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We got dumped on

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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We got dumped on

Postby hikerduane » Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:12 pm

A bunch of us from another small forum went into the Mokelumne Wilderness off of the Carson Pass this weekend. We all headed for the Lake Winnemucca area, about 2 miles in, felt a whole lot longer with snowshoes on. Some entered on Friday and the rest of us went in on Saturday. A lady in each group. They were troopers, no whining from them or even the guys. The group who departed the trailhead (just dove off the road) on Saturday had very light snow and wind on the hike in. We needed snowshoes right away, but part of the trail we eventually picked up, shoes would not have been needed, but everyone left theirs on or their skis. I guess Friday night was beautiful, with clear skis and no wind. Saturday night was crazy. First off, after we set up our tents, we gathered under some trees to shoot the bull. We finally had to prepare dinner. Picture this, in the kitchen area, we are being pelted by wind driven snow and seeming to enjoy ourselves. That night was the windiest I have ever been in, in all my years of bping. The campsite was on a small ridge, where some had chosen to pitch there shelter, some had dropped over to the other side, away from any wind. I didn't sleep well, too noisy with the wind a howling and my summer tent was just a crackling and doing some crazy girations. Most of us survived the night. Steve, who was testing a light tent had a broken pole and a snagged zipper which let in spindrift. The tepee tarp, sorry, brain freeze here, went under. The wind got under it and caused the occupants to leave and find shelter with another of our party. One of those guys had left his hammock because it was crazy in it I guess, I haven't talked with him yet. My summer tent only received a slightly bent pole and kept giving me brain freeze if I rolled onto my left side since the snow was piling up and it was surprisingly above freezing inside because I had melting spindrift or condensation dripping on me. We received a little under 2' of snow, could have been more with the wind blowing it away. I thought we had only received 4" maybe, but when I finally got up and made it outside, wow! my tent was in a hole!

With the continuing snow and high wind, we left in the morning without breakfast and proceded on out. Tough going. We had GPS, but had to keep making corrections. In one open area, surrounding by trees, the snow must have been 3' or more. All you could do was maybe 15' in snowshoes, rest, another 15' rest, so forth. That took it out of me since it was my turn to break trail. I was bushed when we got to the parking lot, but more heartbreak was to come. The lot had 2' of snow, had been plowed the night before I am guessing and we were buried. Another guy and his son started shoveling, the rest of us joined a little later after clearing around our vehicles and putting chains on where needed. It took us all afternoon to shovel the 2' of snow, the 200' or so to the road. No breakfast or lunch, just a snack on a break from shoveling in the afternoon.



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Postby doug395 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:18 pm

That must have been wild. I was in Mammoth this week and it dumped big time Saturday night and Sunday. It was a wild drive down the mountain; roads were caked with snow until a few miles out of Bishop, then hit snow again in Big Pine. Glad you all made it out okay with a great collection of stories.
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Postby JM21760 » Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:17 pm

Sounds wild allright! I had a night like that in the same area a few years ago. Dead calm, then Wham! We had a little fire going, and the flames were whipping about 15' along the ground. We put it out. The wind ripped the tent fly right out of my hands while trying to set up. We mashed 3 of us into the other 2 man tent. Then the zipper got stuck. Anyway, I knew it was dumping up there, as we got about a foot down here. Glad all got out OK.
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Postby hikerduane » Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:53 pm

It was a Hex 3 that had the stakes fail. The wind had scoured the snow away from the bottom and from the stakes. The owner and the guy who bailed out of his hammock which he found out it lets too much snow in when the wind is a howling had to bail into another tent. The fellow lost quite a bit of gear in the wind that he couldn't lay on to keep from blowing away before he could stuff it in his pack. They were getting ready to load up in case something did happen, they were just a little late starting.

Steve, who was testing a tent, had quite a bit of spindrift in his tent. I didn't realize how much until I read his report just now. We are guessing the winds could have been 100 mph or more. They were going by reports from Lake Tahoe area and Mt. Diablo I believe. The group I wasn't in was pretty tired, like we weren't! They made slow time. They had started about an 30 to 45 minutes before us and arrived about the same time or later at there vehicles. They had the luxury of being plowed out though. I should add that there were 9 of us who went in. Another 4 or 5 wanted to go but got sick or had work get in the way. Funny, the biggest group we have had was into Lassen Park last March, where 12 of us went. For a small forum, around 145 or so now, we have good turn outs.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:31 am

:eek: I was in Mammoth too, and would not have liked being outside. Glad you made it out! Good forum turnout too!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby hikerduane » Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:42 pm

Thank you Snow Nymph. Pretty miserable out, if I would have been at home in those conditions, I would have stayed by the woodstove.
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