Feb 5, 2008 at 9:17 pm #1227144
Hey y'all, Just got back from my first snow trip. Three other BPL'ers went also. Great guys, world class. We went to Dewey point in Yosemite. We arrived at Bager pass on Sat. morning and headed to Dewey point in snow shows with light snow coming down. I was using my new Northern Lites back country rescue snow shoes and pulled a homemade Polk. I must say that these are truly great snow shoes. I highly recommend them. As for the Polk I can't say the same. My Polk was a plastic tobaggon with two pieces of 1/2" PVC (5'long) cris crossed and attached to my backpack hipbelt. It carried my tent, food,fuel and bear canister. It needed a nice cover because it filled with snow.(On the way home we fixed the snow problem with a sleeping pad as a cover.)For me the sled slowed me down too much on the up hills to be worth the ease on the flats and down hills. Just my opinion.
The trail to Dewey was well worn and lots of people were at the point. We decided to camp at Crofferd point.This is when the fun began. Crofferd point is about 3/4 of a mile from Dewey point and down hill. We set up our tents and built a snow kitchen under a silnylon cat tarp. I must say that bottle of Tequila was a nice touch. Snow melting is fun and warm drinks are awesome. The snow started to come down harder by this time and we had to hit the tarp to take the weight off.
We went to bed and the snow really started to come down. The wind also was wiping through there on the point. My tent worked like a champ. I was using my Hilleberg Nallo 2. So nice. We were dumped on with 3 feet of snow.
In the morning we were still getting dumped on so we hung out in our tents till about 11:30 a.m. The storm was slowing by now so we set off back to the car. The going was very rough breaking trail through the powder. Waist deep in drifts isn't fun. My hiking partners didn't make me break trail because of my sled(maybe it was worth bringing after all). After about 3/4 of a mile and an hour and a half of hard work we came upon a trail already broken. What a sight for sore eyes this was.We were at a all time low and all time high in a split second after finding the trail. So we had a nice hike back to the car.
When we got back to the cars we only saw piles of car shaped snow.We were all stuck. The road also wasn't plowed. We were really stuck. Luckily the people that ran the ski lodge open the doors of hospitality to us. About 40 of us backcountriers were sleeping on the floor at the lodge and they opened the kitchen for us and said help yourself. We had hamburgers and burritos and hot drinks for the next day and a half. We got back to our cars on Sun. and didn't see the plow till Monday night. We had an awesome sunny day on Monday with sledding and skiing with groomed slopes to ourselves. What a great excuse not to work!
Everyone that was stuck at Bagger pass was happy to see the plow and we all cheered when the first car got free. My friend said it was like on Empire Strikes Back when the first Rebel ship escaped off the frozen planet.(what a joker).We all had to fallow the snow blower down the road so we got in a line of about 25 cars and headed home. What a crazy weekend.And here I wanted a mellow first trip.
Overall I learned a lot. I wouldn't have brought my sled and I would have brought a few less items of clothes. I would have brought real snow clothes instead of raingear. I would have brought a wind jacket for light snow while hiking. I hiked in my Patagonia softshell pants and these worked great.Also had some OR high gaiters and these worked great. My Western Mountaineering Meltdown jacket lives up to it's name. My Exped down mat 9 was also a champ. My favorite item had to be my new Western Mountaineering Lynx -10 degree sleeping bag. I called it my mistress.They really make awesome bags. I was toasty although it only got down to 22 degrees without the windchill. It may have been blowing 20 miles per hour. I had a lot of fun with my new friends. Mike Sawchuck, Aaron Sorensen,and Mike Popov are great dudes.Mike Popov currently holds the record for the JMT unsupported. Aaron has the record for the farthest jump on my sled and Mike Sawchuck has the record for the most interesting thing to do in a vestibule. Thanks for reading and I hope to go on many more trips with interesting people from BPL.
JoshFeb 5, 2008 at 9:51 pm #1419317
@jwellLocale: Willamette Valley
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and a fun unexpected snow day. I am very jealous.Feb 6, 2008 at 7:55 am #1419355
"Mike Sawchuck"??? Is that my new nickname? In all the years I've weathered through inventive bastardizations of my, I'll admit, difficult surname, that takes the cake. SKWARCZEK!
And it was Crocker Point, a mile or so West of Dewey, not Crofferd.
