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Stupid question, treating melted snow?
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Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Stupid question, treating melted snow? on 12/06/2009 15:16:28 MST Print View

I have assumed that you don't have to treat melted snow to be used as drinking water in winter camping, but it occurred to me I better check. If you do, what's your preferred method? Does anybody add snow to a water bottle throughout the day, using the water already in there to melt the snow?

Thanks for any feedback.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Stupid question, treating melted snow? on 12/06/2009 15:32:16 MST Print View

I didn't treat the melted snow in the Sierra last year, and as far as I know, none of the 15 people in my snow camping group got sick.

Yes, I did add snow to my nalgene during the day. Just don't get crazy or you end up with a slushy. I suppose the effectiveness of that would depend on the air temps, unless you have a method for carrying the bottle close to your body. It was always in the mid 20s to 30s when I was snow shoeing.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Stupid question, treating melted snow? on 12/06/2009 16:19:37 MST Print View

I have never treated my melted snow, nor do I know anyone who does. In fact, when I am on a backcountry ski trip I also do not treat any running water I may find. Noproblems yet! I doubt that ther is liekly to be any bacterial or viral contamination of snow on the ground, with the exception of summer snow with that reddish tinge in ti, which is an algae, I believe. New-fallen snow is essentially distilled water - it had to eavporate to get into the clouds, after all. I suppose it could pick up some chemical pollutants while in vapor form, but if it does, then I'm breathing that same stuff, I suppose.
And yes, I do add snow to my bottle during the day, and I also just grab a handful of snow as I plod along, Or if I am lucky I get to lick the fresh stuff off the needles of a pine tree. That's the best.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Stupid question, treating melted snow? on 12/06/2009 16:24:15 MST Print View

Nope, don't treat snow either. But don't drink snow that is discolored. In the spring, a red/pink/orange tint in the snow means that it's unsafe to drink. And of course, don't drink yellow snow!

A different thing that I think of when drinking melted snow... The air pollution that it contains. Snow, like rain, forms around particulate matter. Sadly, especially in places like California, those particulates are often nasty pollutants.

Andy Bailey
(AndyBailey) - F

Locale: The Great Plains
RE:Stupid question, treating melted snow? on 12/07/2009 10:30:45 MST Print View

As long as the snow isn't yellow, I don't bother treating it.

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: RE:Stupid question, treating melted snow? on 12/07/2009 19:32:44 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies everybody, I'll figure this snow camping thing out soon enough.