Questions tagged [snow]

Snow is vapor frozen forming ice crystals, often lying on ground or falling as a snow flake, often termed Snow Fall.

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Making a (retrievable) base in soft snow using a pair of ice-axes

When an ice ax is used to make a T slot base in soft snow, it cannot be retrieved after the last climber gets down and has to be left behind. We were taught and shown (and I have forgotten, hence the ...
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Accommodating the same microspikes to both bulky boots and smaller running shoes?

In the past I've used microspikes mainly with my big, bulky mountaineering boots. The size I was using was slightly on the small size for these boots, according to the sizing chart, and the ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Which is more dangerous, icy roads or icy roads with snow on top?

Where I live, we are about to get a bunch of snow (5”-8”). This has brought about the question of which is more dangerous an icy road or an icy road with snow? Does the snow help traction on the ice, ...
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Waterproof mittens for cycling and snow-fun: leather or synthetic?

I have a pair of nubuck leather mittens that are nice and warm but do not last very long when cycling in the rain in autumn/winter or when building snowmen and throwing snowballs. So now i'm looking ...
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First Time Skiing - Only my feet were freezing

Went on a snow trip this weekend at Fall Creeks(VIC), it was my first time in snow and first time skiing (cross-country) , the only problem I had was my feet started getting cold occasionally and felt ...
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Looking for information about the large circles free of snow that form in the spring around the trunks of large trees?

We have often used the large snow free circles that form in the spring around the trunks of large trees as camping spots. Even in an area blanketed with deep snow, there will be such bare, dry ground ...
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What overnight backpacking trails are clear of deep snow now (or likely to be in the next two weeks) in northwest Washington?

I am looking for an overnight backpacking trip to do in the next few weeks somewhere in western Washington. But I am worried about deep snow remaining on the trails. Based on last winter's snowpack, ...
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21 votes
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How to melt snow without fire or body heat?

I did a backpacking trip once where I was above treeline, there was no running water and I was low on fuel for my stove. While some of the snow was melting it was draining into the ground so fast ...
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27 votes
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Skis versus snow shoes - when to choose which for travelling the backcountry?

When travelling the backcountry in high snow, do snow shoes or skis perform better? By "perform better" I mean how tiring and fast travel is. Is there a general answer, or does it depend on the ...
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What is the snow level going to be in the Atlassian mountains(Toubkal) in the end of April?

The question is should we prepare to snow hiking in the end of April going to Toubkal? How can we predict or make educated guess on snow level? Is there any resource we can monitor snow level in the ...
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How real is the danger of suffocation in an Igloo?

Last weekend I spent a night in an igloo. The event was organised by professionals (it was a company retreat) and during the night there was always one of the guides awake making rounds and checking ...
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Is it dangerous to go to Mountains when snow is melting?

This year beginning of May 2018 we with my friend visited Valle Grande in Italian Alps. Begging from 1500 meters there was snow, on the high of 1900m there was pretty deep snow and it was actively ...
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6 votes
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Has extended exposure to sunlight and UV in the arctic or antarctic ever caused someone's eyes to change color?

In Biology SE I have just asked Could being exposed to excess UV in the arctic lead to a human eye color change? If so, what is the mechanism? but comments there questioned weather Arctic hiker Robert ...
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How much difference does wind chill make if you are inside a snow cave?

From this answer, -148 °F has been survived inside a snow cave, and this question is asking for the unadjusted temperature, which leads me to wonder how much the wind chill would matter. If you ...
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What is the most severe temperature that a proper snow cave can protect you from?

This question was prompted by my answer to Under what conditions does heating a backpacking tent artificially make objective sense?. In my answer, I mention the possibility of hiking across Antarctica ...
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Why does red snow make a person sick?

In season 3 episode 2 of Survivorman, Les Stroud explains that red snow will make you sick. He also says that he doesn't know why it makes you sick. What's in it that makes you sick?
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Should I expect to need snowshoes in the Serra da Estrela in April?

I have a work trip to Portugal later this month and I intend to attach a short trekking/backpacking trip in the Serra da Estrela. I have around 62 hours. Will I need snowshoes for my hike? The ...
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Are rolling snow pieces a sign of increased avalanche danger?

In spring conditions it often happens that the upper layer of snow warms up and small pieces of it roll down leaving traces behind them. Like in this picture I have found in the Internet: Given ...
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9 answers
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First time snow hiking

I will be going to a ski resort in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. It’s also very popular for winter hiking and has a lot of routes set out. Because I can’t go skiing this year I’d like to do some hiking ...
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Escaping tree well

Last week, while exploring tree snowboarding at Big Sky, MT, I ended up in a tree well. I was up to my waist and was able to crawl out. But it felt awkward and I see how I could sink deeper. My ...
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What features should I look for in gear to support front wheels of wheelchairs for travel on snowy paths?

I'm partially handicapped, and sometimes can only walk short distances without the use of a wheelchair, especially outside. I like to take walks alone in the winter (especially to see winter birds), ...
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14 votes
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Why doesn't it snow much at -30 °C?

I live in Canada, and we get a decent amount of snow in the year. However, it is very well known that you never get a lot of snow when the temperature is really cold. For instance, you never get a ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Should I use one or two trekking poles?

I am preparing for a Himalayan Expedition which requires a trekking pole at the altitude of 16000 ft and melting snow condition. I haven't used any aluminium/carbon fibre poles yet. I usually find a ...
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6 votes
3 answers
287 views

Under what circumstances would I wish to extend the handle length of a snow saw?

A snow saw is useful for building snow shelters and for avalanche danger testing. Some models are said to be easily attached to ski/trek poles in order to increase the handle length. Under what ...
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Is it worth getting snow shoe chains/spikes for only a one week trip to a snowy area?

