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30

Yes, it is definitely doable. -20°C is only -4°F. The real question is whether it is doable by you at the level of discomfort and hassle you are willing to put up with. Only you can answer that. At best we can point out what the hassles and discomforts will be. First, your fear of dying of cold in your sleep is silly. You'd have to do something ...


23

I'm answering my own question to share some knowledge. First, cold toes/fingers is serious. You start feeling discomfort, then a little pain, then you stop feeling them and forget about them, then you get them amputated. So you should constantly check if you can still feel toes and fingers, and if not, start to warm them up. Second, I find most effective ...


21

I think capacitive gloves are your best bet. Basically, they are gloves with something that allows the screen to close a circuit with your body (your hands) and that makes the screen work. I've provided some links to reviews, but the bottom line is this: at the temperature you're describing (around 0 degrees Celsius) they will probably do the job reasonably ...


17

Bears don’t really hibernate, although they lower their activity during winter. Here’s one sample study of Black Bear winter behaviour in Sierra Nevada, California: Thirty-nine (62 %) bears were winter-dormant for at least 2 weeks; the remaining 24 (38 %) remained active all winter. Here in Czech Republic we don’t have many bears, most of them cross ...


17

It is much better to avoid frostbite than to treat it. You can easily lose fingers and toes to frostbite. When you are camping in the winter, you cannot go into the lodge and warm up like you do snow skiing. You should really pay attention to frostbite. If it is much below freezing and you have numb fingers or toes, you should take some kind of action. If ...


17

I cannot answer directly if you are risking your life or not, however, it is quite possible to tent in -20C weather, given appropriate preparations and gear. Condensation, possible wind and snow-load are a few of the environmental factors to consider in your preparations and gear selection. The condensation one is critical, as damp gear (in general) loses ...


17

The loop allows the gloves to be hung, on a carabiner for example, such that the fingers point up preventing the gloves filling with rain or snow. For example, see the manufacturer's description of these gloves.


13

Get a Lavvu with a stove! Photo from Wikimedia Commons The Sami population of Lapland have lived for centuries in Lavvus in a climate with temperatures down to -40°C. They did decide about a hundred years ago or so to live in houses, because it is a tad more comfortable. As the Sami still exist, this proves that it's not immediately lethal to live at ...


13

Adding to Steeds self-answer. Other ways to warm up fingers and toes: Wiggle your fingers and toes vigorously (while walking, while sitting) - circulation is aided by muscle movement. Sprint (if you have the extra energy) When not using them, ball your hands up inside your gloves (remove your fingers from the glove fingers and make a fist inside the ...


12

This is what I found from the net: Flip the bottle up side down preventing the ice from forming near the top Obvious one: put the bottle inside a bag or a jacket use a heated hydration system instead adding electrolytes (suggested by Russell Steen)


11

Bear canister rules are often relaxed in the winter. However, this will depend on where you are camping. On the east coast, in the Adirondacks, the rule is: NYSDEC Regulation Requires The Use of Bear Resistant Canisters by Overnight Users in The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Between April 1 And November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear ...


11

Cold fingers - put them around your neck. The neck exhibits excellent blood flow and thus, heating power The neck is easily accessible area of the body, unlike armpits, thighs, stomach (with all the layers of clothing) At least for me, it is not very stressful to press very cold fingers against the neck, compared to against e.g. stomach. As for cold ...


11

In the US ice grades fall into three categories; Water Ice, which is seasonal and often shifting in difficulty; Alpine Ice, which is permenent ice found on glaciers or high altitudes; and Mixed Ice, which is a mix of ice and rock. Water Ice and Alpine Ice are on the same scale -- though alpine ice tends to be a little easier at the grade. (ratings taken via ...


11

If you don't have a compass or other instruments, it is possible to measure the slope with your two (ski) poles solely. Just hold/stick one pole vertically into the snow. Hold the other one horizontally until it reaches the slope with one end and the first pole with the other end. Now you check the height in which the poles contact each other. If it is at ...


