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CMC HAMS Winter Camping
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CMC HAMS Winter Camping

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Winter camping …

Winter camping
Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) High Altitude Mountaineering School (HAMS)


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  • 1. Winter Camping HAMS Seminar 2013 Debbie Markham Co-Director, HAMS Goal: Stay comfortable and warm so you enjoy!
  • 2. Winter Camping Topics     Clothing Shelter: Tent, Walls, Snow Caves Sleeping Systems Cooking (Stoves, Fuel) and Food
  • 3. Clothing  Minimize sweat; Don’t get wet! wet = cold; DRY = WARM  Change into DRY clothes ASAP  Light-, mid-, and heavy-weight layers Merino/SmartWool wicks; does not retain odor!  Hat and balaclava  Multiple sets of gloves, with tethers  Soft-shell pants and jacket  Hard shell (Gore-Tex) jacket & pants (full zips are worth the price)  Hand and Toe Warmers  Dry socks at night. VBLs work well for some.  Bring damp clothes in your bag to dry  Pee Bottle (48 oz., marked)
  • 4. Shelter  Tent 4-season recommended for wind & strength Identify “safe” place to establish tent zone Use shovels to level tent platform Use snowshoes to firm up tent platform Leave the ground cloth at home! Use lightweight snow stakes; consider parachutes Must dig out during heavy snowfall!  Snow Walls Blocks the wind Snow shovels and snow saw
  • 5. Shelter  Snow Cave Dig down and deep – must not collapse! Must have air vent Quiet, warm, dark, light (no tent, poles, stakes) But, takes longer than tent, and you will get wet! Consider for multi-day base camp Not for claustrophobics
  • 6. Sleep System  Sleeping Bag (consider temps and conditions)  0 degree is our “most used” for CO winters  lighter bag will suffice on Mt. Rainier  down vs. synthetic (rainy/wet camping?)  add warmth with liner bag and/or down clothing
  • 7. Insulation  Insulated pads  Protect tent floor – keeps in warmth  Extra protection for sleeping pad If it leaks and goes flat, you are still protected from snow 1/4” Evazote® foam pads - prolitegear.com  Exped Downmat – 5, 7 or 9 (great if you sleep cold)  NeoAir – lighter option  Small size insulation rectangle for sitting/standing  Optional: lightweight, collapsible, camp chair
  • 8.  Stoves     Cooking Helios JetBoil - canister MSR Reactor - canister MSR WhisperLite Universal – canister and liquid MSR XKG EX – all types of liquid fuel  Fuel Pros and Cons  Canister Fuel – typically heats water faster, easy to use, fuel is more expensive, build-in pots (less flexible), not as accessible outside U.S. (cold weather performance with inverted canisters)  Liquid Fuel – less expensive, excellent cold weather performance, heavier, requires fuel bottle
  • 9. Cooking and Food • Typically, most just melt snow for water and “just add boiling water“ to their food: instant soups and potatoes, hot cocoa, tea, coffee, oatmeal, dehydrated/freeze-dried veggies and dinners • Cooked food in pans “freeze” and difficult clean-up Bacon, eggs, pancakes – always welcome! Group meals can also be fun. • Consider food that doesn’t require cooking: (i.e., tortillas or flatbread with chicken, tuna) • Bring the food you like and know you will eat! • Water containers need to be insulated, or they will freeze Use insulated water holders rather than camelbaks/bladder

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