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Old 02-11-2019, 12:45 PM   #1
Eddie Fournier
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Sawteeth 2/10

Magnificent day in the Adis if maybe on the cold side. Although this was officially my first winter HP, trail conditions were actually much easier than pretty much all of my recent shoulder-season hikes. Hard-packed snow all the way, with a bit of ice on top.

Headed out from the hiker parking at 7:15. I started to feel the wind on Lake Road and my legs got a bit cold, but the ascent effort would solve that. Met a few campers heading out. I don't know how they survived a night at -1000F (I looked at my compass/whistle that also acts as a thermometer, but the temparature was too cold to register, meaning it was below 0F).

I got to the end of Lake road at 8:30. I put on snowshoes at the start of the Weld Trail and stopped to look at the falls. After 5 miles, I was doing better time than expected and I started entertaining the thought of going through Pyramid/Gothics for the loop (which another hiker mentioned he was aiming for as he passed me). However, that was not to be as my progress considerably slowed thereafter and I was constantly out of breath and the weight of my backpack and "frontpack" were holding me back.

Switched to crampons near the top as it was getting icy. Splendid views on top of Giant, Dial/Nippletop and the Great Range. Had the top to myself and there was hardly any wind (it helps that this is not a treeless summit).

Trip down was tedious as my new boots were giving me blisters, but eventually got to the parking at 14:30. As I was leaving, the gentleman who I spoke to earlier mentioned he got to Pyramid but elected not to go onto Gothics because of dangerously icy conditions.

Lower Ausable Lake and footbridge to Weld Trail:


Rainbow Falls:


Basin, Saddleback, Gothics, Pyramid:


Giant:
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:03 PM   #2
tenderfoot
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Great trip report. I agree that in some ways winter peaking is easier. Trails are a bit flatter when snow fills in nicely around all of the boulders. Great photos. A few quick questions:

my legs got a bit cold
So far I have done half a dozen peaks in temps lower than 30F and snow on the ground. Including the Gothics & Co. I wear gaiters and normal WR hiking pants, with a layer in the pack. The one time I tried a base layer under them I heated up rather quickly. I may invest in either shell pants and/or primaloft side zip ECWS pants. What were you wearing, if I may ask.

frontpack
I cut this weight by 20lbs and it seems to have shaved 10 years off my ability to get up a mountain.

crampons
Full blown crampons or spikes? I am thinking out of the three I always want snowshoes this time of year but am either switching to longer spikes or will carry crampons (invaluable on Gothic). My spikes are shorter than Kahtoolas so I may start there.

new boots
Winter boots, winter hikers or just hikers? I just did a smaller mountain with winter boots and they are a bit clunky. I have worn waterproof hikers sized for extra socks but understand that is a bit risky. I do have synthetic insulation liners though.

We camped and tried Sawteeth as our first winter hike but by the time we got to end of Lake road we turned back due to illness. You have re-energized me to try again.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:17 PM   #3
Eddie Fournier
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I was wearing 3 layers: a base layer, hiking pants and rain pants (light but wind-resistant) instead of gaiters because of the low temp. Did not work a heat enough on the 1st half of Lake Road against the cold wind, but I was fine the rest of the way. My rain pants can unzip on the sides if I'm too hot.

Boots are Vasque Snowburban II winter hiking boots. This is the same brand as my summer boots which went on perfectly and blister-free from day 1. Not so with the winter boots. Next time, I will wear a thin layer of sox under my main ones. I figure the additional pull from the snowshoes is probably what caused friction at the heel.

My crampons are Hillsound Trail Crampons, not actual mountaineering crampons. That is all I have, but nothing more agressive was needed on this day.

I saw someone with a trekking pole topped by an ice axe - that might be something I would consider purchasing to give me more confidence on the way down.
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