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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58
votes
8answers
57k views

Does eating snow help dehydration?

I have heard many people say that eating snow actually can increase dehydration since the energy required for the body to heat up and melt the snow is greater than the benefits received from the ...
28
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5answers
10k views

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 ...
27
votes
4answers
5k views

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 ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Is digging a "cold hole" really effective when sheltering in a snowed area?

One recommendation I got in case of emergency or intentional sheltering in a snowy location is to dig a lower hole, so that the cold air can move there, while one can sleep higher up where the heat ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

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 ...
18
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5answers
9k views

Should I get trekking poles for snowshoeing, or stick with ski poles?

Being an avid skier I have ski poles lying around, so I've always used those. Do proper trekking poles offer any advantages for snowshoeing?
17
votes
9answers
35k views

What is the fastest style of sled?

Winter is here and, like every year, I am still thrilled when the extended family rounds up all the little kids and we go sledding. This year we compared our sleds and found that some were ...
17
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3answers
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 ...
16
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3answers
6k views

How can I prevent snow-balls building up in my dog's paws?

Our dog loves winter sports - but after a few miles on the trails in soft snow, he often develops snowballs between his paw pads - usually one big one right in the middle. Are there ways to minimize /...
16
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3answers
2k views

How to set up a tent in deep snow

How should I set up a two-layer dome tent for 2/4 people in deep snow (waist height)? Do I need some additional equipment (snow shovel)? Insulation under the floor (further than the sleeping pads)? ...
16
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1answer
334 views

How can I make a snow shoe in the wilderness from commonly available materials and simple tools?

As in the title really. In the hypothetical situation that I'm caught in the wilderness in winter and there's a heavy snow storm resulting in an unexpected level of snow, snow shoes could well come in ...
16
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2answers
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 (...
15
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4answers
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 ...
15
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4answers
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 ...
14
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4answers
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
390 views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
355 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?
14
votes
2answers
623 views

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 ...
14
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
13
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3answers
8k 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.
13
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2answers
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How much fuel to carry for melting snow?

I'm using a multi fuel stove (MSR Dragonfly) for a 10 day ski tour, how much fuel should I allow to provide sufficient water for cooking and drinking. Meals will be mostly dehydrated just-add-water ...
13
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
12
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3answers
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. ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Do I need to worry about snow covering up my tent?

I have a two-layer dome tent, cheap and not particularly designed for winter. Do I need to ever worry that during a heavy snow downfall during the night that tent might be covered up with snow and I ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
417 views

Best approach to camping in snow?

What is the best way for a trekking group of two to sleep in deep snow (meter or more). What equipment is to be brought? Preferably, the technique should work on shallow snow and plain frozen ground ...
12
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1answer
1k views

How can I build a safe, effective igloo?

If I want to build an igloo to keep me warm in a snowy climate, how can I go about this? What size blocks should I cut? How big should the entrance be? How can I mitigate the risk of the igloo ...
12
votes
1answer
666 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. ...
11
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5answers
3k views

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 ...
11
votes
9answers
3k views

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 ...
11
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3answers
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: ...
11
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2answers
179 views

Snowshoes for hilly terrain

What are the snowshoes criteria that I should look for if I want to snowshoe on a hilly terrain ?
11
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3answers
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 ...
10
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
5answers
692 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
674 views

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 ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Is it possible to use gaiters on flat/minimalist shoes?

On flat shoes, like the Merrell Proterra's, is it possible to use gaiters (for snow)?
9
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3answers
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
194 views

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), ...
9
votes
1answer
465 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
787 views

Near-realtime satellite snow-cover imagery via easy web-interface

I'm looking for a freely accessible website that provides access to recent high-resolution (<~1–5 km) satellite-based snowcover estimates (snow / no-snow). Many meteorology websites provide an ...
8
votes
1answer
93 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
432 views

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?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How efficient is the Altai skis "the Hok"?

I have been reading for a while about the altai ski "the Hok" . It is being promoted as : the Hok is a ski to be used whenever and wherever there is snow. With a partial climbing skin integrated ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
561 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
279 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? ...
6
votes
3answers
478 views

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, ...