Saturday, October 27, 2007

Toasty Coziness

2am in a Scott tent: a double gloved hand reaches out of the tiny breathing hole at the top of a mummy bag, feels around, locates a package of oatmeal rasin cookies, pinches the rock-hard frozen cookies, and sucks them into the bag to be warmed to a gnawable texture. Mmmm, midnight snacking in Antarctica!

We all survived Happy Camper school, and more, we had a wonderful time! The shelf ice south of Ross Island can be anything from a breathtaking vista to a subtly beautiful environment depending on the lighting - we were lucky to see both while missing out on wind and low visibility conditions.

Everyone slept fairly warmly, those that had cold patches found ways to get warm and get back to sleep. We had folks in quinzees, Scott tents, mountain tents, and survival trenches. Outdoor temps were around -28C at night and inside various structres warmed to -10C (quinzee), -20C (trench), and -22C (Scott tent). I especially enjoyed the gentle pitter patter of tiny frost crystals formed from our moist breath breaking off the tent walls and falling back down on my face and bag --- over time I suspect it would become irritating.

Our group of 20 campers were a cheerful and able group with quite a bit of outdoor experience and enough good will to fill in the gaps. Definitely the group to be stranded in the "deep field" with! Our communal kitchen area kept 5 water pots boiling and melting most of the evening for insta-foods and filling the all-important hot water bottles to take into your sleeping bag for the night.

How do you keep warm in cold or windy temperatures? What things would you do to be as warm as possible?


Anonymous said...

To keep warm we could use body heat. Did you have to?

What did you drink?

What else did you have to do to survive?
How long did you stay out there?

What kind of food did you eat other than insta-food?
Did you see any wildlife while you were out there?
Did you do dishes?
When your breath freezes does it form icicles?

Did your lungs burn?
Mrs. Gates students

Joanna Hubbard said...

Mrs. Gates' students:
With four of us stuffed into the Scott tent, shared body heat definitely helped stay warm overnight.

We drank hot chocolate, tea, coffee, hot cider, and water. Keeping hydrated is an important part of staying warm.

We ate lots of cookies, chocolate bars, cheese crackers, sandwiches, cold pizza leftovers, chips, gorp - all of it had to be kept somewhere warm or it was frozen and hard to bite or chew!

We didn't see any wildlife at snow school.

We didn't do dishes, just kept reusing the same mug and spoon - the chicken noodle bits in my hot chocolate wasn't all that bad.

The guys that had moustaches had icicles forming on them from their breath.

I didn't notice my lungs burning, but I was always breathing through something, balaclava or neck gaiter usually, to keep warmer.

Thanks for your questions!