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  1. #1
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    VIDEO: Frigid Backpacking in the White Mountains

    My friend Rob and I ventured into the White Mountains last weekend for a real backcountry hammock camping adventure. This was a very challenging trip - neither of us were ready for the weight of our massive packs and they wore us down. We hiked up Mt. Garfield and set up our hammocks at the Garfield Shelter (we didn't stay in the shelter but rather used it as our base of operations).

    It was forecast to get down to about 3F and that was right on the money. It was cold! Thankfully both my clothing and hammock gear kept me fairly warm. Setting up and taking down the hammock proved as difficult as I expected in the cold weather. But in my haste to try to set things up I stumbled over my hammock and punctured a few small holes with my snowshoe. I was so mad at myself and worried about how I would fare - luckily the hammock held up fine. And since I wanted to get a new hammock anyway this was sort of a blessing.

    In retrospect I didn't pick a great spot for the hammock as there was a lot of wind blowing through. I'm glad I had the winter sock for this one as it snowed most of the night. I fixed my ridgeline issue from last time. But I didn't consider the condensation and was battling ice crystals on the inside of the sock all night. So while I never got very cold in the hammock I definitely didn't get much sleep.

    Originally our plan was to continue hiking along the Pemi ridge and camp at the Guyot Campside by the Bonds for night 2. But we had pretty much dismissed that before we even reached the Garfield Shelter. One reason was the weight of the packs. They really took a toll on us. And after our first night of camping we awoke with frozen gear and packed in a haphazard fashion in order to get a move on. Neither of us had much of a desire to setup/breakdown our gear again. We were both happy to change our plans, continue our hike to Galehead Mountain and then descend back to the car.

    This was a tough but great trip. Lots of lessons learned! I'm happy with how the video came out and hope you enjoy it.


  2. #2
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    Beautiful video Seth. I enjoyed how you mixed in still camera shots, smooth pans and zooms. Made for a pleasant viewing experience. All that snow blows my mind.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layne View Post
    Beautiful video Seth. I enjoyed how you mixed in still camera shots, smooth pans and zooms. Made for a pleasant viewing experience. All that snow blows my mind.
    Thanks much Layne, I tried to mix up the shots to keep it interesting. And yeah - a whole lot of snow. Occasionally you step off the packed trail and sink down to your waist!

  4. #4
    Senior Member twentybelow's Avatar
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    Yep, deep winter backpacking definitely requires more of everything which all adds up. Heavier quilts, more clothes, and way more energy, especially when breaking trail. Modern snowshoes are pretty light compared to those old wooden models, but combine them with heavy winter boots and steep terrain... that's a lot weight to lift each time you take a step. And good thing you brought the gas burner, otherwise... no soup for you!

    Kudos to you both for venturing out in those challenging conditions, and thanks for taking us along!

  5. #5
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Great report! Looked like a pretty good challenge, but you did OK!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by twentybelow View Post
    Yep, deep winter backpacking definitely requires more of everything which all adds up. Heavier quilts, more clothes, and way more energy, especially when breaking trail. Modern snowshoes are pretty light compared to those old wooden models, but combine them with heavy winter boots and steep terrain... that's a lot weight to lift each time you take a step. And good thing you brought the gas burner, otherwise... no soup for you!

    Kudos to you both for venturing out in those challenging conditions, and thanks for taking us along!
    Thanks! Yeah in retrospect we should have practiced more with heavy packs. Would have maybe made it at little easier (though not much). And I had just bought a cannister stove because I was tired of dealing with the Whisperlite and then suddenly I realized I needed it again. That thing is 24 years old and still going strong!

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Great report! Looked like a pretty good challenge, but you did OK!
    I think we did alright, all things considered. Makes me really look forward to camping in warm weather again - it'll be a cinch!

  7. #7
    Senior Member twentybelow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhody Seth View Post
    Thanks! Yeah in retrospect we should have practiced more with heavy packs. Would have maybe made it at little easier (though not much). And I had just bought a cannister stove because I was tired of dealing with the Whisperlite and then suddenly I realized I needed it again. That thing is 24 years old and still going strong!
    I've got a SVEA 123 I bought in the mid 1970's. These days it only gets used on dead-of-winter trips, and it still never fails to get the job done after almost 50 years!

    I really enjoyed your video. All those beautiful snow-covered trees brought back fond memories of winter camping in the Adirondacks up around the Lake Placid / High Peaks area. We would usually hike in a couple of miles from the parking lot, set up a base camp, then spend a few days cross-country skiing the network of trails with just a light daypack. It's amazing how fun and easy it is to cover 15-20 miles in a day gliding along on skis with only five pounds on your back. If you haven't tried that style of winter camping, I'd encourage you to give it a whirl.

  8. #8
    psyculman's Avatar
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    Thank you for the excellent recording of your excellent trip.
    Good quality down pants and booties will save you some weight and pack bulk, and are warmer than a bag. Also having your tarp drape to the ground conserves a surprising amount of heat, and blocks breeze. Good call on having the white gas stove, I would never venture out in winter up here without it.
    Since I retired, some times I stay awake all day, some times all night.

  9. #9
    Senior Member u.willie's Avatar
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    WOW!
    Thank you for posting this excellent video!

    Pretty cool (pun not intended) seeing how different it all looks in the middle of winter, as opposed to summer/fall. It's beautiful for sure!

    willin'

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by twentybelow View Post
    I've got a SVEA 123 All those beautiful snow-covered trees brought back fond memories of winter camping in the Adirondacks up around the Lake Placid / High Peaks area. We would usually hike in a couple of miles from the parking lot, set up a base camp, then spend a few days cross-country skiing the network of trails with just a light daypack. It's amazing how fun and easy it is to cover 15-20 miles in a day gliding along on skis with only five pounds on your back. If you haven't tried that style of winter camping, I'd encourage you to give it a whirl.
    Watching all these videos of guys pulling pulks makes me thing they've got the right idea. I love climbing up the mountains but maybe not so much with a pack as heavy as this one!

    Quote Originally Posted by psyculman View Post
    Thank you for the excellent recording of your excellent trip.
    Good quality down pants and booties will save you some weight and pack bulk, and are warmer than a bag. Also having your tarp drape to the ground conserves a surprising amount of heat, and blocks breeze.
    Rob had down pants that he put on in the evening and oh he was warm and happy. Yeah, I think those are probably a good choice to stay toasty!

    Quote Originally Posted by u.willie View Post
    Pretty cool (pun not intended) seeing how different it all looks in the middle of winter, as opposed to summer/fall. It's beautiful for sure!
    Thanks! Yeah it sure is a different world in the winter - it may be my favorite season to hike.

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