Winter Hiking…Can I Do It?

12 Nov 2017

I’ve been wondering now that I’ve recovered a little from my injuries IF…

If I could possibly now finish my Thru Hike?

It’s been a few months since I left the trail at Pinkham Notch with knee pain and ankle issues. At the time, I knew it was the right thing to do. I was concerned that if I continued through the Presidentials in my state of injuries that I would have to be medivac’d off the mountain.

So I chose to end my AT Thru Hike attempt.

However, after a few months recovering, I find myself wondering “could I still finish this?” I keep seeing Summit/Finisher photos and wonder WHY not ME? I too want to complete this adventure….

If the answer is YES, than I have some winter hiking to do. I have to make it from US421 Low Gap TN back to Pinkham Notch NH before my one year ends on 29 April to be an official Thru Hiker. OR since I did a flip to Katahdin, I need to make it that part of the trail and hike south back to Springer Mtn before 11 July.

Either way, I will have to winter hike in the cold and snow IF I attempt a final run at my Thru Hike.

I’ve been reading up on winter hiking. And I’ll need MORE gear if I give it a go. That being said, TeamHikerBoy (aka myWife) isn’t too keen on the idea. I got injured 3 times during good weather in the first 780 miles. What am I in for in the next 1400 miles on snow and ice?

Could this be my demise? I hope not!

The needed/extra additional equipment will definitely add to the base weight. With 4lb snowshoes, heavy metal crampons and micro spikes…I’ll definitely get an add to the load. Then add in the additional clothing for the extreme cold and I could find a base weight easily into the 40lbs range if not heavier. I am not thinking this would be fun carry MORE gear thru the snow.

Remember, I’m a novice backcountry hiker. And if I attempt a winter hike, I have even more to learn. Hypothermia is a REAL danger during a winter hike. Layering and camp clothes will definitely be a challenge to figure out with steep learning curve.

One mistake and I could be a frozen AT popsicle.

Over next few weeks, I’ll continue to consider an attempt. With the Almanac looking wet for the trail, maybe that will mean less cold and less Snow, maybe I could do this.

Stay tuned…

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Comments 2

  • Ralph McGreevy : Nov 16th

    Would advise against it, tempting as it must feel. Knee and ankle injuries often do not heal well, especially as you get older. In winter, you will need more clothing, equipment, (probably) food. I have done cold weather camping in northern BC and the Yukon. It is VERY different from summer camping. Maintaining body heat becomes critically important. Give it a try close to home, if you like – somewhere with the option of retreating indoors is desired. Then, do as you think best. We only live once and a successful thru hike would be a great lifetime achievement, but the odds are not encouraging.

    • Up-n-Ready : Nov 16th


      Thanks for your comments. I really agree eith you, but the trail is calling.

      If I go, I will definitely do a local trial run. I’m still hoping, but it’s a long shot for me at this point.



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