a single burner MSR stove. My vehicle is rear wheel drive truck, I get up to the ski resorts okay with studded tires. Im not sure how regularly the roads in gifford pinchot are plowed though. Should I consider borrowing my dads old dodge powerwagon? Any other gear I should hunt for over the summer?

2:24 p.m. on May 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Are you planning to haul the 8 man tent far into the woods? Seems rather big for just yourself.

I winter camped in the high Sierra in 1980 from January to May, backpacking. I used a North Face VE24 tent, I had a -30 EMS sleeping bag and a Svea 123 stove. I would hike with snowshoes and crosscountry skiis. I spent as much as a month in the backcountry packing in all my food.

I wore wool pants and shirt,polypropelene underwear and wool socks. Goretex pants and jacket.

I also used an ice axe and crampons for many of the routes I followed were iced over leaving Yosemite Valley.

Back then at age 24 I was full of energy and stamina. Don't think I could do it today at 54.

3:08 a.m. on May 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Never read Polar Dreams, but I would suggest getting Alan & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book. It's done in cartoon style with lots of drawings and plenty of basic camping tips for snow camping.

No idea about the roads up there, but I've used 4WD in Yosemite in winter and those roads get plowed regularly.

I'd start looking online at gear lists for winter. Many different websites have them. Www.wintertrekking.com is a good Canadian site for really cold weather camping which is different from what I have done. By really cold, I mean -30C as opposed to -10C (0C=+32F).

I have used either an Optimus Nova stove burning white gas or a Coleman Xtreme cartridge stove which burns a propane/butane mix down to the mid +20'sF (around -5C).

4:42 p.m. on May 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Good info, if i can afford a lighter 4 season tent im getting one. Does anyone have any recomendations on good pulk sleds?

7:54 p.m. on May 9, 2010 (EDT)
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>> J Hagar <<
>> I've been road camping in gifford pinchot for a few years, and have been <<
>> wondering about planning a winter trip. <<
>> maybe this year Id give it a try with perhaps one partner. <<
An eight person tent might be fine if you stay right by your vehicle but, if you are going more than a few yards from your vehicle, I would leave it home. I would recommend you try renting a two or three person tent. Many backpacking stores rent them, it will releave the money crunch 'right now'.
>> J Hagar <<
>> Im not sure how regularly the roads in gifford pinchot are plowed though. Should I consider borrowing my dads old dodge powerwagon? <<
Before heading out be positive about road conditions. There is nothing much worst than driving to a trailhead only to find the road is closed three miles or more from the trailhead!
>> J Hagar <<
>> Any other gear I should hunt for over the summer? <<
You made mention of many items, take a complete inventory of your gear so you can get/purchase your gear when end of winter or summer sales take place.
The one thing you did not mention is what type of hat do you use. I recommend a 'balaclava'. Wear it as a hat but at night while sleeping you can pull it down coverying your head and neck.

8:52 p.m. on May 9, 2010 (EDT)
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There are several sites with sled info on them. www.skipulk.com is a good one. You can make your own sled. The wintertrekking site I suggested has a lot of info on tobaggans that are made and used by its members.

I made a sled using a kid's plastic sled with pvc pipe and some fittings. it is easy to do. If I was going to make another one, I'd get a Paris Expedition sled-the orange one. They cost about $25-30 depending on where you can find them. I wouldn't buy one online, the shipping is too much. You can see one on the skipulk website.

There are some really expensive ones-Kifaru makes one that is the old Mountainsmith sled, but I would use a homemade one for anything except big expeditions unless you have an extra $200-300 for one.

I spent about $35 to make mine, but Ed (the Skipulk guy) sells a complete setup for about $200 already made up and better quality than mine.

12:04 a.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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J Hagar,

Not sure if you would be interested but heres a ad from the loacl craigslist in Flagstaff,az I could buy it for you if you want a light tent and ship it to you? Just include shipping in payment

Mountain Hardware 2 man tent - Room with a view - $50 (Eastside Flagstaff)
Date: 2010-05-09, 2:25PM MST
Reply to: sale-pbfdt-1732448400@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Tent is in good condition, comes with foot print. Was ~$300 new. Good for tall people.
Dan
928-522-8822 Location: Eastside Flagstaff s

10:58 p.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Actually most of the reason im going is for backcounty skiing, so my tent will be staying fairly near the parking area for a base camp, the gear im planning to pull on my sled is lunch water and emergency items for a several hour day, but thanks anyway.

7:15 a.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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No need for the sled. If you are just day skiing all the items you need, plus the items for an emergency bivouac, are easier to transport in a large day pack or small overnight pack.
Ed

7:15 p.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I agree,forget the sled for day skiing. Wear a pack. I have a cheap pack I got at a local sporting goods store-Academy brand, for about $40 that works well for a winter daypack. It is really a 3 season weekend pack-about 3000 c.i. A backcountry ski pack would be better, but much more. Mine will hold extra clothes, lightweight bivy sack, stove, food, ten essentials, etc. More than enough for a day trip.

Take a shovel. I have a Voile Mini. Lots of uses. I even take mine on day hikes. If I got stuck somewhere, I could dig a shelter. I've used it to dig out my car as well. If you blow up my avatar pic, you can see the handle sticking out below my pack.

December 22, 2014
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