The last thing we probably want to hear is reiterating what has been transpiring for the last few months. Moving forward, there is a lot of version to taking risks. Adapting to the new normal way of these days while expanding the self-imposed walls that we put around ourselves will be much challenging. But, what is fascinating about us is how we carve our path adapting to these situations and still end up victorious.
K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta moving towards a return with its activities in a planned, phased manner. K8 entrusts a high degree of accountability and integrity amongst its members, ensuring the health and safety remains its top priority and observing Pandemic Strategy which serves as a social contract for best practice, rather than rules to be strictly enforced.
On June 6th – 7th, 2020, K8 organized a SONA Backpacking, hike-in and backcountry camping at Kinglet Lake, Clearwater County, Alberta. SONA means Site on Assessment or simply “Site Assessment ” of a non or specific trail and routes. This is a non-activity and mostly done by senior or experienced members. This helps the group to examine and assess a certain site before an activity is presented to the whole group. Light and fast is the mantra, sometimes equipment is carried to test vertical routes. SONA will also help K8 to assess the approach of the group in adapting to the new normal.
The trip was packed with unforgettable hiking activity, great food and camaraderie amongst the members. We were not surprised by the drastic change in the weather and can be expected to happen in some parts of Alberta. Having good firewood in challenging conditions and then use it to reliably get a fire going no matter what. Executing proper clothes layering for the outdoors will make a big difference. The logical conclusion of learning all this allows experiencing new, riskier environments with confidence and comfort. So, we would like to share with you our experience and the fundamental skill that it takes to be comfortable and confident camping outdoors in Alberta.
The first component of being comfortable outdoors is clothing. Most of the time, when moving and being active, the body will generate heat. By wearing a lightweight base layer for top and bottom and using an insulating mid-layer allows a breather and does not take on any water at the same time. If in case the condition is below freezing a softshell is preferable to a hard shell. A softshell is water-resistant and hard shell is waterproof. Softshell breathes better. So any moisture, any heat that builds up here is free to vent out and still blocks the water. On the bottom, still a softshell pants, and a nice pair of insulated boots. But, as we all know, you can’t be complacent in Alberta. If you’re static and the body temperature starts to drop and you need more insulation, then, a high loft puffy jacket is recommended. Camp at night, it gets colder, you can bring a nice and heavy-duty really warm pair of gloves for that.
Where to decide to set up the camp is important. In general, camp lower down. But, cold air settles in the valleys and depressions at night. So, when camping low, don’t camp at the bottom. Find a nice piece of level ground that shelters from the wind by the surrounding trees and by the hill, but the valley continues to fall below. So as the cold comes off the mountains at night, it is going to go lower than where the camp area’s location and cold pass through and eventually settle lower.
The first problem with camping can be the cold ground sucking the heat out of the body. So, the biggest challenge of camping is to prevent that from happening. By having a multi-layer approach here can go a long way. First, by having a waterproof lightly insulated tent floor, prevents getting wet inside. So, when changing or doing other things in the tent will avoid laying on the ground. It will provide a little bit of insulation. The standard cheap closed-cell foam sleeping pad here serves as a block for any of the cold temperatures to reach the sleeping pad.
To protect from natural cold temperatures is a nice super high fill power down sleeping bag with a proper temperature rating. The trick of mummy bags is to minimize the amount of area of the body exposed to the air. But, it is really important even in sub-zero conditions to keep the mouth and nose outside of the bag so that all the condensation that is ventilating is leaving the sleeping bag and not getting into the system and eliminating its ability to insulate.
Put on a dedicated pair of socks for sleeping so they stay dry during the day and go on dry when going to bed. And a dedicated fleece base layer set up there can be a foundation of warmth and comfort inside the sleeping bag. It is important with warmth and happiness as a general comfort in these conditions to just be there and be dry as possible.
The tent is also important when it comes to figuring out how comfortable to sleep at night. For most camping below the tree line, we want to maximize the breathability. Cause it helps move all air in the systems while sleeping. Having a partly meshed tent body with the up to the ground rainfly will be a great set up. The rainfly fully blocks the wind makes it a nice cozy tent to sleep in. And that mesh body combines with that rain fly, provides good ventilation to just move moisture out. Being able to wake up tomorrow morning without dripping water over the inside means being cozy all night.
K8’s backpacking activity in Kinglet Lake was participated by K8 Executive Officers and Members namely Chris Francisco, Vice Executive Chairman, Leonard Maglalang, Executive Secretary, Reggie Domingo and Ronel Bautista. It was an average three-and-a-half-hour hike ascending and an hour less descending. A spectacular frozen lake on top of a beautiful mountain surrounded by hundred-year-old trees. The sceneries throughout the trail feel like a dream now looking back. It was a great activity to remember. Another one for the book of K8!
Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta?
You may reach us at (587) 228-2989 or send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read our June 2020 Issue here