I stumbled around this spot knowing that I had been in the same place last time, however it was not until I looked at previous images did I realise why I could not quite place myself, the difference is about a metre or more of snow. I guess over the winter the snow builds up and adds layer upon layer, if you look at this image and then compare it to this one https://flic.kr/p/YQuT85
you can see the tree in the linked image looks like a little shrub, however its actually the top half a tree :)
Not too bad i say. Note the nicely placed shovel and camp stove (melting some snow for a coffee), if you did not know better you would think this is a Advertorial ;)
On that point, the shovel (voile), best thing ever, at 700grams this thing is awesome, they (the manufacturer) do have a blurb about it that the material (6061-t6) has a tensile strength of 42ksi which rivals the strength and rigidity of steel, well i suppose thats kinda correct depending on the steel your comparing it too :) – like many things which advertise 'aerospace' materials or some crap I always have a chuckle at these kind of statements, i'll forgive Voile in this case since they do make a cracking shovel and it is very tough and rigid :)
Since I am plugging some product, the stove (msr windburner) is also awesome, they don't claim any 'aerospace' materials, however i have seen worse welding and material on the exhaust of several large aircraft :) the canister thing on these stoves is quite impressive, super light and simple as but seems pretty tough, the little burner section is a work of engineering art, can't fault it, i'll give it to MSR, they know how to make great products, albeit expensive..
Boils a bunch of snow in a matter of minutes and yup.. i can confirm it works really well in strong wind… the only problem is getting it lit in the first place :)
Note my nice little footwell in the snow next to the tent, best little trick Mike Edmondson showed me last year, makes me look less like one of the spiders in the hobbit movie (#2) when extracting or stowing myself inside the tent ;), I can also sit in the tent without having my knees around my ears. Brilliant.
I have only visited this part of the snowny mountains once before, but parts of this walk are etched into my mind, there is now another spot added to that list. As i made the very slow ascent up the hill i realised very quickly that whilst i think my fitness is ok i could probably do with some intense stair work. I can swim 40 laps non stop but by the time I got to the top of the treeline i was doing batches of 20 snow shoe steps and doing more resting that walking ;)
I had planned to keep on going up to the top (Nth Ramshead) but the weather was not favourable and I realised I probably needed another two hours and about twice the energy to get to the top with enough time to setup camp. Hence when i got to the treeline I tracked around in circles looking for a nice tree wind break or some rocks until I found this little spot, which whilst is right up on the highest treeline did have some good protection from the wind howling down the hill – if you look to the right you can see the hill that takes you up the top.
In hindsight its actually quite a nice photogenic spot with the trees around the site but this was certainly not what i was thinking when i picked it, the relatively flat spot, the nice snow for making snow blocks and the large drift to give some protection from the wind was what i was looking for. In actual fact that tree was very inconveniently placed either that or my tent poorly positioned since when i got straight outta the tent i repeatedly smacked my head right on that branch..thanks nature, nicely played ;)
My snow wall turned out ok.. except was peppered with holes the next day from the rather strong winds, it did however do its job and that was keep the wind and snow flurries away from my tent.
This is a large 9 shot (portrait orientation) panorama image which captures about a 180 degree field of view, hence whilst it looks open, large and spacious, its actually quite a small area.