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Project Vertical: Snowshoeing to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Nate Dodge, one of the members of BACKPACKER and Bight Gear's new test team, knows the best way to beat the crowds is to brave the snow.

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Sunrise over Hallett Peak

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Longs Peak rises into the mist.

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Nate Dodge

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Nate Dodge

Want to find solitude in a popular national park? Embrace the snow. That’s the advice from Nate Dodge, a member of our Project Vertical test team, who snapped this photo on the way to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Dodge is one of four winners of a contest created by BACKPACKER and Bight Gear. The winners will be testing Bight Gear all spring, and then joining RMI guides for a climb of Mt. Rainier this summer.

The adventure photographer based in Colorado, got a 4 a.m. start to reach Rocky Mountain National Park’s Dream Lake at sunrise. Temps were hovering right around zero, but after snowshoeing up to the frozen lake at 10,000 feet, he says he and his companion, another photographer, were plenty warm. He got a sunrise shot of Hallett Peak, then ascended to Lake Haiyaha and watched backcountry skiers make their descents.

“The best part of the day was when we missed the turn off to Lake Haiyaha and ended up at an overlook with a foggy view of Longs Peak,” he says. “We got lucky by missing the trail and ending up at the right place at the right time. It’s my favorite photo from the day.”

Technology by Garmin

In addition, Bight Gear has teamed up with Garmin for this project, and testers will use fēnix® 5 Plus series watches and the inReach® Mini to track their progress.