Wednesday 25 November 2020

Winter Camping - soon I hope!


As December approaches I'm getting excited at the thought of winter camping. Real winter camping that is, in snow. I love camping in wild places year round but snow camping is special. Lying snug in a warm sleeping bag gazing out at starry skies and a vast white mountain landscape is one of my favourite camping experiences.  Under snow the mountains seem bigger and wilder, the scars of summer hidden. Hillwalking becomes mountaineering when the paths and cairns are covered in snow.

In the Cairngorms, my local mountains, winter camping can last half the year, from November to April. Most years though conditions aren't suitable until sometime in December. The best months are often February and March.

Camping in the mountains in winter does require care. I watch weather and avalanche forecasts carefully when planning where to go and always have an escape route worked out if conditions worsen. 

As winter loads are heavier - bigger pack, thicker sleeping bag and mat, more clothing, ice axe, crampons, snow shovel -, daylight hours much shorter and the terrain often tougher I don't plan long days in winter. I may set off in the dark, I may make camp in the dark, but even when I do I want to enjoy the experience and not exhaust myself - though soft deep snow or strong winds does result in the latter at times.

Thinking of winter camping I've been looking through my photos from past camps, and relishing the memories of these wonderful trips. I've posted some of them here, all taken in the Cairngorms in the last decade. I hope to have pictures of new winter camps very soon.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing better Chris. Hoping to get up there over Christmas. Maybe see you on the hill 😊