View Full Version : Are snow shoes needed for:

01-28-2009, 08:39 AM
Pierce, moriah or carter dome? Trying to decide if I need to rent them, or just hike in winter boots. Thanks.

01-28-2009, 09:09 AM
Pierce gets a lot of traffic, so that's the one you're least likely to need snowshoes. But if there's heavy snow the night before, you'll need them! Carter Dome is often broken out coming either from Zeta Pass or Carter Notch, but again, depends on how much new snow there is. Moriah is the one you're most likely to need snowshoes. I remember a trip where it took our group of six people five hours to get to the summit breaking through deep snow on the Carter Moriah Trail from Gorham.

Bottom line: Depends on the amount of traffic and how recently it's snowed. If you go out first thing Saturday morning you're more likely to need snowshoes than on Sunday morning.

01-28-2009, 10:08 AM
If you find you don't need the snowshoes, I highly recommend wearing microspikes (easy, just pulls on over your boots, they cost $40 or $50, I think -- and you can use them in the wintertime anywhere, even for shoveling your driveway). They will give you traction on the steep bits. Not as much as crampons will, but they're certainly much better than nothing at all. May make your trip more comfortable (less unintentional sliding).

01-28-2009, 10:12 AM
Thanks for reminding me...I need to pick up some micro spikes :)

01-28-2009, 12:22 PM
We now have extra pairs of Microspikes for house guests. Nice to have extra around.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
01-28-2009, 02:10 PM
Here in Baltimore today I used my Microspikes after 3" of snow that was coated with ice; otherwise I wouldn't have made it to the car. They are great and a good investment.

KD Talbot
01-28-2009, 05:06 PM
I think I may have been the original microspike enthusiast here, and I agree they are great, ON PACKED TRAILS.

If you are out on unpacked trails hiking in microspikes and leaving post-holes that freeze and ruin the trails for people after you, that is a winter hiking faux pas and gives you bad hiking karma as well. :mad: Please don't!

The trails originally in question in this thread should be sufficiently packed to allow bare-booting, micro-spikes, whatever.

Even if the trail is packed I strap the snowshoes on right at the start. It's just easier than carrying them and then fumbling with the straps with cold fingers. They only come off if conditions warrant crampons or microspikes. Usually above tree-line.

"I remember a trip where it took our group of six people five hours to get to the summit breaking through deep snow on the Carter Moriah Trail from Gorham."

If you climbed Carter-Moriah Trail from Gorham to Carter Dome you would pass over or near the summits of 4 mountains before reaching Carter Dome. It would be 12.6 miles, 6500' verticle and a book time of 9 hrs and 35 min. in good weather. I think you must have gone in the 19 Mile Brook Trail to Carter Notch Hut and then up from there, no? :)


01-28-2009, 05:16 PM
My take on snowshoes is that I need them if I am postholing. If I'm leaving a footprint -- but not a posthole -- then I will wear microspikes. No, the trail will not be sidewalk-smooth if it freezes, but it won't be damaged either, no one's going to hurt or inconvenience themselves by stepping on top of my shallow footprints with their snowshoes.

I think some folks out there (and I am NOT speaking about you, KDT) get really weird about wanting perfectly groomed snowshoe hiking trails...I believe one should hike their own hike, as long as one isn't leaving a posthole that could break someone's leg if their snowshoe tips into it by accident.

01-28-2009, 06:08 PM

Go back and re-read the post, and you'll see I was talking about Moriah.;)

KD Talbot
01-28-2009, 08:30 PM
Doh! Tough climb, eh? :)


01-28-2009, 10:05 PM
That might have been one of the toughest winter hikes I've done, all 4.5 waist-deep snow-draped miles of it! Some of the things we ran into:

-- Losing our way in the open ledgy sections
-- Slithering down the vertical rock sections when we were trying to go up, not down
-- Giant drifts shaped like waves above 3500 feet
-- Snowshoe malfunctions among the group
-- General crankiness among the group....

But we made it!:cool: