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Old 01-18-2017, 03:12 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Snow/Ice conditions on Cascade/Porter Mt

Hello all,
Driving up from PA to do some winter hiking this weekend (1/20-22) and was wondering if anyone knows the snowfall/ice conditions for the Cascade/Porter Loop.
This is our first winter hike (I read this is a good winter hike for newbie winter hikers) and we are really hoping to hike through some snow, as there is nothing in PA!
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:40 PM   #2
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Based on trip reports from last weekend, it sounds like there's a fair amount of snow at higher elevations. Snowshoes are definitely a necessity- not only do they increase your efficiency substantially, they are also required by regulation in the High Peaks whenever the snow is 8" or more deep. The reason for the regulation is that in the right conditions, post holing (hiking through deep snow without snowshoes) can create situations where the snowpack is hazardous for other hikers to traverse. If you don't own snowshoes, you can rent them from the Mountaineer in Keene or at the Loj at Heart Lake.

I would go prepared for the possibility of ice- the rest of this week looks like it's shaping up to be warm temperatures during the day and below freezing at night. Repeated freeze/thaw conditions over several days like the forecast indicates can result in a fair amount of ice buildup. Microspikes probably aren't a bad idea. Cascade isn't known for being too technical even when icy, but there's a couple of spots near the summit that can be challenging in the right conditions.

Warm temperatures can also mean wet snow and ample sweating. Both can be a recipe for hypothermia after prolonged exposure in winter conditions. Be sure to stay hydrated and keep your energy up (eat lots of trail mix). You may want to also brush up on the early warning signs of hypothermia (the "umbles") and be prepared to deal with them if necessary.

I'll also add that the forecasted conditions can lead to flooding but the Cascade trail doesn't cross any major streams so this wouldn't be a concern on this particular hike. It's something to keep in mind for future winter climbs, though.

BTW, the Cascade-Porter hike isn't a loop- the side trail to Porter splits off not far below the Cascade summit but you'll have to retrace your steps. (If you had a second car, you could do a through hike, but the alternate routes up Porter from the airport and Garden don't get a huge amount of use in winter, so route finding may be a bit of a challenge.)

You might also find this thread on gear for winter mountain climbing in the High Peaks that I put together a few years ago helpful as you pack for your trip. I've listed all of the gear that I carried with me while working on the Winter 46. Some of it is a bit overkill perhaps for Cascade/Porter but it's still a good reference overall.

I hope this helps. Good luck, be safe, and have fun!

Last edited by DSettahr; 01-18-2017 at 05:45 PM..
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:44 PM   #3
Pauly D.
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post

You might also find this thread on gear for winter mountain climbing in the High Peaks that I put together a few years ago helpful as you pack for your trip.
Thanks for putting that list together. It's a great resource.
Oh I'd rather go and journey where the diamond crest is flowing...
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:01 PM   #4
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Thanks so much. We are bringing our microspikes and have snowshoes as well.
We really appreciate the advice!
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