Snow Camping on Mt Washington

I went camping last night (not really last night, but what the hell – it was only a couple days ago).  So I went camping yesterday, New Years day.  I wasn’t tooo hung over and I really wanted to start the year off right.  I had plans of doing lots of fun wintery things this year, and I’ve only been up to the mountain once so I have to get the trips in when I can! The weather was glorious but I still couldn’t convince anyone to come up with me, so I would do it solo.

Snow camping in Strathcona Park

Racing against the sun.

Snow camping on Mt Washington

My building plot, a little up the hill.

Inside the Mount Washington snow cave for camping

Inside my snow cave (trench) - thats a candle, and the blue is the snow outside through the doorway.

By the time I had a slow morning, got the last bits of gear outfitted at my dad’s house, bought Subway (all the grocery stores were closed), and drove up to Mt Washington, I only finally got on the snowshoes and headed out at 2:15pm.  I hustled out to the closest lakes in Strathcona Park because I knew time was against me.  The snow is so deep right now, and the top layer is full of beautiful crystals.   Sunny and snowy is pretty darn pretty.

I started digging at 3:15pm and knew I only had about an hour of good day light to build something to sleep in.  I’ve only done this twice before and both times I had all day to work on it.  I decided to have conservative ambitions given the lack of time.  I’ll cut to the chase here.  It was a cold night.

I built a trench in the snow, about 7ft long by 2.5ft wide, by 3.5ft high.  There were steps down into the trench and I used a tarp to cover the top, with snow on the edges to keep it up.

With woolly socks, long-johns under fleece pants, a turtle neck, an ugly Christmas sweater, and a T-shirt wrapped around my head (because I forgot my toque), I managed to stay pretty warm in the sleeping bag.  But by 5:30 it was pitch black and there was nothing to do.  No book!?!  I was asleep by 6pm and awake at 2:30am to pee (and because I had had a full night’s sleep by then). By the time I climbed back into my sleeping bag I was pretty cold, and never recovered.  The temperature was probably still dropping slightly too.  The next 5 hours were cold, falling into and out of restless sleep.  My boots were frozen solid, so was my Subway sandwich breakfast.  I was cold and in a hurry to get moving again, and a half hour of snowshoeing warmed me right up again.  It was a nice way to start the year, cold.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Lynne on January 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Katie had a solo snow camp the other day too. Hers was more comfortable and easier in that she used a tent. She blogged about it at


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