Only in my backyard!
Only in my backyard!
Life Is For Service
Winter camping is my favorite, in fact I don't camp much anymore during summer, just too many bugs & people! The way I do it requires some effort, but it is well worth it. I have one of those surplus Army GP tents that's 17' X 17' in a pentagon style design. It's got the stovepipe opening for a wood stove, and it almost makes you feel like "Royalty" when you've got that stove banked up, and you're in short sleeves, while it's 20 degrees outside. There's no smoke blowing into your eyes, and yer backside isn't freezing while you're frontside's frying! I have camped in very cold weather for years, and did it the hard way for many years before I invested in a better system. Winter camping is the most satisfying, for me!
"Remember the Alamo"!
Only outside winter camping I've done was in Arizona, it was quite pleasant for Febuary.
My favorite cold weather camping was done outside of Troy, Alabama. As a teen I helped my grandfather fix up a old log cabin there we used for a camphouse during hunting season. First time I saw it, it had no floor, doors, ceiling, gaps in the walls and a leaky tin roof. Took years to fix everything, but it went from being a place to sleep out of the weather to somewhere I wouldn't mind living.
I try to get in one good winter camping trip every year, although that doesn't always happen. The only other guy I know who likes that sort of thing works over the weekend now, which is a real bummer. Since Daniel's also my climbing partner, that has also hurt our lead climbing. My wife Audrey went with us on a winter camping trip once, but that was enough for her. It was a nice one though!
I live in NC, just north of Charlotte. Our preferred winter camping site is Shining Rock Wilderness, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Elevation is between 5,000 - 6,000 ft, and it's been known to snow there every month of the year. If you're real lucky, you can catch a howler in January or February, and about a year and a half ago that's exactly what Daniel and I got. We were ready though! Between his 85 lbs and my 110 lbs of equipment and a little help from the Almighty, we had everything we needed to survive a storm in relative comfort. Our tent was a Eureka four-season K2 XT, with lots of room for 2 people plus gear. But it's no Everest-class Mountain Hardware tent either, as we were to find out. We climbed maybe 3,000 vertical feet to the top of Sam's Knob on Friday and waited for something to happen.
To begin with, we were disappointed. The weather was pretty mild, like you might see during the fall, and was looking like it might stay that way all weekend. But up there, you just never can tell. By Saturday night all hell started breaking loose. Snow and ice starting falling, and the winds kicked up to may 40 mph, with gusts up to maybe 80. It's a good thing we'd brought a couple of ice axes, since we needed them to secure the vestibule. Actually we could have used a few more. Early Sunday morning at least one critical guy line had pulled out, and the wind was starting to whip the tent around pretty bad.
Later that morning, about the time it was starting to hit us what a pain in the butt it was going to be to break camp in the middle of a storm, we heard a loud snap after one particularly powerful gust of wind. One of the poles had broken, and was starting to rip the tent up. Well, that decided things for us, so we proceeded to break camp and high-tail it out of there, but not before I succeeded in slipping on the ice while crossing a creek and landing tail first in the water. Should have been wearing those crampons!
As we were heading back to the car, we couldn't help but wonder what we would have done if the pole had broken in the middle of the night. We were just grateful that it didn't.
Since then we've been planning another winter camping trip, but it hasn't worked out yet.