TransYosemite Snowshoe Trek Gear Preview

Ok, so why are the good folks at iRunFar sharing their gear list for a snowshoeing trip? We’ve got three reasons. First, we think that some of you trail runners might be interested in what’s needed to traverse in winter the same awesome trails you run in summer. Second, we’re pretty stoked about the TransYosemite Snowshoe trip and want to share as much about it as we can. While it may not be trail running, it is of the same mold – exploring the wilds on foot. Third, I’ll be putting plenty of actually trail running and fastpacking gear to the test, which means you should feel free to ask away about any gear! Finally, this trip would not be possible without a few companies stepping in and providing necessary gear.

Getting From Here To There Gear

  • Atlas 12 Series 30″ snowshoes – These are the snowshoes I’ve been using almost all winter… and I’d like to forget those first two snowshoe treks when I didn’t have my Atlas 12 Series! These are backcountry shoes without unwanted bulk. Plenty of float, great traction, and quite runnable… when I’m not wearing a heavy pack. Meghan will be using Atlas’s new Electra 12 Series 23″ snowshoes.
  • La Sportiva Wildcat GTX – I tried a couple other GORE-TEX shoes this winter. These are by far my favorite.
  • Arch Flex System medium-height insoles – I picked up a pair of these insoles at OR in January and they’ve seemed to work for my plantar fasciitis. Why change what works?

Gear Gear

  • Big Agnes String Ridge 2 – We’ll be tent camping every night of this trip.  I’ve got a great 3-season tent I use for fastpacking (Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2), but I wanted something bombproof for the massive dumps and hurricane besting winds of which the high Sierras are capable. Enter the String Ridge.
  • Osprey Talon 33 and another, larger pack – I love my Osprey Talon 22 so much that I borrowed the 33 liter version Talon for this trip. As it turns out we’ll need more space that I though, I’ll use one of Meghan’s even larger pack while she’ll sport the Talon 33. I’ll be jealous!
  • Big Agnes Hanh’s Peak SL – This -20F, 800 fill down mountaineering sleeping bag and a Big Agnes 2″ x 20″ x 72″ Two Track mummy sleeping pad will keep me plenty warm. I’ll also bring a Sea to Summit Premium Silk liner to stop drafts if I vent the fiery Hanh’s Peak!
  • Jetboil PCS & possibly Bushbuddy Ultra – My trusty Jetboil PCS will be our primary cooking stove and water source (snow melt) when there aren’t any liquid surface water sources. (There were some streams peaking through over 8,000′ two weeks ago.) We may also bring the wood burning Bushbuddy Ultra in case our fuel runs out or we encounter some combination of cold and elevation-based liquid fuel problems.

On-the-Go Clothes

I’ll be going extra light on clothes. I’ll wear one set of high energy output clothes and carry a second set for camp or emergency use. I won’t have much in the way of very warm gear – if need be, I’m sacking out.

  • Sugoi Piston 200 tights – These are my favorite pair of tights and will keep my all important legs warm and moving. The tights have my trust, as evidenced by the fact they are the only active bottoms I’ll bring.
  • EMS Techwick quarter-zip – I’ve had this light weight quarter-zip for at least half a decade and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t still work. While I hate to put such a thing of beauty to hard labor, I’ll also try out Mountain Hardwear’s Butter Man 1/2 Zip. Yum.
  • iRunFar Atayne Grind T short sleeve – It’s likely to be warm enough for short sleeves for some of the trip. (You know you want one… but not quite yet.) I’ll bring my Zensah arm sleeves to broaden this top’s usefulness.
  • Mountain Hardwear’s Quark jacket is my choice for upper body weatherproofing. If all I need to do is shed some light rain or snow, I’ll likely pull out Mountain Hardwear’s Geist Vest and rely on its water resistance. As a bonus, there’s a large mesh back panel where my pack will sit!
  • Mountain Hardwear Epic Pant – When it gets ugly out there and it will given the forecast for precip and our variable elevations, I’ll throw the waterproof pants on. I’ll also wear the Epics in camp.
  • Mountain Hardwear Epic Gloves – I’ll take a second dose of Epic. These OutDry gloves are my warm, waterproof option for foul weather or around camp.
  • Mountain Hardwear Momentum Running Glove – I anticipate using these much of the time when we’re moving. They’re quite comfy and I love the nose wipe section on the thumb and forefinger. For maximum hand warmth, these gloves fit inside my MH Epic Gloves.
  • Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters – I’ve quite literally never snowshoed without my Verglas gaiters. I’m not going to mess with a good thing now.
  • Drymax Maximum Protection Running socks – My go-to socks for the toughest conditions. I intend to wear one set the whole way.
  • iRunFar Headsweats Race hat – Chances are I’ll wear this whenever we’re moving. Check back soon to get one of your own!
  • Buff Headband – I like to use this with my Race hat if I’m sweating up want to take the chill off my ears.

