Extending the Season: SNOW CAMPING!

  • December 15, 2012 · 8:00 AM

This trip will be an overnight intro to snow camping (Hopefully the weather will cooperate and it won't just be wet camping!). This is the first in a series of snow camping trips that I’ll post this winter. The hike will start at the Frog Lake sno-park, hike about 2.5 miles along the PCT to the Twin Lakes. We’ll set up camp at the lower Twin Lake and then hike the loop around the upper lake and if there is time, go off trail to the top of Bird Butte, then continue with off trail fun back to the camp; distance about 3.5 miles, total miles for day one will be about 5.5. Along the way we’ll discuss winter camping and emergency survival. If we have time and enough snow we may even get a chance to try to build an igloo!

The Twin Lakes area has very aggressive birds and other critters. I’ve seen the birds grab a sandwich right out of a person’s hand, while they were taking a bite! They are quite accustomed to being fed by hikers. These critters can and will make mincemeat out of your tent and gear in an effort to get to food stored inside. You would be well served to have some sort of animal protection for your food that you can keep outside your tent. I’ll have my food in an Ursack and tied to a tree to keep the critters at bay. I recommend you take precautions as well.

This trip will include a mandatory pre-meeting on Wednesday December 12 at 8:00 pm to organize transportation, discuss snow camping, snow camping gear and what we need to be prepared for. The pre-meeting will be held at a location that I’ll share with the group once we have a group firmed up.

For the trip, we’ll meet at 8:00 am at the meet up point and leave from there.

Hike stats.

DISTANCE: Day one: about 2.5 miles to the camping site and set up camp. and do a short dayhike.  If there is time, we'll try to complete the 3.5 mile loop hike from base camp. Day 2 will be improvisational, but could include a hike to Frog Lake Bute or practice building survival shelters such as trench igloos, tarp trenches, snow caves, igloos, etc.
ELEVATION GAIN AND LOSS (approx):700 feet from the cars to the base camp. About 800 feet on the Bird Butte loop.
PACE: 1 - 2 MPH walking speed.
DIFFICULTY RATING: Easy hike, challenging camping.
ESTIMATED TRAIL TIME: Two days.

PERMITS: Oregon Sno-Park Pass (November 1 – April 30)

DRIVE DISTANCE: About 120 miles round trip. (At 10 cents/mile that equals about $12 / person for gas. Negotiate fuel with your driver)

******** IMPORTANT ********

Waiting List Notice: For this event I have no waiting list. Right now I'm limiting the group to 6 people.  If we get an experienced group of snow campers signed up right away, I may open up an additional two spots later.

If a spot opens up and you want to join us, send me an email.

If you don't get on this hike, thank you for your interest and I hope to see you on a future event.

Things you should bring on this trip:

 

An adventurous spirit

Snowshoes

Extra socks and gloves

A sense of humor

Extra cloths

Warm stuff

A book to read in the tent

The 10 essentials and Winter backpacking gear. REI has a good winter backpacking rundown at:

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/winter-camping.html

We’ll talk further at the prehike meeting.

Discouraged Items:

· I-pods/personal music devices – It is better to hear (as best you can) what is going on around you for safety and social interaction.

Prohibited Items:

· Bad attitudes.

· Dogs, cats, snakes, fish, flasks that don’t contain booze, etc.

This is an overnight trip, so we WILL be spending the night in the woods.

If you have any questions, send me an email.

CARPOOLING: We'll discuss transportation at the premeeting.

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  • B.G

    I noticed someone from the group carried food bag with some sort of mesh coated with plastic, I'm looking to get a critter proof food bag myself and any information on that particular bag will be helpful.

    January 3, 2013

    • Scott

      For critters...in winter I usually keep food with me. Otherwise I use a bear can or the PCT hang method (see YouTube) if there will be good trees in the area.

      January 4, 2013

    • B.G

      Got it thanks Scott. I'll decide on either a Ursack or an Outsak.

      January 4, 2013

  • Pogo M.

    Hi Bhaskar: I was going to make my pulk based on this pdf: http://www.skipulk.com/images/stories/pdfs/pulkbook.pdf

    If you want, we can get together to build our sleds. Strangely, I have some tools!

    December 18, 2012

    • B.G

      The sled is still taking a while to arrive to the city of Hillsboro, It was shipped somewhere in upstate NY where there is a great demand for them. Interestingly the rain and snow cover showed up 4 days back. After talking to an experienced sled camper from Aloha, he says Jet Jr sleds doesn't need an Aluminum fin unless we are trekking on a big side hills.

