A Snowy Day in Bell Canyon

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Jackson

I like to go outside.
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This was 2 weeks ago. I decided to try to get to the upper reservoir in Bell Canyon, snow be damned. I had never been in the canyon before, and I learned later that that would keep me from getting to my ultimate destination.

It was nice and cold out that morning, but supposed to be in the mid 50s by the afternoon. The lower reservoir was quite low.

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I was trying to make as quick of progress as I could, as I had other things I needed to do that day. The first bit went by quickly. The snow was packed down all the way to the lower falls. From there, I had to walk through very light powder from 4-6" in depth mostly. No snowshoes necessary (which is good because I didn't bring mine). Microspikes turned out to be quite helpful.

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I want to know what's under the board that says "Lone."


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There was a layer of hoarfrost on top of all the snow.

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Pretty granite all over. All the granite on the ground was covered by snow.

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Icicles hanging off of some moss on a massive rock.

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Near the upper falls.

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The falls were rather frozen.

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After the upper falls, finding my way in the snow became a bit more difficult. I had looked over a map of the route the night before and that morning, but I hadn't looked closely enough to recall where the trail went at this point. I was able to find my way for a good while, looking for what appeared to be paths and verifying by finding carvings on trees every now and then.

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This bridge verified that I was likely on the right track.

Maybe a quarter mile after that, I lost the path. So I followed what were likely game trails and bushwhacked up some steep stretches for a while. Those microspikes were very handy on some icy sections of smooth granite underneath the snow. After doing that for an hour or so, I decided that it was very unlikely that I'd reach my destination and get back when I wanted to. So I made my way to a nice view, cleared the snow off of a rock, and had a snack. It was very pleasant, albeit a little cold.

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I learned later that I had stayed too far to the east when I lost the trail. I think if I had gone to the next fork of the creek to the west, I'd have found the right path again. I'll be sure to do that next time I'm there. And maybe I'll put a GPS map on my phone too.

There was a surprising number of people headed to and from the lower falls. Can't blame them. It was a beautiful day to be out there.
 

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Perry

Formerly Cuberant
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I've never been up Bells either. Looks like fun even though you didn't make it to your goal.
 

regehr

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Bells is awesome, but always a bit confusing for some reason. Sometime if you have energy push up past the upper reservoir and over the notch behind Bell's Cleaver to Thunder Bowl.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Bells is awesome, but always a bit confusing for some reason. Sometime if you have energy push up past the upper reservoir and over the notch behind Bell's Cleaver to Thunder Bowl.
Also you can head west and drop down Big Willow for an "almost loop".

Even in summer you can avoid most of the queue of levi-clad, tennis shoe hikers as soon as you go up the switchback past the first falls.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Ditto. Bells is a very confusing place. The beatout down from south thunder is absolutely brutal. Nice shots and a nice hike!
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
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Bells is awesome, but always a bit confusing for some reason. Sometime if you have energy push up past the upper reservoir and over the notch behind Bell's Cleaver to Thunder Bowl.
I'd really like to see that sometime. I always see it from the valley and think it must be awesome to be up there in all that granite. Maybe I'll try it on snowshoes if the snow ever falls this season.
 

regehr

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I'd really like to see that sometime. I always see it from the valley and think it must be awesome to be up there in all that granite. Maybe I'll try it on snowshoes if the snow ever falls this season.
Thunder Bowl is pretty cool. It makes a good spring trip when the snow is consolidated.
 

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