Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Camping in the Snow
Display Avatars Sort By:
Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Newbie Questions on 03/07/2013 17:53:08 MST Print View

Bobb - here are my thoughts:
1) You should not be cold like that. My feeling is that If am ever cold while I am out in the mountains, one of two things is going on: I've blown it; Or I'm in a transition between activity levels and amounts of clothing and haven't quite adjusted yet (like when you start out a little cold because you took off a layer knowing you're about to go up a big hill and you'll warm up soon). If you are hanging out in camp and you are cold, you're not wearing the right clothing for the conditions.

2) Bivy sacks add a little warmth, but not much, except for when you are actually sleeping outside a shelter and the bivy sack is cutting the wind - then it can be significant. If, instead of carrying a bivy sack,you carry a sleeping bag with added insulation, that will give you more added warmth than the bivy sack for the same added weight, assuming you ar in some sort of shelter (tent/cave/igloo, etc).

3) Gloves go in the sleeping bag with me at night. Shoelaces - well, this no longer applies for me since my skis boots have buckles and not laces, but when I did have boots with laces I used them as underlayment for my pillow or placed them between my tentmate and myself, and never had frozen laces.

4) This happens all the time, and it's pretty much habit for me to pick campsites that up of the valley bottom a ways to avoid it. It doesn't usually take much to make a difference.

5) It isn't fun anytime the conditions are beyond what you are equipped for and prepared for in terms of experience. So the real trick is to know what temperatures are too low for your gear.

Confused Newbie

Locale: Northern CO
Re: Newbie Questions on 03/08/2013 13:14:18 MST Print View

Thanks for all the insight. Looks like my snowcamping experience was misleading. I think it might be worthwhile to peruse some of the gearlists to get a feel for what equipment is needed.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Camping in the Snow on 03/08/2013 14:55:49 MST Print View

No chance to read the entire thread, maybe someone said this already:

In a winter camping course in 1973 I was told to try to be comfortably cool the entire time. Cool to avoid sweating, but never cold. Exceptions have been noted earlier, e.g. just after a big change in activity level and in the middle of adjusting clothing.

I've camped many times in the winter, -15F the coldest I recall (or was it -20F), but I was never cold for any length of time, neither during the day or in my sleeping bag. This is an easy goal to achieve. If you are cold for than a few moments then you are doing something wrong.

Steven Vilter
(stevevilter) - MLife
Carbon Monoxide on 04/14/2013 15:46:21 MDT Print View

A study looking at climbers during a season on Denali/ Mt. Mc Kinley asked for a blood sample on the way up and on the way out. They asked one question, "Did you cook in your tent?". Everyone who cooked in the tent had elevated carbon monoxide levels as compared to those who didn't. Even in the windiest conditions, and I think Denali qualifies, it is risky to cook in your vestibule. Even if you don't die, you risk illness and decreased performance. I build a kitchen with a pit and snow blocks and wait for a relative lull to cook.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
A word on warm feet on 01/22/2014 12:15:57 MST Print View

As I've mentioned many times here in BPL, my solution for keeping my feet warm all day is to use: with REMOVABLE LINERS (they go insie your sleeping bag overnight)

2. VAPOR BARRIER LINERS (I much prefer seam sealed thin neoprene diver's socks with thin poly liner socks. Even thin 1/8" Neoprene is waterproof AND very warm.)
Change out sweaty poly liners every night and turn the neoprene VBLs inside out to dry at night and warm up in your bag.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Carbon Monoxide on 01/22/2014 14:45:34 MST Print View

> Everyone who cooked in the tent had elevated carbon monoxide levels as compared to
> those who didn't.
I understand the point of the quote, but I have to reply that the data is almost meaningless if the types of stoves used is not known and the amount of ventilation used is unknown. And what about the weather?

For instance, if every climber was using an MSR Reactor, the result is to be expected. The Reactor emits an almost lethal amount of CO, as measured in our series on CO levels:

If the climbers had their stove wound up to full power and were melting lots of snow, then there could be a lot of flame quenching and a fair bit of CO emitted as well (depending on the stove and the pot). If this was done with inadequate ventilation, then the tent is going to hold a bit of CO. Fair enough, but that's not the fault of the stove: it's the fault of the user.

Why blame the user? If someone travels in avalanche territory without taking the appropriate precautions we would have no trouble saying they were stupid. The same applies to using a stove (or driving a car).

I don't think a blanket statement like 'it is risky to cook in your vestibule' is either useful or even relevant. Knowing what the hazards are and taking appropriate precautions is far better (like, don't set out in a howling storm). Cooking in the vestibule with adequate ventilation means you are out of the wind and able to rug up with your quilt or SB: that may be far safer than sitting out in the wind and going hypothermic. Experienced snow travellers and climbers cook in the vestibule all the time, quite safely.

As for the suggestion to 'wait for a relative lull to cook' - sorry, but that is farcical. What do you do when the storm lasts 36 hours? Or several weeks, as can happen in the Antarctic? OK, the idea might work under some conditions, but not where I ski.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: A word on warm feet on 01/22/2014 14:49:07 MST Print View

> boots with REMOVABLE LINERS (they go inside your sleeping bag overnight)
CAUTION: all the moisture from the liners will end up inside the down in your SB. After a few days you may have a rather heavy soggy SB. I am not keen on this idea. OK, for 1 or 2 nights it is probably safe.


. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 01/22/2014 15:19:55 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/02/2015 11:23:04 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Carbon Monoxide on 01/22/2014 17:07:28 MST Print View

"I propose donating each expedition member donate $1 to the future widow fund, and ... his wife will be well compensated."

Boy do we ever have a different idea of well compensated.....