Posts Tagged ‘Whiteout’

In the wee hours of the morning, we awoke groggily to about an inch and a half of snow resting of top of our tents weighing them down and making them heavier and wet.  Rubbing the eye snot out of our vision, we managed to cook some breakfast, or rather just heat up water to dump over some oatmeal and make instant coffee or tea.  That’s about all we managed on the breakfast front.  Figuring it would take more time than usual to pack up, we woke up two and a half hours before we needed to meet up to leave.  We needed it.  It took forever to dig up the ten snow anchors that held the tent in place all night.

Roger and Sean had seen a weather report when we got re-rationed and knew a weather bomb would come in sometime during the day and we should retreat down to the hut area.  However, when we staggered over to the meeting place, the sun shone high in the sky and it was clear as a bell outside.  So plans shuffled around and we got to practice falling on ropes with full packs on, which, by the way, is super awkward.  At least the snow was soft to break some of the falls as we passed through a little obstacle course Roger and Sean eagerly set up and one of us would fall at their signals.

This went on until the weather bomb decided to show it’s ugly face and everything began to get whiter and whiter.  Visibility began dropping steadily and we quickly made our way back to the hut and our food cache.  Once we uncovered it from the rocks, we set up our tents and bolted inside to make hot food and drinks to warm us all up.  We all voted to stay in that night as long as no one else came in.  They didn’t.

Instead the weather bomb dumped over a foot of snow and all three poles in the four person tent snapped and someone woke all of us up sometime in the middle of the night to run out and take down the all the tents.  Groping for boots, headlamps, and jackets, we managed to get up around 4 a.m.  Immediately after stepping outside, everyone seemed to pause as we went up to our knees in fresh powder.  No one seemed to understand fully what happened since we were all still half asleep.  No 5:30 a.m. wake up to hike call!

When we woke up a few hours later, visibility had decreased to about 10 feet maximum and all we could see out the window was a featureless bright white.  The wind blew so strong that no one even wanted to go as far as the privy (which stood maybe 30 feet from the hut and we couldn’t see it.

Twelve people.  One hut.  Lots of gear.  No space to move.  Roger decided to teach us how to predict the weather to grab our attention away from killing each other.  Then Tracy read the Hobbit out loud to a few loyal listeners while Heather, Jonah, and Hidde tried to do an ab workout in their bunks and I wished I had headphones.

The next day started out the same.  Whiteness.  Everywhere.  Instead of having to get up to break down tents in the middle of the night, we had another surprise.  Only four people double bunked that night, so Roger chose to put his sleeping mat down on the floor.  We all chuckled as he went to sleep with his headlamp and sunglasses still on his head, ready for action.  Then, out of no where in the dead of night, CRASH! Everyone but Ryan jerked awake to figure out what made the defining noise.  Luckily, the hut was small and it didn’t take long to figure out what was out of place.  JD lay on his back, still half in his sleeping bag, inches from Roger’s head.  Roger just blinked a lot as if he hadn’t quite wrapped his head around it.  JD had been on the third bunk up and had rolled off, catching his leg on the second bunk and landed on his back, sprawled out on the floor.  Surprisingly, he got up unhurt after he realized what happened and went back to bed.  Although, some bunkmate shifting happened so he could have his own bunk…on the ground level.

The morning dragged on like the morning before until suddenly the whiteness began to lift slowly and we could see the privy.  Then we could see further and further and the sun broke through with blue sky right behind it.  Quickly, Roger and Sean scrambled to organize a glacier scout mission.  At that point, I wanted whatever had fewer people in it.   When most people went with them, I decided to walk around camp outside with Heather and JD while Kyle chilled by himself in the hut with a book.  It appeared that everyone needed space after being shut in for a few days.  We made a snow man from the fresh sticky snow and a snow angel.  Kyle saw and came out with hiking poles to put in as arms.

When the other group came back, we buried a few avi beacons and raced around to dig them up making all kinds of trails in the blanket of snow.  Of course that ended the only way it possibly could: a snowball fight!  And thus, cabin fever ended. For now.

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