Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snow Cave Camping

Paradise (Mt. Rainier)

On Friday, the scout troops from the Big Rock and Duvall Wards joined forces to test our mettle on the slopes of Mt. Rainier. By 11AM, we had claimed a small valley as our own and were working furiously on our snow caves in groups of two and three. Sadly, at around 4PM, a few scouts threw in the towel and headed home rather than continue in their battle against hunger, fatigue, and cold.  Those who remained would end up digging with varied gumption for around six hours, and by nightfall, the caves ranged from humble to palatial. Then we settled in. It's the one campout each year that every scout is exhausted and in bed by 7PM.

The valley we camped in. Rainier is behind us in this photo.  
Bear in mind that Paradise has a 140 inch snow base this time of year. 

A view inside some of the caves.You'll notice that Mike and I can sit up straight. In fact, we could even stand up straight in the middle walkway between our two separate tunnels (no small feat given that I'm 6'3" with the snow boots on).  This luxury came with a price, however. By my estimates, we shoveled several thousand pounds of snow. The scouts, on the other hand, tended to trade comfort for expediency. Most of their caves required a belly crawl on the way in and crawling on hands and knees once inside. Overnight, temperatures dropped into the mid teens. The interior temperatures of the caves, however, hovered around 35 degrees.

In the morning, we were greeted by western Washington's sunniest day of 2011.  


Beckie said...

Those pictures scare me and make me feel like I'm suffocating-- although I'm still sitting at my computer!! I'd never sleep in those!!

wheelerdealer said...

was it cold?