Snow Basics 1-Day Clinics for 2018!


If you don’t have the time for a 3-day weekend snow-camping/snow-hiking learning experience, this special 1-day event covers some of what you need to know and do regarding snow-hiking on mild to moderate snow slopes as a backpacker or day-hiker!


What you will learn:

  • What to bring for a day on the snow
  • Snowshoeing and/or Snow-Hiking Skills (depending on snow surface conditions)
  • Over-snow Movement & Navigation (some of how to follow a trail buried under snow)
  • Creek crossing skills & practice
  • Steep Snow Ascent & Descent techniques
  • Self-Arrest skills!
  • Other topics that may be discussed:
    • Avalanche Awareness, Avoidance, and Rescue
    • Snow Stability Assessment & Snow Pits
    • Finding & Retrieving Water
    • Snow Bridge Assessment & Evaluation (if we can find one!)
    • Hidden Dangers below the Surface
      • Tree Wells
      • Trees, logs, boulders
      • Creeks
      • Ice, Depth Hoar
    • Snow Surface Hazards & Conditions
      • Suncups
      • Postholing
      • Consolidated vs Powder Snow
      • Wind Slab, corn, sastrugi, surface hoar, ice, crust, etc.
    • GPS Navigation (primarily below timberline)
    • Water Treatment or Filtration in a Cold Environment
    • Snow-Hiking Footwear (Boots vs soft-soled shoes)
    • Traction-aides (Hiking Crampons vs chain-designs)
    • Wilderness Medical Concerns:
      • Hypo/Hyperthermia & Frostbite
      • Exposure
      • Snowblindness & Sunburn
      • Exhaustion & Hypoglycemia
      • Hydration & Hyponatremia
      • Injury/Illness, Emergency Care & Communication, and Evacuation
      • WFA/WFR/WEMT & Search and Rescue
    • Weather Awareness & Prediction
    • Environmental Awareness & Staying Found
    • Dressing & Eating for the Cold

Dates:     (coming soon!)

Where:   Echo Lake SnoPark, Highway 50, South Lake Tahoe, Ca. (SnoPark permits required for                  all cars parked there. Purchase at:

When:     10:00am


Gear List:

  • Foundation:
    • Boots & Gaiters (traditional leather, snowboard, snowpaks, Sorels, etc.)
    • Day Pack or Backpack
    • Hiking pole with snow basket, Self-Arrest Pole with snow basket.
    • Snowshoes (MSR Lightning Ascents preferred) and/or boot Traction-Aides
    • Water shoes (creek-crossing shoes)
  • Closet:
    • Socks, gaiters, snowshoes, long underwear, pants, pant-shells
    • Synthetic tee shirt, thermal layer, outer thermal layer, outer shell, fleece hat, gloves
    • Wide-brimmed hat, bandana
  • Kitchen:
    • (2) Liters electrolyte-treated water
    • Snacks and Lunch
  • Garage:
    • First Aid kit, Whistle, foam pad (for sitting on the snow)
    • Electronics: Cell/Sat Phone, [Spot/InReach/Go!, Weather, Radio]
  • Bathroom:
    • Sunscreen, lip balm, skin cream,
    • Toiletries (TP, wag bag, wipes, lighter, ziplock rtn.
    • Sunglasses, Contact case & Fluid
  • Office:
    • Maps: topo fine scale, regional, state (if we have the time)
    • Compass, Watch, ID, car keys, recording/notes
  • SnoPark Permit for your car! (must have)
    • Obtain online at

 Schedule for the day:

  •  10:00am:  Meeting in the Echo Lake Snopark, Echo Summit, Hwy 50, South Lake Tahoe
    • Introductions, paperwork, gear check
    • Clinic:  Springtime Sierra Traction Aides &  Footwear
  • 11:00:  1-mile snowshoe Nav-walk to Echo Lake Chalet and dam
    • Topographic Navigation & GPS (bring snacks and water with electrolytes)
  • 12:30:  Lunch at the Dam (use your sunscreen and glasses. Creek nearby for water)
    • Snow-trail Nutrition
    • Topographic Navigation and High-Reference Identification
  • 1:30 Clinic:  Safe Ascent/Descent/Traverse Skills and Self-Arrest
  • 3:30 Clinic:  Save & Wise Creek Crossing Techniques
  • 5:00:  Snowshoe back to the SnoPark
  • 6:00:  End of class

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