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Snow Camp

Greetings SACsters!

Even though Kipp & Doug have given me a bad case of couloir-envy, I humbly submit my trip report. Hey, aside from the Cloud Cappers (I hope to see their trip report), who else was out braving the tempest last weekend?

Our excursion started out as a Broken Top camp/climb, originally scheduled for March 1-3. There was *exquisite* weather that weekend, but the trip was derailed by a sudden, freak South Indian concert. Our leader Kipp was last seen in the mosh pit, playing air-scitar (a wicked windmilling solo I hear).

Due to the heavy accumulation of snow the week prior to March 9/10, the group decided not to risk the BT trip. So we set our sites much lower - to a snow camp trip at Santiam Pass. Apparently this wasn't studly enough for most of our group, which promptly dwindled down to 3 people: Chris Beech, Andrew Geibel, and Justin Close. Our goals were many:

  1. To test our tents & camping equipment in the snow
  2. To dig a snow cave (none of us had done this before)
  3. To be as close as possible to a pot-belly stove & a chord of wood (in case goals 1 & 2 failed)

So we made way for North Blowout shelter, which is a whopping 1.75 miles from Benson Sno-Park - a trip that includes the longest 1/4 mile you'll ever travel. We found the shelter buried to the brim in snow, with a steep stairway/luge run dug down for access.

We set up camp nearby, and scouted out a good spot for a snow cave. We found this on the ledge looking east towards Black Butte. Anticipating an afternoon arrival of a storm, we started digging to beat the band, at around 2:00. We dug furiously until about 4:30 or 5:00, when we had completed a luxurious 1.5 person cave. Fortunately Chris had his cell phone on hand, to book our chiropractor's appointments well in advance (for those of you who haven't dug a snow is tough, tough work).

The cave was definitely not worth the labor...although, speaking of labor, I must say that exiting the narrow cave did provide an interesting remembrance of the birth experience...but I digress.

Justin bravely volunteered to sleep in the cave, while Chris & retired to our separate tents. The storm finally arrived that night, but wasn't nearly as bad as forecast. The trail was still intact the next morning, so we had an easy ski & snowshoe back to the cars.

Much fun was had. Many snow camping lessons were learned. Hopefully the weather will clear soon, so the Broken Top trip can commence.

Thanks, and happy trails!



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