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Tech Tip: Answered Winter Canyoneering Stuff

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by ratagonia, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. wsbpress

    wsbpress

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    For what it's worth I'll mention that I started bringing that teapot as an emergency hypothermia prevention/correction tool. So I consider it as both a survival item and a comfort item. Certainly there are other suitable means of heating fluids but I like this one. The teapot format makes it easier to distribute hot water to a group. This is not only for soup or drink but also for filling hot water bottles. A hot water bottle is really great when you don't have enough insulation, which is most likely to be the case in a survival situation.
  2. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    How's that ol' saying..."if you bring bivy gear, you will bivy."

    Some truth to that. Especially when you start adding in cook pots, stoves, sleeping bags. Then its not really a day trip.

    Having recreated a bunch in the winter (mostly ice climbing, backcountry skiing (from 30 to my salad daze of 100 days a year), I'll tell ya that most folks don't go out expecting or planning to spend the night out. Some of us have a bare amount of stuff to survive a night out in the cold. Wet, hurt, in a canyon situation where I can't move? I guess I'd have better made my peace prior to that trip...

    I used to carry a stove for long backcountry tours. Now I mostly carry a preheated 1 liter thermos with hot fluids.

    The more stuff you carry...the slower and less efficient you'll be. Hard to know what that margin is. Having done Imlay on a darn cold (16F in the parking lot) day in late winter...well...there's a point where your margin is too thin.

    Shake and warms (chemical heat packs) can stave off the cold for awhile. I carry a set of those in my pack if its a cold, winter day.

    Winter canyoning is, well...

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  3. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Not Mystery per se as far as I know. Englestead has seen some action in recent years, but, mostly in the area of the watercourse at the first big drop. See "Beehive Ice" guidebook for some interesting info on Zion. Fairly active crew there the last couple of years. More to come, I'm sure.
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  4. wsbpress

    wsbpress

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    Yeah it can all add up pretty fast, both in terms of weight and bulk. I will say though that the types of stoves that I pack are pretty small and light.

    My fancy feast alcohol stove weighs in at about 10 grams. For emergencies I'll usually only carry about 2-4 fluid ounces of alcohol. More if I'm having soup.
    http://andrewskurka.com/2011/how-to-make-a-fancy-feast-alcohol-stove/

    My esbit stove is slightly heavier at 11.5 grams. I believe the tablets are 14 grams each.
    http://www.amazon.com/Esbit-Ultralight-Folding-Titanium-Tablets/dp/B002AQET2C/

    The GSI Ketalist is the luxury item I like to bring, it weighs about 11 ounces if you bring the full kit (nested cup-bowl-things, never the spork). I'll sometimes only bring part of the kit for emergencies. The little stove, mini-bic/matches, and fuel all nest inside the pot. For the sake of weight comparison I'll mention that a 1 liter Nalgene weighs around 6 ounces and an REI 1 liter vacuum bottle weighs about 18 ounces.

    When I pack this kit I usually find the bulk to be more annoying than the weight... dimensions are (6.30'' x 5.90'' x 3.50''). Another annoyance is that it needs to be packed dry somehow because it may not drain well if it fills, and canyon water is nasty. It does, however, fit nicely in a freezer bag or two. I haven't weighed the freezer bags (yet).
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  5. Ram

    Ram

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    IDEAL!!
    Always in my pack....ALWAYS. Two hundred calories. One hundred and sixty from fats...the healthier fats. Waterproof, easy to share, light for the bang, and unlike this pricing, about a buck and sometimes less in the supermarkets here in Colorado.
    Note.... buying in bulk can be problematic, as they can separate hard butter and liquid, within the package, after a few months. Comes in maple, honey and classic
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
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  6. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    You guys are too fancy.

    I have the one pound bag from Montbell. It is great for above 60 degree nights. Spent a few of miserable nights wearing every scrap of clothing I had with me while trying to sleep at the head of Neon Canyon in November a few years ago and now I carry a 1 pound 13 ounce Western Mountaineering Ultralite bag for shoulder season. But that is for backpacking, not surviving. Montbell one pounder-point taken.

    I do like Justins-always in the kit along with a pack or two of Starbucks instant coffee which is drinkable hot or cold. I mix those up in a 0.5 liter platypus bottle (22 grams). That's breakfast right there.

