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TR - Dewey Point Winter Backpacking

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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TR - Dewey Point Winter Backpacking

Postby hjldennis » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:46 pm

As some of you know from my pre trip inquiry, I've been trying to find a short winter route for our 2nd family white Christmas winter trip. After going back and forth, and after switching the destination twice on our departure day, we ended up in Badger Pass and went to Dewey Point. First we were planning on getting a free ride to Mammoth from my sister in her RV, but missed the departure time. Then I backed off from going to Panther Gap literally at the last minute and drove straight to Yosemite on highway 99. Well, I am usually the last minute person, lol.

We took off from home in so. Cal around 11 pm, so my wife and I took turns driving overnight, while our kids (9 & 11) slept in the back. It had been snowing in the region and when we came to snow chain required area, a disaster hit. I made a huge mistake of not trying on the new snow chain that I just received via Amazon prime the day before. I double triple checked the size with amazon and even through the manufacturer's website, so I had no doubt that it would fit, but lo and behold, it was a size too big. So I had to come up with a diy fix with paracord I had in my backpack and ended up with pretty good fix, but it took an hour. I'll have to deal with the manufacturer (Security Chain) on that issue. With later than planned departure and an happening with snow chain, my hope of getting a couple hours sleep vanished. We arrived at Badger Pass just after sunrise, and after self registration, and putting on our gears and snowshoes, which took forever, we left the ski area around 9.

It was a bit windy with occasional snow. We were moving slow as we went along with my daughter's pace without pushing. She took more than usual breaks since her winter boots and the new adult size snowshoes were heavier. Entire trail was well packed of course, and we saw several day trip groups.

We set up our camp not far from Dewey Point, but out of sight. On our first night, the kids were out as soon as the sun went down. Wife and I meant to get warmed up inside the bag for a few minutes, but we were out immediately as well since neither of us got much sleep the previous night. And then I woke up, then everyone, and we were too scared to look at the time, because we had this experience before.. and.... it was only 8:30pm! But we actually had some cool quality family time which ended up putting everyone to sleep eventually. The next day's forecast called for 10-15 mile wind with stronger gusts (had 4G coverage up there), but the weather ended up being perfect for the next two days with very little to no wind. On our second day, we dug up a kitchen area and just played around the camp all day. It was a lot of fun and kids wanted to stay there longer. On the third day we packed out early and came to badger before noon, as my daughter was feeling much stronger ( and it was easier, gentle downhill the most of the way).

We'll plan another trip in March and try snow caving, probably somewhere in the east side. Thanks again for everyone who gave inputs for our trip!
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Last edited by hjldennis on Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:12 am

Beautiful photos! Great trip.

Was the road plowed and open to the trailhead? Or did you have to walk up the road? Or enter from a different point?

Winter camping is more difficult than in summer. You have to be careful. I am amazed that you have your children so well trained in winter camping skills. Many children that age are not responsible enough to do winter camping. Growing up in snow country, I remember what fun it was to play in the snow as a kid. But when soaking wet and chilled to the bone, we came back inside and warmed up with a mug of hot coca and stood next to a warm fire, mothers changing us into warm dry clothing. Not so easily done when camping. What is the tent you are using?
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby Jason » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:42 am

That looks awesome. Thanks for the report.
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby freestone » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:47 am

The tent looks like a Hilleberg?
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby maverick » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:17 pm

What is the tent you are using?


Looks like it's a Nallo, but definitely a Hilleberg.
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby hjldennis » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:20 pm

Thanks guys!

Daisy, we started from Badger Ski Area overnight permit parking area, and we actually followed Plower on the way up and moved around a couple times in the parking lot so they can plow it. And yes winter camping is a lot more difficult, especially with cgildren. We try to be very cautious and take more extra layers and fuels. I have to always remind the kids not to sweat. About 3-4 easy miles would be very maximum for a bail out. Still we had a couple minor episodes like my son playing with snow in his glove liner ("what?! This is not waterproof?"), and my daughter walking out in her wool socks and so forth.... But when things go right, it's so fun and beautiful out there...

Yes the tent is Hilleberg, Nallo 4 GT. The humongous vestibule is so convenient with kids, especially in winter. The only problem during the summer in sierra is finding a spot since it has a large foot print, but in winter it's the best for our family use. I think our gears are finally dialed in for 4 seasons. Hopefully the kids will continue to tag along for a while..
Last edited by hjldennis on Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby ERIC » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:29 pm

One of the best (photographed) winter backpacking trip reports we've had on here in some time. Thank you for posting!
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby alc101ma » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:01 pm

Very inspiring post!

A friend and I have been talking about winter camping for the past several months. Neither one of us have done it before and we're really egging each other on. Most of my gear is really best suited for 3 season use. I'm sure that's the case for most of us. I'm really trying to hold off on buying new stuff just for winter as I'm sure my other half will never come out with me.

Time to do a lot of research and planning!
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby MichaelRPetrick » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:59 pm

Love the 2nd to last shot in your post there. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby hjldennis » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:22 am

alc101ma wrote:Very inspiring post!

A friend and I have been talking about winter camping for the past several months. Neither one of us have done it before and we're really egging each other on. Most of my gear is really best suited for 3 season use. I'm sure that's the case for most of us. I'm really trying to hold off on buying new stuff just for winter as I'm sure my other half will never come out with me.

Time to do a lot of research and planning!


When we went out on our first overnight winter trip last year, we didn't have much winter gears. Our first priority was that the kids stayed warm, especially at night, so we doubled bagged them in two 20 degree bags. Less light weight winter gear meant taking more stuff and heavier pack, but we only went about 1.5 miles so it was ok. After last year, we were ready to take the plunge and invested in winter gears. Of course with more winter gears like winter boots, down booties, and more down stuffs, we were more comfortable and packed much lighter.

Winter backpacking is so much harder, but just like challenging summer trips, we have a very selective memory and tend to remember only the good part.
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backapcking

Postby hjldennis » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:34 am

MichaelRPetrick wrote:Love the 2nd to last shot in your post there. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks! That photo is actually the only one here from the first day (they are not in any order). It had been cloudy and snowing all day, and when we arrived at Dewey, the valley was getting filled with low clouds with some blue sky. I am not good at taking photos, but sometimes it's impossible to take bad photos. But then the photos, especially mine, don't do any justice.
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Re: TR - Dewey Point Winter Backpacking

Postby SweetSierra » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:44 am

It's great to see all the snow up there. Beautiful photos!
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