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Author Topic: Late winter in the Mountains  (Read 1095 times)

Offline Stormy Kromer

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Late winter in the Mountains
« on: March 17, 2018, 06:39:17 pm »
I headed up in to the mountains for a quick overnight trip earlier this week.  After a long, sweaty haul uphill on a cut line for an hour in snowshoes I headed over a frozen marsh area.  I broke trail in thigh deep powder covered in a crust that was not quite thick enough to support my weight. It was quite the slog!  I found a suitable site and set up camp.  By this point I was down to a T-shirt and still sweating profusely.  After setting up the tent and stove, gathering and processing firewood, I could now relax.  I was VERY, VERY warm even after I had stopped working.  I checked the thermometer I had hung in a tree.  Twenty two. PLUS 22C!!  No wonder I was hot!  I set up the camp chair in the sun and stripped down to my T-shirt and underwear and basked in the warm sun under a clear blue sky.  The kind of blue sky you can only find in south western Alberta!  Of course I burned my face and neck but it was worth it!  After a great meal and a fine french wine it was off to bed.  Around 5:30 in the morning I awoke to the gentle sound of rain on my canvas.  Dry, warm and safe in my tent, I prepared breakfast.  Eggs, sausage, bagels and Ovaltine.  I smiled as I realized that the rain had stopped while I was preparing breakfast.  After clean up I pulled back the zipper and opened the door only to be confronted with near whiteout conditions.  The rain didn't stop, it had turned to snow, LOTS of snow!  I packed up camp covered in heavy, wet snow.  Grey skies, fog, clouds and wet snow, what a change from the sun and warmth of the day before.  As I write this report, my tent is still hanging in the garage drying out.  The good news is that Kananaskis was hit with 15cm of new snow that day!  That means another trip into the mountains next week.  I will be pushing deep into March for my final trip of the season.  I don't normaly pack it with me but I think I'll bring the bear spray with me.  Momma Grizzly Bear should be waking up from her long winter sleep!

Happy camping my fellow Winter Trekkers!
Stormy Kromer

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Late winter in the Mountains
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 08:51:45 pm »
Wet snow equals hard work!

Any issues with avalanches in your part of the world?
www.canoepaddler.net for custom made gear and fireboxes

Offline Old Guide

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Re: Late winter in the Mountains
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 09:45:19 pm »
I just heard from an Adirondack friend there is some avalanches and avalanche concerns there.

Offline Stormy Kromer

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Re: Late winter in the Mountains
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 09:54:46 pm »
I tend to travel solo so I pick conservative routes with low to no avalanche risks.  Having said that, we are in that goldilocks phase right now where the snow has consolidated and packed down due to warm weather but has yet to develop faults from melts and warm sun so the skiing and snowshoeing is at its best. 

I divide my mountain times into two types of outings.  High alpine excursions are snowshoeing trips going up above the tree line.  These are usually day trips with only a light pack and minimal gear.   Light loads allow for greater elevation gain on steeper terrain. My other type of trip is a traditional winter camping trip with canvas tent and stove on a pulk.  These trips are rarely above the treeline.  I'm pushing 50 and just don't have the strength nor the energy to haul a slide up the side of a mountain!

This year we have been blessed with lots of snow and great conditions both in the high alpine and down low in the valleys.  I've been able to get out several times this winter and with the latest dump of snow, I think I have a few more trips in store!

Offline Old Guide

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Re: Late winter in the Mountains
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2018, 09:39:11 am »
I just heard from an Adirondack friend there is some avalanches and avalanche concerns there.

And for you explorers headed into the Adk High Peaks be aware the Keene Valley Grocery burned down on Sunday so you'll have to shop elsewhere.