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Thread: Let's talk cold

  1. #11
    Moderator raiffnuke's Avatar
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    Very nice write up Cannibal. Some very good advice for those people new to cold weather hanging.

  2. #12
    Bubba's Avatar
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    Good post with some great thoughts! I had to bail once. The temps dropped much lower than I expected. Even though it was 10:00pm and I might have been able to stick it out, there's no way to predict the weather and its better to err on the side of caution so I decided to pack up and go home. No real reason to stay if underequipped IMO.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  3. #13
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    Fantastic advice Cannibal. As temperatures get seriously cold, the rules of the game change completely. A couple of items off the top of my head:

    - You must have adequate insulation in seriously cold weather. Your body can not generate enough heat to keep warm if most of that heat isn't being trapped and held. If you need a fire for warmth, you are under-insulated.

    - Stay well hydrated and fed. Your body is your main source of heat in the wilderness. If your core temperature drops or your furnace isn't pumping out the heat, your in trouble.

    - Safety in numbers - whether it be hypothermia, frostbite, avalanche, etc., your only realistic line of safety, support, and rescue are the people that are with you.

    - Learn from experience - it is great to talk to people who have experience, it is far better to go out with people with experience. No need to learn deadly lessons on your own. Besides, if they are going with you, they will be much more motivated to make sure you are adequately prepared when they are on the hook for getting you through it.

    - Take what you think you need and have more gear in reserve. If you plan on using every bit of insulation/clothing for the expected weather, you will be in real trouble when it is 20*+ colder than anticipated.

    - Have a bailout plan and be willing to use it. Don't wait too long to decide things have gone south.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member gordonfreeman's Avatar
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    Don't underestimate the power of FOOD. You have to eat to have fuel for the internal furnace...

  5. #15
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    Some good advice has already been given.
    - small steps to your goal
    -be with others or be connected,(cell,spot), in some way as much as possible
    -Have a back up plan
    -enjoy the small things in nature ..

    i have respect for those who have reverence for their environment rather than try to conquer it. When your dead nobody cares that you slept one night at -30 , but they will remember and respect that you loved to camp in winter. Sometimes these things happen at the same time,,,its a state of mind thing. Be careful so you can repeat the fun. Mother Nature does not care about your achievements. Last year a young friend of mine got buried in an avalanche. He should be dead. Everyone knows he should be dead. He got revived and he came back to the living. Things can go wrong very fast.

    And in Cannible's "old man att". altho he's not that old,,,,,"you hunters runnin your ATV's down my back road shut the hell up!",,,,(-;
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

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  6. #16
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    This is a great thread, Cannibal! Thanks for bringing it up. Great because it is early enough to get noobs and old timers alike to thinking things out in comfort and safety. And because the potential great danger is being emphasized. As my old NOLS instructor- Steve Goryl - a man who went on to climb Everest - was so fond of saying/quoting: "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around!".

    I have nothing to offer for sub-zero experiences, and not much to offer for zero to 10F. Still, I know the stupidity resulting from hypothermia, as well as the uncontrollable shivering that goes with it, both for myself and observed with others who were with me. I have seen/experienced this while trying to sleep in the cold, or while trying to travel all day in blowing snow or on all day cross country ski trips. I have even witnessed it while down hill skiing, when my buddy got his clothing soaked from sweat and external moisture.

    I'm sure that the colder it is, the quicker things can get to danger. Still, even if it is 25 or 35, once the wet and wind have pushed you into hypothermia, you are just as stupid. Not to mention, if you are only expecting 30 or so, the training you have probably been doing is for the purpose of seeing how light you can go for 30F. IOW, it might not be that cold, but that probably means you have a lot less with you, a lot less reserve! But you can still wake up dead at 30 or 40F! So still: practice, practice, practice in a safe place.

    Like Alamosa says: safety in numbers! Especially if one or more of those numbers really knows what they are doing, who knows the signs that things are going poorly for some of the others in the group.

    How about when your hands get numb from the cold and you can't tie knots and carry out other critical functions? Are you ready for that or are you sure you can prevent it?

    Are you sure you can keep your insulation protected from internal (sweat or condensation) or external sources of water? Are you sure you can block the wind? Can you get that tarp put up and securely lashed in the howling wind?

    I have done some fairly stupid things on cold weather adventures and lived to tell the tale. My goal is to not make any similar mistakes, and if nothing else at least to know what is a mistake. As another NOLS buddy - on his first time ever out of the city of Chicago and into the woods - memorably said right after a snow loaded tree branch broke, fell and ripped a big hole in his tarp and dumped a huge load of snow into his sleeping face and down the neck opening of his sleeping bag:
    Well, live and learn.
    May we all learn so that we can keep on living and learning!
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  7. #17
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I sure hope we have a winter this year so I can utilize all this good advice. Last year I only had one night to test in the back yard at temps in the teens, and my record low for a hiking trip was 15 degrees. Even with down booties, my tootsies were a little nippy! However, I did forget to change into fresh socks, so that may have had something to do with it.

    I think Shug says he wears a loose-fitting pair of socks at night over another pair. I'm a size 13 - where the heck do I find loose-fitting socks? I would need a size 15 sock minimum for it to be loose-fitting.

  8. #18
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordonfreeman View Post
    Don't underestimate the power of FOOD. You have to eat to have fuel for the internal furnace...
    YES! And when possible, take hot food and liquids and put it into your shivering body! Do enough of that ahead of time and maybe your body won't be shivering!

    Oh Yeah: All ground dwellers with experience with winter camping but new to hammocks: Do NOT forget that a hammock can become a refrigeration device when cold, wet air is blowing under it, or even if it is not windy and wet! The same thing that makes a hammock a blessing in the summer- i.e. much cooler than a tent and pad on the ground - can sure work against you when it is cold. Noobs be aware of the new techniques you must learn for insulating the bottom of a hammock AND protecting that insulation from wind and moisture! It's a whole new challenge, though easily cured if you know about the problem.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 10-03-2012 at 14:57.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  9. #19
    dragon360's Avatar
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    Fantastic thread! This has been something I have been tempting but never did a 0 hang as of yet. Always understood it to be as cerebral as it is gear oriented but this has painted a clearer picture.
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

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  10. #20
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    I'm in Texas....it never gets cold here.

    In all seriousness though, thanks for the write up. I'm fairly new to the hanging/hiking world and I appreciate the insite of those that are more experienced.

    I always test in my backyard....2 or 3 days a week
    If you ain't havin' fun, you're doin' it wrong

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