Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Planning a cold camping trip in south central Utah...any suggestions, pointers?


Display Avatars Sort By:
zachary anderson
(snatch) - F
Planning a cold camping trip in south central Utah...any suggestions, pointers? on 01/10/2010 13:43:47 MST Print View

Im a newb to this forum, so first of all hello! My brother and I are planning a cold snowy camping trip towards the end of february in either central or southern utah. We have a couple ideas (calfs creek, blind lake) but I would like to know some thoughts. Camped alot but not much cold weather camping. Have some fairly good gear but not hardcore yet.

Any good intermediate camping without leaving vehicles too far behind for our first outing?

I appreciate any insight!!

zsa

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
South Central Utah on 01/10/2010 19:37:15 MST Print View

Want to stay below what? 6500 feet +- depending on the forecast. A side canyon of the Escalante. The Boulder mail trail. Maybe Buckskin Gulch from the shortcut and back.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Planning a cold camping trip in south central Utah...any suggestions, pointers? on 01/10/2010 21:43:07 MST Print View

You're looking for a trip suggestion?

Any of em! Hiking upstream on the Escalante from Hwy 12 might be a good choice. Anyone knows where the water flows mid winter? Is it frozen or non-existant?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
cold weather camping on 01/10/2010 22:37:19 MST Print View

If you are camping in cold conditions, you may or may not have snow. The primary thing to remember is if you can keep 100% dry, you can easily stay warm with some good layers. As soon as you start getting significantly wet, it is the beginning of the end. The wetness might come from stepping in a slush puddle, or it might come from sweat.

One way around this is to plan out what is going to get wet first, e.g. socks, and have a dry change available.

The next trick is this. Once your socks get wet, and once you have changed to dry ones, how are you going to dry out the original ones? There are several ways, mostly drying them over an open fire, and that risks them burning up.

If you sleep on your back, put the damp socks on your chest and sleep in your normal sleeping bag. In the morning, they will be all or mostly dry from your body heat.
--B.G.--

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: cold weather camping on 01/11/2010 03:03:21 MST Print View

If you sleep on your back, put the damp socks on your chest and sleep in your normal sleeping bag. In the morning, they will be all or mostly dry from your body heat.

Folks who've read accounts of Shackleton's 1914-1917 Antarctic expedition might recall a similar practice ... each of the marooned crew had two pair of socks and would swap them daily ... wearing one pair and drying the other by draping one sock over each shoulder between layers of clothing.

James Dubendorf
(dubendorf) - M

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: Planning a cold camping trip in south central Utah...any suggestions, pointers? on 01/11/2010 12:21:17 MST Print View

Zachary,

Testing new gear and techniques on long day hikes is always a great preparation for longer trips- or overnights with relatively easy escape routes if things go south! I have personally found that winter camping requires a bit more fine tuning- more gear, more situations where things have to work together, etc.- and there is nothing like actually doing it.

That said, there are a few things that can make winter hiking in canyons somewhat unique. It helps to be prepared for rapid changes in temperature and terrain. One moment you are in the sun on dry ground, the next you are in shadows in an air pocket 15F colder- and as the trail winds, you go back and forth. This also can render snowshoes pretty useless. On the flip side, I found my trekking poles invaluable to maintain balance and forward progress in these conditions. Check on the map beforehand for any steep trail sections that are likely to be in shadow, and have a plan B if they end up being impassible when you get there. A little snow or rain can make slickrock sections very tricky.

Have Fun!

James

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
another possibility on 01/11/2010 19:19:32 MST Print View

La Verkin creek stays below 6500.

http://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/laverkincreek.cfm

Wet shouldn't be an issue unless you step in it. Anything that falls from the sky will either be snow or rain so ephemeral it will vanish about as fast as it falls.

Perfect territory for a bush buddy. You'll need a good filter but shelter shouldn't be too critical. It'll be chilly at night but warm when you're moving during the day.

Buckskin Gulch is really cool but your feet will definitely get wet and you'd have to have some sort of like diving boots maybe with sandels.

Lower Kanab Creek is supposed to have some good hiking but it's in AZ. Sometimes you can sneak out to the Bill Hall Trail into the Grand Canyon (also AZ) Thunder River! Deer Creek! But that could be a snowy slippery drive.

There are also some lower elevation hikes going into the canyons north of 95 east of Hanksville. Get a Michael Kelsey guide. http://kelseyguidebooks.com/

Couple more tips that might come in handy regarding driving to the trailhead.
1. If you have to drive over snow/ice at lower elevations like below 7500 feet do the drive near sunup before the stuff begins to thaw and get slick ( and don't slide off the mountain!) Lots of roads can be driven frozen and FORGET IT when they thaw.
2. If the road goes along/through a shallow creek/wash and you hit a long patch of ice that you have to drive through or over( w/about 4 to 6 inches of water below.... Typical Utah creek.... and typical Utah backcountry road for that matter

Hit it hard and fast........Bust into it with SPEED and VIGOR so you bust up the ice with momentum and KEEP ON GOING!

Lots of guys get stuck when they ease out on the ice, break through a small section and then get trapped in @4" of water with 2" of ice on top, sitting on solid rock below and your truck won't climb out of it back onto the ice.You can't get enough momentum to bust it further because you have like a 2 foot head start... You're literally trapped in the ice.

I'd LOVE to be in the Needles right now!

Edited by obxcola on 01/11/2010 19:22:29 MST.

zachary anderson
(snatch) - F
Utah on 01/11/2010 19:51:40 MST Print View

Thanks guys! I grew up at a ski resort in southern utah and have spent plenty of time driving in snow (its actually one of my favorite things to do). I lived in st. g while attending dixie college, so I am somewhat familiar with the area. We are kind of hoping to find something a little snowy but reasonable. We have both camped in the cold so Im not too worried as long as we aren't going to wind up on the news ;)

The insight is awesome! I would like to find something in the area, since it's in the middle for both of us/ I would also like it to be somewhere I haven't been before while trying out a new experience (camping for the sake of camping in the snow..weird?) Its still a ways out since my schedule seems to be changing. It might be around the first of march which might make things a little muddier depending on how high we end up. I'll keep you posted on what we come up with!