9

This is really up to you, but I think if postholing is enough of a issue it would be good to wear snowshoes. If nothing else, it just makes things easier. One problem of postholing can be sometimes difficulty in getting out. You're not likely to actually get hurt, because "falling" onto the snow isn't a problem when it's deep and soft enough for your foot ...


9

Yes, the R-value will add of your different layers. If you wear layer A with R=5 and layer B with R=2.5, the overall insulation value will be R=7.5. To explain this a bit, we think of two layers or flat walls which interact only due to thermal conduction. This is just a model and in reality other effects will come in play. The Fourier Law for thermal ...


9

In general it really depends on the snow condition. Angle: If it's powder snow you need a quite steep angle (25 degrees and more). If it's icy/ hard/ wind slab snow then you can try it on a less steep (20 degrees) slope. Safety: I would search for a slope where you have a safe run off, if you can't manage do arrest yourself. And also that your runoff is ...


8

Some reasons for leeway: Regulations allow for it. Each park and wilderness area have their own rules and regulations. Some may allow for relaxed practices during known hibernation periods of their local bear population, though some may not. This is simply something that will require personal research into the area in question. Inclement weather The ...


8

I have found sleeping with my boots inside the bag is the ONLY way to go when it is really cold out. Moderately cold, sure you can tough out the re-thaw in the morning - but real cold... forget it. It is tough to get over the psychological barrier of putting boots in your bag - but it will make a difference. A few points to consider: During the day, sweat ...


8

For winter walking a traditional straight-shafted mountaineering axe seems most appropriate. This would include products like the very common BD Raven or Raven Pro, and also those with a slight bend such as the Petzl Summit, Grivel Air Tech Evo, and BD Venom. As there are existing questions regarding length (How do I know what size ice axe I should get?), ...


8

To put it simply, carry a compass with you that has a clinometer to measure a slope's angle, set one of your poles down on the slope and place the compass on top of the pole to get a solid reading. If you spend enough time in one area you'll start to become familiar enough with the terrain to remember roughly what the angles are and which routes are the ...


7

Caloric intake is certainly the largest factor. Calories are energy. If you are on a low fat diet normally and a very fit individual, you'll likely need to increase your fat intake. However the primary concern is that you are getting fats, so if you are already, you should be fine. Drink more water! It's very counter intuitive, but you dehydrate faster ...


7

For snowier conditions, it is common in the ultra community to take an old pair of shoes and screw in a number of metal hex screws into the sole from the bottom leaving enough of the screw proud to stick into the snow. I've never had to try it myself but I'm reliably informed it works a treat.


7

At my local army shop they sell neoprene gloves with detachable finger ends for the index and middle finger ends. Something like the picture below, but without the thumb, and the ends are not cut out but foldable. I have ones without this feature. They are not too warm (good maybe down to -5C), but are very comfortable - I cant type and call on the phone ...


7

Two suggestions. You can get fingerless gloves that also are mittens. Here's a child version so you can see how they work: Second, you can try to get a touchscreen that works with gloves. For example the Nokia Lumia made quite a big deal out of this at their launch. It makes sense that people in Finland would consider cold weather use for their ...


7

The big guideline for you will be water content. Dried food, with little or no water, won't freeze. Fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, peanut butter and so on probably will. In most cases, freezing will hurt the quality (consider a raw egg, raw apple, or raw carrot) and certainly repeated freeze-thaw cycles will do so. Your dried meat, fruit and veg should be ...


7

There's not yet a good answer that asks for the reason the fingers, toes (and nose and ears) are cold, so let me add a few points: (I'm assuming around 0°C according to the question - of course, -40 °C is different). Here are a couple of reasons why your fingers and toes get cold in the first place: Of course, you may not yet be used to the cold ...


7

I can't speak for the Scottish winter and there definitely are differences to the Alps. But still I can give you an overview what is important to learn if you are going to do alpine summer tours in the Alps. The German Alpine Club (German: Deutscher Alpenverein, DAV) is the world's largest climbing association. The number of members is over one million. ...


7

First of all, I will just spread some ideas. I never did a winter bivi by myself. Please don't blindly trust my words. But... because I am interested in the idea and like to do something similar in future, I searched for some info which might help you (and me). Still I am looking forward for better answers (which are based on experience and real ...



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