Snow camp FAQs

“How do I convince my parent(s)/guardian
that I can go on the Outdoor Club winter Yosemite trip?”

or “How do I convince them to pay for some gear for the trip?”

Read all the pages at all the links from the Snow Camp page carefully and make plans you can explain for where you will borrow or rent the right gear.

Do some comparison shopping. But don’t skimp on quality. Don’t, for example, buy long underwear with any percentage of cotton in it, even though it’s much cheaper. Snow or rain camp must-haves has a dozen ideas for people on a budget, including any rentals for snow boots or parkas that we know of.

Explain to the person funding the trip for you that this gear will be used for years for camping and outdoors adventures all year long.

Once you know how to deal with winter weather, you’ll probably never camp again without proper rain/cold gear, an insulating sleeping pad, or a decent tent with a full rain fly. Then when Mom Nature sneaks up on you with an unexpected spring or fall storm, you’ll be able to not only survive, but even enjoy it.

How do I convince my parent(s)/guardian that I will be safe on this trip so I can go?”

Tell them

the club advisor (a member of the De Anza faculty) and her husband, who are leading this trip, have done it with the club for thirty years. They are Red Cross first aid and CPR instructors
(and volunteers with Yosemite National Park Preventative Search and Rescue for the five years it was first fully funded in Yosemite). They are both fully vaccinated for COVID (2 shots of Moderna plus three boosters).

We always have return trip members with experience doing the major hike on the trip and often have people who have never have been to Yosemite, never done a long hike and/or have never been in the snow, so beginners are welcome and planned for. Occasionally (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020) we have had a student who was an EMT on the trip.

There are security people at the various hotel complexes.

The Rangers and/or campground hosts go through the campground and check up on people regularly.

We choose Yosemite not only because it is gorgeous and has many recreation choices, but also because

    the campground has heated restrooms and purified tap water

    there are heated (or not) canvas tent cabins and hotel rooms available for people to rent who do not want to sleep out in the weather

    there are restaurants (in case the weather is bad or just for convenience),

    and a medical clinic with 24 hour emergency service/ 24 hour ambulance service a mile from the campsites/tent cabins area, and almost that close to the hotels.

The roads are patrolled by Rangers. If it snows much, the roads are plowed frequently. The park provides a free Greyhound type bus to the ski area, and different free shuttle buses to the stores, visitor center, restaurants, ice rink, and trail heads. Therefore very little, if any, driving in snow is needed. Give them a full report of the info you learned by reading Safe driving in rain and fog and Prepare for winter driving

For people driving who are not used to putting on chains, a passenger can usually be found who knows how to do it. Or even better, more than one carpool can leave at the same time, and caravan together. This can be great if someone has car trouble, and fun to change passengers around as you go and get to know more new people.

The trip is oriented towards first-time people, but experienced people also sign up.

Alcohol consumption (and any other mind altering substances) is not allowed. This is not just enforced by the club advisor, the returning trip goers and club officers truly know how important it is, and there is considerable peer pressure to not break this rule.

If there were an emergency at home, and someone really needed to talk to you, but could not get through to your cell phone, (double check these numbers before you go on the trip) the phone number for the Yosemite 911 dispatcher is: 1(209) 379-1992. In a non-emergency, the nearby Ranger office is (209) 372-0300, and they will get a message to call home to your campsite when they have the time. If you stay in a hotel or tent cabin the front desk can take a message for you. There is a cell-phone transmission tower in Yosemite Valley, so you can bring a phone and keep in touch, (but cell phones only function in part of Yosemite valley) and there are pay phones in the campground and elsewhere in the park.

