ice house canyon trail

10

Ice House Canyon Trail - Bighorn Peak - Timber Mountain
*First solo camping. First dispersed snow camping. First peak hike in the snow.

Day 1 - Hiked up to my ‘dispersed camp’ site: N34º 14.456’, W117º 35.768’ via Ice House Canyon Trail.
Day 2 - Day-hike to Bighorn Peak.
Day 3 - Day-hike to Timber Mountain. Pack-uped camp and hiked back to Ice House Canyon Trail-Head.

Random notes I thought I’d share on this snow-camping & hike :

Gaiters… Put them on from the beginning. When you get snow in your hiking boots you’ll wish you would have put them on sooner, by then it’s too late and your socks are wet. Black gaiters get toasty in direct sun. That may make your legs sweat or help get freezing toes warm by means of circulation. Find the balance.
Hiking poles and microspikes are life savers. Period.
The camelbak bladder leaked at night and the dry packs helped keep my dry clothes from getting wet.
Sleeping pads can be slippery on the tent floor. Be sure to level your ground as much as possible. I had to stomp the snow and use wood to level it out as much as I could. Sleeping pads make a huge difference when you’re sleeping directly over the snow. I found this out right away when I woke up at 3a.m. directly over the snow because mine deflated. Tighten the valve well, to avoid my rude awakening. Get an appropriate rating too.
Down jackets are great! Light weight and super warm. I hiked and slept with it. Other layers I used on a given day & night included a thermal, flannel, fleece sweater, and wind/rain/snow shell. All moisture wicking and in the case of my shell, water proof. Add and remove layers as needed. Have extras depending on your stay.
Sitting pads double as pillow risers.
Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottles are good to put your boiling water into. Insulate it first!!!! Or you’ll burn yourself. You can put a clean thick wool sock around it.  Cuddle with it at night or put it near your feet in the sleeping bag. In the morning it will be cold, but this will warm faster than having to melt snow.
The wind made the tent zippers jingled all night long. Duct Taped each of them the next day and that helped keep them silent.
The wind was very gusty during the hike, 40+ mph at the peak, I regretted not bringing my shell. I would have enjoyed the peaks so much more had I brought it. It isn’t much burden to carry along considering how packable and light it is.
My scarf was a nuisance. The wind kept unraveling it and the cold crisp air would go straight down my neck. Very uncomfortable because it would happen unexpectedly… Think ice-cubes down your shirt. A long neck gaiter to tuck under your jacket, the back of your beanie, and over your mouth & nose would have been better. A balaclava would also have worked, but those would better for being in these conditions longer periods of time. My camp site didn’t have gusty winds; a neck gaiter may have worked better for me.

*Disclaimer: I’m no expert. Period.