California - Carson Pass - Mokelumne Wilderness
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
California - Carson Pass - Mokelumne Wilderness on 04/23/2012 21:16:03 MDT Print View

I was snow camping south of Carson Pass over the weekend. There were two of us who had skied in about 4-5 miles. The snow depth was insufficient to dig a full-blown snow cave, so we put up a thin tarp shelter with a snow wall. The weather was pretty mild anyway and did not dip much below freezing.

On Sunday morning at about 7:51 a.m., we heard an explosion, so we immediately looked west toward Kirkwood Ski Area to see if it was the avalanche patrol on duty knocking down cornices with explosives. However, it seemed odd since this was so very late in the season. Later I found out that it was a meteor that was seen and heard in places along the California-Nevada border.

I used a Trail Designs Ti-Tri Caldera burning twigs to melt snow for drinking water. It works OK, but it deposited a huge amount of slimy black creosote onto the titanium cook pot. About all I could do for carrying it home was to wrap it in aluminum foil. The creosote had hardened by the time I got it home, and white gasoline would not dissolve it. I ended up using sandpaper.

--B.G.--

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Snow trip on 04/24/2012 18:11:43 MDT Print View

Sounds like a fun trip. Do you take any photos?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snow trip on 04/24/2012 19:31:31 MDT Print View

Silly question. There wasn't much wildlife running around. The problem is that I took my lightweight camera that does not shoot Raw images. I would hate to carry the weight of a more expensive camera and then maybe let it be damaged by freezing.

tarp shelter with wall for wind

sunset

sunset looking toward Lake Tahoe

--B.G.--

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Good Grief! on 04/26/2012 00:10:23 MDT Print View

"Later I found out that it was a meteor that was seen and heard"

Apparently some scientists have found some small pieces of the meteor, and they estimate the total size of it to have been 70 metric tons. That's just not ultralightweight at all.

--B.G.--

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Photos on 04/26/2012 00:57:09 MDT Print View

Thanx for posting some trip photos. I like the colors on the snow in the second pxt. BTW, I heard that a few pieces of the meteor have been recovered.

What kind of shelter were you using? (I'm new to winter camping)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Photos on 04/26/2012 01:21:30 MDT Print View

"What kind of shelter were you using?"

For the last few years, we've used my buddy's Betamid tarp/shelter. It is kind of heavy but durable, and that has worked OK when weather hit us. This year, we decided that the weather would be decent, so we took my 10-year-old Integral Designs SilShelter (the greenish thing in the photo). It is much lighter and thinner, but one wall of snow was all we needed for wind. In either case, we use two adjustable ski poles to hold the thing up.

The kind of shelter we use is dictated by the number of nights out, the snow depth that we expect, the weather that we expect, the amount of time we are willing to put into building camp for each place, the number of people, and the number of shovels present. We can do a snow shelter for four skiers using a single 8x10 foot flat tarp as a roof.

The sunset time was the only decent time for pleasant photography, and the light was fleeting. Shadows on snow texture are hard to capture unless you are at the right place at the right time.

--B.G.--

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Meteor follow-up on 04/26/2012 10:08:37 MDT Print View

From: http://www.spaceweather.com/ (a good site I'd suggest you check before heading out as they describe the planets, eclipses, aurora, meteor showers, satellite passovers, etc that are/may be visible in the upcoming days).

SPACE ROCKS FOUND: Meteorite hunters have found fragments of the minivan-sized asteroid that exploded over California on April 22nd. Meteorites landed in the vicinity of Sutter's Mill in El Dorado County, CA, the same place gold was discovered in 1848, triggering the California Gold Rush. Astronomers plan to study the fragments to learn more about the asteroid, specificially its composition and origin.

They have links to more reports.

My two coolest meteor sighting included a fireball over Southern California in 1995. It was a caving convention (NOT UL!), I brought the food for 160 people and a hot tub. We were soaking in the hot tub and you know how it's silly to say "look a meteor!" because no one can turn and see it quickly enough? Well, this one went across most of the sky, went from a hot blue-white to a cooler yellow and broke up into chunks. So there was plenty of time to turn and look at it.

The other was driving over an Alaskan pass at midlight in winter. A single meteor made a l-o-n-g track across the sky, went from blue-white to yellow and then PASSED IN FRONT OF A MOUNTAIN! So it had gotten within 2000 feet of ground level. It was a few miles ahead, so I had no chance of finding it, but had it fallen on a frozen lake like that one in Canada that a bystander carefully recovered in nearly pristine condition, that would have been quite the coup.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 04/26/2012 10:09:18 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
More Meteor Follow-up on 04/26/2012 10:21:37 MDT Print View

Also from www.spaceweather.com

"The energy is estimated at a whopping 3.8 kilotons of TNT, so this was a big event," he continues. "I am not saying there was a 3.8 kiloton explosion on the ground in California. I am saying that the meteor possessed this amount of energy before it broke apart in the atmosphere. [The map] shows the location of the atmospheric breakup, not impact with the ground."

"The fact that sonic booms were heard indicates that this meteor penetrated very low in atmosphere, which implies a speed less than 15 km/s (33,500 mph). Assuming this value for the speed, I get a mass for the meteor of around 70 metric tons. Hazarding a further guess at the density of 3 grams per cubic centimeter (solid rock), I calculate a size of about 3-4 meters, or about the size of a minivan."

"This meteor was probably not a Lyrid; without a trajectory, I cannot rule out a Lyrid origin, but I think it likely that it was a background or sporadic meteor."