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Tioga Road in the snow
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Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Tioga Road in the snow on 02/10/2013 23:25:00 MST Print View

My new pair of Altai Hoks and 6" of fresh snow gave Chris S and I a good excuse to do a quick overnight out of Crane Flat in Yosemite this weekend.

Road closed for the winter...

The weather was beautiful; about 40F and sunny.

Chris consulting the GPS, which was very useful on the indistinct traverse through the woods to Devil's Dancefloor.

One of many coyote tracks.

Mouse tracks.

Partly cloudy with a chance of total whiteout. At about 3PM, clouds rolled in and the visibility dropped to about 30 feet. While I pride myself on my navigational skills, I was feeling pretty good that we brought a GPS at this point.

We camped in the lee of a house-sized boulder under a large tree which cut down on the wind and kept us a little warmer. The low that night was 18F.

The boulder also gave us a nice protected area underneath an overhang to use as our kitchen.

It cleared up just before sunset. There was about 6" of fresh snow from Friday night and everything was still pristine.

Some bare granite on top of Devil's Dancefloor on Sunday morning.

Since I am a total newbie skier, I didn't realize I needed to wax my skins to keep them from freezing and accumulating snow. My new 125 cm Hoks spent most of their time being carried, though I got a glorious mile or so of skiing both days before they ground to a halt.

Thanks for reading.

Edited by andrew.f on 02/11/2013 10:18:07 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Tioga Road in the snow on 02/10/2013 23:31:26 MST Print View

Looks fun. Nice campsite. How does Chris feel about snow camping now?

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tioga Road in the snow on 02/11/2013 10:46:10 MST Print View

We both had a good time. No misery involved. The consensus was that there's no reason to stop backpacking in the winter...

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Tioga Road in the snow on 02/11/2013 11:58:43 MST Print View

Nope, it was quite miserable, but now I only need to suffer through 5 more trips to break even on the snowshoe purchase ;) Kidding, of was a great time. Looking forward to the next one!

Here's the GPS track. I didn't have the GPS on when we went up to the top on Sunday morning, so that's not included. I marked a few of the waypoints myself, but most of them I found online and loaded to this track.

Edited by csteutterman on 02/12/2013 12:18:07 MST.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Devils Dance Floor on 02/12/2013 12:21:12 MST Print View

Some more pics....

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Devils Dance Floor on 02/13/2013 22:59:52 MST Print View

Nice work Andrew and Chris. Thanks for sharing the great pictures, report and gps info. It looked like a fun trip.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
... in the snow on 02/14/2013 06:53:47 MST Print View

Neat stuff. That boulder helped keep your camp kitchen away from the sleeping area which was a definite plus. Non-gear question: did you scout out the campsite on a previous trip?

I take it that's an Osprey Talon and I see there's a white gas container in your kitchen photo. Now the gear questions since this is BPL: Did the Talon handle the load well? What was your sleeping system?

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: ... in the snow on 02/14/2013 10:17:23 MST Print View

It was our first time there, so no scouting on a previous trip. We walked right past the site at first and Andrew noticed it. Then as we started getting closer to the exposed dance floor a couple minutes later we decided to turn around and head back to that spot.

The stove was a Whisperlite, but the pack was the Osprey Atmos 65, so a bit bigger than the Talon.

I tried a different sleeping system this time and used my 40* Montbell bag nested inside my 22* Katabatic quilt, with both inside a Six Moon Designs Meteor bivy and on top of an Exped DAM. I was in the Duomid. Unfortunately, I did a terrible job making sure my site was level and was sliding all over the place as I tried to get comfortable. I had a bit of trouble getting the 2 bags to nest well and ended up with the 40* unzipped and draped over my like a quilt with the 22* quilt on top. Eventually I ended up pressed against the side wall of the Duomid, so I opened the door and turned my setup 90 degress with my head was sticking out the door. I also had a balaclava, down hat and the hood of my R1 Hoody on my head. I was a little chilly, particularly the exposed part of my face got a little cold at times, but overall not too bad. And my lower body was quite toasty with micropuff pants layered over my cap 1 bottoms and softshell pants and down booties on my feet. Anway, next time I need to take a little extra time to make sure my site is level ;)

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Great pics on 02/14/2013 11:24:53 MST Print View

I like those photos, nice setting.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Tioga Rd in the Snow on 02/15/2013 10:01:53 MST Print View

Nice pics, looks like a fun trip.

@Chris, your sleep system (including your clothing) sounded like quite a bit of insulation. What sort of overnight lows did you have on this trip?

Also curious what you guys ended up using to stake out the duomid and trailstar. Did you do deadman anchors or bring snow stakes or...?

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tioga Road in the snow on 02/15/2013 10:49:06 MST Print View

The low was around 18F overnight. I don't know about Chris, but I sleep pretty cold in general, and I was a little chilly as the night went on in my WM Ultralite with a big down jacket on (MH phantom) and lots of extra layers.

Chris had a bunch of the SMC snow stakes. I buried deadmen, and they were very secure. But it took about 30 minutes to get everything set up, so I will probably get a few of the snow stakes too in case I ever have to set up my shelter in a hurry.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Tioga Rd in the Snow on 02/15/2013 11:01:51 MST Print View


When I checked the temp on my watch at some point during the night it said 16*F and Andrew mentioned his said 18*, so somewhere around there. I was comfortable enough for the most part, but I toss and turn a lot and did have a little issue with the drafts every once in a while as well as the exposed parts of my face being cold.

I used snow stakes, but Andrew got a little more creative and used deadman anchors, the tree and the snow shovel. Next time I think I'll just use snow stakes for the 4 corners, but deadmen for the rest. The snow stakes were pretty convenient though.

Edited by csteutterman on 02/22/2013 16:53:00 MST.