Winter Hiking

The coldest season is upon us in all its frosty, freezing glory. Stride forth upon the snow-covered trails and do not let the chill dissuade you: The right gear will keep you perfectly warm and comfortable throughout any winter adventure. Protecting your feet from the cold is particularly crucial. Icy feet and wooden toes will…

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If you’re out winter camping or backcountry skiing, you need to carry a snow shovel. Among other uses, it’s essential for setting up camp, constructing a snow cave, excavating snow pits to evaluate avalanche hazard, and digging out an avalanche victim should the worst come to pass. When it comes to choosing an option, there are…

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When you’re out in the winter cold, one of the fastest ways to lose body heat is to come into contact with a cold surface. Physics being physics, heat will begin flowing from the warmer object (you) to the colder object, a process known as conduction. And more often than not, your rear end is the chilly recipient of…

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Part 1: You are the leader on a 4-day winter backpacking trip in the White Mountains. Your group consists of seven participants of varied skill level. All have some experience winter camping. Your co-leader has Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and winter backpacking experience. This is day 3 of the trip. Today’s plan is to summit a…

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It can happen to even the most seasoned hiker. You casually duck into the woods to relieve yourself, zip up your pants, and—uh, oh. Which way was the trail? If you’re a solo hiker who becomes disoriented—or, worse, injured—nobody is there to help. Don’t panic! You’ve got options. Before You Go Getting found starts before…

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Magnetic declination refers to the angle between the geographic North Pole and the magnetic pole located in the Arctic Ocean. You will discover that good hiking and topographic maps always indicate the local magnetic declination via a declination diagram, which includes one arrow pointing to geographic north (commonly labeled as True North, or TN) and…

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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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My first ascent of the season – Friday January 20, 2017 To all the winter lovers & adventure seekers… Winter is here and for all of us winter fanatics, it’s our favorite time of the year. I spent all of Thursday monitoring the forecast. I kept the Mount Washington Observatory’s weather report tab up on…

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The following simple items can help rescuers find you in the event of a backcountry emergency. A whistle. Shouts for help can only be heard a few hundred yards away, at best. The piercing sound of a loud whistle carries more than a mile away. What’s more, you can blow a whistle in regular bursts…

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