Foiled winter ski/camp trip

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Litehiker, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,213
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    This is a cautionary tale:

    Yesterday, Feb. 20, I drove up to Las Vegas' nearby Spring Mountains to do a short ski trip and solo camp in the mountains at 8,400 ft. to 9,500 ft..

    1. Arrived at trailhead parking lot.
    2. Put on my plastic Telemark/backcountry ski boots
    3. Put pack, skis & poles across the road on the trail.
    4. Donned skis and pack, skied 20 yards.
    5. Boots kept slipping out of the bindings (I forgot the cable heel bindings!!)
    6. Returned skis to car & got backup Atlas snowshoes.
    7. Began putting on the snowshoes and the rubberized bindings totally disintegrated!!!

    Aaaarrrggghhh!

    8. Went home in disgust.
    9. Will return WITH functioning skis on Tuesday. Taking my much newer MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes for backup.

    MORAL: Always, but ALWAYS double check your gear and gear lists before leaving on a trip. I was only one hour from home. A ten hour trip would have been a disasaster.

    Eric B.
     
  2. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,213
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    UPDATE:

    Two weeks later I was able to do my trip. I used climbing skins on my backcountry skis and, due to crusty conditions, kept them on the entire time. With a 40 pound Dana Terraplane pack it really helped. Without the pack skiing was "slow but sure". Because of the lousy ski conditions I only stayed overnight.

    The nighttime temp was +5 F. but with my new LL Bean -20 F. down bag I was nice and warm. I used a Thermarest Trail Pro mattress but still put my fleece lined cargo pants and 300 weight pile vest beneath the pad, something I usually do in winter.

    Very clear mountain night at 8,400 ft. Beautiful array of stars and the Milky Way. Wish I lived in those mountains. Maybe when I hit the lottery that will happen, but in Colorado.

    My new MSR Whisperlite Universal stove in white gas mode did very well and did not use much fuel compared to my previous MSR Dragonfly stove. I ate well as I always do on backpacking trips.

    I used my Tarptent Moment DW (ripstop inner) solo tent and had average frost condensation inside by morning. I should have vented it a bit more.

    BTW, in winter I zip up my GTX mountain parka and slide it overt the foot of my sleeping bag to prevent heat from the bag from melting frost on the tent and wetting the bag. Plus it gives a bit of extra warmth for my feet and the parka does not take up any precious storage space.

    Water in a hydration bag (inside a big Ziploc!) and ski boot liners went into the foot of the sleeping bag. The LL Bean winter bag is purposely made long for storage. All were warm in the morning.

    So I "cold tented" as always and enjoyed the mountains. It's great having a big omelette in the morning along with mocha coffee (instant hot chocolate plus VIA instant coffee). It gets your heart started! Dinner was a delicious Salmon pesto. The pesto was freeze dried and the salmon was in a foil package. Do NOT take any foil packaged fish (or even other meat) into bear country. Fortunately the only big predators in our mountains are cougars and they are very "shy" around humans - so far!

    Remember to bring a decent sized (12" x 12") closed cell sit pad in winter. It's a butt saver. ;o)

    Eric B.