You don’t have to camp, see accommodations choices. (Not all of these are available every winter.)

wood-floored, canvas roofed/sided tent cabin

two beds and a chair in a tent cabin

wood-walled cabin without a bath

bed in hotel room

Cabin with a bath

exterior of a cabin

Hotel room with a bath

queen bed and bunkbed

queen sized bed in Ahwahnee cottage

– – – those without cold weather camping gear (or who just want to be more comfortable) spend a bit more on a wood-floored, canvas roofed/sided tent cabin, (optionally heated, but bring a reeeealy good sleeping bag or even two) with various double bed and single bed combinations, electric lighting, but no phones/TV/fridge, restroom/showers nearby, lounge with free guest WiFi, walking distance (or a free daytime shuttle bus ride) from the campground. (Renting a tent cabin ( or a wood-walled cabin without a bath) could be less expensive than renting proper winter camping gear / tent. AND it will not matter how late you leave town, as you will not need to pitch a tent out in the potential weather, you just move right into your tent cabin.)

If you camp and the weather gets too interesting for you, heated wood-walled cabins or canvas tent cabins (a few of which have heaters) are within walking distance of where people will be camping, or if they are sold out (not often in the winter), the Yosemite Lodge (just two miles away), has nice rooms. On previous trips some people who initially planned to camp have borrowed a parent’s credit card in case they wanted to bail from the trip. (A couple of years some people camping did rent cheap tent cabins the last night.)

We have a long webpage of tips and tricks for enjoying the tent cabins.


You can tell them about what Outdoor Club trip participants have been doing about COVID vaccinations.

The trip agreement that everyone must sign or initial sections of
says, in part:

The De Anza College webpage said, in late 2022: “To protect everyone’s health, you must provide proof of vaccination AND a booster before coming to campus.” See all the details:

Since the Outdoor Club only does signups for trips in person (not online or my email, etc.), you will need to upload proof of a full covid vaccination (or get an exemption from the college) before you can come on campus for a pre-trip meeting or to sign up for the trip. Initial here to say that you did: ___

The club needs proof that you are a student winter quarter. You will need to bring a cell phone to be able to show an Outdoor Club officer or official your photo ID, proof of enrollment at the portal when you sign up. Initial here that you did _____ and are sure your photo ID number, student ID number and class you are in, got recorded.

When the Outdoor Club went to Grand Teton park in August of 2021, everyone was fully vaccinated. They did not want to be in a carpool, campsite, cabin, or restaurant with anyone who was not fully vaccinated. They all decided to give copies of their vaccination cards to the club faculty advisor and share them with each other. This was not required by the club or the college, the students on the trip decided to do it.

Please read this next section carefully before you chose one of the three options below to initial:

a/ I uploaded proof of a full covid vaccination before I came on campus to sign up for the trip, and I brought a copy of my vaccination card to give to the Outdoor Club faculty advisor, which she can share with anyone signed up for the trip or managing the trip. (initial here: _______ and be certain the faculty advisor gets the copy). I will also log in to the Pyramed system using the instructions at: to show the advisor proof that I uploaded proof of a full covid vaccination. (initial here: _______)

b/ I got an exemption from the college for (circle one)
verified medical reasons
sincerely held religious beliefs
and I am willing for anyone on the trip to know this. (initial here: _______)

c/ I uploaded proof of a full covid vaccination (or got an exemption from the college) before I came on campus to sign up for the trip, but it is not anyone else’s business if I am vaccinated and I do not intend to provide a copy of my vaccination card to anyone on the trip (initial here: _______)”


Fully educate them. Have your parent(s)/guardian read all the pages at all the links from the Snow Camp page.


A parent or guardian who is having last minute second thoughts about allowing a De Anza student to go on this event can come to the mandatory pre-trip meeting and check out the group going, and get questions answered. (An occasional parent or older sibling has done this before.)

See Outdoor Club Coming Attractions for the date, time and place of the pre-trip meeting, your last chance to sign up for the trip.

valley view winter QTL: Quang-Tuan Luong valley view some snow: Photo by Quang-Tuan Luong valley view Yosemite with some snow on the rocks in the river Quang-Tuan Luong cathedral rocks winter: photo by Quang-Tuan Luong Yosemite cathedral rocks in winter,

photos by Quang-Tuan Luong/
, all rights reserved.