Survival Snow Caves - Daniels Summit 2/5/22

Updated: Feb 8



Directions - Lodgepole Campground, Daniel's Summit Hwy 40 - park on the highway (campground is closed in the winter)

Activity - Snowcaving (Quinzee-style)

Thursday - Dig mounds of snow (8-10ft circular and 6ft tall) - Start by walking an outline in the snow. Dig down to the ground or at least 3 ft. Then continue to dig around the footprint until you have dug all around (Usually takes 2-3 hrs for one person, 30-45 min for 4 people).

Friday - Hike to meadow area (about 15 min). Carve out the snow caves (takes about 2 hr). Dig entrance about 2 1/2 -3 ft circular with the top at your waist level. Dig about 2-3 ft straight in. Then, dig up until you are about 1-1 1/2 ft thick on the ceiling (you can measure with a shovel - you will also see light from a headlamp inside if it's dark). Then dig out sides keeping them thicker than the ceiling to prevent collapse. For 2 people, make two elevated platforms for your bed with the head towards the door. For 3 people make a whole platform elevated where the floor is the same height as the top of the entrance with an area to crawl up to it. This will maximize heat loss in the night. We like to carve them high enough to sit in. Carve out about 4-5 4in holes in the cave for ventilation (with the handle of a shovel or ski pole). Place tarp, then wool blanket (optional), then sleeping pad, then sleeping bag, then additional wool blanket (optional). We cut out a fire ring and benches for a nice fire after. Drink hot cocoa and hot soup to keep up your stamina and warmth. We boil water and put in 2 Nalgene-type water bottles with a wool sock over and put them in our sleeping bags for extra warmth. Hand warmers are nice too - especially around your groin - femoral artery - to keep toes warm and in your armpits to keep hands warm. Wear a stocking hat to keep your head warm. Also, sleep with phone, fuel and net mornings clothing.

Saturday - Wake up and have a hot breakfast and break the snow caves down (if required). We just hiked out and had breakfast at the Daniels Summit Grill.

Gear -(NO COTTON) thermal top and bottom, 2 pair wool socks or just not cotton socks, snow pants, long sleeve fleece, down/puffy coat, light waterproof jacket, 2 pair gloves, hat, back pack, sleeping bag (rated to 0-20 degrees), 1-2 sleeping pads, shovel (metal if possible), 2 Liters water in Nalgene-type water bottles, 6 snacks, WATERPROOF boots or non-waterproof boots/shoes and also rent "overboots", thermos with hot water/hot cocoa/soup.

Rentals - Overboots/shoes: $4 (UVU Outdoor Adventure); $5 (BYU Outdoors Unltd)

Shovel: $5 (BYU Outdoors Unld)

Sleeping Bag: $14 (BYU Outdoors Unltd)

Sleeping Pad: $5-6 (Byu Outdoors Unltd)