About a month prior to this outing I’d stretched my skill set by carrying my pack on a backcountry ski adventure (link to related post). At that time I said I think I’d prefer snowshoes. Well . . . I was about to find out! Gary is living a semi-nomadic adventurous lifestyle similar to mine; we’d been connected through a mutual friend and finally had an opportunity to share trail. I’ve always loved being out in the snow but never aspired to snow camp, but when opportunity knocks, sometimes you just gotta open the door.
We could see part of the route from camp and were feeling the anxiety. With Gary’s mountaineering experience, he led the way.
The wind was fierce once we reached the ridge. I could barely stand up and it was biting cold. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect though. Upon arrival the sun made it’s way over the ridge and gave us optimal photography lighting.
Lake of Glass aka Glass Lake with Gary the photographer doing his thing. You can find his work at High Wild Places Photography (www.highwildplaces.com).
- Date(s): April 11-12, 2017
- Mileage: 8.5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain/Loss: according to Trimble 3,500′; according to CalTopo 2,000′ (that’s a big difference)
- Elevation Min/Max: 9,200’/10,800′
- Snow stakes worked great. Gary made these from angle aluminum. My Black Diamond Whippet pole was a perfect tool for digging trenches for the stakes as well as for retrieving them.
- Finding water can be a challenge so you need to be prepared to melt snow. I brought extra fuel for this purpose but didn’t really have an adequate source since I use a Jetboil Ti Sol for boiling water (and it comes with a warning not to be used to melt snow). Thankfully Gary found this source and with help from my Whippet we could break through the ice to access water. On a side note, I don’t usually hike with Nalgene bottles and in fact had to buy a couple for this trip. The wide mouth helps minimize freezing and you can add boiling water and keep in your sleeping bag for extra warmth during the night. As a bonus, you won’t have frozen water in the morning. Photo credit: Gary
- My Snowshoe Gear:
- Snow Camping Favorites/Tips:
- My DIY down skirt, mittens, booties/leggings
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket
- Extra socks and gloves/mittens. I prefer merino wool.
- Emergency blanket to line tent floor
- Sleeping pad with higher R-Value (Women’s Thermarest Prolite Plus)
- Emergency hand warmers
- Hot drink (i.e. hot cocoa)
- Quick high calorie, high fat food before bed such as nuts or peanut butter
- Pee jar (I didn’t bring one but sure wish I had)
- Wag bag (okay not my favorite but a requirement)
- Forget the water filter, bring chemical treatment (I prefer Aquatabs over Aquamira)