      December 31, 2012

    • PJ

      Yeahhhhh on the no fin.....one less thing to do.

      December 31, 2012

  • PJ

    Picked up a couple of the aluminum snow shovels (comes in 2-pak) like Bhaskar and Linda have. The extra one is available to anyone who wants it for $10 (cost $20/pr.)?

    December 29, 2012

    • Robert R.

      I'll take one off your hands PJ :-)

      December 29, 2012

    • PJ

      Its yours......

      December 29, 2012

  • Rick L. J.

    I think we still have a 15x17 wall tent with a stove. Positive its more than 27 pounds. Aluminum frame and we use plywood for the floor. You can hike with me.

    December 23, 2012

    • B.G

      Rick, sounds like a great base camp tent. See Dave's MLK weekend trip, we can always work on sharing gear. Sign up!

      December 27, 2012

  • Rick L. J.

    No im a wuss. Sounds fun but cold and nights are too long. Was looking at book with many snow shelter ideas

    December 23, 2012

    • PJ

      Somehow I don't believe the wuss part! There's a reason I don't go on your hikes.....me...wuss! lol The following link shows a pretty cool (I mean warm) tent set up for winter camping......need a sled though (its 27 lbs.) http://www.youtube.co...­

      December 23, 2012

  • Rick L. J.

    You to PJ. Which one did you get?

    December 23, 2012

    • PJ

      Shappell Jet Sled Jr........did you order one Rick?

      December 23, 2012

  • PJ

    Ordered sled but won't be here til 1st week of Jan. I'm (and my garage) still open for the 29th to help and learn. Happy holidays everyone! :)

    December 23, 2012

  • PJ

    Haven't been able to open any of the images for instructions and the such on www.skipulk.com......any suggestions? Is it my computer?

    December 22, 2012

  • Keith

    Quarter inch shock cord (which Scott recommended for the ropes) sells for 25 cents a foot at REI. Next stop for me is the sled. Can I get mine with racing stripes?

    1 · December 18, 2012

  • B.G

    I'm convinced on using sled to haul winter gear, anyone up for some brainstorming on how to build one. I have some ideas based on my observations of how Dave's and Scott's sled performance. Should be an easy DIY project if we get the design right.

    December 18, 2012

  • PJ

    Dave and Scott did a fantastic job in accommodating all the various levels of experience with their vast knowledge of experience.....great support.......Thank you! Learned many survival tactics and that there is so much more to learn and apply. This camp out will remain a memorable time for me shared with great fellow enthusiasts. Thanks for picking up my pack out too!

    December 18, 2012

  • Dave

    Hi all. Thanks for making this first snow camping trip of the season a good and memorable one.

    December 17, 2012

  • Kelly

    There was pumpkin pie and coffee. Need I say more?

    December 17, 2012

  • Pogo M.

    Simply AWESOME! Thanks Dave. It was a blast. Scott: Thanks for all the pointers, and I DO know where my mittens are! :) thanks again.

    1 · December 16, 2012

  • Robert R.

    Fantastic time, Dave and Scott took alot of time familiarizing the group with snow camping techniques and making sure that everyone was safe and comfortable. Thanks to both of you and a great group of friends.

    December 16, 2012

  • Keith

    Wow guys that was a good trip. More please just as soon as I get my gear right. This was a good equipment shakedown, learned a lot. Props to Dave and Scott for outstanding leadership and Linda for pie and everybody for being such fun kids to play with in our snowy playground.

    December 16, 2012

  • B.G

    Well after numerous backpacking trips and also those luxurious car camping trips I have taken, this one winter camping trip stands out of everything else. Right from keeping our extremities warm (not hot ) to taking that mid night trip out of the tent keep the piling snow away so that you don't get wet with condensation or worse die with carbon dioxide poisoning; everything was a new experience, also a great trip to experiment with gear, few worked and many which have loyally served me for all summer trips failed miserably. The beauty of white wilderness something which can make use forget everything else going on with our life. And finally the company was the best I have come across in m backpacking trips. None expected to dig out our cars back the trail head and those burgers never felt like an heavenly treat despite waiting it for 30 mins. This is the Just the start and more wintery conquests lying ahead. Thanks everyone for making this happen.

    December 16, 2012

  • Keith

    Kelly, hard to promise it but I would kind of like to get back by then also. I think if we are heading back to the cars by one we will make it.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Kelly

    Any idea what time we'll be back in Portland? That will dictate whether or not I can go as I just found out I have to be back in Portland by 3:30/4pm Sunday....

    December 12, 2012

    • Dave

      Hi Kelly, At this point I don't know. I expect it will depend on the weather and if everyone wants to get west of Govt. camp before the ski resort traffic gets heavy.

