Feb 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm #1285243
What is the coldest temperature you've experienced in your travels? Where were you?Feb 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm #1834969
Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
24F below zero x-c skiing in Minneapolis in 1983. Somewhere between 15F and 20F below camping on the Northville-Lake Placid trail in the Adirondacks in 1974 or 1975.Feb 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm #1834975
@alxjalxjLocale: Rocky Mountains grew up Lk Superior
-35F on my porch on Lake Superior while testing out my -18C sleeping bag, +10C overbag, gore-tex bivy bag and thermarest combination…and as long as I stripped down seemed to work quite well.Feb 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm #1835044
robert mckayBPL Member
@rahstinLocale: The Great Land
-25F with 30mph winds. Chugach Mountains. Overnight Backcountry ski trip last valentines day.
-35F. Minnesota. Growing up.Feb 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm #1835055
. .BPL Member
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
Welcome to BPL, Amy.
-22 F in urban cincinnati climbing trees at night as a lad
I never did again see that cold, even while mountaineering, but with windchill factoring in, it has felt colder at 17k in the middle east while around 0 and very windy.Feb 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm #1835075
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
3F above zero in New Mexico's Gila NF near the visitors center on a winter (short-range) backpack.
Add that it was an unexpected cold snap and my optimistically 25F sleeping bag didn't quite cut it even with all my clothes on, though I got a little sleep. (ed: add)Feb 6, 2012 at 6:02 am #1835137
Tipi WalterBPL Member
I was living out of my pack in the North Carolina mountains thru the 1980's and saw many cold subzero nights in my old North Face Tuolumne tent and NF Ibex down bag. These items saved my butt on many occasions. But the worst of all was the Arctic Outbreak of January 1985 when the temps at my locale dipped to -30F. That's cold, boys. It got to -24F in Knoxville. See link—Feb 6, 2012 at 6:16 am #1835141
Gary DunckelBPL Member
Car camping at the base of the Sangre de Cristo range, CO, in December of 1974. It was -20*F, and I was fine, slept like a baby. The next night I solo-skied a couple of miles down from Molas Pass, had a fire outside the tent door, bulked up on calories and hit the sack. A few hours into the sleep, I woke up with stage 1 hypothermia, shivering uncontrollably. I managed to pound down a bunch more food, I quit shivering, and decided to try sleeping again, rather than ski back up to the pass at 3 AM. My thermometer indicated it had dropped to -36*F. I felt lucky to have stayed alive. That's when my friends first realized that I was pretty crazy.
The coldest ever was a full week at Christmas of 1968 in Montana, where the temps didn't get above -48*F. No camping or hiking during that spell, but everyone kept doing what they usually did around town. Lots of dead car batteries though, and sparrows died overnight while perched on the power lines.
(spelling edit)Feb 6, 2012 at 6:27 am #1835144
Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Absolute temperature, -40 F (which is also -40 C) skiing at Grand Targhee, Wyoming. It was so cold that any fog on my goggles froze immediately.
Camping, about -25 F in Yellowstone Park.
Felt the coldest, -20 F in Manhattan (New York City). My office was at the very southern tip of the island, exposed on three sides, and the walk from the subway stop to the office building, with winds whipping off the Hudson, was the coldest, most miserable five minutes I've ever spent.Feb 6, 2012 at 6:38 am #1835147
Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: Front Range Zoo
A very cold shoulder from Adrianna when the Northeast Snark I grew up with raised its ugly head. Some comment was invariably made more suited for the guys back home than for the more subtle charms of a woman raised in Central Europe.
:)Feb 6, 2012 at 6:51 am #1835150
Stephen BarberBPL Member
-49C (I think that's around -55F) in Canada's Northwest Territories back in the 1980s. Definitely cold!Feb 6, 2012 at 7:26 am #1835168
Brian CampriniBPL Member
@bcampriniLocale: Southern Appalachians
You guys are animals. I think I'd shrivel up and die at -40.
I remember that crazy January 1985 that Walter mentioned. I never knew the exact temp, but I do remember it being brutally cold and a guy from Switzerland saying it was as cold as he'd ever felt (which made things seem even worse). I was in VA, 16 yrs old, and still have a scar on my shin from a sledding accident. Nothing major, but I couldn't get to a hospital for stitches since the roads were covered in ice. I've felt colder in much warmer temps, though. In particular, a spring day fishing in a t-shirt and shorts (I got caught in a cold rain and was wet from wading all day). It was the worst shiver-fest I've ever endured. I had a bad day hiking last winter too and it was probably high 30's F. I've been out in that weather so often that I didn't really think about it, but I got in pretty bad shape rather quickly. Not to discount anyone else's experiences, but I think that with the right gear, cold but dry temps might be easier to deal with than wet-cold. But I've never done -40.Feb 6, 2012 at 7:43 am #1835178
-49C, Calgary, AB, January 2012.Feb 6, 2012 at 8:08 am #1835198
Tipi WalterBPL Member
This question should be refined—what's the coldest you experienced on a backpacking/camping trip? And not just the coldest anywhere. Heck, I unloaded airplanes in Bagotville, Canada when in the USAF and it was -50F but I sure wasn't backpacking.Feb 6, 2012 at 8:12 am #1835199
Link .BPL Member
Amy what was the coldest temp. you experienced and where were you?what is your favorite camp/hiking spot and what tent or tarp do you use?Feb 6, 2012 at 8:16 am #1835202
Walter CarringtonBPL Member
-30F in the Catskills (NY) a couple times in 1960s and 1970s.
