Crampons

You can strap a lot of different gear to your feet for winter adventure. But do you really need to? There are obvious benefits to avoiding the hassle and weight of equipment like snowshoes, gaiters, and crampons—so here’s my advice for evaluating whether you need them in the first place. For this exercise, I’m going to…

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Deep snow, cold temperatures, and slick conditions are upon us throughout much of the Northeast. If you’re headed outside for winter adventure, that means it’s time to strap some extra gear to your feet. I’ve written extensively over the past few winters about the myriad options available for winter traction, from the latest no-slip winter boots to…

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A few weeks ago, my friend told me that she and her friends had just attempted a winter Presidential Traverse. I thought it sounded like a miserable undertaking – low visibility, high wind, general exposure, and just plain cold. Then this week rolled around. I found myself with no plans for my one full day…

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Last March, I wrote an entry about the Harvard Cabin, which has pretty quickly become one of my favorite places on the mountain. The cabin was built in the early 1960s by the Harvard Mountaineering Club near Huntington Ravine, on the east side of Mount Washington. It operates under a special use permit with the…

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“Sharp crampons are like sharp knives: They are safer and work best when sharp,” says Steve House, a climber and the author of Training for the New Alpinism. Trekking on ice, snow, and especially rock will eventually dull crampons and make them less effective— particularly early in the season, when ice and snow are light….

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Don’t wait for the first snowfall. Trek down into the basement, out into the garage, or deep into the closet and pull out all of your winter gear—tonight. A thorough preseason evaluation of everything from clothes to skis to crampons will help preserve your gear, keep you safe, and prevent problems once you do head…

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Photograph by Jerry and Marcy Monkman. A few simple tricks can eliminate many small inconveniences of winter hiking. Designate specific jacket pockets for your hat and gloves so you can easily keep track of them. Keep an energy bar in a pocket close to your body to avoid breaking your teeth on a frozen, rock-hard…

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Ah, winter: Season of outdoor thrills and potentially butt-crunching spills. When snow and ice create dangerous conditions underfoot—from city sidewalks to rugged mountain trails—adding a winter traction system to your footwear will provide the grip you need to stay safely upright. Here are the options, from casual to extreme, to keep you on your feet…

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Don’t overlayer. You generate substantial body heat even in the coldest and windiest conditions, especially if you’re powering up a mountainside.  Leash your mittens or gloves to your wrists to prevent strong winds from blasting away these critical items. Secure loose straps on the outside of your pack or clothing to prevent them from flapping wildly in the…

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