Winter Hiking

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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A series of telltale consequences begin to unfold as core temperature drops and hypothermia sets in. Knowing your “umbles” will help you recognize them—and take preventative actions before it’s too late. The “Fumbles”  Approximate Core Temperature: 98.6 to 95 degrees Condition: Mild Hypothermia One of the first signs of hypothermia is an inability to perform…

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You can easily burn 4,000 calories a day or more on a cold-weather adventure, which makes it crucial to consume sufficient high-energy food for body heat and go-power. Carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, provide the fastest energy and should be your primary source of daytime calories. Energy bars and candy bars turn into rock-hard bricks in…

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A round-up of everything you wear, from head to toe, with some commentary on my personal preferences. Head, Face, and Neck You likely won’t need every square inch of your head and face covered while winter camping, but if you plan on heading above treeline in cold, very windy conditions, definitely have the four essentials—liner…

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The snowpack can be tricky and uneven. Hidden soft spots and hard objects lurk within. Use poles to enhance your balance—and to assist your recovery in the event of a tumble. Upgrade three-season trekking poles for winter use by swapping in a pair of winter baskets to prevent the tips from sinking into the snow. Note…

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It was as a young adult that Yemaya Maurer, coauthor of AMC Guide to Winter Hiking & Camping, became aware of the pleasures of traveling through a winter landscape and mourned a childhood that hadn’t included it. As she wrote in the guide’s introduction, she wished she had known as a child “what it was like…

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I wrote about four critical head- and neck-specific items in the January-February issue of AMC Outdoors—liner balaclava, hat, face mask, and goggles—but there’s one more layer of protection worth highlighting: a good, properly-fitting jacket hood. Here’s what to look for. First, it should be completely wind-proof to offer total protection even in extreme conditions. Any…

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Snowshoeing for fun and exercise in the woods and fields close to home doesn’t require a lot of preparation or skills beyond the ability to put one foot in front of the other. But when your adventures take you farther afield into the more challenging terrain of the mountains, a few simple tips and techniques…

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Frigid temperatures and serious winds blast the Northeast’s highest peaks in winter. Frostbite can happen quickly on any exposed skin. For a winter summit attempt, you must be able to protect every square inch of your face, neck, and head. To accomplish this, you need four essential components: a liner balaclava, hat, face mask, and…

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You need not be an experienced mountaineer to enjoy the winter landscape from a mountain summit. Dramatic views from the tops of relatively easy-to-access peaks can be found throughout the Northeast. Just bundle up, pack your winter essentials, and strap on your snowshoes for these seven great hikes. Saint Sauveur Mountain  |  Acadia National Park,…

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