A Winter Water Challenge
Nov 28, 2020 at 3:18 pm #3686184Edward John MBPL Member
How much does a dedicated ice auger weigh?
This is North wall hammer territory; give me a few minutes and I’ll weigh my vintage one.
Hmm? Leashless and with no insulation on the 400mm handle it masses 755grams; not exactly ultra light.
Mind you I’ve had the tool since Scotland in the 1980s and I still sometimes use it for banging in tent pegs in white seasonNov 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm #3686194Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
Ice augar can weigh ~7lbs …..Not a backpackers “tool”.Nov 28, 2020 at 5:29 pm #3686200
The ice screws I mentioned before should be <200 g each.Nov 29, 2020 at 8:11 am #3686285Gaute LoteBPL Member
Maybe replace one hiking pole with an ice pike pole used for nordic skating?
These are designed to be able to punch through about 5 cm of ice with one punch to check if the ice is safe.
Not too light, about a kilo pr pair
You could use it to punch holes or to crack and punch loose bits of ice for meltingNov 29, 2020 at 12:32 pm #3686315KarenBPL Member
Now imagine that it’s minus 40F (and minus 40C at the same time!).
Ask some Inuit or Yupik elders; they probably have some good ideas that probably don’t involve guns, explosives, or radioactive substances. They might involve ice picks though.Nov 29, 2020 at 12:34 pm #3686316Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
Yes, the Yupik and Inuit both use ice saws and long staffs with steel picks on the ends to harvest ice.Nov 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm #3686318Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
Back in the early days of the 20’s – 40’s, ice blocks for ice boxes were cut from lakes and bayous with ice saws and stored in barns or ice buildings with sawdust. (Replaced by the chain saw by many.) Ice Spuds are still being used today to cut hole for ice fishing and shanty’s holes and are long metal rods with chiseled end. The “Spud” as they were call were used to test the ice safety when you went walking on the ice to your favorite ice fishing location and to spud the holes for both “hook and line” and shanty fishing. (Still common today for many as the standard tool for ice fishermen.)Nov 29, 2020 at 2:45 pm #3686341Dan YBPL Member
The ice behind you would be easily chipped/broken for melting, also at edges of boulders:Nov 29, 2020 at 4:09 pm #3686362
I’m glad to hear that the ice screw and pump worked. When you said there was LIQUID (running) water, I was hoping you’d be able to get to it.
My least favorite part of every mountaineering trip I’ve ever been on is sitting around melting enough snow to have water for the next day. It can take upwards of an hour to get enough for 2 people. And it’s hard to multi-task while doing it because you have to babysit how much snow versus water is in the pot, pour off the liquid, monitor the stove, etc. And I have NEVER boiled water in winter unless I was cooking with it. Waiting to both melt and then boil water requires way more patience than I have! Oh, and the frozen feet I’ve had by standing around in the evening waiting for snow to melt…
Anyway, for the sake of fuel weight, but mostly your time and sanity, I’m glad there are still trickles along the stream bed and that you’re able to access them.Nov 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm #3686367
Jerry, I like your idea of using a plastic bottle as a suction bulb. I think a collapsible bottle (with rigid ends) might work even better. For a very similar reason I recently bought a collapsible 1-liter bottle (CNOC Vesica), so I can more easily fill it up all the way when submerging it. By pulling the two ends apart, it is easy to draw water into the bottle. Also, it is easier to squeeze water through my Sawyer filter using it versus a rigid SmartWater type bottle.
If there is more than a small trickle of water, which would limit the flow rate anyway, sucking water up into a bottle seems faster than using a small squeeze hand pump. And, obviously you can then use the bottle to transport the water, and to squeeze water through a filter if using that type of system, so it’s multi-purpose.
Sawyer and others make adapters for attaching a hose onto soda bottle threads – it would be pretty easy to attach a 8” long hose the the bottle for reaching through the ice to the flowing water.Nov 29, 2020 at 4:43 pm #3686371
Oh, and the frozen feet I’ve had by standing around in the evening waiting for snow to melt…
Me, I am in my tent for that, possibly with my quilt wrapped around me, with warm dry socks or booties on.
On the other hand, I must agree that the effort spent searching for flowing water is ALWAYS worth while.
I did have to kneel on my skis here. I have no idea what was under the snow: a wet creek maybe?
CheersNov 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm #3686373
Roger, we’ve had this discussion before. I like your idea of staying in a sleeping bag. Unfortunately when mountaineering we usually leave camp in the wee hours of the morning, so I try to get all my snow melting done the evening before – meaning I am still fully clothed and not in “bed” yet. And, at least where I live and climb, the snow is low enough density I would evacuate my entire vestibule area and then some trying to get enough snow to melt water for 2 people. I’m not sure I could reach enough piled up snow from the comfort of my sleeping bag to get enough water.
Anyway, back to the problem at hand, if Ryan can avoid squatting next to a frozen stream for upwards of an hour waiting for ice to melt, I think it would be worth finding a way to get at the running water. (It doesn’t sound like he’s necessarily planning to camp on the bank of the stream). That’s why I was glad to hear he was able to access it.Nov 29, 2020 at 5:02 pm #3686375
I understand the problem, but I tackle it differently. Before getting into the tent I make sure I have enough nice clean snow piled up within easy reach of my air mat. I carry a ‘micro’shovel’ for this.
