Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mountain Hardwear Gear Test at Escalante

My crew has assured me that there is much more to come, but big props to David for putting together a great little video on ONB's weekend testing Mountain Hardwear gear.

Nice work Dave.


Neon Canyon

Neon Canyon is a slot canyon near Escalante, it is a technical route and shouldn't be attempted without sufficient experience in setting anchors and repelling. This canyon has two major repels one to get in, and one going down to the "Cathedral". Like most technical slots, it also requires a goodly portion of swimming, scrambling and down climbing. It would be a great spring trip, the scenery is amazing. If you're in for the perfect blend between a little challenge and relaxing scenery, head down to Escalante and do Neon!

by Mike Clark
ONB Adventure Expert

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to camp in the snow with Scouts

Thinking of spending the night outside on a cold winter night makes even the most
seasoned outdoor enthusiast reconsider his warm cozy bed. When considering a
night in the cold, one thinks of finding a snow bank and "Digging in" until the
cave is big enough for the camper. Hopefully by the conclusion of this post some
ideas of better more comfortable winter camping have been generated. There is an
inherent sense of smugness when one can spend the night in extreme cold
temperatures with relative comfort and live to tell the tale.

We took our scouts up to Aspen Grove and spent the night. The temperature
dropped to 6 degrees. Our boys and leaders were surprisingly comfortable for the
conditions we survived.

Step #1: Find your spot. Choose a good location for your snow cave. I teach
the boys that a snow drift is present because there is wind. I like to avoid
area of constant wind. In winter conditions, wind can be deadly due to its chill
factor. A flat area with plenty of snow is ideal (last year we constructed caves
in about 18 inches of snow. This year we had about 5 feet to work with).

Step#2: Make your base. Using snowshoes, flatten an area about 8-10 feet in
diameter. The size will depend on the number of people who will be in the cave.
This flattened area becomes your base for the snow cave.

Step #3: Create your mound. Begin piling snow on your base making a mound of
snow. This will require lot of work. Coal shovels work best because they are
light and can move a lot of snow. Over heating and sweating during this step
should be avoided. As the snow is being piled, another person can use the
snowshoes to pack the mound. Be sure to avoid packing the mound too much. Once
your mound is formed, wait about 30-60 minutes to let the snow bond together.

*note - Snow will warm when it is stirred and "worked" during daylight hours. If
it is left to sit after being "worked or stirred" it will refreeze or bond
together creating a strong structure.

Step #4: Dig the cave. Begin low and away from prevailing winds. This step is
best with two people. One inside digging and the other outside as a guide. I
gave our boys an old golf club with no head on it. The person outside pushes the
"stick" down into the snow. The person inside digs until he finds the stick.
The person outside pulls the stick up to a depth of 18 inches. The person inside
digs upward until he finds the bottom of the stick. The person outside then
moves backward about 12-18 inches and plunges the stick down into the snow mound.
The person inside digs until he finds the stick. The person outside pulls the
stick up to the desired depth and the person inside digs upward until he finds
the stick again. This process is repeated for the length of the cave. Then the
sides inside are formed and shaped using the same process. Here the walls of the
snow cave should be about 18 inches thick on the top and sides. This creates a
very strong structure. One question often asked, "aren't you afraid that the
cave will collapse?" My answer is always no. If constructed properly, a snow
cave will withstand the weight of several adult men standing on its top. Digging
the cave should be done at an even pace to avoid overheating and sweating. Care
should also be taken to avoid getting wet from snow getting down the sleeves and
neck of the one digging.

Step #5: Making a home. Once the cave has been dug and the snow removed,
shaping the inside is very important. The roof should be smooth and rounded
avoiding points where water may drip on the occupants. Bed surface should be
slightly higher than the door. Cold air falls, warm air rises. Temperatures
inside the cave often get above freezing and being in the warmer areas of the
cave are desired. A small candle can add a lot of warmth to a cave. Candles
should never be left to burn while the occupants are sleeping. Air holes are
already formed during the construction phase so no new holes need to be opened.
We put a blue tarp directly on the snow. This adds one more moisture barrier
between the person and the snow. Closed cell foam pads and at least a 0 degree
rated sleeping bag are required.

*Note: I placed another sleeping bag between my pad and my -20 degree bag. I
felt no cold...

On our camp out, we built 4 snow caves and one igloo. The igloo was constructed
using the "Ice Box" from Grand Shelters out of Colorado. With the Ice Box one
can make igloos form 7 feet to 12 feet in diameter. The walls are about 8
inches thick. once completed they are strong enough to stand on (See pictures).

Equipment needed: Snow shoes, Emergency shovel (the small shovel with
retractable handle) and coal shovel, some kind of stick (golf club handle) with
18 inch depth marked on it.

Dr Dale Heath
Loyal ONB Adventure Man

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Katadyn and Camelbak

David tells us about the Katadyn Vario, and his favorite roll top Camelbak. Thanks to the Utah Adventurer for the video.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Seven Peaks has nothing on Capitol Reef

Last weekend we travelled down South to Capitol Reef. We hiked the Frying Pan trail to Cassidy Arch and another hike down the river bed. It has this sweet waterfall/slide that couldn't be passed up despite the snow and ice that was melting, making the water freezing cold. I was hiking getting sunburn one day and the next day I'm back in Provo waking up to snow, I thought it was spring? The red rock/slick rock and climbing was awesome.

Cameron Wilson

Capitol Reef

Last weekend I went down to Capitol Reef National Park to do Lower Muley
Twist Canyon. It was amazing weather and one of the most beautiful canyons
I have ever been to. It was a nice 2 miles to get into to the canyon and
the second day we did 8 miles through the entire canyon. We came across
some huge alcoves and one had some old cowboy writings on the walls for the
1920's. This is a must do trail for anyone, but make sure its spring of
fall, too hot in the summer.

By Scott- a fine ONB employee

Moab in the Spring

This was from trip to moab in which we went mountain biking and did some slot canyons, and hiking. it was my real first time mountain biking and I had a super awesome full suspension bike and no accidents. we started hiking up a side canyon one day and it just kept going back. we found some really cool places and most of the pictures are from that canyon.

by Kendra- one of ONB's finest employees.