Early summer travel | High Sierra Topix  

Early summer travel

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar

Early summer travel

Postby richlong8 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:59 pm

Unless we have a really hot spring, there should be more snow to contend with this year than normal!

Looking at a couple pieces of gear- thought I would ask around and see if anyone owns these, and if you like them

Anyone out there have any experience with the Katoolah spikes? I have a cheap pair of cabela's spikes that are falling apart, and these look like a pretty good replacement
http://www.amazon.com/Kahtoola-MICROspi ... d_sim_sg_2

or anyone have experience with the Black Diamond Self-arrest Whippet Pole? I lost my ice axe about 10 years ago in a move, and this BD pole looks interesting. It seems that it is more aimed at skiiers, but it looks handy to have a hiking pole with an axe head. It is not short like many axes, so it seems like a good all round tool/pole to have around.

thanks for any feedback
richard

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00157 ... d_i=507846



User avatar
richlong8
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 687
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:02 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby Jason » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:45 am

Hi Rich,
I don’t have the Kathoola spikes, but I did recently buy a set of Icetrekkers for my wife and I and we’ve only used them once, about a month ago in Yosemite. The Kathoola’s look similar but more aggressive, though maybe that’s what you’re looking for. Having used the Ice Trekkers, I can say that they did give us much better traction on ice, in particular the last little paved hill at the base of Yosemite Falls that’s always icy. Other people were slipping and sliding and we walked right up, just like normal. They’re also easy to put on, although if you’re putting them on hiking boots as we were make sure you get a size that’s large enough. I think my boots are 10.5 and the XL seems to fit pretty well.
User avatar
Jason
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby richlong8 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:05 am

Thanks Jason, appreciate it! I hope to get into the Yosemite this spring. The falls should be awesome this year.
User avatar
richlong8
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 687
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:02 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby Clubb » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:58 am

I usually dont do snow/ice unless I'm going snow shoeing in the winter. the shoes are pretty much on at all times.

so........question, if you wanna do some early season stuff where you might come across some snow, how do you guys deal with it? carry snow shoes? any other items you like to have?

If so, what are good light weight snow shoes? MSR?

Thanks,
Brian
User avatar
Clubb
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:57 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby oldranger » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:31 pm

Brian,

It depends on what you call early season. About 2 weeks after the last significant snow in April and if there have been several warm days the snow will get pretty consolidated. When that occurs travel over snow early in the day usually isn't too bad. If you wait too long in the day on a warm day you might find yourself up to your crotch in snow, though. Generally I have found that on north slopes if significant suncups have formed you don't sink too far. On the other hand sometimes the snow will melt from the ground up between rocks and what seems like solid snow is really a snow bridge that can collapse underneath your weight. Despite my somewhat confusing condition of snow conditions on my Mid may through September adventures over snow I have never needed snowshoes or anything else for that matter but on one or two occasions I would have felt more comfortable with an Ice Ax or trekking poles. By the way my test for personal comfort on steep slopes is to toss a rock down the slope. If it keeps going and picks up speed I become momentarily paralyzed in fear :o until I figure out a different route. No matter how steep and long the slope appears if the rock stops I assume I will too and I'm good to go. I do this test on snow, too, if I can find a loose rock and I have on occasion grabbed a sharp rock to use as a self arrest tool when negotiating a relatively short steep and hard patch of snow.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2168
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby Mike M. » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:49 pm

Snowshoes are great in winter conditions but of no use whatsoever on consolidated snow, which is what you will encounter in spring and early summer. Where you find it, this snow can make for some hard hiking, but not the kind that can be made easier by using snowshoes. The hardest of the hard hiking is steep sun cups, which take a lot of brute force and patience to deal with. And as others have said, the biggest obstacle you are likely to face because of all the snow is high water caused by all the runoff. I always keep my boots on when wading through high water, and I look for broad, relatively placid places to cross.

The upside of early summer travel is you will see very few people and the scenery, with all the snow, is drop-dead gorgeous. Be safe and you will have a great experience.

Mike
User avatar
Mike M.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:19 pm

One thing most people do not think about is what they wear can either retard or increase the speed you slide down a steep slope if you fall. NEVER wear slick clothes. You can get going like crazy even on fairly mellow slopes. You also must stop quickly. The farther you slide the more speed you pick up. You really need to practice on snow if you plan on walking across any kind of slope. Just buying the equipment is not going to do you much good. You need to practice falling with a pack on, to get an idea of what is safe. I practice this every season. A good place to pratice in Spring that will give you the hard snow you will experience later in summer is on a closed ski slope with a good run-out. The last time I did this was at Kirkwood. Also, if you plan on wearing crampons be sure you practice with them too - fit on your boot is critical. Stopping yourself in a fall with crampons on is WAY different than if you do not use crampons.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

Re: Early summer travel

Postby Cross Country » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:51 pm

I've always thought a good bet was out of Hech - Hechy.
Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Early summer travel

Postby Jason » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:08 am

I agree with Wandering Daisy about practicing on snow slopes and knowing what to expect when it happens. You never know what it will be like and nothing beats experience and a little caution.

Regarding that, here's a short self-deprecating tale:

Once, while hiking up to Red Lake Peak near Carson Pass, my wife and I had to cross a north facing snow field that sloped down towards a small gulley. Having very little experience with snow
on an angled slope (I live in the valley and have never skied or snowboarded, nor tubed at the time) we took it very slow and careful, kicking small steps into the snow and sharing a pair of
hiking poles for stability.

About half way across we see a couple and their dog, much, much higher on the hill near the edge of a steep drop. I could see the guy on his butt, scooting towards the edge, clearly intending a seated glissade. I said something to my wife about our hiking trip possibly turning into a rescue effort. While watching him I muttered to myself "Don't do it", but he did. He pushed off and slid several hundred feet........... whooping, hollering and laughing with his dog running along side. When he finally stopped, on a slope that was still steeper than where I was standing, he turned and hollered to his female companion about how awesome it was and she did the same thing, just as successfully. I looked at the simple little slope I was standing on, looked at my wife, and said something like "Perhaps we're being too cautious."

At that point I whipped out my rain shell, sat on it, and slid down our simple little slope giggling the whole way. I bet wasn't going much faster than walking speed.

I guess the point is that practice in a safe environment helps you understand future conditions. Now I have a much better feel for what represents "mortal danger". That little slope certainly didn't!
User avatar
Jason
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:13 am
Experience: N/A


Return to Outdoor Gear Topix



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest