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2022-01-04 at 22:15 - comment by DEMOCRATIZE AB

Hey Sara,

Ya, I know about those Mountain House meals. Chili is the only one I can really deal with. A staple for every 3rd day on backpacking trips.

Your gut must be as tough as your skiing legs if you don't filter water in summer. Streams flowing off mountains in areas that are not busy are OK but I would not stick my lips in streams and suck out what I call "downstream water" which is found in valley bottoms anymore. I have known a number of people to get sick in recent years. Mind you I have seen people stick there lips to suck out water and not get sick.

I was suggesting to ski to Surprise shelter but apparently it is closed due to Covid which is strange when other cabins are open in Assiniboine. So much for a luxury trip. Kootenay National Park is much nicer to tour now that most of it has burned out. The views are great now.

2022-01-04 at 20:37 - comment by Sara M

Democracy -

Food: oatmeal(quick oats) with some nuts and hot chocolate powder for breakfast. Pepperoni, dried fruit, and candy for lunch. A Mountain House meal on the first night (always disappointing, I don't know why I bother), instant mashed potatoes with veggie flakes and salami chunks the second night.

Water: I melted snow on this trip because I had a fuel and time surplus. There were open creeks that I could have gotten water from, but not nearby my camp spots. I rarely/never filter water in the summer, although I would consider it in the lower Elbow area because of livestock. I haven't gotten sick yet...

Sleeping bag: A -9 Mountain Hardwear down bag, plus a thin sleeping bag liner and a down jacket. No moisture issues the first night, but starting to get a bit damp around the collar from my breath after the second night. The first night was warmer and breezier, which I think helped keep things dry.

Is the "KNP Simpson Surprise" the trail along the Simpson River to the Surprise Creek cabin/campground, or something more surprising?

2022-01-04 at 20:09 - comment by Ulrikeski

That's very impressive, solo winter camping when the days are so short and tough trail breaking. What an adventure! This might be the first winter camping ski trip reported on this blog.

2022-01-04 at 19:25 - comment by DEMOCRATIZE AB

Howdy Sara,

Now that we know what you did for entertainment on your long ski nights, what did you do for cuisine? Standard beef jerky, nuts and dried fruit to keep the pack light or did you cook up a storm on a stove? Alpen for breakfast by any chance with powdered milk or bacon and eggs?

Did you melt snow for water, or use a water filter at creeks or did you just eat snow which I can't see being possible (at least for a water guzzling sweating skiing pig like myself)?

Do you use an ultra light Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag or a heavy synthetic sleeping bag? Temperature rating you use?

I always found my -16 down bag would not dry enough to keep me warm for a second night unless I could hang it out in sun for hours on a warmer day.

Keep on blasting through the snow. Keep in mind "KNP Simpson Surprise".

Ski ya later.

2022-01-04 at 18:05 - comment by Sara M

Democracy - I bring an e-reader with me when I'm camping. It has an incredible battery life, so I never run out books. Pre e-reader, it was a challenge to find the right balance between a small/light book, and enough material that I woyldn't run out of stuff to read! Think pocket-sized Charles Dickens novels with dictionary-thin pages... Even in the summer, I tend to just hang out and read in the evenings. In the winter I spend the same amount of time reading, only I'm in my sleeping bag instead of sitting on a rock.

Aqua toque - I had to carry a portable eSki charger, it sure took up a lot of space in my backpack!

2022-01-04 at 13:02 - comment by DEMOCRATIZE AB

Howdy Sara,

How could anyone be disappointed with such a hard core mid winter ski story.

What blows me away is how tough people can spend so much time in a tent at the time of year when there is so little light to ski to. I have done it in the past and found it an extreme challenge dealing with the night cold and boredom when I was not moving about. I suppose with technology today people can now view stuff on phones to reduce boredom.

May I suggest a "KNP Simpson Surprise" for luxury at this time of year?

2022-01-04 at 12:48 - comment by aqua toque

Very impressive! Even in this day and age eSki charging stations must be few and far between back there in the sticks.

2022-01-04 at 06:24 - comment by Sara M

Democracy - You're going to be so disappointed... I slept in a tent and I didn't do any night skiing!

2022-01-03 at 21:23 - comment by DEMOCRATIZE AB

Howdy Sara,

Did you sleep under the stars at night, dig a cave or tent it?

Did you do some night skiing in order not to hang out in a cold "camp" for so long?

2022-01-03 at 21:12 - comment by Chuck

Two nights out… Love that silhouette picture of you with your backpack… puts us all in our place, way behind.
Quite happy to just read your reports now!

2022-01-03 at 20:39 - comment by Gord F

Sounds like an amazing trip Sara. We skied past each other on the Pocaterra trail today, around 2:00pm or so. I saw your pack and wondered where you'll been camping.
I've been to all the places on your route, but not all in a row. And also not in the winter. Good for you for hitting the weather window and planning that route.

Dawson to Pocaterra - a multiday Skiventure

Report Submitted by Sara M
(trip) Date: Saturday Jan 01, 2022

Submitted: Monday Jan 03, 2022 at 19:24




I took advantage of the warm weekend weather window and embarked on a 3-day skiventure.
Day 1: Dawson PRA to Little Elbow campground. The Powderface road is well-packed by snowmobiles and makes for decent skiing. There are a few thin, gravelly spots and it was very very windy!
Day 2: Little Elbow to Tombstone campground on the Elbow River trail. This was snowmobile packed to within 4km of the campground. That last 4km was pretty tough, with some STEEP uphills! Again, mostly good coverage but a few rocky spots to tiptoe through.
Day 3: Tombstone to Pocaterra. Sara-height snowdrifts across the trail between Tombstone and Elbow Lake kept things exciting! Some larger, unavoidable bare spots as well that required some hiking. Skiing down from Elbow Lake to Highway 40 was very fast, despite the deep snow. Then skied down the highway to the backdoor. The backdoor from the highway to the Pocaterra trail had brutally heavy snow, hardest trail-breaking of the whole trip! Then a (relatively) speedy descent to the Pocaterra hut, where a ride was waiting for me.

Blue skies on Sunday morning!

just followin' the snowmobile track

one of the many fun obstacles on the way to Elbow Lake

Pocaterra trail, time for speeeeeed!


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