Winter Backpacking trip in the North Cascades

By November 3, 2016BACKPACKING

This trip was the first one out into the fresh snow this year! It was also my very first overnight backpacking trip in the snow, so I was extremely excited.  It was quite incredible how fast the snow packed the North Cascades over a handful of days. My friend Lindsey and I set out to do Yellow Aster Butte, up near Mt. Baker.

We definitely learned a few valuable lessons on this trip. The first was prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. We had seen trip reports less than a week prior to our trip that showed there was no snow quite yet, but wow… by the time we made our way up the mountain we quickly realized we were in for some snow camping.

A few pieces of gear really helped make this trip enjoyable. The first was insulation layers, for both your legs and upper body. I would have been freezing without a dense puffy over my base layer, and thick fleece lined pants to top my wool leggings. More importantly WARM GLOVES and EXTRA SOCKS saved me. My body was not conditioned to that cold weather so it was a bit of challenge to keep warm when we stopped moving. The Hothands hand warmers were tucked in both my socks when I settled down to sleep for the night.

We were just prepared enough for that very very cold night, and if we had brought anything less we would have probably had to turn back. I’m so thankful we had the proper gear needed because we saw some of the most beautiful scenery that you could imagine of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, and all the encompassing ranges.

If you have any questions feel free to ask, especially if you are entertaining the idea of doing a beautiful winter backpacking trip! Here are some of the details of this particular hike we did!

WTA: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/yellow-aster-butte

AllTrails: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/yellow-aster-butte-trail

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Caitlin says:

    Stunning pictures and great information! Just wondering – what stove did you use? I know a lot don’t work well in cold weather, and I’d hate to bring the wrong stove and discover that during the trip…. Thanks!!

    • Megan Harris says:

      Hi Caitlin! Great question!
      This took me awhile to figure out and I did quite a lot of research. The stove I picked was the MSR Windburner. ( https://www.rei.com/product/890802/msr-windburner-stove-system ) This stove is strong enough to light quickly in harsh conditions are are made to be very very resilient to low temperatures and high wind scenarios. Some of the cheaper ones you can buy have an open flame which isnt the best the higher up the mountain you go. The heat chamber on the MSR’s are built to lock in that heat and it heats up FAST! I get water boiling in about a minute or two!

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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