-20F frequently in the Catskills, 1960s and 1970s.
My parents lived there 1964 to 1978. In those days -30F happened once a winter, -20F several times a winter. It rarely gets that cold there anymore.
These didn't feel that bad because there was no wind.
What felt coldest:
Trying to get an Alfa Romeo started at -25F.
Keeping car windows open at below 0F because Alfa Romeo defrosters didn't work at those temperatures.
-15F to -5F for about 36 hours with winds consistently 40 to 50mph (Connecticut in late 1950s).
-12F with winds over 40 to 50 mph (north central Mass., couple of years ago).Feb 6, 2012 at 8:52 am #1835214
John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
-27f inside the tent during a ski touring trip in the Boundry Waters Canoe Area. This was at Sawbill Lake Jan 1975. Great trip but my brother and I thought we were going to die and be eaten by wolves.
That week long trip the temps never rose above 0f and the wind howled. We used the tent fly as a sail to cross frozen lakes and had a great time although it doesn't sound as appealing now.Feb 6, 2012 at 10:18 am #1835262
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
-45 F, North Shore of Minnesota, out on a three day backpacking trip in January 2011.Feb 6, 2012 at 10:42 am #1835280
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Last years GGG at Henry Coe at 22 degrees with snow flurries off & on. LOL!!!Feb 6, 2012 at 11:06 am #1835289
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I hate cold and try to avoid it whenever possible. The way I look at it, if one lives in frigid climates, they should move to the southwest :)
Coldest I have ever backpacked in was 5F above Flagstaff one October, and 17F in Joshua Tree. Normally if the temp is predicted to go under 20F, I just go somewhere warmer. You can do that where I live, just go into the desert instead of the mountains.
This doesn't count, but the coldest place I have ever been was -100F. That was while sitting in the back seat of a F106B Delta Dart at 50,000 feet. It was extremely hot in the cockpit though :)Feb 6, 2012 at 11:40 am #1835306
Jim W.BPL Member
-40 in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Two week resort ski trip over Christmas 1996. First week every morning was below -35C. A couple fine days it was hovering around -40C & F. Even fully kitted out for the weather, walking out the lodge door felt like jumping in a pool of ice water.
Made me glad to live in California. I've been backpacking a few times when the temp registered -10F according to my partner's "minimum register thermometer". Usually in January at a high altitude lake such as Loch Levin below Bishop Pass.
Normally winter nights in the Sierra seem to be around +10F or so. I talked my wife into a snowshoe trek over New Years 1990. Sun went behind the hill about 2:30 PM. It started getting COLD! By 5PM my thermometer was reading -5F. It got much colder- I estimate probably -20F. The next morning we packed up and hoofed to the car. That was her first and last winter backpack trip. When we got to the Owens Valley we found that it had been the coldest night my parents have seen in their 35 years living there at -5F on the valley floor.
Edits: added dates.Feb 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm #1835335
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I was thinking -49F was cold, but then realized that you wrote -49 CELSIUS (-56F). That is just plain COLD. I've done -20F and had ice hanging off my mustache. One thing about it, when it is that cold the humidity is so low that it doesn't feel as bad as 33F and WET. There was no wind during my -20F jaunt.
We were at my family's cabin cross country skiing. It was a balmy 0*F the previous day, but when we got up to leave it had dropped another 20F. We had to take the battery out of our old VW bug and put it on the wood stove to warm it up to start the car. Oil gets pretty thick at that temp too.Feb 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm #1835378
Rog TallblokeBPL Member
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
The extreme minimum for Calgary in January was set in 1893 at -44.4C, so if verified, it smashes a very longstanding record.Feb 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm #1835450
Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
198? -42f in Fairbanks with a 20 mph wind, when I was there the old windchill chart said it was -98F, but the new windchill chart has it at a balmy -77.
1985 Canadian Caribou Mountains- -28C with the windchill at -44C. Sardines for lunch- that is where I learned the trick of adding oil to the diet when you need extra fuel.
1977- I was riding a bike one January evening in St Charles, Ill., it was -28F with the winchill at over -70F, with out calculating how fast I was going on the bike. The liquid in my eyes started to thicken/gell, making it interesting to blink. That year it didn't get above 0F for 32 days straight. I rode my bike everyday.
I've been snowed on in August while hiking in the Cascades- more than once.
But the coldest I've been- like Dale, mid 30's wet and raining.
I've never had an issue when I was dressed appropriatelyFeb 6, 2012 at 9:43 pm #1835589
Backpack JackBPL Member
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
I thought I hiked in some cold weather, but you've got me beat by a long shot Tad. I haven't even ridden my bike this winter, and it hasn't even been that cold. Kodos to you man, you're one tough hombre.
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