Backpacking In The Snow Near Birds Butte, Oregon

My brother-in-law Scott and I went backpacking near Mt. Hood this weekend. We woke up early Saturday morning and were on the road shortly after 6 AM headed to Frog Lake SnoPark. Once we parked and had our gear sleds (Paris Expedition Sled) unloaded from my truck, we strapped our snowshoes on and headed to the Pacific Crest Trail toward Twin Lakes. Our destination was supposed to be Birds Butte, a little over 2 miles uphill overlooking Twin Lakes. Two hours later we had managed to pull our gear sleds about two miles uphill along the trail. We were on the slops of Bird Butte at about 4,500' elevation and there was about two to three feet of fresh snow. It was so deep and the going slow that we decided to set up camp shy of the actual Butte. We would have had to hike straight up the mountain in order to hit the butte and that didn't appeal to either of us. Area map.

It was snowing heavily while we hiked at about two inches an hour. The weather forecast called for snow in the morning then 1-3 inches of rain in the afternoon as the freezing level rose to 8,000'. It was gorgeous while we were hiking with everything covered in clean white snow. That changed later in the day as the snow switched over to rain.

Deep Snow Near Birds Butte     Snow Camping Gear

We set up our camp just off the trail on a slight slope. We built a three sided snow shelter with a tarp for a roof. It ended up being so comfortable we decided to sleep under it instead of setting up my tent. We had a nice roaring fire with the help of a chainsaw I packed with us. I woke up once to add wood to keep it going. We stayed fairly dry all night even with the 30 mph winds. By morning all the snow had melted off the trees and branches were littered all over the snow. It was amazing how much snow had melted with the couple inches of rain we received.

Scott in Snow Shelter     Melted Snow Shelter

Next time hopefully the weather will stay colder so we can avoid the rain. It was fun, but I definitely prefer snow to rain.

1 comment

Anonymous, Mon, 12/27/2010 - 08:34

Looks like fun! :)

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