Winter Mountaineering

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Winter Mountaineering, do you climb mountains in winter?

1. Never and don't plan to, not my thing, need to work on my tan lines
2
3%
2. Once in a while if a friend drags me up and bribes me with a beer when done
5
7%
3. I've been meaning to get into it and want to, but don't have the gear nor experience
8
11%
4. Yes, when I can, subject to how I feel and if weather is agreeable
53
70%
5. Every chance I get, I was born with an ice axe in my hand
8
11%
 
Total votes: 76
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nyker
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Winter Mountaineering

Post by nyker » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:08 pm

Am wondering how many of us here go out and get some peaks in during winter months? Either in Colorado or elsewhere.
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Scott P
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by Scott P » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:14 pm

Winter is just another season. There really isn't a good reason to just do hikes or climbs in one season. You just have to make the best of each season and enjoy every season.

So far this month (as of 1/21/2021) I have hiked or climbed on 17 days and climbed 9 summits. If I didn't climb and hike in winter, it would be impossible to accomplish my goals and I'd probably look like Fat Bast**** on the Austin Powers movies before summer hit.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by climbingcue » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:13 am

Winter climbs make the hot springs afterwards 100% better. I love snow, winter is the 2nd best climbing season after spring time. In my opinion.

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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by cottonmountaineering » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:26 am

winter is the best time to do the normally crowded peaks
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:52 am

I fit in category #4. I used to be really into winter peaks (13K'+), but lately I'd rather go for long bike rides on Sundays. Just hard to get psyched these days for the pre-dawn starts, creeping along snowpacked roads and hours of slogging. I am planning on going out Sunday for something easy, but only because a high of 36 down south is too chilly to make a 6 hour ride much fun, numb fingers. If I get 3-ish winter peaks in this season that's fine by me.

Something that I'm at peace with is that a climber doesn't need to follow the herd with his/her interests. Climbing preferences evolve over the years & decades, nothing wrong with that. I used to be really into alpine stuff. Now, eh...not as much. Just me.

-Tom
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by cottonmountaineering » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:07 am

TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:52 am
I fit in category #4. I used to be really into winter peaks (13K'+), but lately I'd rather go for long bike rides on Sundays. Just hard to get psyched these days for the pre-dawn starts, creeping along snowpacked roads and hours of slogging. I am planning on going out Sunday for something easy, but only because a high of 36 down south is too chilly to make a 6 hour ride much fun, numb fingers. If I get 3-ish winter peaks in this season that's fine by me.

Something that I'm at peace with is that a climber doesn't need to follow the herd with his/her interests. Climbing preferences evolve over the years & decades, nothing wrong with that. I used to be really into alpine stuff. Now, eh...not as much. Just me.

-Tom
the second best part about winter peaks is you dont need to worry about thunderstorms, start during the day :D
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by CaptCO » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:12 am

Most summer days are successful with the right planning, most winter days (as a weekend warrior) aren’t. Take that as you will I suppose
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by SurfNTurf » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:21 am

I'm admittedly a fair-weather winter mountaineer. I've endured more than my share of brutal conditions, don't get me wrong, but these days I prefer snowshoeing with the dog or ice climbing below treeline when the wind ticks over 30mph or the temps dip below 0 degrees. Not to say I'm always against slogging through some slop—but it has to be for a major goal. Not going to do it for yet another lap up Bierstadt. Similar to other folks, I view winter as just another season. I try not to let a month pass without at least one summit over 13k. I do tend to be more conservative with avalanches than most; I avoid questionable slopes completely unless I've done a rigorous assessment of both the conditions and my personal motivations.
“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:53 am

cottonmountaineering wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:07 am
TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:52 am
I fit in category #4. I used to be really into winter peaks (13K'+), but lately I'd rather go for long bike rides on Sundays. Just hard to get psyched these days for the pre-dawn starts, creeping along snowpacked roads and hours of slogging. I am planning on going out Sunday for something easy, but only because a high of 36 down south is too chilly to make a 6 hour ride much fun, numb fingers. If I get 3-ish winter peaks in this season that's fine by me.

Something that I'm at peace with is that a climber doesn't need to follow the herd with his/her interests. Climbing preferences evolve over the years & decades, nothing wrong with that. I used to be really into alpine stuff. Now, eh...not as much. Just me.

-Tom
the second best part about winter peaks is you dont need to worry about thunderstorms, start during the day :D
Yeah, but when I factor in the drive time, slogging, driving home, it turns into an all day thing unless I leave home early with a goal of getting to the TH about dawn. I want to have some time with the family on weekends, just my preference. And fwiw, I think that whole run-away-from-thunderstorms in the summer thing is way overdone. I'll steer clear of lightning, obviously, but if the forecast is good and matches what I'm seeing in the sky, I have no problem summitting well into the afternoon. If it looks threatening, I just turn around.

-Tom
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by daway8 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:10 am

I love the transformation of the landscape in winter - even the most barren mountains look beautiful when draped in snow and a tame, boring ridge like North Star can take on a dramatic look/feel when crested by snow cornices. The wicked winter winds add drama to life and the roads allow for some interesting 4WD challenges. The overall effort required, especially if you're the first to break trail, makes it feel like more of an accomplishment in some ways.

I've knocked out 10 new summits this winter and hope to squeeze in plenty more.
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by mtree » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:30 am

I stay away from any questionable routes with potential for avalanche. That limits my winter hiking mostly to ridges. I'll hike in most weather conditions except white outs and uber high winds. That said, the biggest turn-off to winter hiking is the traffic. Ski traffic!!! No thanks. The margin for error is mighty narrow and its way more challenging than during summer months. Otherwise, winter hiking is nice once you have your gear figured out and you're in a comfort zone. Its a different perspective. Different views. Different experience.
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Re: Winter Mountaineering

Post by Chicago Transplant » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:10 pm

I'm basically a fair-weather winter mountaineer (but a foul-weather skier!). I like to get out once or twice a month to break up the ski season. The reservation system has had me skiing a few low coverage days, but typically I hike the days the skiing is marginal. The benefit is those usual coincide to less trailbreaking on the hikes, and of course actually being able to enjoy the view! I seem to only have crappy weather when I plan winter hikes in advance, so most of my winter hikes are last minute decisions, but again with the ski reservation system this year is an anomaly there.

I definitely try to avoid the avalanche danger by sticking to low angle routes and ridge routes.
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