Snow Hike up the West Rim, December 15, 2019

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Yvonne

I lava it!!!
.
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,278
I have to admit that I simply love winter and snow. Especially here in Zion, it is my time of the year, where I can finally get out and hike. Summer is just too hot and dusty, and I suffer a lot with my chronic lung disease and severe asthma. But as soon as winter is here, I'm out on all the trails you can imagine.
I woke up this morning and saw it snowed in Hurricane, just a bit outside of the park where I live. I quickly checked the Zion webcam and then grabbed my gear and headed to the park with a big smile on my face.
I decided to hike to the West Rim again. I was still snowing pretty hard, and everything was covered in fog and mist with the lowest visibility possible. It didn't bother me at all. I was well prepared, had additional gear, food, emergency blanket, and extra layers for emergencies, plus I strapped on my crampons and attached my snowshoes to my backpack.
I was excited to see what I would encounter on my hike. Up to Scouts Lookout, it was just slushy snow.


first slushy snow in Refridgerator Canyon



But soon after I turned onto the West Rim Trail, it was all fresh snow, and I was the first to step on it.
For the most part, everything was covered in thick fog and mist, and it was an eerie and really cool experience. I hiked through the fog and couldn't see anything at all in most spots.


snowy pine trees and low visibility




find the trail on the slick rock and in the fog




Closer to Little Siberia, the fog finally lifted a bit, and some of the surrounding cliffs and peaks were visible again.






working my way up

Little Siberia is one section where you have to be extra careful in winter because of the steep drop-offs and the avalanches that come down the cliff and pile up on the narrow ledge of the trail. I had a whole bunch of snow to cross, but it was pretty packed and not loose at all. The angle was steep but okay to traverse, and I strapped on my Katoolas for some extra traction.


the picture doesn't pay justice, but it was pretty steep going down

The trail kept climbing, and the steep drop-off to the right was definitely not where you want to slip and fall down the cliff. I was extra cautious because a lot of sections were really icy. It finally cleared out and the sun was peeking through the clouds.


it starts to clear out





The last half mile was pretty steep, and the snow soft, so I had to be careful not to slip. In addition, there were some icy spots.



The last few switchbacks to the trail junction with Telephone Canyon and campsite 2 was just deep snow, and I was glad to have my snowshoes with me.







I wished I had more daylight, but since I had to go through Little Siberia again and it was getting late, I had to turn around here at campsite 2 instead of exploring a bit more beyond that point. For the hike back down the steep trail, I needed some extra time, because the snow was getting pretty soft and slippery and walking through the slide area of Little Siberia.
Closer to the trail junction with Angels Landing, I got some really good views of the wintry Zion Canyon and the Great White Throne.


rewarding views on the way back



I gained almost 3600 ft of elevation, hiked a total of 13 miles round trip, but I made it all the way up to the West Rim and to campsite 2 and the spring. It was a great experience in the snow. Since we barely get a lot of snow down here, I have to take all the chances I have and play as long as it lasts. Since then, we didn't have any more winter weather to play, which is pretty sad. I hope I'll get another chance again soon.
 

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Janice

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
225
I have to admit that I simply love winter and snow. Especially here in Zion, it is my time of the year, where I can finally get out and hike. Summer is just too hot and dusty, and I suffer a lot with my chronic lung disease and severe asthma. But as soon as winter is here, I'm out on all the trails you can imagine.
I woke up this morning and saw it snowed in Hurricane, just a bit outside of the park where I live. I quickly checked the Zion webcam and then grabbed my gear and headed to the park with a big smile on my face.
I decided to hike to the West Rim again. I was still snowing pretty hard, and everything was covered in fog and mist with the lowest visibility possible. It didn't bother me at all. I was well prepared, had additional gear, food, emergency blanket, and extra layers for emergencies, plus I strapped on my crampons and attached my snowshoes to my backpack.
I was excited to see what I would encounter on my hike. Up to Scouts Lookout, it was just slushy snow.


first slushy snow in Refridgerator Canyon



But soon after I turned onto the West Rim Trail, it was all fresh snow, and I was the first to step on it.
For the most part, everything was covered in thick fog and mist, and it was an eerie and really cool experience. I hiked through the fog and couldn't see anything at all in most spots.


snowy pine trees and low visibility




find the trail on the slick rock and in the fog




Closer to Little Siberia, the fog finally lifted a bit, and some of the surrounding cliffs and peaks were visible again.






working my way up

Little Siberia is one section where you have to be extra careful in winter because of the steep drop-offs and the avalanches that come down the cliff and pile up on the narrow ledge of the trail. I had a whole bunch of snow to cross, but it was pretty packed and not loose at all. The angle was steep but okay to traverse, and I strapped on my Katoolas for some extra traction.


the picture doesn't pay justice, but it was pretty steep going down

The trail kept climbing, and the steep drop-off to the right was definitely not where you want to slip and fall down the cliff. I was extra cautious because a lot of sections were really icy. It finally cleared out and the sun was peeking through the clouds.


it starts to clear out





The last half mile was pretty steep, and the snow soft, so I had to be careful not to slip. In addition, there were some icy spots.



The last few switchbacks to the trail junction with Telephone Canyon and campsite 2 was just deep snow, and I was glad to have my snowshoes with me.







I wished I had more daylight, but since I had to go through Little Siberia again and it was getting late, I had to turn around here at campsite 2 instead of exploring a bit more beyond that point. For the hike back down the steep trail, I needed some extra time, because the snow was getting pretty soft and slippery and walking through the slide area of Little Siberia.
Closer to the trail junction with Angels Landing, I got some really good views of the wintry Zion Canyon and the Great White Throne.


rewarding views on the way back



I gained almost 3600 ft of elevation, hiked a total of 13 miles round trip, but I made it all the way up to the West Rim and to campsite 2 and the spring. It was a great experience in the snow. Since we barely get a lot of snow down here, I have to take all the chances I have and play as long as it lasts. Since then, we didn't have any more winter weather to play, which is pretty sad. I hope I'll get another chance again soon.
What incredible scenery you experienced! It must be nice to know a trail so well that you're able to do it successfully in these conditions. Brave!
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
.
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,278
What incredible scenery you experienced! It must be nice to know a trail so well that you're able to do it successfully in these conditions. Brave!
It was the third time I went. ButI experienced whiteout conditions, extremely dense fog, and mist almost every week when I worked as a lava tour guide in Hawai'i, so it wasn't new to me. You just need to make sure not getting too close to the edge, lol. And I knew what I was getting into. But I love these extreme moody conditions a lot.
 

Perry

Formerly Cuberant
.
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
1,805
Oh my gosh Yvonne those last two pictures are gorgeous! What a great day out.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
978
Fantastic views.
Snow + Yvonne photographing = Unbelievable, so amazing photos!
 

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