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Pandora

Freezing Hands for Training

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After a jaunt on Adams last week, I started to wonder about letting one's hands freeze as training for the mountains. It always seems that if I let my hands get really cold, once they warm back up they are warmer than normal. I was just too lazy to put on gloves in this instance, and the weather was clear so I wasn't worried about permanent damage. So my question is, will freezing your hands (certainly not to the point of actual frostbite) help, hinder, or have no effect on your ability to deal with cold?

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Mesner used to take cold showers for a month before each major climb.

 

On winter climbs I try not to reach for the gloves until I really need them. Each time I think its a little easier.

 

In one of my classes I learned that the way our body reacts to certain climes is based on our experience, so I think letting them suffer a bit will make you feel warmer in other instances.

 

Sorry I have no real info.

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Hey Pandora. The threshold for minor frostbite is so subtle you may not even know it until it's too late - and the damage is cumulative. Check out http://www.drreddy.com/frost.html for a good overview. I was one of those guys in my younger days who all but refused to wear gloves until I could barely feel my fingers and now I'm paying the price. Putting on tire chains nearly kills me! Of course, it's an individual thing and some people do seem to have anti-freeze for blood - I used to think I did. It pays to find your limits early.

wave.gif

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talk to Colin...hes been doing it for the past twp winters....he now climbs in just a pair of BD windstopper gloves...he has built up a hesistance to cold. he would always approach his climbs in the winter without wearing his gloves...anyway i am sure he has alot of information on the subject. give him a PM

Aidan

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it helps...sort of. in my experience you can condition your body to function better in cold/warm environments. for example if you go on a month long mountaineering trip you will get used to be a bit chilly and by the time you are back home, sleeping indoors will feel uncomfortable and hot. so your body can adapt a bit.

that said, i have tried to condition my hands to the cold, while commercial crabbing last fall i stayed on deck in all weather and got the screaming/barfies numerous times due to frozen hands. then while climbing in valdez last winter i got the second worse case of s/b's i've ever had. so it didn't really make a difference in that instance. whatever you end up doing just be sure not to take it so far that you get frostbite, cause then you will be like one of my friends. she brought 6 pairs of gloves and mitts on our recent trip to china, due to frostbite she got a few YEARS ago. as mentioned before it's a fine line to frostbite...walk that line like this fruit.gif

whatever you end up doing have fun...and don't get any blebs

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There actually is a physiological adjustment to both cold and hot temperatures. With cold though you end up increased blood flow to the extremeties so they become more resistant to a certain level of cold, as memory serves there were some medical studies done looking at people who work in fish canneries? and hav their hands immersed in cold water for long periods of time. Probably the best thing to do is just go skinny dipping in Lake Washington all winter. blush.gif Should be well prepared for alpine next year the_finger.gif Definitely don't want to do permanent damage.

 

Slightly related but avoid doing anything with vibrating equipment in real cold weather. Theres some goofy condition that ends up causing nerve damage.

(i.e. Running a jack hammer in the dead of winter in Nebraska) Forgot what it's called though.

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I think Selkirk's got it right with his 'swim in Lake Washington' prescription. I believe the mechanism of adaption is to increase the capillary volume in the extremities- I know I've read this somewhere, but I can't find any references.

Anyway, the theory is that if you chill your extremities, your body will adapt by increasing the circulation of blood to them. This is best served by chilling your body, but not freezing it (which would cause damage to the same tissues you're trying to help). Hence, months of cold showers make a good alpinist.

By the time you're a good alpinist, you'll have already taken months of cold showers (see the posts of Layton, et al).

 

I believe this to be true, but I can't find any supporting documentation. It may turn out I dreamt this in a psychedelic haze- don't blame me if doesn't work.

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try looking up Raynaud's syndrome...not sure of the spelling...and yes, you can train to mitigate it...

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The ol' "french shower" trick is a great way to cure a hangover as well.

 

"french shower" 30 sec intervals of hot and COLD ending on cold.

 

good way to wake the roommates too

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It seems like after I get the "dreaded thaw" in my hands during a winter climb my hands stay warmer for the rest of the day. The only problem with getting the dreaded thaw or "screaming barfies" is I'm to much of a wimp to intentionally force it on myself.

I'm told that my great grandfather, a Norwegian farmer never wore gloves even while doing chores in the dead of a frigid winter.

___

For leading while ice climbing I like to bring a bunch of thin cheap gloves and swap em out often. for TRing and following, any fatty ski glove will work becase it is way easier.

___

Didn't the legendary Walter Bonatti run around with snowballs in his hands?

------

As for the French shower that Layton mentions it is suppised to be good for recovery.

 

And is it true that one certain young alpine prodigy (who will remain nameless) on this board ice climbs in polypro liners?

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