In my last feverish post, I totally missed some really good points about hiking in snow – really crucial stuff like navigation. A 2011 nobo thru-hiker made me aware right away (but doesn’t necessarily want to be credited).
So without further ado here are more tips from someone who has gone through the difficult and uncomfortable, but very survivable process of trudging through the High Sierra in a high snow year:
- “GPS/phone = major time saver. THERE IS NO TRAIL. Forget the trail being avalanched away. It’s just not there” (until many people walk it first). Learn how to read a map and navigate by it (that is an invaluable link to a precious map-reading resource, BTW). “Carry a paper map back up, because you know, if your GPS takes a dive in a stream crossing… Navigating in trees as you get further north makes it even harder.”
- Scout creek crossings*. Walk up and down on the side you approach looking for the most sensible crossing. You might be so lucky as to find downed trees you can walk or scoot over. “It takes time. It pays off.”
- “Microspikes are amazing on wet, slippery logs.”
- Water is so cold it WILL HURT
- “Buddy system is imperative, IMO”
- “Carry enough food to bail 80% deep, as in turn around and walk all the way back.”
- “Forget being a purist this year.”
- “Give up all your expectations.”
- “Snow shoes wouldn’t have made much difference (in June/July). On that much snow, it’s pretty consolidated, so it’s just slippery. Hard on the knees. Sun cups weren’t even that bad yet when we went through. Postholing wasn’t even too awful, honestly. Just miles of snow.
Thanks LoveNote! 😉
Like these shots? Need more fuel to fire your stoke? You can see more of LoveNote’s 2011 Sierra photographs here!