    The traditional Antarctic food rations were Borvil Pemmican bar (most calories are from animal fat), the Kendal Mint cake, flour and a stick of butter. Plus or minus seal meat, those were staples for polar explorers. Canyoneers not so much. You need calories for those 6 thousand calorie plus days.

    Ken
  7. digby

    digby

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    I'm late to the thread as I head out to snowshoe at 8000' with 10" fresh. My winter climbing day pack includes ONLY survival gear ( less than 3lb). Bivy sack, fire stuff, metal cup, extra layer (fleece top/hat/gloves/socks), signal whistle, gigli saw, ~2x2' closed cell foam ground pad, water, no food and ice axe as necessary. Climbing gear/headlight obviously extra. These would be items I would always take down a winter canyon (minus the axe). Any comments?
    Digby
  8. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Yvon Chouinard quotes:

    “The more you know, the less you need.” — Let My People Go Surfing

    "Carry light packs, and leave most of the 'ten essentials' and other impedimenta behind. Remember: if you take bivouac equipment along, you will bivouac."—Climbing Ice

    Of course, some of his advice is best for the "gods," and not for the rest of us.
    Ram likes this.
  9. wsbpress

    wsbpress

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    "If you bring extra rope you will stick your rope."

    "If you bring a headlamp you will be in the canyon after dark."

    "If you are sipping hot miso soup while peeling off layers of cold, wet neoprene in the shade, you will regret bringing the teapot."

    -Said no one ever.



    ...OK, sorry... I'm totally done defending my canyon+soup fetish.
  10. Rob Heineman

    Rob Heineman

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    Have I told the story about my bivouac on the East Face of Mt. Whitney just above the fresh air traverse in early February? Temperature in the valley was 10 Fahrenheit. Colder up at 14,000 feet. After hours of shivering, I knew we had it licked. The sun would rise soon. I confidently checked my watch. 8:00 p.m. Only 10 hours to go. Looooong night.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
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  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Through Shenanigans? of East Leprechaun?

    Tom
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    We do the soup at times too, but usually in a thermos. A couple swallows really makes you feel warmer.

    Tom
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I like to think I'm kind of hard core and don't whine much, but you guys are nuts. It's like I tell Ram. He stops canyoneering in Mid-May about the time I start. I view it as a summer sport. He views it as a winter sport. I'd much rather sweat it out a bit than be cold.

    But I have spent a little time in situations where I got in a little over my head. Here's my list:

    Tape and a knife.
    You can fix an awful lot with tape and a knife to cut up clothing.
    Those tiny little fold-up disposable space blankets. Not the big ones you put under your tent that you won't carry down the canyon. I'm talking about the ones about half the size of a deck of cards. One for every person. They only help a little, but they do help.
    A hat or balaclava. This is huge. A extra dry one in the dry bag is pretty wise.
    One layer more than you wear in the morning. Probably fleece. That way by 3 pm when something happens, you've got 3 or 4 more layers to put on. That's the layer that gets you through the night.
    If it's a big group like 6-10, there's no reason not to be carrying a little sleeping bag and a pad. I love Tom's idea of a bivy bag and down jacket for the person who stays with the injured dude. Might as well throw in a backpacking stove while you're at it. All of that weighs less than a 200 footer.
    Extra calories. You will burn a lot shivering all night. Think two extra meals.
    Headlamp with extra batteries. I have avoided many a bivy by simply being able to keep moving. I have had one where we simply ran out of battery power 5 minutes from the trail.
    Lighter and a firestarter. Maybe there won't be anything to burn, but if there is you'll be sure glad to have it.
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  14. SARguru

    SARguru

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  15. RyanGJ

    RyanGJ

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    I have been mostly a lurker of sorts on CC and want to share some thoughts on this thread. Since most don’t know me I am flight nurse in western Colorado and have spent several years on SAR crews as well as many cold night in the backcountry. I have seen first hand the effects of unplanned nights out in winter.

    Rams description of winter canyoneering is perfect. The safety margin of winter canyoneering is razor thin. If something goes wrong, the stakes can very quickly become high. It’s not to be taken lightly.

    One thing I noticed in this thread is the use of hot liquids as a way of preventing/ treating hypothermia. While this may offer a mental up lift (and I will not dispute the importance of that in survival scenario) you simply cannot reverse or prevent true hypothermia with drinking warm fluids. A stove may be useful for melting ice to drink.

