65 mph gale force winds. Below feeezing temperatures. Snow, rain , hail, sleet and ice. This was ideal conditions to go camping for 2 nights in the winter up in the Catskill Mountains, NY. The timing was perfect to get this trip in without even needing to take a day off work. We left work in NYC at 4 pm and drove up to tne trail head in Catskills. Hitting the trail at 7:30 pm and doing a short night hike, 1.5 miles, up the mountain to the ledges. The weather conditions originally were calling for a few inches of snow, then warmer temps bringing heavy rain, and sleet, then the temperature was to drop and everything would feeeze.. 7° F, feeling like like -20°F with wind chills. 65 mph winds also predicted.. but last minute check of weather had the wind speeds dialed down to 50 mph.. friday night and again Saturday evening, thru the night into Sunday morning. We were fortunate to get the sun out for about 2 hours during the day Saturday as we snowshoed across the ledges to get some of the Catskills spectacular views. We shared my Black Diamond Hilight 3p tent, with the added vestibule. Last winter I used this tent and got burried with 2.5 feet of wet heavy snow.. but I have yet to use it in exposed conditions with gale force winds.. so I was excited for this adventure. I wanted an open are with no tree coverage because I did not want any trees falling on or near us with the snow, ice and winds.. and luckily after a bit of searching, I found the perfect spot on a west ledge of the mountain. I burried the stakes deadman style and packed some extra snow over them, there was no pounding stakes into the ground as this was a snow and ice covered slab of granite ledge. I was a bit concerned until I wasn’t. The storm winds would be blowing from the North West and this was the west facing ledge, so it would basically be a direct pounding hour after hour for the next 2 days. For 2 people in here with the vestibule an extended period of time, I would recommend it!! Just the right room and space to live comfortably, melt snow in vestibule, cook, eat, sleep, sit up, lounge out, stretch out and ride out any storm. 3 people? Naaaa.. no way that would be comfortable. For solo use, as I used it last winter.. whew. Like a king in a palace! I would say it took me about 45 minutes.. from stomping out platform.. pitching the tent and setting up my “home”.. in the cold windy dark. Not too shabby considering the conditions and situation. Breaking it down is even easier and faster, except this time we had to chip away the solid ice to get the lines free, so that took some time. Thankfully I always carry my MSR stake hammer!! It juts works for multiple uses every winter trip I go on. Check out the video and feel free to comment or question. I cant say there is anything i would have done differently, except MAYBE next time bring my snow stakes that I have rigged up for those exact conditions. It would have made pitching the tent so much easier and saved some valuable time. It was a last minute ditch, and I was sorry I did that, tbough I made it work with what I had. I also left the snow shovel home and carried the snow claw. It worked fine, the shovel would have been better.. so that too.. My clothing and all other gear were spot on. My pack weighed 28 lbs with food and 2 liters of water! Duh’ should have not carried the water with all that snow, but wasnt sure of snow on ground when i was home packing, and I also boiled 1 liter right before we left, so I would have hot water for dinner and coffee on that first night without having to break out stove and cook after long drive, hike up, and set up camp. So everything worked out and trip was great!
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