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Thread: Early Season Hikes

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    Default Early Season Hikes

    I am already experiencing some early Spring fever, I want to get back out into the backcountry, but need some suggestions for early season hiking and maybe even camping.

    Anyone been out and can report how trail conditions are around the Anchorage area?

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    The trailheads on the Seward Highway between Potters Marsh and Girdwood are probably getting pretty dry by now because that whole slope faces South. There are trails that run along the side of the mountain, as well as those that go up. It's usually the first place I start hiking at each season. The south facing slopes in Eagle River are getting there too- there are trailheads at various spots off Eagle River Road.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

  3. #3

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    In the Mat-Su, Lazy Mountain and the Butte (South Side) are good for hiking. Lazy mountain can be muddy and slippery yet...I bring microspikes for the mid sections. The Butte is totally clear...good short hike. Other trails in the Mat-Su are still not ready without gear such as: snowshoes, crampons, microspikes etc. Happy trails! (-=

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    I did Near Point last week and didn't need snowshoes or even gaiters. Wolverine (same trail-head: Prospect Heights) looks like it would also be mostly free and clear, with maybe just a little bit in the middle where you would want snowshoes. Rainbow Peak looks to be completely free of snow. That trail is accessed from the Seward Hwy about midway between the McHugh Cr trail head and Indian. There's plenty of others that are becoming good, especially if you have snowshoes. PM me if you need any more info.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Hiking in Alaska is a year round sport. Most of the main trails in the Valley and bowl areas have tons of hikers all winter. Collapsible trekking poles, 6 point heel crampons or better, and gatas should be in your (mine anyway) pack at all times :-)
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    I did Near Point last week and didn't need snowshoes or even gaiters. Wolverine (same trail-head: Prospect Heights) looks like it would also be mostly free and clear, with maybe just a little bit in the middle where you would want snowshoes. Rainbow Peak looks to be completely free of snow. That trail is accessed from the Seward Hwy about midway between the McHugh Cr trail head and Indian. There's plenty of others that are becoming good, especially if you have snowshoes. PM me if you need any more info.

    -Gr
    What would you suggest for snowshoes? This area is really where I am lacking some experince. Is there a difference between something I would use now as opposed to something I would use in the dead winter? Or something I would use for hiking with a small bag or a large backpack?

    Are you just hiking up to the snow then slapping on the shoes and pushing on?

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armybackpacker View Post
    What would you suggest for snowshoes? This area is really where I am lacking some experince. Is there a difference between something I would use now as opposed to something I would use in the dead winter? Or something I would use for hiking with a small bag or a large backpack?

    Are you just hiking up to the snow then slapping on the shoes and pushing on?
    As with anything else, I'm sure you can find a whole host of opinions on the proper snow shoes. I just have a set of Tubbs 30" Discovery snow shoes. They are not the extreme hiking kind, more of a middle-of-the-road snowshoe. I'm sure there are other kinds that would be optimal for this and optimal for that. I have found mine to be good for just about everything, or at least quite a bit better than without them. When you start post-holing down to your crotch, anything you put on your feet helps! I would recommend a set of gaters too, or you will kick snow down the back of your boots from the heel of the snow shoe. And yes, I keep them strapped to my pack until I need them. They go on and off pretty easy.

    Hope that helps!

    -Gr
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    Member Rucksack72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armybackpacker View Post
    I am already experiencing some early Spring fever, I want to get back out into the backcountry, but need some suggestions for early season hiking and maybe even camping.

    Anyone been out and can report how trail conditions are around the Anchorage area?
    MSR army issue snow shoes have worked the best for me..Ive done trails and peaks with them..

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Popular trails are well packed, and honestly you rarely need snowshoes on them throughout the winter. I'd say crampons would be more useful for the glare ice and freeze/thaw.

    I've had a pair of Atlas snowshoes for ~15 years, they are great snowshoes, but I don't think I even used them once this winter. As far as what type of snowshoe, your weight, the type of snow, and depth of snow have a big effect on what type of snowshoe you need. I've hiked in deep fine grained cold snow and sunk up to my waste, with snowshoes on. But for more typical conditions, the 30-36" shoes, depending on your weight, should do the trick.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Default What to wear?

    I've never been to Alaska yet, but would love to come out for some hiking. How cold is it this time of year (read: when I have vacation time). Could I wear these shirts, for example, or would I be freezing my elbows off?

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah View Post
    I've never been to Alaska yet, but would love to come out for some hiking. How cold is it this time of year (read: when I have vacation time). Could I wear these shirts, for example, or would I be freezing my elbows off?
    Sarah,

    First off, it depends largely on where you're going in Alaska. It can be very nice and surprisingly warm in many or most areas of the state in the summer. Here in Anchorage we're still a little cool these days, highs in the 50s, but it will warm up through the middle of June.

    The big thing is to make sure you have gear that will work for a broad range of temperatures. I've seen it be 80 degrees in July, but I've also seen it snow, so just be prepared. Bring good rain gear and clothing that wicks water. If you end up not using it, great. If you are venturing into the mountains, have something that cuts wind. There are no trees above 2000 feet pretty much anywhere in the state, so only rocks to shelter you from the wind.

    Hope that helps.

    -Gr
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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    I hiked 3.5 miles back the Symphony Lakes trail at South Fork in Eagle River today. Trail was in pretty good shape. There were a few muddy spots, an occasional bit of ice in the shady areas, but for the most part the trail was dry and in excellent condition. From my vantage point it looked like it would be in good shape clear to the lake.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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