Ski Mountaineering

Snow Shelter Course 1992 - Mt Baldy

Feb 22-23, 1992

Leaders: Reiner Stenzel, Howard Schultz

Howard and I like to build igloos. So we organized another weekend trip to Baldy to ski and spend the night in a snow house. We were joined by 6 participants: Terry Bowman, Bob Meador, Tom Marsh, Mark Bailey, Dana Pearce and another Tom. We met Sat, 8am, at Manker Flats, hauled our full packs up to the SMS ski hut where we took a well-deserved break. Then it was another short workout to ski up to our destination, the West Baldy Ridge. Snow coverage was excellent and it looked like a go ahead for constructing igloos.

It takes several hours to build an igloo. It requires cutting big blocks with a snow saw, lifting them up and placing them in an upward ascending spiral, close the top, build an entrance and seal cracks between the blocks. Finally, some interior decoration: Flattening the floor for a comfortable sleep, building small shelves for candles, and placing a ground mattress, thermarest, sleeping bags and arranging personal paraphenelia. For all this work it would be best to stay longer than one night, but we did it mainly for the practice.

Compared to a tent an igloo is much warmer. It can storm outside and inside it remains completely quiet. Luckily, it did not and we had a great sunny weekend.

Those who had energy left built a snow kitchen. We cooked our dinners and socialized until it got dark. Then one lights one or two candles inside the igloo which gives a pleasant illumination. From outside the entire igloo glows in the darkness.

Next morning, after breakfast, we did a ski tour up the ridge. By midday the snow conditions were best to ski the Bowl. In the early afternoon we skied/hiked out. It was a fine weekend in the snow. Thanks to everyone to join the fun.

R. S.

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