      December 12, 2012

  • Jenni D

    Sounds like so much fun! I love winter camping. Once I am done with this semester of grad school I am so in!

    December 10, 2012

  • B.G

    Dave, received your email on the pre-trip meeting. It would be nice if you could also add some tips on sharing gear. Winter camping by the nature makes our pack heavy enough compared to summer backpacking, and carrying redundant items are nothing much waste of resources and makes everybody's pack heavier. For example, I believe most of our canister stoves will fail or won't function efficiently in winter, if the someone has white gas stove, how about carrying a common stove and the group will split the weight of the fuel. Carry common group shovel?

    1 · December 7, 2012

    • B.G

      Keith, if Dave will hauling all the load, you should get your propane stove for the Spaghetti :)

      December 10, 2012

    • Dave

      The next thing you know you'll want me to haul in a cord of firewood too!

      December 10, 2012

  • B.G

    After doing some reading on the efficiency of canister stoves in Winter, I have zeroed in on couple of stoves which can be used till -22F temperatures with Isobutane/Propane blend. Basically these stoves have heat pipes to vaporize the fuel and allows the the canisters to be used in inverted mode. MSR has a stove which is $99 and there are some well regarded Chinese made stoves which goes for $50 a piece and $40.85 if we buy a lot (5 pieces). Let me know if anyone of you want this stove for their winter backpacking needs. One review on BPL http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reviews/display_reviews.html?forum_thread_id=64593

    December 10, 2012

    • PJ

      Will talk w/you Wed. nite on this. :)

      December 10, 2012

    • B.G

      PJ sure we will talk on Wednesday. BTW the stove can be used as you like, its just not a Winter backpacking stove, but all year stove and just invert the gas canister in winter.

      December 10, 2012

  • B.G

    I was at the Coscto today and found, they were carrying a no-name brand telescopic Aluminum shovel pair, it's perfect to throw in the car and just weighs a pound and can be easily carried on the backpacking trips in Winter to build snow cave or to dig out someone when there is an Avalanche. I don't want to keep two of them, if anybody wants one please reply here, it will be yours for $9.

    December 10, 2012

    • Pogo M.

      SOLD!!! I'll bring your money on Wednesday.

      December 10, 2012

    • B.G

      Okay sold to Linda :-)

      December 10, 2012

  • PJ

    http://www.weather.com/weather/weekend/Government+Camp+OR+USOR0144:1:US

    http://local.msn.com/ten-day.aspx?q=Government%20Camp-OR&eid=1108872&zip=97028

    The 2 weather reports conflict abit, but both show snow!

    Temperature change as elevation changes is approx. 3.5-5 degrees/1,000 ft.:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapse_rate

    December 10, 2012

    • B.G

      I think we can expect couple of deg below freezing in day time and 27-28 in the nights. We were in the same area last Saturday and were plenty warm hiking and had to put our insulation jacket taking a break.

      December 10, 2012

  • Dave

    Hi Bhaskar, all of these topics are fair game for the premeet. On the issue of canister stoves, the debate rages on! From my experience, I started snow camping in 1984, when canister stoves were loaded with Butane, little more than a bic ligher actually, which does really poorly in cold weather. We used to sleep with our stoves in our sleeping bags to keep them warm enough to use in the morning. Around 1986 canisters were being blended with butane/propane or Iso-Butane/propane (I'm not a chemist) which really do quite well in cold weather. I've used both (liquid and canister) and have found my canister stove to work well down into the teens at altitudes of up to about 9,500 feet, at down to the low 30's at almost 13,000 feet elevation. With our low elevations (4500 feet or so) and moderate temps (even though they will be cold or us), I expect the canisters will work fine. If we were going over 9,500 feet with super cold weather, I'd be bringing a liquid fuel stove though.

    December 7, 2012

  • Rick L. J.

    So whats it going to be like, other than cold. Brrr build a huge fire the nights are long.

    December 7, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I love snowshoe camping- what a great meetup! I haven't met too many others that like to do this! Anyone going snow camping for new years?

    December 7, 2012

  • Rick L. J.

    What was on the gear list. I saw some guys with a sled last year. Pulling it along with their gaer and a power saw to cut wood. Not a bad idea, actually.

    December 4, 2012

    • Robert R.

      eeny, meeny, miney, mo..............

      December 4, 2012

    • PJ

      Hey, I bet your body bag could be used as a sled!

      December 5, 2012

  • B.G

    Just what I've been waiting for :). Just went through the gear list and got everything.

    December 2, 2012

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