Snow-Caving at Zimmerman Lake 10-11 April 2010

Sue and I have been wanting to get out for another snow cave trip. Alan and John came along this time. Even better John showed up a great spot that is often used by folks in the area for digging out a snow cave. I can see why since it is a beautiful spot! John has done this many times and only came up for the day and boogied out that evening. We were happy that Alan was able to join us on this trip.

  IM001969 IM001970 IM001971 IM001972 IM001973  
  Zimmerman Lake parking lot, departed about 1pm. Final packing of the gear, applying sunscreen which doomed us to clouds and light snow. Partway up. John Tillema joined us to give us the benefit of his vast snow caving experience. John, Bob, Alan.

  IM001974 IM001975 IM001977 IM001978 IM001979  
  Looking north from the same sign. Sue and Alan. Bob, Sue, Alan. Zimmerman Lake looking east. John and Alan.

  IM001980 IM001981 IM001982 hpim1861 hpim1862  
  Zimmerman Lake looking south-east. It's about 20 feet from where we are to the bottom of the gully. Incredible spot for building a snow cave with the steep slope. Sue and Alan Sue and Alan

  hpim1863 hpim1864 hpim1867 IM001983 IM001984  
  Sue stepping off the ledge. It is hard with the pack. Sue has her balance. Alan contemplates the route down. Getting down the steep slope to the bottom was a challenge. Sue requested that Bob boil water for oatmeal for lunch, Alan and Sue start digging.

  IM001985 IM001986 IM001987 IM001988 DSCI0033  
  Yumm hot oatmeal - apple cinnamon! The streaks are falling snow. John taught us the trick of using a tarp to haul away snow. Dig Alan Dig! Sue started on the first platform to the left and found an old tunnel! This could save us a lot of time, we thought!

  IM001991 IM001992 IM001993 IM001994 IM001996  
  Turns out NOT - the tunnel walls were rock hard ice and took forever to enlarge this into a sleeping platform. I do NOT want to know. Digging the right sleeping platform. Using the tarp saved gobs of time and effort. Fill the tarp, drag it out and downhill, empty it, and drag it back inside to refill.

  IM001995 IM002000 IM001997 IM001998 IM001999  
  Another small hole on the right side! But it petered out to nothing. Note black and gold 6-foot probe pole on right - invaluable for discovering snow depth. Alan digs left, Sue digs right. Bob and John drag out snow on tarps from the cave we are digging.

  IM002001 DSCI0040 DSCI0041 DSCI0044 IM002003  
  Plastic Lexan shovel versus metal - the straight thin metal is better for slicing into hard snow, the thicker curved plastic is better for scooping loose snow and shaping. Both have telescoping handles and are unbreakable. Sue has a pretty good spot created on the right side. The left side was rock hard and Bob and Alan tag-teamed working on it. Only boots visible now. Sue is drinking hot water. She had just poked Bob to boil some up for her.

  IM002004 IM002005 IM002006 IM002007 IM002008  
  Alan talks us into a ski/snowshoe around Zimmerman Lake, which is gorgeous in the setting sun. Bob cooks dinner - steamed veggies, chicken nuggets, corn tortillas. The Svea 123 camp stove sits on a hot pad so that it doesn't sink into the snow. Yummy! Though the corn tortillas did not hold together well. Flour tortillas tend to do better. Eating fancy! Fresh veggies steaming in the double-boiler. Chicken nuggets are in the bottom pan. The Svea 123 is roaring away pleasantly. Alan brought chili and a cool rice dish.

  IM002009 IM002010 IM002011 IM002013 DSCI0138  
  Nice "armchair" sitting platform carved out of the snow. Hot food, yumm! Chicken nuggets were in the shape of dinosaurs :-) Inside the cave on the right sleeping platform, just tall enough to sit up in. Next time I want a few more inches in height. Sue entering the cave.

  DSCI0140 IM002014 IM002016 DSCI0148 IM002017  
  The gear is all inside now. Alan's side, notice nice "fridge" slot for a bottle. Several tarps are needed underneath to keep the snow off your sleeping bag. Bob and Sue settle in. Bob's socks are already off and barefoot. On top left, cyalume stick acts as a night light. Headlamps are still needed but the cyalume stick is nice when all the headlamps are off.

  DSCI0149 IM002018 IM002019 IM002020 IM002021  
  Sue starts to change out of the web gear and into dry. Next morning (Sunday), bright sunshine, spread everything out to dry. Alan and Bob. Snow cave is mostly empty now, we pack everything back up, eat lunch. Notice height of Bob compared to height of snowbank above, and taking the photo I'm another 5 feet lower. Can't have too many tarps.

  IM002022 IM002023 IM002024 IM002026 IM002031  
  Notice Alan's skis up top with ski poles crossed - left them there overnight in case someone skied up the trail to the overlook, they'd think twice about jumping off. Alan is already packed and decided to do a quick ski trip to the south-east edge of the lake. Bob and Sue are still waking up and letting clothes dry in the bright sun. It's about noon. Gutsy birds asking for a handout. Banana wasn't going to survive the hike out, they enjoyed it.

  IM002032-cropped IM002033 IM002034 IM002035 IM002037  
  Alan hiked up to the top and will ski up the lake headwaters while Sue and Bob pack up Coming back down the slope is tricky. Final packing up to head out.

  IM002038 IM002039 IM002040 IM002041 IM002042  
  Heading back to the parking lot. Another skier on the trail, Ted from Olympia, Washington. Notice bulge in ski where the screw holes are. Ski de-laminated under the front binding and the binding's screws popped out. Ted had to hike out carrying his skis.

  IM002043 IM002045 IM002046 IM002047  
  Back at the car, Alan still has the extra car key. Packing up the car. Across the road and west, one skier cuts fresh tracks while a helicopter flies over. Diamond Peaks.

To Back to Sue's directory

To Back to Bob's photo directory

created with igal