Theresa and I took a quick morning hike yesterday to Snow Lake. I haven't done this hike for a while – and when we do, we like to be on the trail for 5am to have some solitude. It's one of the busiest trails in the Seattle area and is always packed. It's a short 5-6 mile jaunt to the lake and back.
It was raining in Seattle, and we assumed the same in the pass. When we got there, it was snowing hard – with about 2-3" of fresh on the ground.
We had the trail to ourselves and cut fresh tracks most the way to the lake – when we passed a party of backpackers hiking out.
We don't really do much winter backpacking – our gear gets tucked away in favour of Snowboarding season. We've done some day hikes and a few big-climbs in the snow – like St. Helens and Mt. Adams, but not enough to consider myself seasoned in any way.
I was really surprised how well the brolly performed yet again in the snow fall. It got heavy once in a while and needed shaking off, but all-in-all I didn't bother to pull out a waterproof – or the down jacket I had in my pack just-in-case. We did the whole hike pretty much in thermal undies and hat and an Umbrella – neither too hot, nor too cold.
Can umbrellas really be a credible winter-tool also?
I’m thinking of using an umbrella next summer. My wife says I’m crazy. Do you think it will work in the Wind River Range in early August?
I’m not familiar with that area. The only time I’ve ever been to Wyoming was to rock climb Devils Tower.
The word “Wind” in “Wind River Range” is my only pause for caution. Umbrellas are not that great in a high-wind situation – naturally they can bend and pop out of shape. I have had my lightweight (5 oz) Montbell pop on me in 40mph winds in Seattle.
There are some ‘windproof’ umbrellas – I recently bought a Senz Umbrella when back in the UK earlier this year. I have not taken it on the trail yet – as it’s about 8.8oz, but I have had it downtown Seattle in some pretty gusty winds and it’s held it’s own – they claim upto 70 mph.
My advise – take both for a while. An extra 5oz for a Montbell isn’t going to break the weight-bank and you may well fall in love with it, while having the safety blanket of your trusty old GoreTex.