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Winter Camping in an Igloo!

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Postby Igloo Ed » Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:25 pm

mainpeak wrote:Anyway, I'm torn between tents and snow caves/igloos. It seems like a cave , definitely an igloo, is worth it if you are going to spend more than one night there. For trips where you are going to be setting up different camps, it seems like a lot of work ( ? ).

I've done one trip where we built two igloos in two consecutive days and I was just a little fatigued the second morning. Two nights in one igloo and moving on isn't bad at all. It does take experience though to be able to conserve as much energy as possible.
It's the energy you get back living in the igloos. With a snowcave you are going to get a bit wet and any moisture must be dried by wearing the clothes unless you have sun and time to hang them out. Drying clothes while wearing them also takes energy.

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Postby Igloo Ed » Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:42 pm

Skip Perkins wrote:I got mine a few days ago and I've got 19 eager fifth graders who can't wait until we get snow so they can start iglooing. How long will it take with 20 people working on it?

Have em watch the video for sure and read the manual, you can download the pdf doc. on from our web page and print out as many as you want. Incidentally, the pdf is a newer version than the html manual.
But, with 20 people it still going to take as long as it takes for one person to pack the blocks. Really, you only want three people working on the igloo otherwise someone is waisting energy and just getting in the way.
Think teaching them slow and methodical. That's kinda contrary to someone that young with all their energy. It's a team work thing and rotating the team members through to often really slows things down.
There's something like 80 blocks in a nine foot igloo and the fastest three of us have built one Is the hour and forty minutes. That's just over a minute a block and it can easily take two or three times that time with an inexperienced team.
It's fun for the kids though if you do let them all work on it, it'll just take longer is all.

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Postby firsttracks » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:11 am

Igloo Ed: I'd enjoy a climb of the North Face, and I think building an igloo on top of Longs is a great idea! I'm definitely up for it.

mainpeak: Snow caves make a great emergency shelter, but they are fairly miserable to spend time in. You get really wet trying to crawl in and dig snow out, and you generally don't spend enough time digging them out to make them roomy and comfortable. The uneven excavation work will result in water dripping on you all night. As a result, you end up cold and wet. The igloos, on the other hand, are unbelievably spacious and comfortable. It's like walking into your living room.

grizz: The cons are the time and energy to build one (plan on 2-3 hours). At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is spend another 2-3 hours of manual labor. But, you really do recover the energy after a great night's rest in the igloo. When considering the time investment, consider how much time you would be spending putting up a tent, building snow walls to protect your tent from the wind, drying out the tent in the morning, and packing up the tent. Also, I like hitting the trail right away in the morning, and I like not having to break down camp.

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Postby Yog » Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:38 am

This is awesome...I'm seriously thinking about picking one of these up. Please make a post when you guys go out to demo these! :D
. . .Now, after the hours of torment . . . I have nothing more to do than breathe . . .I am nothing more than a single, narrow, gasping lung, floating over the mists and the summits.
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Postby grizz » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:39 pm

Igloo Ed wrote:
grizz wrote:What are the cons when building with this tool and what sleeping setup do you use?

Looks like a lot of fun!

The cons... mostly it takes some experience so it is less work and also learning to pack the sugar [TG] snow.
Sleeping... here's a link to our manual page on the sleeping layout: http://www.grandshelters.com/igloo-man-p16.htm
I use a +15 f. Big Agnes "Lost Ranger" bag. I used that in Yellowstone last season when the outside temps got down to -32 f.
This season I'm going to try a quilt rated at + 40 with wearing my insulating layers of clothes and see if it works.
One of the biggest things is the trench in the igloo makes it so you can sit like a chair and it's way more relaxing than any position you can come up with in a tent. You can also leave your boots on and step outside any time you want to stretch and limber up or just look at the stars. I must pop in and out 10 or 20 times in a night.


Ed, thanks for the sleeping layout.
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Postby grizz » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:43 pm

grizz: The cons are the time and energy to build one (plan on 2-3 hours). At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is spend another 2-3 hours of manual labor. But, you really do recover the energy after a great night's rest in the igloo. When considering the time investment, consider how much time you would be spending putting up a tent, building snow walls to protect your tent from the wind, drying out the tent in the morning, and packing up the tent. Also, I like hitting the trail right away in the morning, and I like not having to break down camp.


2-3 hours is a long time if you climb/hike until dark. Practice, practice, practice!

Thanks for the info
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more igloo info

Postby rain/fly » Wed Oct 31, 2007 4:48 pm

hey firsttracks what a cool thread! the outher day i was on rockymountain national park fourm web site [general rmnp discussion] and read about igloo Ed, wow are you guys related :D
This is a beautiful world and all who go out under the open sky will feel the gentle, kindly influence of nature and hear her good tidings. /Enos mills

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Postby Igloo Ed » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:21 pm

grizz wrote:2-3 hours is a long time if you climb/hike until dark. Practice, practice, practice!

Basically, you can put in longer days if you sleep good and travel further if you have a lighter pack.

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Postby Igloo Ed » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:24 pm

Mark Milburn wrote:This is awesome...I'm seriously thinking about picking one of these up. Please make a post when you guys go out to demo these! :D

We list the demos on our web page once they are scheduled but I'll post them too.

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Postby Igloo Ed » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:45 pm

firsttracks wrote:Igloo Ed: I'd enjoy a climb of the North Face, and I think building an igloo on top of Longs is a great idea! I'm definitely up for it.

Well, I don't exactly have this forum figured out as far as trip planning but I'm game. I'm also getting pretty busy to be putting time into planning another trip. Would you like to grab the bull by the horns?
It should be a long weekend and probably two nights in Boulder Field to acclimate just a bit and one on top. I'll be open for sure over Xmas. I'll probably be busy the weekend of Dec. 16th.
It'd be a good idea to limit the number of people so we don't ruin anyone else's climbing experience.

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Postby firsttracks » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:11 am

Igloo Ed wrote:Well, I don't exactly have this forum figured out as far as trip planning but I'm game. I'm also getting pretty busy to be putting time into planning another trip. Would you like to grab the bull by the horns?
It should be a long weekend and probably two nights in Boulder Field to acclimate just a bit and one on top. I'll be open for sure over Xmas. I'll probably be busy the weekend of Dec. 16th.
It'd be a good idea to limit the number of people so we don't ruin anyone else's climbing experience.


No problem. I'll handle logistics for this one. Here are some potential dates that I think I'm free:

December 21-23 (Long's Peak?)
December 27-28 (Thursday, Friday -- quick trip up Long's Peak?)
January 11-13 (Ouray Ice Festival)
January 25-27 (Friday - Sunday -- Long's Peak?)

How do those work for you, Igloo Ed? How about for everyone else?

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Postby Devin » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:33 am

firsttracks wrote:
No problem. I'll handle logistics for this one. Here are some potential dates that I think I'm free:

December 21-23 (Long's Peak?)
December 27-28 (Thursday, Friday -- quick trip up Long's Peak?)
January 11-13 (Ouray Ice Festival)
January 25-27 (Friday - Sunday -- Long's Peak?)

How do those work for you, Igloo Ed? How about for everyone else?


I may be interested in the Ouray Ice Festival. I'll talk to you about it next time I see you.

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