Distance: 7 km
Elevation gain: 680 m View map
(GPS froze to death today, so this is from 2015) Download GPS track
(GPS froze to death today, so this is from 2015)
Today marked the first day since January 3
that I’d be in the mountains when it was sunny (despite getting out every weekend) and I was very excited to snowshoe up something interesting. Alison was too, and after a bit of back and forth we eventually decided on Rummel Ridge. I’ve been up there twice before, but the vantage is spectacular and it was pretty much guaranteed that there’d be a trail broken right to the summit, so I figured it would make for the scenic and relaxing day I wanted.
As soon as we started to gear up I realized something was slightly off. My clothing was crinkling, it hurt to breath, and the “flexible” bindings on my snowshoes were so stiff I could barely strap them on. Alison couldn’t get her bindings to work at all. When I checked the temperature on my little thermometer I found the source of the problem – it was somewhere in the vicinity of -40 C! Now that I’m home I can see that the official temperature, recorded less than 10 km away at the same elevation, was only -36.4 C, but really, anything below -30 C is just stupid cold.
For some reason we decided to go anyway and set out following the very well packed and tracked lower slope of Mount Engadine as I’d done in 2015. I started with my full winter gear on, including balaclava and googles, but even going steeply uphill I hardly broke a sweat and my usually invulnerable legs actually got cold. Eventually my legs warmed up, but then my similarly invulnerable toes got cold and it took nearly an hour before they warmed back up. It was absurdly cold, and the entire ascent route was on the north side of the ridge and completely in the shade at this hour.
When we reached the top of the usual ski area we started looking for a track heading towards Rummel Ridge, easily finding one from last weekend right where I’d broken one 3 years ago
. A few inches of snow had filled it in a bit, but the going remained easy and we were able to continue making good time.
As we approached the summit my toes finally warmed up and the absolutely spectacular views unfolding all around gave me a much-needed motivational boost and reminded me why I actually do stuff like this. Thankfully there was no wind and that allowed us to spend perhaps 20 minutes on the summit, taking photos and eating as fast as we could, before the cold drove us back down. It was the first summit I’ve ever hiked entirely to the top of with my full winter gear on; usually as soon as I get going I need to shed at least one layer.
The trip back down was uneventful save for a brief moment in the sunshine where it could have been described as warm (so perhaps only -15 or -20 C!) and we arrived back at the truck just 3 h 45 min after setting out. Despite the cold it was still great to get out, but I won’t be heading out in that temperature again. Here’s to hoping the next sunny day isn’t so ridiculously cold!