Our winter mountaineering training wrapped up with a stellar weekend of rappelling, traveling, and climbing on the Mountaineering Level 2 (MTN 2) Winter Mountaineering Course March 15th - 16th, held at Billy Mack Canyon near Truckee.
Snow levels have been off the charts -- we got a chance to experience it firsthand. We had to dig our way through the wall of snow just to get started.
Travel to basecamp was straightforward and pleasant, and in no time we were digging a snow cave, a quinzhee, setting up tents and a group kitchen area. A heck of a lot of digging. There was so much snow that we found drifts buried inside of drifts. The snow was somewhere around 10 - 15 feet deep everywhere, with incredible cornices.
Our kitchen set up was a very nice place to spend the evening together enjoying meals and a mild winter night with about a billion stars.
Some of our team slept in tents and quite a few spent their first night in a snow shelter. The next day we trekked out to Babylon Dome and worked on fixed lines and rappelling with a full winter setup (pack, crampons, gloves, etc.)
In addition to our winter camping and technical skills, we also spent quite a bit of time working on advanced navigation, learning how to shoot a bearing without using the needle and how to move through terrain when we can't sight a bearing to our destination.
The mountaineering series continues with MTN 3, which is "Expedition Mountaineering" -- this is our most physically demanding training with a 24 hour circumnavigaton and technical climb, with a bivouac in the snow. Light and fast is the name of the game here, no basecamps. This is meant to prepare members for the final push to the summit, having the skills, technique and know-how for success.
Thanks everyone for a successful and rewarding training!