Loch Vale Winter

Loch Vale Winter Campsite

Photographer: Josh Hill

This is a photo of my winter tent next to Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. I took it during a snowshoe backpacking trip in early March.

One of the challenges of winter camping at altitude in Colorado is properly securing a tent to the ground. There's about 6 to 8 feet of snow in a lot of places, so tent stakes are meaningless. We used snow anchors from REI. We stomped the anchors about 1.5 feet below the surface of the snow. They were so secure that we needed a metal shovel to dig them out in the morning (i.e., they ended up being more secure than regular tent stakes).

We also guyed the tent (by 7 points) to the trees in the background to prepare for strong winds.

This helped give us a relatively comfortable night of sleep, even though it was 20 degrees (F) with 80mph winds. The tent only moved about an inch.