winter - Mountain House Blog
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A Guide to Cold Weather Paddling

This time of year, many kayakers are hanging up their paddles and life vests and resigning themselves to a hibernation season of trip-planning and wistful memories of on-the-water touring. The truth is the fall-through-early-spring stretch of the calendar can be a fabulous time to paddle, with full flows, ice-glazed scenery, and quieter waterways. A sturdy saying you’ll come across frequently on this subject (as in winter camping or rainy-season adventuring) is, “There’s no such thing as bad weather—only the wrong kind of gear.” If you’re protecting yourself from the cold and the elements, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy top-quality … Continue reading

Traveling Over Snow: Tips on Safe Snow Travel

Snow can be both boon and bane for outdoor travelers. When nice and firm, it can be a pleasure to scuff along, above all the terra firma messiness of brush, gravel, or deadfall. When soft and powdery, it invites long cross-country ski or snowshoe outings. But then there’s the flipside: the half-melted slush absolutely exhausting to traverse for long distances, the rock-hard, ice-glazed slopes, the deep, brittle-crusted drifts you maddeningly posthole your way through. Not to mention, of course, all the outright hazards of the snowscape: crevasses, cornices, avalanches, weakly frozen-over bodies of water, etc. Here we’ve rounded up a … Continue reading

Tips for a Happy Winter Campsite

Here at the Mountain House blog, we’ve lately been providing advice on winter camping for beginners. To augment this introductory winter camping advice, we thought we’d serve up some tips specifically focused on staying warm and comfortable around the winter campsite: obviously, a top priority as a nippy (or downright frigid) evening unfolds in the backcountry. Selecting a Good Winter Campsite If you aren’t camping in a designated campsite, be sure you give yourself enough time in the afternoon to find a promising place to bed down. The shortness of winter days can easily catch you off-guard, and this season … Continue reading

Avalanche Safety

For winter outdoor recreationists in the mountains, there’s no more fearsomely violent natural hazard than the avalanche. Too many of those skiers, snowshoers, climbers, and snowmobilers underestimate the risk and/or lack basic knowledge of avalanche behavior and avalanche safety. Others at least recognize the threat avalanches pose but don’t always actually take the time to study the forecast, test the snowpack, or practice their rescue techniques. There’s no substitute for taking an avalanche-safety course, which we heartily recommend to anyone who regularly adventures out in the winter backcountry, but for starters check out this blogpost: serving up a walk-through of … Continue reading

Looking for Wildlife Signs in the Winter

All things considered, there’s no better time to observe wildlife—or at least evidence of wildlife—than winter. Sightlines expand through barren woods, distant animals stand out darkly against snowfields, and, of course, the white stuff abounds with the tracks and traces of all sorts of critters, large and small. We’d wager a lot of you who read the Mountain House blog are dedicated winter recreationists. If you’re getting out there cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling, here are some signs of wildlife to keep an eye peeled for! A Quick Intro to Snow Tracking The great thing about snow tracks is how … Continue reading