Here's the photo series:
Thank you, Josh, for the bomb proof 4-Season Nallo. It saved my tarp/bivy ass from 3 feet of snow. But not before I got a taste of how bad that could get in just 2 hours. Vestibule brothers! Speakin' of, has anyone ever dug a cat hole in their vestibule? How about two!?!?
Awesome adventure, some sweet misery, loads of fun and a great crew!Feb 6, 2008 at 9:42 pm #1419480
@pwszolekLocale: Desert Southwest, USA
Hmm, Mr. Sawchuck seems a tad bit sensitive. People just stutter to a halt when confronted with the "Wsz".
An epic trip, and great pictures too.
Josh, you've got the Nallo 2 right? After this experience, would you have wanted a different model tent? GT or 3 person?
PhilipFeb 6, 2008 at 10:52 pm #1419491
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
That is a GREAT trip! And it sounds like you guys know each other through the site- that makes this even cooler. I think that's the ultimate function of this online community- creating friendships and experiences in the real outdoors.
I love the pics. Did someone really use a tarp when it dumped 3 FEET of snow!?! That crazy and fantastic.
Thanks for sharing your trip guys- excellent.
I had a Nallo 2 by the way, and now have a Kaitum. The Kaitum is much more enjoyable to live with- much more sit up room, dual vestibules. I prefer it, but it does weight a pound more than the Nallo 2 which is another great tent. Both are super bomber.
DougFeb 7, 2008 at 10:31 am #1419547
Man, that trip report makes me jealous. Sounds like a blast! great pics too…nice to see people meeting up from the site.
I was planning on using my bivy this weekend, but that pic makes me nervous!!! :)Feb 7, 2008 at 12:37 pm #1419572
Philip Wszolek, BRACIA! Not so sensitive as totally amused by Josh's imaginative short term memory. I really think I'm going to adopt that nickname. LOL.
Doug, Steve, yes, the tarp/bivy was just a misguided idea with that amount of snowfall. Especially without a ridgeline or center pole. I think with a bombproof bivy, something Epic or eVent, you could still pull it off, but maybe outside the storm season. I also could have dug a real cave with higher walls. But, hey, I knew I was pushing it. I also knew the trip provided two good exit strategies: Josh's Nallo, and a 5 mile trail.
I say go for it if you trust the conditions to be light and you can switch gears as needed. Heck, bring the tent and set it up as backup. At least until you feel experienced and confident in your UL Winter strategies and judgement calls. I'll do it again but not before April.
-Michael "Sawchuck" SkwarczekFeb 7, 2008 at 5:51 pm #1419629
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
No catholes, but we did line up a bunch of plump little baggies once upon a time when we got caught in a blizzard at 19,000'. It was cold enough that odor wasn't a problem.
Still, it was kind of weird whenever we peeked our heads out to check the weather.Feb 7, 2008 at 7:48 pm #1419648
We did have a blast. I like me tent. It is a little small but I got it for a good price so I would have to say that another tent isn't going to happen.It is really nice for one person except when you have to rescue a helpless ultralighter. Just kidding sawchuch. It was really roomy once we dug out the vestibule a couple of feet. It did well in the wind and with snow load. I have to agree with Doug that meeting like minded people is a great facet of this site. My best trip yet.
JoshFeb 9, 2008 at 10:04 pm #1419919
@nevadasLocale: California Coast
looks like fun. yeah i was thinking about you fellas that weekend as it was dumping here in santa cruz and i was thinking… i wonder if they went up there.
thats quite a trip to do for a first night snow camping. thing thats nice about badger pass is that you had that hut to stay in back at the resort; you could eat, etc. when you guys got snowed in. thats key. theres nothing like getting snowed in and having to starve for a few days in a tent while waiting for the storm to blow over…
anyway, sweet shots.Feb 10, 2008 at 9:59 pm #1420075
Hey Dylan, Sounds like you know about starving in a tent from personal experience. Care to share?
JoshFeb 12, 2008 at 6:00 pm #1420387
After reading that story it makes me very jealous of not going. After all i live in Oakhurst which is only 40 minutes away from badger. Sadly i didn't have the right equipment for snow camping yet, i am just a poor 19 year old haha. During that weekended while it was snowing at my house i couldn't help but wonder if you guys were wondering out in all of that. Sounds like you guys had a blast
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