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This Weekend: Yosemite Hut and Camp
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Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
This Weekend: Yosemite Hut and Camp on 03/03/2010 14:23:54 MST Print View

So I have reservations for two bunks in the Ostrander Hut near Badger Pass in Yosemite, for Friday night.

My friend and I had planned to make this our inaugural snow trip with our first night in the cabin, and our second night (Saturday) out in the snow.

Unfortunately, my friend has been called away to Taiwan for work at the last minute, so I'm trying to find someone to go with. All my potential friends are busy, or aren't into snow camping.

So - do you want to join me?!

Here's the basic itinerary:
* take off Friday
* leave very early (5am?) from the SF Bay area and get to Yosemite in time to do the 10 mile ski to Ostrander Hut (partly groomed)
* stay the night in the hut, enjoy the warmth of a structure and other adventurers
* Saturday, ski around, explore (avoid steep slopes - I'm not Avalanche trained).
* pitch camp within a safe (but not too close) distance to the hut in case of a bad situation (<~2 miles?)
* ski out on Sunday

Details:
My friend will pay for his/your bunk ($50)
I have a Yosemite pass that will get us in free (I think)
You just help pay for gas and food

I'd like to meet you before we leave to do some gear/trip planning and to make sure neither of us is a latent ax-murderer. I live in San Francisco - it'd be great if you're nearish.

Interested? You can PM me, or email me at my google email: simon.weiss

link about Ostrander: http://ostranderhut.com/

Edited by SimonGtr on 03/03/2010 14:25:14 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Ostrander Hut on 03/03/2010 14:47:37 MST Print View

Simon, let me mention a few details. The trail to Ostrander is likely to be groomed only as far as the unplowed road, and then you'll be on your own. There are at least two primary ski trails from there to the hut. Bridalveil and Horizon Ridge. Bridalveil is deeper in the woods, so I've always favored it for going up. Horizon Ridge has better slopes, so I've always favored it for going back. Skins are mandatory.

Leaving from the SF area at 5 a.m. does not give you much flexibility. You almost have to plan on there being road obstacles. Basically, you want to be leaving the Badger Pass parking lot at 9 a.m. or maybe 9:30 at the latest. So, you want to think about arriving at the Badger lot around 8:00. It takes time to pack up, get your permit, etc.

Apparently your plan is to spend one night inside the hut, and then the second night out in the snow. That's kind of interesting. I've never done it that way. How light are you thinking about packing? I led my first group trip to the hut in 1979, but I have never gone with anything less than 25-30 pounds.
--B.G.--

Jennifer W
(tothetrail) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal.
Re: This Weekend: Yosemite Hut and Camp on 03/03/2010 14:49:40 MST Print View

I can't make it this weekend, but I can tell you that conditions were great last weekend on the way out to the Glacier Point Ski Hut, which starts out on the same trail.

We got two feet of snow in 24 hours and it was just beautiful the next day.

Here's one of the views from the Glacier Point Ski Hut in the morning
View from the hut in the morning

A couple more pics of the trip are in the Photo Gallery "Shots of the Week" thread.

These trips can be hard to get reservations for, this is a great opprotunity for someone!

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Great info on 03/03/2010 14:57:04 MST Print View

Hi Bob,

that's great advice - thanks for sharing. Sounds like I'll have to get an even earlier start, or maybe leave Thursday night and shack-up somewhere on the way. suggestions?

I don't plan on going very light. As this is my first real/hardcore? snow-camping trip, I want to be over prepared. The temperatures haven't been that low, but I plan to have my 15-degree bag with me and possibly my 40-degree as well for extra warmth.

For shelter I WAS thinking I would use my new Ray-Way tarp, but I think I'll go with my Mountain Hardware PCT-2 and think ahead of time about stakes. I also have an MSR E-Bivy if I do end up going with the tarp, but unlikely.

For cooking, I plan on using canisters and brining along something for insulating against the snow.

Skis: either Alpine touring with plastic boots, or Backcountry Touring setup.

I plan to bring a shovel for setting up camp.

What do you think about my shelter options?
The challenge I see is having a good take in the snow - I can use my poles and skis. And, if it snows, I'll have to be vigilant (awake) to keep too much from building up on this 3-season tent.

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Beautiful! on 03/03/2010 14:58:01 MST Print View

Thanks for sharing, Jen(nifer). I hope I find someone to go with so I can experience sights like those. Otherwise I'll postpone and do this trip another weekend.

