Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cold but not too cold

Prior to Becky's prodding it was my intent to post some video and pictures from my winter camping trip. We started hiking into Mammoth Reservoir from a trail head near the town of Rollinsville. The hike took about two hours. After the first hour I donned my snowshoes to avoid sinking up to my waist in snow. Once we arrived at the site for our field trip it was an easy afternoon of digging, digging and more digging. When our snow cave was finished it was time for supper. Nothing beats rehydrated Santa Fe Chicken when it's -5 c outside and the wind is blowing straight into camp. After supper I toured around and checked out the other students' snow caves. All of them were larger than ours but there was a chance that ours would be warmer because it was small. I decided to head to bed around 620pm. Early you say? Why yes it was, but I had been up since 430am and outside in blowing snow at an altitude of about 9800ft for almost the whole day.

It took me about 40 minutes to take off my plastic boots, my jacket, get changed into some spare long underwear, and to adjust my sleeping pads (two are needed for extra insulation from the snow). Finally comfortable, I laid down and had a conversation with my cave mate about things that I can't remember now. When we were done with our chat I put on some music and around 830pm I fell asleep listening to Weezer. I was awake from 1030pm until 1230pm, again listening to music and in a very creative way going to the bathroom. There was nothing but sound sleep until 545am when I noticed sunlight coming in through our makeshift door (a big block of snow and my pack).

Breakfast was lukewarm oatmeal - my stove didn't work very well and so the snow I was melting for water didn't get very hot. Lucky for me though the tea I had made the night before (when the stove was working a bit better) was still warm and I had a warm/hot breakfast. Once everyone was packed up we headed for home. The nice thing about going uphill on a trip is that the descent is much faster. I was the third guy back to the trail head in one hour and twenty minutes.

We have one an ice climbing field trip next weekend and then our class ends with a big climb on the weekend of Feb. 16-18. That is going to be a long long couple of days.

4 comments:

Kate said...

Wow sounds like quite the experience! Thanks for sharing.

obsessiveskier said...

You are adventure-man!

I am very impressed by all the skills you are learning.

My only winter camping trip (as a boy scout in Missouri about 15 years ago) had less snow, so we slept in tents. Not my favorite night of camping. But your snow cave shots look like more fun.

Travis tossed out the idea of doing a winter yurt-trip yesterday. Interested?

tyler said...

you have truly become one with the land....you shall now don your native name....blue balls...cause that's all that will be left of you.......

Anonymous said...

Good Luck on your upcoming climb this weekend. Hope all goes well..stay safe and I look forward to reading about your mountain climbing adventure...take care...Jules