Snow Camp is Cool!!!

  The two most frequently asked questions I get when I tell people I’m going snow camping are, “Don’t you get cold?” and, “What do you do there?” Well, to address the first question: No, I usually don’t get cold. When one thinks of camping the familiar image of hiking or fishing during the day and sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows at night. Snow camping is not this scenario with snow on the ground. It is COLD and can be dangerous if an inexperienced person tries to do it without help.  Don’t get me wrong; when one has the right gear and supplies, the cold is not as big of an issue but should still be kept in mind. To address the second question, you have to be there to know what it’s like. There are plenty of things to do.

Brief trip walkthrough:

Buying food and other stuff: Ideally, one would have already bought all of his or her food for the trip already and had it all lined out for however long they would be gone for. When I go, this is usually not the case. Freeze-dried food is the only food item I bring from home. Freeze-dried food is generally the meal of choice because it is so light and simple to prepare. Trail mix is a good food for the hike in and is usually bought in the nearest town to trailhead.

Getting registered: When camping, one is required to fill out a back country pass for however long they will be staying. It will have to be carried to camp and out to let the Park Service know you haven’t been eaten in an avalanche or other disaster.

Preparation: It sounds like a real mom speech but it’s true, you should wear sunscreen. It is a hassle and it makes your hands and face all greasy but it is so much better than having half your face peel off when you get home. It only takes a couple trips to realize the benefits.

The hike: During any kind of hiking hydration is extremely important. Being dehydrated is very dangerous but is easily avoided. A hydration pack such as a Camelbak is very handy on hikes to keep your hands free for poles or picture taking, etc. Pacing is also very important. If the pace is too fast, you may burn out too early and be stuck going very slow or other inconveniences. Running is generally not recommended. 

Camp setup: I recommend setting up camp as soon as you arrive because you will have the most energy (and hopefully light) at that point. If you are like me, you will immediately start building things in the snow. Like I said before, you  have to be there to know what I am talking about. Feel free to do lots of stuff in the snow but just remember not to get too wet because it will make the night and next morning a real nightmare.

Hike out: Pretty much the same as the hike in but keep in mind that you will be much more tired and less rested as when you came in so don’t try to go out too quickly.

Remember, this is only a Brief description of a trip. There are many other details that are not included.

Parker Hect

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