-simon

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Ostrander Hut, more on 03/03/2010 15:14:42 MST Print View

In the past, whenever we tried to drive up early and leave early, we would feel awfully wiped out by the time we arrived at the hut. So, I don't recommend that. You really want to be pretty perky for a 10-mile uphill ski tour. One option is to book a bunk ($25?) at the Yosemite Bug, which is a rustic hostel past Mariposa and past Midpines Summit. It is not fancy, but it works. Then, if you leave there around 6:30 a.m., you can count on getting to Badger for the permit and all that. The people who get into trouble on the trail are the ones who start at 10-11 a.m. and then get caught by darkness and icing.

I would certainly not recommend carrying two sleeping bags. Carry the good one and a bivy sack, and then augment it with insulated clothing as much as is necessary. Then some kind of shelter/3-season tent would be nice unless you are good with a shovel for a snow cave. The place to camp is a few hundred yards southeast of the hut. There is a frozen pond. For a snow cave, another couple of hundred yards farther in the direction of the east end of Horse Ridge.

I do not recommend alpine touring skis with plastic boots. Way too heavy. I mean, they would be handy if you are skiing the steep on Horse Ridge. However, a light metal-edge backcountry ski is a lot more versatile, and lighter. Having said that, I will add that the hutmaster skis around up there with plastic boots. However, he "owns" the place, so he can do as he wishes. He has saved a lot of people off the trail when they didn't know their own limitations.
--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Ostrander Hut, more on 03/03/2010 15:23:37 MST Print View

Simon, our group is going in near Crabtree off of Hwy 108 the weekend after your trip. If you want to join us you are more than welcome to. Some of us attending are from the Bay Area (well I am from Scotts Valley, dunno if that is considered Bay Area or not). We are doing 10 miles on a loop on groomed roads. PM me if you are intersted. We also do othet trip in the Sierra's and such. Our Point Reyes trip had 30 people attending last Jan.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Ostrander Hut, more on 03/03/2010 15:25:05 MST Print View

Bob is correct on the start time of Ostrander. 10am is way to late. I would be looking at a start of 8-9am. There are many blazes set up for route finding. But as Bob said, you never know what is blocking the trail. Horizon Ridge can be a slog too

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Ostrander Hut, more and more on 03/03/2010 15:38:24 MST Print View

Horizon Ridge is a nice trail, but there is some extra elevation gain and loss (as compared to Bridalveil). That is why Bridalveil is best for going in (easier) and Horizon Ridge is best for going home (more fun).

The hutmaster once made the trip from Badger to the hut in four hours, but he is a real pro. The problem is that if you are still trying to ski up the last 1.5 mile section to the hut (which is aptly named Cardiac Hill) and if the sun is setting, it gets awfully icy and problematic.

We skied to the hut one time during a storm of mixed rain and snow. At the start of the Bridalveil trail, it was raining on us and soaking us. Then by the time we got to Cardiac Hill, it was blowing snow, so the only way that skiers could maintain their warmth was by continuing to slog along without any pause. Skiers were almost hypothermic by the time we reached the hut. Did I mention climbing skins?

I used to cook Christmas dinner at the hut for my group of skiers. Think about who carries the turkey.
--B.G.--

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Best pack to carry a Turkey? on 03/03/2010 15:47:00 MST Print View

Hey Bob,

How do I get on your next trip guestlist? I'd carry the turkey just to get to absorb some of your experience and insight. Seriously. Plus, I'm not a bad cook.

This is all great info. Now, if I could just find someone to join me?... Bueller, Bueller?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Ostrander Hut, more and more on 03/03/2010 16:03:12 MST Print View

The hutmaster up there was there when I first visited in 1979, and he was still there when I last visited maybe three years ago. If you get into a jam, he is the guy who might save your butt.

When I led Christmas trips up there with a group of eight, we could carry one breast of turkey, stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and one white wine-in-a-box. We didn't suffer.

I always stayed two nights in the hut. The ten miles going in wears you out on the first day, then the layover day is when you ski over to Buena Vista Peak and back, or else just ski the steep on Horse Ridge. The third day is going back out, and skiing the top slope on Horizon Ridge.

--B.G.--

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Invitation on 03/03/2010 18:45:33 MST Print View

Hi Ken,

thanks for the invitation. As of now I don't think that works for me so I'm still trying to salvage this weekend, but it's not looking good.

10 miles of solo skiing to the hut doesn't sound much fun or safe for someone of my experience.

I might have to ditch these plans altogether and maybe go off somewhere without snow for a couple nights, like Henry Coe.