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42 votes

How to melt snow without fire or body heat?

If you have a clean black garbage bag with you (and if you don't, you really should :)), put the snow into the garbage bag, arrange it in a thin layer inside the bag, and lay the bag in the sun on a ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
28 votes

Skis versus snow shoes - when to choose which for travelling the backcountry?

First off, I want to make clear that this applies to skiing and snowshoeing as a means of long-distance travel. It doesn't directly apply to skiing in specifically for the descents. Skis are better ...
Gabriel's user avatar
  • 5,055
21 votes
Accepted

How much difference does wind chill make if you are inside a snow cave?

The concept of wind chill does not apply in this situation. Wind chill talks about perceived temperature due to additional heat loss due to convection. Meaning without wind, the "heated" air will stay ...
imsodin's user avatar
  • 21.7k
21 votes

How to melt snow without fire or body heat?

A dark coloured water bottle strapped on top of your pack would absorb quite a lot of solar heat on a sunny day. Getting the snow in would be easier with a wide neck, like a bike bottle or Nalgene. ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.6k
17 votes
Accepted

First time snow hiking

I have never been in the area, but from what I can see in the Internet, there indeed are a lot of winter hiking routes in Lenzerheide. And all those routes are signposted. In fact, you can see a map ...
april rain's user avatar
  • 3,482
15 votes
Accepted

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

For maximum efficiency (i.e. melted water per used fuel) make sure the following things are always true: Always have some water in the pot. Never have only water in the pot. Having water increases ...
imsodin's user avatar
  • 21.7k
14 votes
Accepted

Should I use one or two trekking poles?

They weight of the extra pole is counteracted by the energy saved using it. Poles do more than offer stability, they also save you legs precious energy on the climb, and on the descent. At 16,000ft ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
14 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't it snow much at -30 °C?

It's actually kind of the other way around, it's not that being too cold prevents snow from falling, it's that an absence of moisture in the air allows the atmosphere to cool. Low pressure systems ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
14 votes
Accepted

Are there any techniques for starting and maintaining a fire in snow?

Aside from what is mentioned in the answers to this question (How to light a fire with wet firewood?) the things you need to be concerned about in winter are the cold, frozen wood, and your fire being ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
14 votes
Accepted

Skis versus snow shoes - when to choose which for travelling the backcountry?

Summary from a winter spend in Winnipeg long ago compared to Central European conditions: there are probably good reasons why native North American people went with snowshoes while native Europeans ...
cbeleites unhappy with SX's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What is the best breathing holes strategy for a quinzee?

I'm somewhat of a claustrophobic sleeper when it comes to quinzhees, so I'm very particular about my ventilation. How much ventilation you need is proportionate to the size of your quinzhee, and how ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
12 votes

Should I use one or two trekking poles?

If you get a pair, you can choose whether to actually use one or both for a particular day. I recommend that you buy a pair well before your expedition, and use them enough to you learn your ...
Toby Speight's user avatar
  • 4,771
12 votes
Accepted

Why does red snow make a person sick?

Watermelon snow is caused by algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis. Apparently, it has laxative effects. As Giersch and National Park representatives explain, the red pigment in the algae helps to ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Which is more dangerous, icy roads or icy roads with snow on top?

Both are dangerous, and as James says both require drivers to be extra cautious and adjust their driving. However from my experience living in Alberta, Canada where we spend ~5 months of the year in ...
BKlassen's user avatar
  • 750
11 votes

Escaping tree well

Really the key to escaping tree wells is to ski/board/snowshoe with a buddy. I have friends who have ended up head down in a tree well, completely unable to reach their bindings. With every movement ...
Charles E. Grant's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Is it dangerous to go to Mountains when snow is melting?

There are several things that can be more dangerous in the mountains when the snow is melting, There can be an increased risk of avalanche danger. Snowbridges over crevasses can be melting out. ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
9 votes

Are there any techniques for starting and maintaining a fire in snow?

Just to add to what others have said, snow can be pretty useful for managing wind. You can use it to build a wall if there is too much wind. You can then make a hole in that wall to let wind in. Then ...
Shawn's user avatar
  • 2,076
9 votes

What is the most severe temperature that a proper snow cave can protect you from?

TLDR: -148 °F including windchill has been survived inside of a snowcave. I went looking for cases of people surviving extremely low temperatures while inside a snow caves, and it looks like the ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
9 votes

Is it dangerous to go to Mountains when snow is melting?

Charlie Brumbaugh's answer is fairly comprehensive about the dangers. I will address some ideas on how to deal with this sort of trip. Avalanche Hazard. A: Take an avalanche safety course. It will ...
Sherwood Botsford's user avatar
8 votes

First time snow hiking

Nice place to go! Can I wear a thermos legging only? My ski pants do not allow a lot of freedom of movement. Obviously depends on the weather: On a sunny day with no wind you can wear ...
imsodin's user avatar
  • 21.7k
8 votes

How real is the danger of suffocation in an Igloo?

Not as real as the danger of death by exposure and hypothermia while outside the igloo. Your risk of asphyxiation in a snow shelter depends largely on its size, and the number of people inside it. ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
7 votes
Accepted

Are rolling snow pieces a sign of increased avalanche danger?

Yes, rolling snow when the temperatures warm can be a sign of an impending wet avalanche. Rolling balls, and point releases all indicate wet unstable snow. It is worth noting that direct sunlight ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes

How real is the danger of suffocation in an Igloo?

The danger is not only suffocation due to lack of oxygen, but also poisoning due to too much carbon dioxide in the air. Normal air has 21% oxygen; humans will safely survive down to ~15%. Maybe 10% ...
guest's user avatar
  • 111
7 votes

First Time Skiing - Only my feet were freezing

Try thinner socks. If you're too tight in the boots, you'll be cold. It seems counter intuitive but blood circulation is what keeps you warm, just like what @Fenophter wrote in the comments. An ...
Gabriel's user avatar
  • 5,055
6 votes

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

The main reason that I found is for cutting a cornice, sometimes referred to as the bombs of the backcountry. Extending the handle allows one to cut it without being too close, and as for why one ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
6 votes

Why doesn't it snow much at -30 °C?

Any place that snows has the saying "too cold to snow," and it's generally true. Not that mere cold prevents snow formation, but that the coldest weather is generally clear and cold, with no ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
  • 12.2k
6 votes

Escaping tree well

Getting trapped in a tree-well is equally as dangerous as getting buried by an avalanche. In fact, it's claimed that tree-wells account for ~20% of all ski deaths. Every professional guide I've ever ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
6 votes
Accepted

Has extended exposure to sunlight and UV in the arctic or antarctic ever caused someone's eyes to change color?

This did indeed happen to Robert Swan, who is the first man in history to walk to both the South and North Poles. His eyes turned from dark blue to light blue on his trek to the South Pole, which ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar

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