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Best Winter Bivy/Camping Spot in RMNP
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Dec 17, 2015
I'll be spending a few days in Boulder in February, and rather than fight the weekend crowds at the major ski mountains in February, we were thinking about hiking out into RMNP to camp overnight. Not concerned about gear, we'll rent/borrow what we need for conditions.

So the question is, if you could spend a winter night anywhere in RMNP, where would it be? Best views, location, etc etc. Long approach is ok, but no really technical approaches (something we could do ropeless with a mountaineering axe and snowshoes/crampons ideally)
DEF
From Boston, MA
Joined Aug 5, 2009
62 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Wunsch's Dihedral
You can't beat the views at chasm lake, sky pond or green lake. Approach is about the same for all. Also, you could get away with a tarp and sleeping bag at those locations as there are already some pretty sweet bivy spots. Don Ferris
From Eldorado Springs
Joined Nov 27, 2012
143 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Berlin
You need a permit to bivy anywhere in RMNP. Jay Eggleston
From Denver
Joined Feb 5, 2003
18,407 points
Dec 17, 2015
Those are ok, but wild basin is good fun too, and less popular/ regulated.
You need a permit for anywhere in the park.

Forest service land or BLM is always easier.
Blowhard McDouche
Joined Dec 7, 2015
0 points
Dec 17, 2015
Ive camped at sky pond & the base of spearhead. Both had caves to bivy in & both required a backcountry camping permit. Check with the backcountry permit office for camping restrictions (no tents). Both are very scenic with a fairly long approach. Sky pond has a slightly technical section at the waterfall. Maybe a little spicy if its iced over.
Have fun.
jcm537
From Broomfield, Co.
Joined Jun 18, 2012
0 points
Dec 17, 2015
In the winter, I believe camping permits are self-issue. Also I think I read at one point that in winter they do allow tents at the climber bivy spots (but you still have to be doing a "technical climb" to secure said bivy spots). That said, people seem to throw a lot of those rules out the window in winter in RMNP I've noticed.

In terms of views:
-I second Sky Pond area.
-The "bowl" up in the Gash framed by Sharkstooth and the headwall to Andrew's tarn and glacier is inspiring in winter.
-Black Lake is interesting because of the high snowy/icy walls rising all around...but it gets dark earlier because of it and it can be quite windy there.
-Just about any area way up in Wild Basin...Bluebird Lake, Junco Lake, the Lion Lake and/or Snowbank Lake, etc., all seem to have nice views in winter.
-If you can get there, I suspect Spectacle Lakes near Mt. Ypsilon would also be quite pretty.
James Kersey
Joined Apr 12, 2015
46 points
Dec 17, 2015
Thanks for the advice, we wouldn't be opposed to a Bivy but a small tent is always a plus, and we would definitely get a permit for any area that requires one.

Sky pond looks great, I've hiked out past black lake towards the spearhead before and to Chasm lake as well, but I'll keep looking at the options you guys are throwing out - much appreciated!
DEF
From Boston, MA
Joined Aug 5, 2009
62 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Eldo Painting
DEF wrote:
Thanks for the advice, we wouldn't be opposed to a Bivy but a small tent is always a plus, and we would definitely get a permit for any area that requires one. Sky pond looks great, I've hiked out past black lake towards the spearhead before and to Chasm lake as well, but I'll keep looking at the options you guys are throwing out - much appreciated!



If you get a permit for a bivy in RMNP, you are not allowed to put up any structure including tents. And if my memory serves me right, i believe you also need to tell them the route you are doing in the park that requires the bivy. There is a backcountry permit which is more for a backpacking/camping type trip. There are phones numbers and information on the websites below.

nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/bac...


nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/biv...
Rigggs24
From Denver, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2009
47 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rigggs24 wrote:
If you get a permit for a bivy in RMNP, you are not allowed to put up any structure including tents.


FYI, it contradicts other portions of the website, but this link says specifically that tents are allowed in winter:
nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/cli...

I have not asked anyone at RMNP which part is right.
James Kersey
Joined Apr 12, 2015
46 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Eldo Painting
James Kersey wrote:
FYI, it contradicts other portions of the website, but this link says specifically that tents are allowed in winter: nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/cli... I have not asked anyone at RMNP which part is right.



Yeah that would make sense. I have actually only gotten bivy permits in summer months so I dont know about the winter.
Rigggs24
From Denver, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2009
47 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: My buddy Andy and I making the best of the day aft...
James Kersey wrote:
FYI, it contradicts other portions of the website, but this link says specifically that tents are allowed in winter: nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/cli... I have not asked anyone at RMNP which part is right.



Tents are allowed in the winter! Also, you can pretty much camp wherever you want. Camping in the park in the snowy months is far less of a headache than in the summer.
Jeremy Bauman
From Lakewood, CO
Joined Feb 11, 2009
746 points
Dec 17, 2015
Jeremy Bauman wrote:
Tents are allowed in the winter! Also, you can pretty much camp wherever you want. Camping in the park in the snowy months is far less of a headache than in the summer.


I've seen people camping wherever they want...but is it actually "allowed" or are people just getting away with it because it's so much less policed in the winter?
James Kersey
Joined Apr 12, 2015
46 points
Dec 17, 2015
Wild basin at Sand beach lake is nice with a great view of Meeker Jim6565
Joined Apr 25, 2013
2 points
Dec 17, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Cold day at Smug's
James Kersey wrote:
I've seen people camping wherever they want...but is it actually "allowed" or are people just getting away with it because it's so much less policed in the winter?

My recollection is that in winter you still need to bivy in regulated bivy zones, but tents are allowed on snow and permits can be self issued. But it's been a few years since I've checked on the RMNP rules.
csproul
From Davis, CA
Joined Dec 3, 2009
355 points
Dec 17, 2015
Dude,

We'll just build a snow cave brah
Francisco Di Poi
From Boulder, CO
Joined Sep 11, 2009
26 points
Dec 17, 2015
^ Deal DEF
From Boston, MA
Joined Aug 5, 2009
62 points
Dec 18, 2015
James Kersey wrote:
I've seen people camping wherever they want...but is it actually "allowed" or are people just getting away with it because it's so much less policed in the winter?


I don't believe you can camp just wherever you want because it is winter.

In the designated bivy 'areas' from NPS there are not specific sites you have to camp at just within the encircled areas, although there are usually spots people have fortified.

nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/biv...

The Gash and Sky Pond for example.
Thomas H
Joined Dec 5, 2012
11 points
Dec 18, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Base of the Black Wall pitch on the Direct Exum
I camp at least once a year up at Black Lake. It's 5 1/2 miles up. You do need a back country permit. But in the winter you do not have to stick to designated bivy sites or campgrounds. A second choice would be the Notchtop/Odessa lake area which is 2 1/2 miles up but less popular so sometimes the trail is not packed down. Ted Eliason
From Westminster, CO
Joined Jun 16, 2009
523 points
Dec 18, 2015
Sky pond looks awesome, but now also looking at maybe heading up towards Chasm lake and maybe throwing in something like Mount Lady Washington and Storm peak conditions permitting.

I meant that we will have snowshoes and crampons, just didn't want to have to rope up (which I realize is a big gray area depending on comfort level)

The snow cave suggestion was my friend I'm going to visit, and its hard to argue with an ideal like that!
DEF
From Boston, MA
Joined Aug 5, 2009
62 points
Dec 18, 2015
Bottom line is you are going to have to wait until you get here and see what the weather is doing - mostly the wind. Bill M
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Jun 30, 2010
328 points


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