Posted by: Charlie

crampons - 02/16/04 03:25 PM

Need advice. I am going on my first winter hike in the Catskills. The hike is called Sugarloaf Mtn. Loop.
It's 7 miles, rated "difficult", 1850' of elevation gain;1200' of it in one mile. The guy I'm going with has snowshoes for both of us. He is bringing crampons; I don't have a set. Two questions: are they necessary for this hike? If so, would 4pt. instep crampons be sufficient? [Next step up at Campmor is 10 pt. ($40.00 difference)]. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Posted by: intrepid02

Re: crampons - 02/16/04 04:30 PM

If you've got decent snowshoes, the insteps are not needed as they provide as much or less traction than most of the crampons on the snowshoes.

As for needing full-blown crampons... I dunno. Never been on that trail. Generally, you can get away w/ just snowshoes in most conditions below tree line. That is, unless there's been a thaw, freeze cycle recently and the trails are just bulletproof ice.
Posted by: charliebutters

Re: crampons - 02/16/04 06:04 PM

looks like you will be on the devils path for some time (steep).
havent been to the catskills lately though im sure it will be icy and exposed areas rocky, the trail should be quite broken in so im not so sure if snowshoes will be necessary, definitly bring poles.
you could try renting crampons from rock and snow, i think they do that.
yax trax-i've never tried em?
supposed to warm up towards the end of the week.
peace, charlie
Posted by: strat

Re: crampons - 02/17/04 02:21 AM

Tough call not knowing the conditions. In the pecoy notch part of the trail where I don't think it gets much sun, you could be wishing you had snowshoes but on the mink hollow part where it gets a good deal of sun and glazes up, you could be wishing you had a pair of walking crampons.

I would probably take my msr snow shoes and throw a pair of 4 point crampons into my pack this way I'm prepared for both eventualities and don't have to carry heavy crampons or use special boots.

Oh yeah, a word of warning, if you do the loop clockwise, pay close attention to the confusing trail markers that bring you back to your car, it is easy to miss the sign to bring you back to your original parking spot. Last weekend, the trail into pecoy notch was beat down, but, the trail right to mink hollow was virgin and there was about 18inches of snow.

Oh, and have fun, it is one of my favorite catskill hikes (I have only done about 20 catskill hikes though, so....)
Posted by: Charlie

Re: crampons - 02/17/04 03:17 AM

Thanks for the advice. I saw a nice pair of crampons for hiking that fit the heel and go to the instep. I may go with those. Sounds like a fun hike. I look forward to it. Thanks again. Charlie
Posted by: pitfall

Re: crampons - 02/17/04 04:20 PM

I hope this advice isn't too late. Bring crampons on that trail in winter. It gets icy and snowshoes aren't always going to help on that trail. I have heard sugarloaf referred to as suicide mt in winter because it is icy and steep. that said, I have gone from the west side of sugarloaf (mink hollow?) to palenville in conditions that ranged from snow to ice to rain before with no full packs and no snowshoes or crampons but I would not recommend it at all.
Posted by: Charlie

Re: crampons - 02/17/04 05:33 PM

Not too late. Now I am more excited about the hike than I was before! I may also buy full crampons now. Thanks.
Posted by: Charlie

Re: crampons - 02/22/04 01:44 PM

Great hike. We used snow shoes and crampons (going up SugarLoaf). Glad we had them both. A really nice winter hike. Weather was great, cold, a little overcast - kept the snow and ice relatively hard I guess. Beautiful rock formations along the way and really nice views. (The engine of my car seized on the way home - between exits 19 and 18 on the Thruway; my car is dead. People were very helpful - nice upside to a downer).