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About 10 weeks ago, I did a 16-hour snow hike in Newfoundland (off-topic: insanely gorgeous country!).

The outside temperature was still very warm for November, with highs of -5ºC / 23ºF and lows of -10ºC / 14ºF.

I wore multiple layers, as I was prepared for remote possibility to stay the night on the mountain, should I become too tired. For great majority of the hike (10-12 hours) I had all 3 layers open, as it was simply too hot (just -5ºC / 23ºF) and I was sweating like a pig, especially the middle part of the ascent, before I reached the steep gully, where the wind picked up and I eventually zipped all 3 layers (though only for the rest breaks). My best estimate is that the wind-chill before summit was around -13ºC / 8.5ºF, still far from cold, but at least more comfortable for hiking than the "hot" -5ºC / 23ºF.

The problem now is that my internal thermostat / cold resistance got somehow readjusted during the hike, by roughly 4-5 degrees Celsius.

As an example, the default in-room 20ºC / 68ºF now feels hot. Not for 5 minutes; all the time. It's more than 20ºC / 68ºF everywhere I go indoors — office or home. I've found out that the comfortable room temperature wearing T-shirt and shorts is now around 18.5ºC / 65ºF, which is insane for everybody else.

My best guess at this point is that my body 'thermostat' returned back to the winter values I was used to 20 years ago back in Europe, with highs of -15ºC / 5ºF and lows of -25ºC / -13ºF.

But, it's been over 10 weeks since the hike. There must be a switch I can flip back!

Any ideas how to readjust it back? Or at least do things differently for next snow hike?

Perhaps the water intake is to blame? I underestimated the hike (and I quite honestly did not expect excessive sweating at -5ºC / 23ºF) by ±6 hours, so those 6 litres of water (I need 1 litre per 2 hours in winter, much much more in summer — hence the preference for winter hikes) I was carrying up (though I left few additional bottles in car, and I drank half litre right before start of the hike), got consumed very fast (and I basically ended with 1 last litre for last 6 hours — though that was descent, so much less water was physically needed).

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    I fail to recognize this as a problem that needs remedying. If I were to guess, I say you were probably a larger individual who has a healthy amount of natural insulation. I work with a couple of people who have similar body types, it's January and they're opening the windows to let cool air in, all the while I'm freezing in my large wool sweater. If you're concerned about it, put some ice in your water, cooling your core from the inside out will make sitting in warmer temperatures a lot more comfortable for you. – ShemSeger Jan 21 '16 at 5:38
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    Have you tried a sauna? On a side note; if you were sweating that much it might have been a good idea to leave everything in your pack but a light baselayer (and later windshirt), and just pull out a puffy for the breaks. Also, a light canister stove weighs a great deal less than 6 liters of water; don't be afraid to melt snow! – requiem Jan 21 '16 at 7:10
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    @requiem Sauna actually sounds like a great idea. It could deliver a thermal shock that indeed has a very high potential of 'flipping the switch' (whatever and wherever that is). As for the layers - my original plan was to keep taking out layers from the backpack, but as you have guessed, the backpack was already full of the water, so all layers had to go on me directly. As for melting the snow - I want to avoid that for 1-day hikes. Though, this experience just taught me that I cannot actually put enough water to my backpack for even 1 day (I really needed at least 10-12 liters). – BladeRunner Jan 21 '16 at 15:20
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    I fail to see how 65F, being 18C, is "insane" (but maybe people around you have a different perception of temperature). Did you get sick because it was too hot in your office? Also, winter is still here for a couple of month, you may want to keep that cold resistance you have until April? – njzk2 Jan 21 '16 at 16:50
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    Don't volunteer for cold resistance studies! You are so far on the tail of the normal distribution that you would skew the results! :) – ab2 Feb 18 '16 at 19:35
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I have not seen this protracted to the scale of weeks.

This is a common effect in my experience, but I've never seen an effect beyond a few days. I used to do dog sled expeditions in the Rockies, and east of Lake Winnipeg on the Canadian Shield. We sought out trappers/rangers cabins every 3-4 days, as it was a time to get everything really dry.

We found that after spending time in the cold that the cabin was too hot. Even when my parka zipperpull thermometer said 50 F guys were in their underwear/without shirts.

The basal metabolic rate increases when you are in cold weather. In my experience it will go back to normal within a few days of getting back to 'civilization'.


Advice for future:

  • Take a backpack to hold surplus clothing.
  • As you warm up strip off layers. In winter I find that the wind layer is most important, so it stays on. But at times I've had my wind parka on over skin, and still had it partially unzipped at -20F on a calm sunny day.
  • Carry water/fluids. My favorite was to take 2 liters of hot coffee with cream and sugar in a pop bottle. The bottle wore my extra pair of socks to keep the liquid warm. Mind you is was luke cool by the end of the day, but it beat packing a thermos.
  • It is very easy to tell when questions were asked here. They are all time stamped. The question was originally asked on 21 January 2016, as can be seen in the lower right corner of the question. – Olin Lathrop Nov 29 '16 at 13:48
  • I have clarified. I didn't know the time span between the event and his post. Is he writing the night he got home, a month later? – Sherwood Botsford Nov 29 '16 at 19:20
  • He specified this right at the beginning: 10 weeks. – imsodin Nov 29 '16 at 19:23
  • But how exactly do you strip off layers, when you're standing in the steep gulley, the wind gusts are literally knocking you off your feet (every few seconds) and you're constantly trying to just not slip (and fall off the mountain) ? I found it very hard to just reach to my backpack for a water, let alone take down the windbreaker and remove a layer. One slip and you're a goner. I understand I wasn't really prepared for it, but what's the proper safe way to do that when just keeping a balance is a hard work ? That section took me about 3-4 hrs, btw. That's when I sweated the most all day,too. – BladeRunner Feb 14 '17 at 17:18
  • Yeah, you're up a bit of a creek there. I've been in situations somewhat similar: On a lake in a canoe with enough wind and wave that all my attention was focused on "Open side up" and changing a layer is tricky. At that point you are in survival mode, not comfort mode. On mountain treks I now carry a solid walking stick. Being a tripod helps. Sometimes I've sat down to adjust layers. Or find a vertical bit to lean against. Your proper technique is to set up a fixed anchor/belay point so that if you slip, you don't fall far. That requires a different level of prep. Oops. – Sherwood Botsford Feb 14 '17 at 17:47
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I believe I have an update (and a workaround/solution) to this situation. Last summer I moved into apartment complex which, as I found out later in October, becomes extremely hot with all radiators closed, even though all windows are open, 24/7.

This uncomfortable temperature during evening through morning at home resulted in my internal thermostat kicking in, e.g. constantly feeling hot, sweating.

After about 3-4 weeks of sweating, I got readjusted, and now the regular A/C office temperature is again bearable. Eventually, I found out a combination of multiple layers over the radiators, that reduced the overall apartment temperature, and I think I'm slipping naturally back, as during weekends I can spend over an hour in a t-shirt and shorts outside, when it's around 32F (0 C), but at least the office temperature is now bearable.

So, this is a kind-of unexpected solution, but if you have any other ideas, I would still welcome them.

BTW, the 100-degree sauna didn't do anything. It's too short of an experience to flip the switch apparently.

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