This Season't Highest Camp

8:47 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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Picture links didn't work, sorry.


How do ya get the pictures to load?

11:02 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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Ed, is that the trip you posted on wintertrekking?

FYI, there is a FAQ on posting pictures.

6:19 p.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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   Frank and I had planned to do a more serious igloo trip and a storm was forecast to move in around noon on the day we started the trip. Funny how both of us figured this suited us just fine as we hoped to be at camp and building the igloo about the time it started snowing. We knew it wouldn’t make good pictures compared to the glorious sunny days of Colorado but we both know the peacefulness of being out in the falling snow.

   It was a cool 15F. in Estes Park when I passed through and probably 10F. at the trailhead. Although cold, I love those temps as snow doesn’t melt on me and get me wet and I don’t work up as much of a sweat.

   The peaks had some clouds on them as we left the trailhead but there was still a lot of blue sky and warm sun as we headed up the trail, making for a very pleasant day of breaking trial up to Haiyaha. My friend Tim had decided to tag along as far as the lake and then return with his friend he had brought along so he wouldn’ bet snowshoeing solo.

   I hadn’t been up the trail for a few weeks and what scant snow we had received since then was easy to break trail through.

   We parted ways with Tim a short distance before the lake and headed up the side of Otis Peak hoping we’d have an easy go of it. The snow in the woods was mostly deep enough to have a solid base but we did sink in deep in the shallow areas but not enough to slow us down.

   We reached the base of the climb a bit after 10:00 am and found rocks, that are normally buried this time of year, sitting well above the snow level:


   The grade of the climb gets one’s attention when looking across the slope but we stayed away from the avalanche prone areas:


   We were able to weave up the edge of the snowfield through trees and some large drifts. The weaving made the grade a bit more gradual in most areas but it also put us in shallow snow amongst some of krumholtz:


   It was a very steep ascent at first but we were able to stay away from the avalanche prone snowfield.

   The grade was still steep above the snowfield but we were able to travel on the main drifts and avoid the krumholtz. We also had to take our snowshoes off for a good amount of rock hopping until we neared the ridge top where the snow got deeper again.

   We arrived at the campsite a bit after 1:00 pm after nearly three hours of arduous trail breaking.

   We built our platform on a steep slope and took a lunch break at 2:00 pm to let the platform setup and get stronger before starting to build our igloo. It had been snowing lightly as we built the platform but stopped while we had our lunch:


   Frank started getting the igloo tool ready at 2:15 on the platform that still had the avalanche probe sticking up in the center of the platform. We’d used the probe to find a deep spot amongst the underlying boulders for our door and trench:


  It had taken quite a bit of snow to make a level platform big enough for our 8 ft. igloo:


   We worked on the igloo for two hours before taking another short break:


   Although the site doesn’t have a 360 degree view like my other favorite campsite it does have a good view:


   Another hour and the sun started setting lighting up the clouds to the NE:


   We worked with headlamps for the last part of the igloo build but we were relaxing and eating at 9:15 pm. We awoke the next morning to find 4 or 5 inches of snow had fallen overnight and the skies were overcast:


   It was downhill back to the trailhead but it was a 1700 ft. drop with full packs. We began packing up at 11:00 am:


   I had shoveled the walk in the morning and camp was sweet:


   The descent was much better than the previous day’s ascent, we were able to see and follow the braided drifts through the rocks:


   There were areas of small rocks we had to cross from one drift to another:


   We got back to the trailhead at 2:30 and I was dragging a bit but it was a good drag.

7:52 p.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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Tom D said:

Ed, is that the trip you posted on wintertrekking?

FYI, there is a FAQ on posting pictures.

 Indeed the same trip report, thought you guys would like it here.

I looked last night in the FAQs but couldn't find anything. Did some searching too but no luck. Looked again today and no luck on the FAQ but finally a search string found one post explaining it a bit.

I found the Insert/edit image button last night but it brought up my profile picture. I thought it was to change my avatar.

I was a bit rattled by that time...

Hope you enjoy,

10:08 p.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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Pardon my ignorance, but what is that yellow tool you seem to be using to make your igloo. That was an amazing trip report, and an awesome igloo. I wish I could build one as nice.

3:02 a.m. on February 15, 2013 (EST)
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Sorry Ed, I thought there was an explanation in the FAQ. I saw one here somewhere. And yes, thanks for posting. We get a whole different set of viewers here than on wintertrekking. FYI, that's me in the red parka, same screenname.

HDM-Ed makes those gadgets. His link is in his profile, but here it is-

Check it out, it's pretty darn clever.

1:42 p.m. on February 15, 2013 (EST)
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Tom D said:

We get a whole different set of viewers here than on wintertrekking.

I think there are a lot more climbers here and a lot more fishermen on WT.

9:23 a.m. on February 16, 2013 (EST)
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I love that icebox tool. I wish I had the money and the snow, I would order one right now. In the future I hope to own one.

2:07 p.m. on February 17, 2013 (EST)
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So question: With the icebox tool, do you set it in place and fill with snow or how does it work? I built igloo's in Yosemite's high Sierra in the later winter of 1980 but did it the old fashioned way cutting my blocks with a saw ad stacking them. My first one collapsed but I finally figured it out. Took me about 3-4 hours and I was soaked by the time I finished.

9:38 p.m. on February 17, 2013 (EST)
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Yes, Gary, the tool is set on the wall and filled/packed. In the trades world it would be called a slip form.

It takes us about the same time or less in more favorable snow conditions. I built one this weekend that took five hours but that included a monster pad for the igloo to set on.

As long as my mitten is waterproof when using wet snow, I don't get wet.

This weekend's igloo:

10:33 a.m. on February 18, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks Ed....I really enjoyed your pictures and igloo. It fires my imagination to think about building one for camping.

10:55 a.m. on February 19, 2013 (EST)
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Me too, patman. Maybe its a weird request, but how about some pics of the inside of your igloo. With some gear or a person so I can get some idea of the space. Does the ice box dictate the size or could you build a bigger one. Im almost always with my kids and I wonder if there is enough room, or would we have to build two. I would rather be in one with them, for safety reasons. But, once again, awesome tool and great shots. I wanna build one right now!

3:58 p.m. on February 19, 2013 (EST)
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I don't take very many pictures of the inside of the igloos because I don't have wide enough a lens to do a good job of it. Here is a video of an eight foot inside diameter igloo set up for two people:

The tool makes five different size igloos. 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 ft. inside diameter.
 They sleep one in the seven footer and one more person for each size larger. It starts getting pretty cramped if everyone is 6 ft. tall or taller.

Thanks for the interest,

April 23, 2018
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