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From a snowcave in the Kootenays…

March 17th, 2009

I am laying here in a subzero cocoon deep in the Kootenay mountains, thinking and watching the snowflakes pile up outside. Along with a few other Nelson Search and Rescue members we embarked on a ski and survival weekend. Although we did not cover as much ground as we would have liked as a result of the heavy snow and lack of visibility, we managed to get some good turns in.

My Kode 38 stood by me strong and comfortable and allowed me thread the needle through some tight treed lines. People who recognize a well-designed pack ask me all the time about it and I always manage to show them some of the great fit and function features of the pack. The slender back panel sits close and comfortable allowing me a full range of motion in the arms for the more technical lines. Furthermore the closed cell foam material ensures that my back stays dry and snow free all day. Laying in a snow trench alone is a soul packed experience and allows one to really reflect on not only the days past events but larger puzzles of life. A strange dichotomy is taking place, on one hand I am in complete solitude and remoteness, on the contrary I have my i-pod touch with me that allows me not only to listen to some good tunes but also sit here and draft up a post from a less than traditional office!

This trip we walked a good distance into a river drainage and made a basecamp. From here we skied laps through the trees all afternoon. Happily I was able to strap my touring pack the Kode 38 onto my Argon 70 with the one of a kind compression system for the walk in. Both of the packs carry so well, that even though I was breaking trail through thigh deep snow they moved with my body and didn’t hinder my travel at all. Some of the other S&R team members had large amounts of snow build up on their packs as the fabric sucked it up like a sponge. The high tenacity nylon shed snow and kept my load light and gear dry all weekend long. With the light fading and snow coming down at more than 5cm. per hour we decided it was time to call it a day.

After a wonderful re-hydrated beef stroganoff dinner we enjoyed a bonfire and wound down our day with a few sips of heart warming single malt. As the coals faded and the fire dished deeper and deeper into the snowpack we called it a night! It is always a weird feeling climbing into a snow shelter at night, luckily inside my pack I had a sleep system fit for a king and managed to log 10.5 uninterrupted hours of great sleep. My snow trench kept me warm and luckily my arsenal of packs allowed me to seal myself in and doubled as a set of French doors. I was surprised to see myself snowed in as I awoke and learned one key lesson about snow shelters…DO NOT leave your boots outside the entrance!

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