Semester 34: Second Expedition

On Saturday we returned from winter expedition and have started to get back into the normal routine of HMI life. Here are stories from each of the expedition groups.

Group A spent our 11 days traveling around the ‘great Homestake peak’. Our expedition took us a good ten miles of distance, but with back-and-forths in between. Although it was cold at times, our hearts stayed warm. We skinned hard and summited Homestake Mountain on our third to last day, which was definitely a favorite moment of our trip. Beautifully crafted quigloos, kitchens, and patios with snow lanterns were memories that will last a lifetime. Every night, we played Frisbee and soccer on our Olympic sized boot-packed field. Our days were filled with laughter and lots of snowball fights. Overall the trip was wonderful and our 112% survival rate rocked the house.

Group B began the trip at Buckeye Gulch and then traversed over the ridge to the east side of Buckeye Peak, were we spent the second half of our expedition. Though temperatures were cold on the first day, the rest of the trip was sunny and warm and the quigloos we built kept us at a toasty 30 degrees at night. As protection against sunburn and an expression of artistic ability we used colored zinc as face paint, making us both well protected and stylish as wetraversed the slopes. We summited Buckeye Peak and were rewarded with a glorious view of 4 different mountain ranges and went higher in elevation than most of the party had ever been. Our trip ended with the triumphant conclusion of skiing down the slopes of Ski Cooper (the local skiing hill) to the great surprise and confusion of the lift skiers.

Group C spent the last 11 days in the Mosquito Mountains, most of the time just trying to fulfill the bare essentials: food, water, going to the bathroom… (ask any HMIstudent about that one for an enthralling descriptive tale). We started out the first two nights sleeping under tarps while we travelled to our next campsite to begin mounding snow to later make into quigloos. Although it got cold at times, our daily 4:30 appetizer marked the beginning of a food party that lasted until 7:00 or 8:00. Imagine that, three to four hours devoted to eating food (pretty great right?!). The last few days the expedition dug snow caves out of a cornice. We spent our days ski touring and even climbed Horseshoe Mountain, which stands at 13,900 feet in elevation. Right before we reached the top, we all picked out a unique stone and dedicated our ascent to a special person.  We then piled our stones at the top of the mountain, joined hands, and screamed the name of that person.

  Group D’s experience was a beautiful and challenging trip filled with mountain summits and night hikes. The route took us to Mount Zion and from then on we spent four days on the north side of the mountain just below the peak. We then spent 4 more days and nights on the south-facing side of Zion. We lived in quigloos, which are snow shelters that are a two-day process to create. Day one consists of pilling snow and letting it solidify, and day two is taken up by hollowing out the mounds of snow to make our homes. These homes included sleeping areas, kitchens, and snow couches. During those days that we were out in the woods our expedition group summited Mount Zion and Buckeye Peak, skied for hours on end in the fresh powder, and took an amazing night hike where we watched the moon rise over the mountains and illuminate the landscape around us. It was an unforgettable trip for all of the right reasons.

Group E started the 11 days of skiing with a short tour to the first campsite where we set up our snowmids. The next few days were spent around the base of Homestake where we built quigloos for our homes. A highlight of the trip was when our group summited Homestake Peak. At the top we celebrated with the inaugural opening of our favorite candy bar, the Milky Way. We then moved on to a different campsite. At the second campsite we had lots of fun skiing the runs just across from our homes. Everyone had an amazing time filled with yetis, skiing, and laughter.

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