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Tales of Winter Survival
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Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Tales of Winter Survival on 02/15/2011 18:42:47 MST Print View

Quebec Inuit teens survive 4 days lost in tundra

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Arctic Survival Tips on 04/11/2011 18:07:01 MDT Print View

As far as I know, there aren't any Arctic (or Antarctic) explorers on BPL. But nevertheless, some of the points of advice can be applicable to outdoor winter enthusiasts alike (especially points 1, 2, 4 and 6).

1: Wear at least four layers of clothing

Warm, breathable, quick-dry thermals and fleeces must be the only type of clothing worn in the Arctic. Your clothing must keep you as warm and as dry as possible. Any excess moisture will freeze instantly.

2. Recognize frostnip & frostbite

To avoid both the nip and bite varieties, wear mitts rather than gloves and don't lace your boots too tightly - to ensure blood can flow to your extremities. Nose, cheeks, ears, chin and toes are usually the first parts of the body affected. If your skin turns white or you feel a stinging sensation from an ice cold breeze, you are likely suffering frostbite or frostnip.

3: Deter polar bears

Their eyesight isn't great, so your best move is to deploy bear bangers -- bright, loud flares -- and activate a shrill personal attack alarm that should frighten your local visitor away. Having a dog is a real help. They can tell if there are bears nearby much sooner than a human and their barking is often enough to put off a bear.

4: Stay fueled

In the Arctic calories in versus calories out becomes an even more difficult balance to get right. You need to eat and drink more because of the extra effort and excursion everyday tasks require in such a harsh environment.

Bar eating greater amounts of food, melting butter into your evening meal is a quick fix. Other high-calorie snacks include macadamia nuts, double deep-fried bacon strips, butter toffee cashews and extra-creamy homemade chocolate truffles.

Your daily target is a whopping 5-6,000 calories. If you are being really active you might need more.

5: Watch the ice

The color of the ice below your feet will give you an indication about whether you should keep walking onwards or retreat quickly to safer territory. White ice is safest and will be 6-12 inches thick.

Gray ice is young ice between 4-6 inches thick. It should support your weight on skis but is best avoided if possible. Do not step on black ice. It is newly formed thin ice and you will likely fall through.

6: Travel in pairs or a small group

You can watch out for each other, and help out if there are problems. This is no place for lone travelers who aren't extremely experienced.

7: Carry a GPS, a satellite phone and alert beacon

If you are separated from others, you can tell exactly where you are and direct help to where it's needed.

Keep in touch with Philippe Cousteau and CNN producer Matt Vigil via their Twitter feeds.

8: Polar boots can help to save your life

Toes can be really susceptible to frostbite in the wrong boots. Good ones can make it seem a lot less hostile a place.

9: Sleeping bags

Take an Arctic sleeping bag fitted with inflatable thermal mattress. This gets you off the ice and, with a fitted inner sleeping bag inside, you can be relatively warm and stay warm all night.

10: Take a dry suit

Freezing temperatures and water don't mix. If there is open water you can't risk falling in without total protection. It is a recipe for disaster.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Arctic Survival Tips on 04/11/2011 19:13:15 MDT Print View

As far as I know, there aren't any Arctic (or Antarctic) explorers on BPL.

I'm pretty sure that Richard Nisley spent a couple months trekking Antarctica a year or so ago.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Arctic Survival on 04/11/2011 19:41:42 MDT Print View

Re: "Warm, breathable, quick-dry thermals and fleeces must be the only type of clothing worn in the Arctic."
I've heard that full suits filled with goose down (not fleece or thermals) are required of clients being guided up Mt. Everest on summit day. I'm no expert, but I've heard that the summit of Denali (Mt. McKinley) is the coldest place on earth in the middle of winter when the Jet Stream lowers down right onto the surface of the mountain, so there are written sources about surviving extreme cold other than Arctic and Antarctic tales. These mountain-related sources list thermals, fleeces, down, and GoreTex-like windshells as being useful at various stages up the mountains.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Arctic Survival on 04/12/2011 04:42:13 MDT Print View

The coldest recorded temperature on Earth, -128.6°F (-89.2°C) was measured at the Russian Vostok base on July 21, 1983.

The lowest temperature recorded on Denali was found to be approximately −100 °F (−73 °C) degrees.


(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Coldest temps on 04/12/2011 08:31:51 MDT Print View

Roger: 1. Is there a weather station on Denali's summit? If not, to record a temp someone has to climb up there with a thermometer, which isn't going to happen in January, in the middle of the coldest storm of the year.
2. If you go beyond mere air temp and consider wind chill, the Jet Stream does not touch down on Russia's base [is that in Antarctica?]. I'm no expert, but I would guess that Denali's summit gets stronger winds than even the South Pole. God only knows what the wind is like when the Jet Stream smashes head on into Everest's summit.
3. My main point was that the people in tales of arctic survival deal with severe conditions, yes, but not nearly the most severe conditions on the planet, and to say that one can wear ONLY thermals and fleece to survive is... well I don't want to be too insulting.

Edited by RobertM2S on 04/12/2011 08:36:26 MDT.