    Winter survival is entirely dependent on keeping warm. That means being able to create heat. One way is through maintaining body temp with insulation and movement. If you’re unable to move to maintain warmth (sit ups, jumping in place, ect.) then external heat is required. While in some places a fire may be possible this is likely to prove difficult to impossible in many canyons. Body heat from a willing partner could save a life.

    This is when having a sleeping bag can prove to be invaluable. If you add moisture/ wind into the equation then a bivy can be equally invaluable. I fully embrace the idea of being able to adapt what you have, but without a way to retain heat and stay warm hypothermia becomes a real possibility.

    Hypothermia is death to the trauma patient. It reduces your ability to clot, causes you to become acidotic and forces you to expend excessive amounts of energy. As someone stated earlier one pillar of trauma management is keep the patient warm, (even when it 100+ outside).

    What to carry?

    A way to keep your self warm: Stay hydrated, spare dry clothes, lots of calories, layers that can be changed

    A way to keep an injured person warm: Sleeping bag, ground pad, fire starter

    A way to stay way to stay dry: Bivy, don’t sweat

    While there are many variations on how to go about these, these principles need to be kept in mind. Also keep in mind the cold saps batteries. Keep cell phone and GPS units on your body to extend battery life.

    Just some thought to add to the discussion!
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
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  16. wsbpress

    wsbpress

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    Thanks Ryan. Good points.

    The stove can still be used to heat water for a hot water bottle though right? I've used hot water bottles in the past when I've come up short on insulation. They seem to make decent external heat sources. I've been told it's good to place the bottle against an artery so I'll usually keep the bottle against my inner thighs.
  17. AW~

    AW~

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  18. RyanGJ

    RyanGJ

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    A great way to use this is to place near boiling water into a Nalgene type bottle. These could be placed in down jacket with you (or patient) or placed in a sleeping bag to prewarm it and act as a external source of heat to help keep the feet warm . The bottles would still be warmish in the morning. Much better then taking in an icy cold drink first thing in the cold AM (or at night)! This helped to promote hydration, which is also key in staying warm.

    In emergency situations these bottles can be placed in the groin or armpit areas (like you mentioned: areas where large arteries are relativity close to the surface) to help maintain body heat (this will NOT treat hypothermia, but can aid in preventing additional heat loss). It can be a huge moral boost!

    To this day I always bring at least one Nalgene, even on my "ultralight" trips in the summer (I put my first aid kit in it), IMHO it acts to keep my kit watertight and a back up in case my water bladder breaks or leaks in addition to the uses mentioned above. Worth its weight and bulk to me.

    I have not tried this with the new stainless bottles. This obviously would NOT work with Hydroflask type bottles, not sure about Kleen Kanteen types. I also have not tried this with a hydration bladder. Just make sure there is no risk of contact burns or leaking!! Both would make your situation much worse!
  19. digby

    digby

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    Two reasons I use a 750ml alum water bottle (in canyon) vs Nalgene: unbreakable with pack toss, can boil on open fire. Most say Nalgene is unbreakable but I've cracked one, and although I've used Nalgene to nearly boil water, the bottle survived but the strap for the lid did not, melting. I probably should have filled to way less than half-way. The completely remove-able plastic top of the alum bottle is an advantage. I do use Nalgene empty with my lifestraw inside if I have room and/or need extra flotation.

    Most of the brain trust here recommend against hydration packs with the rupture risk inherent in pack abuse in canyon.

    I agree with Ryan that placing a heat source in the groin, etc. WILL NOT TREAT HYPOTHERMIA. In some ways it can possibly make it worse by robbing heat from the core slightly shunting blood to an extremity. It may be helpful in the earliest stages of toe frostbite (the studies are equivocal) but it sure feels good.
  20. RyanGJ

    RyanGJ

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    The alum bottles may be the way to go, does the metal get hot enough to burn? Never personally had an issue with the lexan bottles getting to hot
    but I know some folks have placed a sock over their bottles to help prevent contact burns.

    One issue to be aware of when rewarming frostbitten extremities is to only rewarm if you can be 100% certain the extremity will not refreeze. This of course applies to true thermal injury, not just cold toes (to which the warm bottle is recommended and feels amazing!) Refreezing will result in much greater tissue injury if not tissue death. If you are faced with an unplanned emergency it is best to delay rewarming until you can reach a point where you can be assured refreezing will not happen.
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