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Sunday
Jul292018

Quest for Snow

One of our goals for Tuesday of our second week was to find snow. We started out by driving west from camp along the gravel road towards the spectacular mountains that we discovered on the way to camp. We heard from the people at the camp that there was still snow on some of those peaks and that there are a lot of trails around there. As we drove across the valley towards the mountains, we spotted a number of white snow fields up on the peaks that had not yet melted during the Summer. After driving along the roads up into the mountains, we finally came to a spot that had a small parking area. It seemed like it would be the closest place we could get with the cars to the snow fields up on the peaks. If you look closely in this first picture, you can see the snow field that we were targeting as a small white spot near the top peaks just right of center in the image. This picture was taken at about a third the way up. You can see this same snow field in two of the other pictures below.

We parked, got out, and put on our rain gear. There was a misty rain in the winds that were blowing about 15+ mph. We started out with six scouts. We were mostly jumping from sheep trail to sheep trail making our way in the general direction of our target snow field. At about a third the way, we took stock of how everyone was doing on the hike and if they wanted to continue. Two of the scouts turned back. The other four scouts ended up making the full hike to the snow field and back - even though we stopped twice more on the way up to decide whether we should all turn back or not.

This video was taken while walking along a trail well over a thousand feet up from the valley. The persepective gives you a good feel for how high up we are into the mountain. Our best guess is that the altitude of our target snow field must have been around 2000 feet up from the valley.

The hike up was through a series of ridges and ravines. We were constantly assessing where we were in relation to the snow and whether moving up along that ridge or over there along the other side was going to be easier. Also, we kept an eye looking backwards to make sure that we could identify landmarks for our hike back down. It would be all too easy to hike down the wrong ravine and end up on a different part of the mountain than where we parked the cars.

We generally tried to keep on slopes that were walkable. Any vertical climbing was out of the question. This little bit was really the steepest bit on the whole hike. Up over that ridge it leveled out and actually sloped down a bit towards a ravine. As we walked towards the ravine, the snow field came into view less than a quarter mile up the slope. We let out a yell and quickened our pace now that the goal was in sight.

The snow field that we were targeting can be seen in the top right of this picture. It feeds the small gacier that you can see sweeping around a turn in the ravine on the left. The base of the glacier was made up of the same the hard, blue ice that encountered on our glacier hike the other day.

The boys had a snow fight with the easily packable snow. They rejoiced in achieving their objective and took a well earned break before the hike back down.

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