Camp/Backup Clothes

  • Bridgedale Endurance Summit & Drymax Hot Weather socks – I’ll bring one thicker and one thinner pair of socks. The Bridgedales will be my warm around camp socks and my backup pair for when I’m on the go. I’m bringing thin “hot weather” socks for two reasons. First, they’re my backup if my feet swell. I may also experiment to see if less sock means less shoe moisture.
  • Montrail knit hat – I don’t know where I picked this up, but it will be my in-camp hat and what I’ll put on if I start getting chilled.
  • Chaos Thermal Regulation Adrenaline2 Multi-Tasker Pro balaclava – I’ve never used this, but I’m bringing this lightweight, dry-release wool balaclava in case things get really ugly.
  • Cloudveil Run Don’t Walk Light Top – This Polartec Power Dry half-zip will be my camp baselayer and backup action shirt.
  • Mountain Hardwear Nitrous jacket – Ah, what’s better than a warm puffy in camp? That’s right, nothing! Fortunately, this jacket also weighs close to nothing so it won’t add much to my pack when I’m on the go.

Accessories

  • Petzl Tikka XP2 – This light is both light and bright as shit. I’ve never had a Petzl light fail. I didn’t think twice about which light to bring.
  • Garmin Forerunner 310XT – I’ll admit to having been disappointed with the Forerunner 310 XT from time to time and, in fact, almost always use my Forerunner 305. However, the 8 extra hours of battery life gives the 310 XT the edge on this multi-day trek. We’ll also bring National Geographic Maps printouts of the route kept safe in a Sea to Summit TPU Map Case. Oh, and a compass!
  • Highgear Solarpod – A tiny solar charger with a small battery. This is for some emergency juice for my Garmin or iPhone.
  • Leki Traveller Poles with snowbasket – I’m still undecided as to whether poles are worth the extra weight while snowshoeing, so they’ll be a last minute decision.
  • Little Hotties Hand and Toe Warmers – During TransYellowstone I freaked out a bit when I started loosing feeling in my fingers. Little Hotties Hand Warmers helped me pull things together.
  • Big Agnes Mountain Booties – I regretted not having a pair of camp shoes during our recent hut-to-hut trip. These ultralight Primaloft booties will make camp life much more enjoyable.
  • Light My Fire Spork – It’s what I eat with in the mountains.
  • iPhone – Cell service will be nonexistent during most of the trip, but this is a voice recorder, note taker, and backup camera.
  • Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks – Extra clothes and a sleeping bag aren’t much good if they’re wet are they?

Safety Gear

  • Brooks-Range Sharktooth Compact Mini Pro shovel – I hope I only need to use this lightweight (31 oz) shovel around camp rather than in an emergency. My favorite pre-use aspect of this shovel is that it has avalanche search instructions laser etched into the scoop!
  • Brooks-Range 240+Carbon Pro Avalanche ProbeUltralight and ultra easy to put together. In fact, putting it together is fun enough that I may have to “practice” in camp.
  • Leatherman Micra
  • Duck Tape
  • Bailing Wire
  • Matches
  • Common sense

There are 7 comments

  1. ian

    Hey Bryan,

    you mention preferring your 305 over the 310xt. my 305 battery is starting to die (only get about 8 hours out of it), and i was considering the 310xt. should i rethink?

    thanks,

    ian

    1. Bryon Powell

      Ian, I'd recommend spending the $60-70 to get the battery in your 305 replaced. Aside from the ~20 hour battery life, I don't like any aspect of the 310XT more than my 305. I really dislike the ANT dongle requirement to transfer data in the 310XT. I'd much rather have my charging dock and transfer unit all-in-one.

      If you do get the 310XT, make sure to upgrade the firmware on the GPS ASAP. The version mine shipped with caused the watch to shutdown any time I tried to use the "back to start" option. While I've never need to use that in an emergency, I might, and I do use it when connect up trails on routes I've never run.

      Leave another comment if you've got other questions.

  2. UltraDave

    A friend and I are planning a trans-yosemite (west to east) traverse in the spring (April or March) of 2011.

    We are ultra runners and I am an ultra snow-shoer.

    However, we plan to use pack country X-C gear for speed.

    Would you like to join us?

    1. Bryon Powell

      UltraDave,

      Meghan and I are soon moving away… but likely to an even snowier place. This trip is on both of your radars still, so do keep us in the loop. That said, I think we might still aim for snowshoeing the whole way. I've only XC skied once, but that should change this winter.

      Thanks for the offer!

      Bryon

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