Tourist from Australia so bit clueless about these things, going to Canada and wondering if it's worth getting the snow shoe chains/springs/spikes that go over your shoe or boot ? Can't really afford ...
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28 votes
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Are there any techniques for starting and maintaining a fire in snow?

What are the techniques for starting and maintaining a fire in a survival situation when snow is present? I would like to know if there are any known techniques for starting and maintaining a fire in ...
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15 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the most efficient strategy to melt snow using a stove?

When melting snow to obtain drinking water, what is the most efficient strategy if one needs more water than results from one pan of snow? Most efficient for me is using a minimum of fuel, not ...
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7 votes
1 answer
290 views

How much will the ceiling of a snow cave drop by during the night?

Every time I have slept in a snow cave, I have woken up to a ceiling that was noticeably lower than when I went to sleep. Is there a good rule of thumb for estimating how much lower it will get? ...
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16 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the best breathing holes strategy for a quinzee?

Since it's the season coming up for many (and snow seems to be in the game this year in eastern NA at least). What would be the best/optimal strategy with regards to breathing holes for a quinzee (...
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Yosemite in late March a good idea?

My wife and I have never been to Yosemite. We will have some time off in a couple of weeks (end of March) and we're considering planning a trip to Yosemite. The amount of rain and snow in recent ...
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1 answer
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Where is a good introduction to snow chain usage? [closed]

I have never used a snow chain with my vehicle, or even saw the process of someone putting a snow chain onto a vehicle. I plan to drive to western Cascades Mountain area in my small front-drive ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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How do you reset your body 'thermostat' after hiking in snow?

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 -...
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9 votes
1 answer
500 views

Dozens of dead little spiders in the snow

The winter suddenly set in here and it was pretty warm before. We walked through the snow in a central European forest and I realized a lot of "black dots" (dozens of them) as a contrast to the white. ...
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4 votes
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Which country has the most snow days in Europe?

For snowboarding reasons I need to know which country has the most "snow days" (is it even called like that?). I don't mean the highest snow height or something. Just the time when it's white outside. ...
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11 votes
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What is the most effective means of melting snow with body heat for drinking?

The related question Is it safe to drink snow? tells us that in addtion to then normal considerations for any wild water source, you also need to consider how the snow may tip your metabolism into ...
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13 votes
3 answers
9k views

Is it safe to drink snow?

If it snows, is it safe to drink the water when it melts? What sickness can I get from snow? I am in Europe and would like to know for here, but other places would be interesting too.
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Skis or Snowshoes for Colorado

I'm relatively new to Colorado, but would love to get into winter sports more. My question is, I enjoy hiking both flat and relatively steep trails in the snow. Which option would be a better fit: ...
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12 votes
1 answer
727 views

What is the correct ice axe grip when descending?

It is a common advice to handle your ice axe with the pick facing to the rear. Furthermore, having a single technique of self-arrest aids in training and being prepared for an emergency situation. ...
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11 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is wax waterproofing more effective than spray for fabric coat?

I am going skiing shortly after Christmas and I have a thick canvas (65% polyester, 35% cotton, brushed) coat that I need to waterproof. Is a wax more efficient for waterproofing than a spray for ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Distinguish iced snow from powder

We found ourselves in a pretty dangerous situation once. We were snowboarding in the backcountry and came to a spot where a rock on the left side and a slope on the right side built a path (about 3 ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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Reliability of snow bollards

I just discovered there is a way to rapell (e.g. for crevasse rescue) without any equipment building a snow bollard: How is this done in the best possible manner? What do I have to look for in terms ...
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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why should I carry a snow anchor?

I regularly see online that on expeditions snow anchors are strapped to the side of the backpacks. This is typically an item like the upper on following pic: I never saw this in the Alps by myself. ...
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15 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is there a technique to snow-shoeing besides "walk on the snow"?

I've spent a lot more time cross-country skiing than I have snowshoeing, but have some snowshoeing opportunities available to me in the near future. In the few times I have gone snowshoeing, I've ...
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3 votes
5 answers
9k views

1000 names for snow [closed]

The old saying goes that Innuit have a 1000 names for snow (as @venture2099 says this isn't actually true but you get my point). This kind of makes sense to describe the various states and types of ...
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17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why don't people in the UK use snowshoes?

I was recently in the mountains of Snowdonia in thick snow. It was about 2 foot (about 0.6m) in places. It was a lovely day just after Christmas so it was quite busy too (even a few snow boarders on ...
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9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Finding a suitable slope to practice self arrest?

I want to practice my self arrest technique. So I need to find a snowy slope to slide down and practice digging my ice axe in, turning, etc. What kind of slope should I be looking for? What kind of ...
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14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Measuring a dangerous snow slope

I'm reading up on winter technique. The book im reading states: Most (slab) avalanches happen on slopes between 30 and 45 degrees I think I've seen this before but ; how do I recognise (easily) a ...
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14 votes
2 answers
360 views

Using a "tarp" over the entrance of a snow cave

Is it true that a tarp shouldn't be covering the entrance of a snow-cave while sleeping in one? What's the reasoning to that? Is using a sleeping bag in them just fine?
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Walking through a Thigh-high snow

I have far less experience in trekking where there is snow. I believe walking through snow and through ice are two different techniques. Is there some sort of safe technique to walk on such snow ...
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9 votes
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696 views

Can the sheer existence of snow lead to dehydration?

When I went to Stok Kangri trek, while climbing down from the peak, on the snow-filled slopes, I felt terribly dehydrated. I was having ample amount of water throughout the climb and yet, I felt ...
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