Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Snowshoeing the Sierra

Snowshoeing in the Sierra 
 Snowshoeing is increasing in popularity in snowy areas mainly because it is so easy to learn and lots of fun. We picked a trail just off I-80 near Donner Pass in the Tahoe National Forest.  It was a beautiful spring day in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Without a cloud in the sky, the temperatures were balmy. It was t-shirt weather. 
 We left from the Sno Park with our high-tech snowshoes crunching through the snow. After crossing  over a stream, we made our own trail through the trees. The noise of the freeway slowly faded away  with each step. The snow was deep;  the terrain was rugged. Without snowshoes, the hike would have been impossible. At the top we enjoyed the pay off of our trek... a view of Castle Peak,  a 9,104 foot sentinel of the Sierra. 

Tips and Tricks for Snowshoers
To ascend a slope kick the front of your snowshoe into the snow and press down to compact it into a step. Make sure that each new step is sufficiently above the last one to avoid collapse.

Heel cleats are the key to an easy descent. Keep your knees slightly bent, lean back and  keep your weight on the heel cleats to maintain control.

The best way to traverse a slope is to kick the side of the snowshoe into the hillside, engaging the cleats. Swing your heel hard towards the uphill slope, then stomp down, securing the snowshoe edge in the slope. Poles are also helpful.

Breaking Trail
When snowshoeing in a group, walk in a single line behind the leader who is breaking the trail. When it is your turn to lead, take consistent, even steps that are easy for everyone to follow.

Safety Tips for Snowshoers
Check with the local weather service before you head out. Conditions can sometimes change abruptly.

Make sure someone knows where you will be snowshoeing and your expected time of return, even if you are not going alone.

When snowshoeing with a group, make sure everyone is comfortable with the pace and demands of the trail. Count the number of people in your group before you leave and make sure everyone in the group knows this number. Stop every 30 minutes to allow everyone in the group to catch up.

Know your limits and don't surpass them! 

Copyright © 1998 Atlas Snow-Shoe Company. All Rights Reserved. 
Nick & Debbie across from Castle Peak.