Matt and Joanne’s Page

January 21, 2007

ICS Snow Cave update

Filed under: Climbing — joannestamplis @ 7:21 pm

Well, we just got back from the snow cave weekend. Hmm, how should I begin. Well, we started digging our cave immediately when we got to the Timberline Lodge area. We didn’t get done until 5pm. Our cave was far away from Matt’s idea of condo :). It was a lot of hard work and we got a cave big enough for both of us to sleep next to each other and a small area for our packs. A few people bailed from staying the night in their caves (I wish I did too).

It was very cold outside and a little warmer inside but sheltered from the high wind. We had a little difficulty boilling water with our stove due to the cold weather. Eventually I got a hot enough water for my meal. Both Matt and I were completely soaked from digging the cave. They told us in the class that it’s better to sleep with your wet clothes and gear than to have to deal with frozen gear in the morning. So I ended up sleeping in my sleeping bag with all my wet clothes and boots. My 20 degree down bag was completely useless when it got wet.

I had a really miserable night. My feet got too cold I couldn’t sleep through the night. Eventually after Matt woke up for the 3rd bathroom break, I decided to get my fleece jacket out and wrap it around my feet and took 2 Tylenol. Eventually I fell asleep but I was very aware of everything throughout the whole night. I had some weird lucid dreams and one time I woke up I felt like I was suffocating, gasping for air. I was very glad when the morning finally came around and I was more than happy to get out from my sleeping bag.

A few more people bailed out on Sunday, possibly due to a bad night. The rest of us were divided into 3 teams and took off separately, practicing some other snow skills. By 2pm we got back to our car and drove home. It was a long weekend and even though it was miserable, we toughed it out and I guess that might make us stronger. Whether that’s true or not, I know for sure I hate winter camping, hate digging snow caves and hate sleeping with wet stuff. It was just plain miserable and I’m not surprised that guy died recently in his snow cave. I know what I need to improve my gears now; a bivy sack and a down bootie. Boy, I can’t wait to sleep in my bed tonight.

This is how the weather is like on Saturday morning, nice and windy.

A view from outside our cave.

Everybody is busy digging.

This is me digging our cave.

Matt and I, looking so happy, not aware of the miserable night to come. Actually Matt said he was fine, I guess I was the whimpy one.

Beautiful sunrise on Sunday.



  1. I was actually pretty cozy in my sleeping bag(s) once my socks dried out. I slept like a rock (except for the frequent bathroom breaks – forgot the pee bottle at home). I still think a snow cave would be pretty sweet to have if you were spending several days from a single basecamp. You’re completely oblivious to any weather outside and if you have a warm enough sleeping bag, it can get quite toasty.

    Comment by stamplis — January 22, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  2. very insightful read, thankyou.

    Comment by paul_knightly — February 22, 2007 @ 12:38 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: