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Sierra Club Snow Camp Training - Round Valley
by DippityDuo
United States California Soda Springs
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My Adventure Story

This was the one-night portion of the Sierra Club Snow Camping training series. Fifteen of us started at the Boreal Sno-Park and snowshoed with our packs up to Castle Pass then down into Round Valley where we made camp. It wasn't too far from the Peter Grubb hut. We pitched tents with foot wells, dug snow caves, dug snow trenches, and built a kitchen for a couple hours before either relaxing or taking a short hike to the hut. I relaxed and finished setting up my camp. It was so calm and sunny I couldn't believe we were snow camping! Sunset was amazing! As it got darker, the evening got pretty cold so we were all bundled up to share our dinner. Not too long after, it was time for me to hit the hay... er snow. As usual, I didn't sleep much at all. Around 2am the wind picked up pretty strong so my tent was flapping a bit as was the tarp on the snow trench next to me. I was dozing when approximately 3:30am there was a red-light alien staring at my tent... then walking toward my door. Umm. Turned out to be the trip leader checking on us to make sure we are all warm enough. Moment before that, I had just been trying to figure out what I could remove so I was so hot but then not freeze. So yeah, I was good. lol The morning continued to be windy. It's amazing how much more work life is when backpacking... add snow and it's so much harder to just do the usual things. I won't go into using the "bathroom." Suffice to say, it's an adventure. Leisurely breakfast together then a tour of all the structure before collapsing the natural ones and heading back up to the ridge. It was still super windy! Our intent was to climb Andesite Peak. I and an assistant leader opted out because the wind was knocking us over on the ridge. It would be 10 times worse up to the peak. Then another person opted to come with us. So the other 11 headed up. Until one of them fell in the wind immediately and came back down. We decided to do some navigation training and had stopped when what do our eyes behold? The rest of the group coming down from the too windy climb to the summit. One of the assistant leaders estimated 70mph winds. I'm not sure if he had a tool to measure that or what but it was apparently *that* bad. So, off we went again in the snow turning to slush. Back to the cars and off to our lives until the next training trip.

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