My mom, who got me into this whole outdoor adventure thing in the first place, worries about me. So, my holiday gifts this month consisted of a MEC Reflex down parka and Patagonia Micro Puff pants, the better to stay warm and safe out in the cold, and the better to extend our Western Mountaineering Antelope MF sleeping bag (rated to 5F).
An arctic front has moved into the US over the last 36 hours, and as last night was forecasted to be cold and clear, I headed out to test gear. I left work, threw a pack together, drove up to Polebridge, and skied into Bowman Lake, mostly in the dark.
Cooked over a fire, admired the stars, and went to bed.
It was cold. I slept well, though woke up to a few shivers at 530. Munched a chocolate bar, did 50 situps, and slept warm until I woke up with the sun at 8.
I heard ice cracking and booming throughout the night as the lake worked on freezing up.
I sat in my bag and ate dark chocolate for breakfast, and watched the sun rise. The ski out was equally pleasant, the car started (with some initial protests), and I made it home safe and sound.
Snotel has Many Glacier (a bit higher but comparable topography) as hitting -26.5F at 5 am. It was likely warmer than not, but not enormously so. The new puff gear gets the seal of approval, especially the Reflex, which is super warm, stupid light for that warmth, and has a nice array of well thought out features. The gates are now open.
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