01-24-09 West Glacier Knob

Use for posting climbing pictures and igloo's.
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Joined:Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:53 pm
01-24-09 West Glacier Knob

Post by aleks_miesak » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:29 pm

After having the pleasure of meeting Igloo Ed on a trail at RMNP and reading some reviews of his invention (IceBox) I decided to purchase the tool and try it out. After quite an extensive search for an ideal location I broke down and posted a question for Ed on his website forum (grandshelters.com) asking for ideas. Instead of giving me a list of location he volunteered to take us to one of his favorite RMNP spot and give us a lesson on building igloos. Now, that’s customer service

After signing in at the permit booth at the park entrance we headed to the Bear Lake trailhead parking lot where we met two of our trip companions. They were only coming for a hike and not intended to stay overnight. We strapped our snowshoes and headed for the trail. We were only on the trail for a few hundred yards before turning south. This is where we really got to appreciate Ed’s extensive knowledge of the park. He remembered the route to our camping location from trees and boulders that we passed. And that’s how he explained it to us. After about two hours of snowshoeing through the backcountry of RMNP we arrived at our amazing camping location, the West Glacier Knob. On the topo map it is identified as one of two Glacier Knobs. The one we stayed on is the one closer to The Loch and has fantastic 360 degree views of the extensive valleys around.

After taking a quick break for food and taking in the views we got right into building the igloo. The weather was still relatively calm but dark clouds were approaching from the west. Since we were planning on building one that would last us through the season we made sure to take very good care stomping our platform which took us about 2 hours to accomplish. After that we started laying the “bricks” of our igloo. One person was in charge of the form and two shoveled snow. I must say I never shoveled so much snow in my life and my body is still paying for it. And since it was our first time, Ed was taking it slow and explaining all the steps in detail. It’s not as easy as it looks and it took us the rest of the day to finish our 9ft dome getting hit with never ending snow and some unpleasant gusting winds. We were pretty much surrounded by snow clouds with very limited visibility so the sunset never materialized All I could hope for was a break in the weather at sunrise.

We moved into our wintry shelter around 7 pm. I was still very skeptical of the amount of warmth and insulation our igloo would provide so I was very happy when we closed the door and were able to relax in relative comfort. With a stove and a lantern running for a short time the temps got comfortable enough for us to shed our heavy (and damp) jackets and relax in just fleece layers. We only had the stove and lantern going for about 3 hours while we ate and talked. BTW, I got some funny stories about Erik the Bear and some other RMNP forum members. Once we went to sleep (more like collapsed from exhaustion) everything was turned off. I only have a 20 degree bag and a fleece liner and was never cold throughout the night. And I’m one of those girls with no circulation who’s ALWAYS cold. I didn’t even need hand or toe warmers.

The morning weather proved to be the same as it has been for the last 12 hours. No visibility and heavy snow. Our igloo door was blocked by 2 feet of snow and our walkway around the igloo and the ridge was no longer visible.

Overall, it’s been an amazing weekend with incredible amount of work but I would do it again in a heart beat. And now I’m ready to do it again, not the building part because that was tough and I might need to start lifting weights to get in shape ;). I’m going back to the igloo on February 7 with hope that weather cooperates and I get some sunrise or sunset images along with some clear night skies.

Here is the link to some of our pictures:

http://picasaweb.google.com/mattkozakow ... true&pli=1#

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