The Importance of Specialized Gear in the Winter

26 December 2022


I’ve always enjoyed exploring the Adirondacks, Catskills, and Whites in New Hampshire in the summer months. However, I had never ventured to any of these places in the winter before. The winters in the Adirondacks can be frigid and dangerous, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing and strong winds that can make it feel even colder. My cousins, who are seasoned winter hikers, invited me to join them on a trip to the Adirondacks and assured me that I would need trekking poles. “You’ll need these poles, unless you wanna eat a lot of shit,” my cousin warned me. I must admit, I was skeptical. I’ve never been a fan of aluminum trekking poles, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would need them in the first place. That was in the summer. But my cousins insisted, so I reluctantly packed them along with my gear.

On our first day of snowshoeing, we headed to Owl’s Head, a minor peak in the Keene area. We encountered some steep and slippery terrain along the way. Without the trekking poles, I’m not sure how I would have kept my balance. They provided the extra support I needed to navigate the trails safely. See, when you are wearing snowshoes your lower leg mobility is severely limited. You cannot make micro-adjustments to your body’s position the same was as you could with trail runners. If you begin to tip, you’re going to fall unless you have poles.

In addition to snowshoeing, my cousins also took me ice climbing. This was a completely new experience for me, and I was excited to try it out. However, I quickly learned that my work boots, which I had always thought of as being sturdy and reliable, were actually too flexible to allow me to kick my crampons into the ice effectively. My cousins didn’t have a spare pair of stiffer boots, so I had to make do with what I had. I had to curl my toes in the boots and use brute force to hammer my foot into the ice, which caused pain in my big toes. Despite the discomfort, I was able to climb confidently and safely with the help of my cousins’ guidance and support.

Overall, it was a memorable and rewarding trip. The weather was quite cold, with windchills ranging from -10 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. But the thrill of exploring the Adirondacks in the winter more than made up for the chill. The four of us each did four climbs up a large curtain on the side of Pitchoff, top rope. Despite being well-prepared with warm clothing, we all still felt a little cold during the trip, with one person getting uncomfortably cold. We spent a majority of our time, about 75% of it, waiting in the wind for our turn to climb (4 people, 1 rope). I learned a lot on this trip, including the importance of trekking poles and the benefits of mountaineering boots for ice climbing. I can’t wait to go back and try more winter activities in the Adirondacks!

Everything in this post is factual. This has been an experimental post generated with help from ChatGPT AI.