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Old 01-23-2021, 02:18 PM   #8
tenderfoot
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Rochester NY
Posts: 407
We hiked these this summer. Up express over, Couch, Panther and down to Bradley pond. I have the gear and maybe close to twenty nights winter camping in the ADK's - still consider myself a newb (took wrong turn climbing Street & Nye for goodness sake).

So some simple pointers.
- I like what you said about view from Couch not worth the extra efforts. Frankly, IMHO non of the three ranked high in views. If I has the skis and gear you have I'd consider skiing in Lake Rd to Gil Brook and trying for either Nippletop or Pyramid, Sawteeths, maybe Gothics. Granted Lake rd in will be "crowded" but there are other peaks where it is more likely trail is broken and less remote.

If you stick with these I'd skip express. Get up to Panther, evaluate Santoni. If you do it do it as out and back. Less trail to break, less wayfinding.

We were out two weeks ago and at 8F my 0F bag was not cutting it. We had additional quiltage that extended us well below 0F and that made it nice.

We often augment our 0F bag with SOL's breathable escape bivvy. A handy piece of gear.

We used to use the 'hot water bottle' trick. Lately though big fan of chem body warmers or hand warmers. They are small, last longer and we now carry in more than a few for these types of tricks. Toss one in your bag 15 minutes before you climb in and it is real nice. Just as a treat, not to rely on.

So when I do a peak, I frequently am camping out overnight. I agree with the time delay mentioned, takes much longer in winter as simple things become difficult. Review your gear and think through if anything can be simplified (water bottle instead of bladder; maybe not the best trip for a whisper-light stove with all of the fiddly bits, we simplify our hammock rigging). I also agree that a night in the woods in the snow is rather special.

One of our big safety tools is remembering priorities: safety & fun, peak way down the list. We turn back if things start sliding a bit (weather, temp, fatigue). So I can rattle off a bunch of "Did Not Finish" treks but all were fun.
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