It’s a bent bit of thin 7075 Al alloy sheet, with my coffee and biscuit sitting on it here. The bend makes it extremely stiff so I can dig and scrape. GTX overgloves essential for the scraping.
CheersNov 29, 2020 at 5:17 pm #3686381
I’ve equipped water samplers (for a local conservation non-profit) with a cordless drill and 12-inch or longer drill bits and that goes through stream and lake ice really well. Then a $11 pump (for changing automotive fluids) let them pump as much as they wanted. With streams, you might be able to siphon through poly tubing to a lower spot, but it’s hard to get lower than the lake shore.
For a drill (other than a DeWalt), how about a fire-drill set-up? Any cordage, stretched between one of your tent poles or a found stick? With a fidget-spinner in your palm to hold press on the top of the drill bit. 12-inch drill bits are readily available in 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, etc and you could size your tubing accordingly.Nov 29, 2020 at 5:23 pm #3686384
Or (not sure if anyone else mentioned this yet), you’ve got a stove, right? Heat a tent stake, press it into the ice. Blow or suck though some poly tubing to remove the melt water before it refreezes. Wash, rinse, repeat. Once you’ve melted a hole through the ice, use the poly tubing to extract the water – hopefully by siphoning but suck&spit if not.
Alas, our tent stakes are pretty low mass and all metals have similar heat capacity (per weight), so a steel nail – 30d, 60d – would work well by carrying more BTUs/Joules per volume (and double as one tent stake, especially good for setting into a log). Or bring the drill bit I proposed above and consider using it as the hot object to melt through the ice.Nov 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3686385
Roger, it always amazes me, no matter how “nice and clean” the snow I gather is, just how many pine needles, dust, and squirrel turds are in it.Nov 29, 2020 at 5:47 pm #3686392Brian WBPL Member
That 1.5oz pump would be nice when trying to get water from a tiny shallow spring in more desert type areas (think big bend when the springs are nearly dry). Much faster than a few ounces at a time with a small cup cut off from the bottom of a plastic bottle.Nov 29, 2020 at 8:13 pm #3686416
(Blue Lake, frozen over)
Bit short on squirrels around here. Not too many trees either.
Yeah, depends on the environment.
CheersNov 30, 2020 at 5:53 am #3686446Ian ClarkBPL Member
@chinditsLocale: Cntrl ROMO
Well you limited us to a snapshot of the area. Go mobile and stop looking at a frozen trickle. That water came from the ground somewhere. There are adjacent drainages somewhere. There are weak pour overs somewhere. There are pockets of snow somewhere. Don’t limit yourself to a trail or a peak, find your solutions in your area not in a limited line going towards an imagined destination. You are not the only speck of life that needs water in that area and you easily have a 5-20 mile range in every direction depending on topography.Nov 30, 2020 at 8:05 am #3686453Eugene HollingsworthBPL Member
Ryan – thanks for the video. Nice out-of-the-box thinking. Kudos for whoever suggested the ice screw. I do appreciate how you show the practical difficulties as well as the success.
The ice screw has so many advantages and so few disadvantages, it’s an almost perfect niche solution. As long as you have flowing water within reach of whatever length ice screw you are packing there shouldn’t be a problem. If you run the steel screw into the stream bottom I assume it can be sharpened.Nov 30, 2020 at 8:15 am #3686457Eugene HollingsworthBPL Member
@davidinkenai “…it always amazes me, no matter how “nice and clean” the snow I gather is, just how many pine needles, dust, and squirrel turds are in it.”
Nice to know I’m not the only one suspicious of snow. Bird stuff, mouse stuff, squirrel stuff, anything that deer have stepped in, all easily buried under that last 1/2 inch of pretty white show. Even when I don’t have a fire I try to either treat or boil snow.Nov 30, 2020 at 10:39 am #3686482Tjaard BreeuwerBPL Member
@tjaardLocale: Minnesota, USA
Super jealous of your several inches of ice and no snow! Prime ice skating touring! That’s the best feeling ever, up there with skiing deep powder.
If we ever get that here in MN, imagine the boundary waters tours you could do on skates! You could do a week’s canoe tour in a weekend!
Second: regarding the ice screws:
you can get aluminum ice screws now, with a steel tip. Then you can get a longer length (10”+) to be able to reach deeper down. These are safe for climbing (unlike random Russian stuff), and can be sharpened just like normal steel screws (since the tip is steel).
Don’t bang ice screws tips/threads against something to get the core out! You can damage the threads. Tap the handle end, warm the tip in your hands, blow into the tip, poke with a stick, anything like that.Nov 30, 2020 at 11:05 am #3686490Penny VannBPL Member
1) Go further down-stream to where either there are rapids or just next to the bottom a waterfall. The ice should be thinner in those areas. Then use a knife or tent stake to chip a hole to running water. Heating the stake with your stove will make this go faster, Number 2 takes a while, angle your tent so that condensation will drip onto a piece of plastic. :)Nov 30, 2020 at 9:22 pm #3686592Tom KBPL Member
I’d also give the ice screw a try.
At 21- 22 cm with nice long hanger/crank knob assemblies for leverage, you should be able to get through most ice you’re likely to encounter quickly.Dec 2, 2020 at 1:29 am #3686831Tim ABPL Member
bring a hand axe. chop the ice and copius amts of campfire fodder
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