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Any Tips On Keeping Water From Freezing On Climbs?

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I'm new to the alpine mountaineering scene and my first "real" climb last year was a true learning experence. One of our troubles was our water started to freeze the first 1/2 hour of our climb. We were all using 1 Liter Nalgene bottles. I know OR sells insulating jackets for around $20. Are these worth it? I was planning on making some homemade jacket out of Neoprene or some other material. All ideas welcome.

 

Steve

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Were they freezing in your pack? Maybe keep them closer to the spine. A strong drink mix might lower the freezing point just a bit? Can't say I've had too much of a problem on winter climbs, unless I set the bottle on the snow or something. The home-made jacket sounds like a good idea.

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That is what we did. We used our ice ax to puncture the top layer of ice. This next climb we are going to carry less water and melt more.

 

Steve

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You could try to use smaller bottle and keep it in your jacket. Many jackets have a inside mesh pocket for bottles. I have used small plastic whiskey bottles for storing bottles in the jacket and not feel so bulky.

 

I have met some people who made a camelback system work well inside of their jacket. He made straps to hold the bag on the chest and cut the hose so that it he could drink from it but still be able to store it inside his jacket.

 

If the weight is not so much of an issue, then thermos are great. What could be better than cocoa? (hear comes the HC comments)

 

Also, most camelback packs (as well as other companies products) have insulated carriers that might work for you.

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Boil water, put it in Nalgene (a gatorade bottle can melt) and put it in something insulated - if you dont have the OR bottle parka, just wrap the bottle up in a spare fleece or down jacket before you put it in your pack. It will stay warm all day even if its -30 C out.

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quote:

Originally posted by fern:

pack the bottle upside down so the bottom freezes rather than the top?

This technique works well for me while I'm actually climbing, that way the ice rings form near the bottom of the bottle.

 

When at camp, sleep with a water bottle, or bury it in 6" to a foot of snow...it will not freeze when buried (at least in the Cascades) due to the snow's insulating properties.

 

[ 10-17-2002, 10:00 AM: Message edited by: Thinker ]

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I wrapped a couple of my bottles in that blue foam you can get for sleeping mats. It works great, was dirt cheap and is really light. The OR bottle things are nice but they seem like expensive overkill to me.

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The OR bottle holders are

 

1) cheaper, lighter and more durable than a thermos

 

2) useful for other things. when I put up sport routes I put the bolts, hangers, washers, wrench, blow bulb etc in the OR parka and hang it off my harness for easy accesibility.

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a wool sock over the nalgene has always worked great for me.

 

And then, what fern said...the upside down trick.

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while we are somewhat on the subject of melting snow...I was told when melting snow for drinking water, you need to add something else to it (tea, lemonade, whisky;), etc) or it doesnt do you any good.

 

True?!

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False. Snow is merely solid water. When you melt it you get liquid water. You need add nothing to make it drinkable.

 

HOWEVER, i have heard that drinking nothing but rainwater/snow is eventually bad for ya because the water is not mineralized, and can slowly leach mineral from your bones. As opposded to drinking surface water and/or groundwater where the water has had a chance to pick up ions in solution. This might be junk science or an old wives tale. Certainly I dont think it makes a difference over a weekend, especially if you eat enough salts in your food.

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how 'bout drinking glacier meltwater full of glacial till? the rock must not be so good for your stomach lining.

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I have heard speculation on this, and I've also heard that it will cause the runs, but I've never had much of a problem. Whenever I have the chance I do, however, let it sit in pots so that the rock will settle out. It is pretty amazing how much silt there is in a milky pot of water.

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quote:

Originally posted by carolyn:

while we are somewhat on the subject of melting snow...I was told when melting snow for drinking water, you need to add something else to it (tea, lemonade, whisky;), etc) or it doesnt do you any good.

 

True?!

That's if you melt it in yer mouth, which means yer makin' a sno cone and we all know what a sno-cone with nothing on it will do...

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Insulating the water bottle is key and there have been some good suggestions. You want to keep the bottle as insulated as possible even if the bottle is still near freezing. It requires an incredible amount energy to be lost or gained for water to change phases versus just a simple temperature change. Basically if it is pretty cold out your water will get to 32 F but will still be in the liquid phase. So by insulating the bottle you are slowing the energy loss required to make you water an ice cube. On that same note it doesn't make sense to try adding hot water to a cold bottle to keep it from freezing because that energy will be lost quickly.

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Glacial sediment in large quantities definitely causes the runs. I can attest. The little bits of rock cause irritation of the intestine with their microscopic sharp edges, is the explanation I have heard.

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Glacial seds actually make me regular in the mountains! Usually on longer climbs (more than a week) I can't shit like I do sittin' at home with a dip in and reading a mag. So, the glacial seds act like my nicotine fix in the mornin to get my bowels a movin' (Too much detail?) [big Grin]

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quote:

Originally posted by ryland moore:

Glacial seds actually make me regular in the mountains! Usually on longer climbs (more than a week) I can't shit like I do sittin' at home with a dip in and reading a mag. So, the glacial seds act like my nicotine fix in the mornin to get my bowels a movin' (Too much detail?)
[big Grin]

I guess you dont take coffee into the mountains? [Roll Eyes]

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I do now, but was not a coffee aficianado until I moved to PNW almost 3 years ago. The only long trip I have done since then was to Mexico and it wasn't a long trip where we were melting water too much. Plus to climb the volcanoes down there only took a few days. I will definately be bringing some strong Joe with me this Spring and will watch out for the runs!

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I read in Sci American a few months back a piece on circadian rhythms which points out that the human body is primed to defecate at the equivalent of 8 AM every morning so maybe the coffee thing is a coincidence.

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Iota Eta Pi Love giant beaver, like grand canyon!

Maybe Canada.

 

[ 10-18-2002, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: Harry Pi ]

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