New Winter Bag: Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS Expedition
I’m a super cold sleeper, so I went as warm as I could. I also wanted a bag that could open like a blanket. I went overboard. This thing is hot. You can see it here.
Update: this bag is stupid hot. I only ever use it opened up.
Gregory Targhee 45
Technically a Backcountry / Touring ski pack, I plan on using this at resorts because it supposedly packs down very well. This is designed to hold avalanche equipment so it should be good for next year when I take avalanche classes.
Update: Only used it once. Tore my MCL and broke my leg. RIP skiing.
Oros Apparel Aerogel Parka
They claim it’s good to -40F. I’ve tested it to 5F and it was warm with just a t-shirt underneath.
Thanksgiving 2019 – Lake Tahoe
Spent the week of Thanksgiving at a house at Lake Tahoe. Got lucky, it was the first snow of the season and we got about a foot.
Got to use the snow chains for the first time. Absolutely necessary.
K2 BFC 120 Ski Boots
So far so good.
Dynastar Legend X96 Skis
Love these skis. Learning to ski on them at Squaw.
Snowshoes for three of us. Worked super well.
MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes
MSR Lightning Snowshoe Tail for Floatation
Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, 22 in
Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, 19 in
Grover Hot Springs State Park
We went to Lake Tahoe, hoping to camp at Sugar Pine Point, because it’s open all winter, except it was closed. The reason given was that there had been too much snow fall. To be fair, the snow snow covered the permanent bear boxes. It would have been a lot of work to keep the site serviceable, but still, they could have simply stipulated that guests have to clear out their own bear bags.
We ended up snow-shoeing instead. It was fun, leisurely, and passed the time. When it came time to find somewhere to sleep, we got in the car and kept calling places until we found Grover Hot Springs State Park.
This place was a serious find. It’s an hour from Sugar Pine Point, but absolutely worth it. The snow cover there was a foot or less, but that was ok. We just set up the tent on the snow and went to sleep. It had a clean bathroom, so that was good. The nice part of the site was that it wasn’t far from a perfect sized river.
The real find came when we realized we were five minutes away from a hot spring you could get into. It was a huge pool steaming hot surrounded by snow. Next to the hot spring pool was a regular pool heated to 85 degrees so you could cool off.
Sitting in the hot spring, surrounded by snow covered meadows and mountains is the way to go. Absolutely come here if you have the chance.
Winter Camping Trip II
Went back to Lake Tahoe area for another winter camping trip, this time by myself. All I can say it it was an experience.
First, it took 20 hours to get there. Google Maps apparently doesn’t notify you of slowdown in excess of three hours. Next time I’ll just turn around, this the purpose of this trip was to test out sleeping the bed of the truck, under the tonneau cover.
Verdict: Only sleep under a tonneau cover if you have no other options.
Yes, it provides you 100% wind protection and a good deal of physical security, but it is largely unpleasant. You have less than a foot clearance over your face. Getting dressed to step out into the cold is difficult as well.
The weather was 25F during the day and 15 at night.
I realized when I woke up that while I could open the locking mechanism to the DiamondBack HD tonneau cover I have from the inside easily, if the outside lock were to freeze, I would be stuck. That would be bad.
Since there are several places you must sleep in your truck, such as California Sno-Parks, I’m researching my next best options.