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Snow camping from Ostrander
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Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Snow camping from Ostrander on 02/10/2011 14:13:50 MST Print View

Hello knowledgeable BPLers.
I'm heading to Ostrander with a friend soon (been once before) and our plan is to do the 1st night in the hut and a 2nd night ~ 1 day ski away, snow camping. Then return on the 3rd day.

:: WHERE TO CAMP ::
Has anyone on this forum (intentionally) done a night in the snowy woods leaving from Ostrander? Our requirements are straight forward: within a day's ski from Ostrander, < a day's ski from Badger Pass Ski Area (have to get home) and safely away from Avalanche danger. We're bringing a 4 season tent, though may experiment with snow structures if feeling adventurous and the snow is appropriate.

Would love some general direction on where we might go that would be practical.

:: SLEEP SYSTEM ::
Also, seems that it's pretty warm up there now (relatively speaking). Thinking about using my 15-degree down bag (really more like 20-degree) with a lot of additional clothing (long underwear, fleece pants, insulated jacket) to bring it down to cover temps in the single digits. Does this sound feasible? I plan to bring a New Air, a foam Thermarest, and one of those super thin 1/8" foam protector pads for sleeping pad. Also, we'll be in a tent which should help with temperature control.

Thanks for sharing your expertise! I depend on this site for a lot of outdoor education (mixed with actual experience and common sense, of course).

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snow camping from Ostrander on 02/10/2011 15:37:50 MST Print View

There are approximately three routes to get to Ostrander Hut. Take one of those going there, and then take one of the other two going back out to Badger. When part of the way back, you can spend your extra night camped.

The best route going to the hut is the Bridalveil Creek Trail. That's because it is slightly longer, but more of a steady uphill in the last few miles. The next best is close to there, the Horizon Ridge Trail. It is slightly shorter, but it has more elevation gain and loss, and it has a better view from the top (also some avalanche danger if you get too far east). The Merced Crest Trail is longer with lots of up and down, so it is normally done in one day by stronger ski parties.

Some skiers spend an unexpected night out in the snow. That happens at the bottom of Cardiac Hill, which is 1.5 miles from the hut at the junction of the first two trails. For an expected night out, some people camp at Bridalveil Campground. It is closed for the winter, but it is kind of a protected place for a tent. Plus, you might be able to get liquid water from Bridalveil Creek.

I've also camped a group on the north side of the Glacier Point Road, maybe only 200 yards north, near Bridalveil Creek.

There is also most of a log cabin left in there, if you know where to look.

In general, you want to camp someplace where you have some good wind protection. That is typically in a clearing near the forest, but not right next to a tree. If snow hangs on the tree branches and then dumps, it can damage a tent and maybe hurt somebody. So, I try to make a point of camping at least 20 feet from the nearest tree.

--B.G.--

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Thanks for the advice/idea on 02/10/2011 19:32:07 MST Print View

Hi Bob,

thank you for the advice. I think this is the approach we'll take (1 route to the hut, another back, camping partway).

You may or may not remember, but you've provided me with advice multiple times - so thank you!

-Simon

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Thanks for the advice/idea on 02/10/2011 19:34:47 MST Print View

Simon, it is gratifying to me that I did all of those many trips to Ostrander and I haven't yet forgotten everything that I learned. I led my first trip there in January 1979.

If we don't learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.

--B.G.--