Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Memorial Day Trip to Hetch Hetchy, or How To Survive A Snowstorm With Two People In A Spinnshelter
Display Avatars Sort By:
Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Memorial Day Trip to Hetch Hetchy, or How To Survive A Snowstorm With Two People In A Spinnshelter on 05/30/2011 23:12:01 MDT Print View

My wife and I did an out-and-back trip from Cherry Lake to Tiltill Valley near Hetch Hetchy this weekend.

Mustang Clover

Frog Creek was over chest deep and moving fast.

1st night's camp above Frog Creek after unsuccessfully looking for a place to cross

Fitting 7 person-days of food in a Garcia is always hard. Bringing bagels does not help.

My wife and Hetch Hetchy

I got splashed right after this picture was taken.

At this point, the weather began to deteriorate.

It started to hail on us and we quickly set up my Spinnshelter and got inside.

The hail turned to snow around 2AM. I didn't get much sleep as I had to knock the accumulation off every 5-10 minutes to keep the walls from sagging in on us.

Eventually the storm passed. About 3" of snow fell.

My salami & cheese said "Keep refrigerated after opening." I don't think this is quite what they meant.

In the morning, we awoke to the beautiful snow-covered forest.

Clouds over Hetch Hetchy.

We tried to press on towards Tiltill Valley to see it in the snow, but the trail was in bad shape.

we decided to make it an out-and-back trip from our current location and headed back towards the dam.

Snow and lupine.

It rained on and off all day.

Fortunately the rain stopped around 4PM when we got to Miguel Meadows and set up at this beautiful campsite.

It was a cold night - it got down to 27F. Everything was covered in frost in the morning.

Morning frost.

It warmed up quickly and Monday was all blue skies and warm weather back to the car.

Thanks for reading!


Edited by andrew.f on 05/30/2011 23:16:06 MDT.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
re: Hetch Hetchy trip on 05/31/2011 09:22:31 MDT Print View

Beautiful pictures, Andrew! Love the snow on the Garcia.

Other than the Spinnshelter, what was your sleeping equipment? Those bags look quite nice and lofty.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hetch Hetchy trip on 05/31/2011 10:22:10 MDT Print View

Nice report! Thanks for sharing!

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Great report on 05/31/2011 11:44:10 MDT Print View

Nice photos, too. Thanks!

Rick Horne
(Rick778) - M

Locale: NorCal - South Bay - Campbell
Re: Memorial Day Trip to Hetch Hetchy, or How To Survive A Snowstorm With Two People In A Spinnshelter on 05/31/2011 11:46:18 MDT Print View

Enjoyed the trip report and pictures.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Very Cool on 05/31/2011 11:51:11 MDT Print View

What temps and weather were u expecting/prepared for vs. what you have told us above that you received?

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
TY on 05/31/2011 12:03:00 MDT Print View

Thank you for sharing that. Good read!

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: comments on 05/31/2011 14:00:29 MDT Print View

@Debbie: I used my Western Mountaineering Ultralite and my wife used her REI Sub Kilo 15F. We both had around R3 of pad insulation below us. We were both warm & cozy at night. I never even needed my MB UL Down Parka and gave it to Ellen to stuff into her sleeping bag. I used my MYOG tyvek bivy sack, which was great because it kept the condensation from the inside of the tarp off my bag. This let me squeeze to the side to give Ellen more room (she doesn't have a bivy.)

@Bryce: The forecast was for 20% rain on Saturday with less than 1/10th of an inch total precip & clear the other 3 days. Lows around 30F. We were well prepared in terms of insulation. I would have brought a different tent if I knew it was going to snow. The Spinnshelter stood up just fine, but we both rubbed up against the walls when it was pitched all the way to the ground. This got our bags a little damp from interior condensation. I did learn an important lesson though- 1/8" x 6" titanium nail stakes are worthless except in hard packed ground. I didn't get a single solid Ti nail stake in the whole trip and was glad I brought a couple of Eastons for the ridgeline. I ended up using big piles of rocks and a few sticks driven into the ground. I'm definitely going to bring two Groundhogs from now on for the ridgeline and 4 Eastons for the corners. And instead of the 1/8" x 6", I will bring 4 of my 0.157" x 7" Ti nails for the doors and mid-sides.

Other notes-

"Bag tex" works great. I wore my Inov-8 Roclite 295's and stuffed my feet into grocery bags and my feet were warm & comfortable walking through snow.

Hawk Vittles are delicious. This was my first time trying them. We had the buffalo pasta and sweet italian sausage & pasta and they were both good.

Thanks for the comments!


Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Memorial Day Trip to Hetch Hetchy, or How To Survive A Snowstorm With Two People In A Spinnshelter on 05/31/2011 16:04:36 MDT Print View

Awesome snow pics. Thanks for the TR.