Snow Camping on Mt. Dickerman
DATE HIKED: 11/10-11
TOTAL DISTANCE/ASCENT: 9.5 MILES AND 4,000 FT
DIFFICULTY: MODERATELY DIFFICULT
REQUIRED PERMIT: NONE
DOG FRIENDLY: YES
LOCATION: MOUNTAIN LOOP HIGHWAY/ NORTH CASCADES
RECREATION PASS: NORTHWEST FOREST PASS
The fall that does not seem to stop giving good weathered goodness, continued to provide this past weekend. We sought out winter though with a snow camping trip. Mt. Dickerman. This location has a very short snow camping window though. You have to wait until the meadows are snow covered to be able to snow camp up here. The Mountain Loop Highway usually closes shortly after this hike starts to get snow as well. We found this window and the perfect weather window, so we jumped on it. Other considerations up here that should influence your decision to camp up here are avalanche conditions and being mindful of cornices and where you choose to set up camp. These were not a concern yet, as there wasn’t enough snow for it.
We left Seattle early Saturday and stopped in at the ranger station on the way up. We grabbed blue bags (what you poop into in the winter months) as you can’t dig a whole into the ground to bury it. In no time, we were at the trailhead and put on our boots and heavy packs and made our way up the mountain.
The beginning of this hike leaves much to be desired as it is steep and thick trees for the first many miles. We did get some pretty morning light through the trees though.
We were slow going up the 4,000 gain. Snow camping means extra heavy packs for the extra amenities needed. We reached the upper portion of the hike and slowly began to see more and more snow. We found winter!
We finally reached the top and were greeted by many other day hikers. One of the first things we saw was a group of guys feeding birds. Nikki politely asked them not to giving them reasons why it is bad for the birds. Some of them obliged, while one of them said “I’ll feed the birds if I want to.” Please don’t be this person.
We waited for most of the day hikers to clear out before setting up camp. This was my second time up here, so I knew what was safe ground to sleep on and wasn’t cornice. We could also tell by the trees surrounding the area we chose that we knew it was safe. We dug a pit for our tent and Nikki dug a hole to sleep in, brave woman!
We then set up camp, frocklied around enjoying the warm sunshine and the little daylight we had left.
One of my favorite parts of snow camping is the glorious sunsets and sunrises. We couldn’t stop running around taking photos and enjoying the last light of the day.
Nikki painted this moment perfectly. Find her work here: https://drawntohighplaces.com/collections/originals
Sunset was at 4:30 so after dinner we melted some snow for water, which took forever. Still trying to figure out the best system for this. Nikki and Kaelee were cold and went into their sleeping bags to warm up. I stayed up for awhile longer doing some night shots and enjoying the peace and quiet of a calm winter night.
We successfully stayed in the tent for around 12 hours before sunrise woke us in the morning. Nikki yelled it was amazing out so we jumped out of the tent and woke to the fresh daylight.
Another amazing snow camping trip in the book. I’m excited to write a different blog post on the gear I use and how I have manage to stay warm and enjoy snow camping. It truly is my favorite thing now- no other people around, can camp almost anywhere. It’s really quite magical.