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Thread: Cold camp !

  1. #1
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    Default Cold camp !

    Finding myself bored again and wanting to start a new conversation. What's y'all's record cold camp? mine is years ago we had a cold vortex coming, oh my. So,crazy me decided to go out, didn't have a final destination but new what was coming that night . My ex wife dropped me off about 3 hours before sunset at a trail head between bears den and Harper's ferry. I walked up to the trail and walked for awhile and looked down about 100 yards away off trail to a big rock walked down and proceeded to put a tarp around a tree right in front the said boulder. And maid fire set up my half dome. Oh that night got down to -38 wind chill

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    -5F. Hardly any wind, so that was good. No fire, just got in the bag when it got too cold. Warm and toasty all night.

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    This tree was in perfect position, it was total inpravition the whole way. The tarp went around just enough to let the smoke flow. I was able to keep it around 50' inside the tarp and like I said a foot of snow and-38 winds chill outside the tarp. Inside the tarp live, outside the tarp die!!

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    I did a trip to the Adirondacks in winter where it was at least -20 F probably closer to -25 F

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    Somewhere between -20 and -30F for two nights in a row in the Pemi Wilderness.

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    I did -33 "QUAY" side on Mt Adams one Washington B.day. A number of -10 to -20 nights. Oh, those were the days...
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Yeah, well I think we've been out when it was down to about 13 F.
    Don't have much interest in experiencing -20!
    Don't have equipment for -20 either.
    But y'all have fun.

  8. #8

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    Me too... alone in a tent in the Adirondacks in January. Probably -25 F. One night was enough.

    Ah, but there were those crazy Winter snowshoe hikes in Montana that we did as students in Missoula. Trapper Peak, St Mary's Peak, Lolo Peak, Glacier Park, the Rattlesnake. Friggin freezin. Thanksgiving dinner, 1978, half a cup of half-cooked instant rice. It was too cold for the Svea stove to work. Add to that 15 hour nights, often with heavy snow falling all night.

    No idea how cold it got, but water bottles froze solid unless you were careful. This was all done before the modern age, using gear and clothing made from Frostline Kits, or bought cheap at Army/Navy.

    Yeah, we were nuts. Certifiable.
    Last edited by RockDoc; 12-14-2019 at 22:13.

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    Certifiably nuts indeed! I've come along ways since that night. Gear wise and technical wise. I've since gathered , goose feathers down booties, z-paccks down hoodie, spyder mittens, outdoor research gaiters. But that's about as cold as it gets around here and that only happens that extreme cold about every 20 years or so. It's so cold you throw a picture of water in the air and it turns to snow, blowing bubbles freeze and burst.

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    And I'd much rather go out when it's cold then be out there sweating in my hammock or tent , talking extreme temps. That cold camp record for me represents the art of living to me , living on the edge!! And I'd do it again or even more extreme!!

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    Well it's addictive in a funny way. You know, high risk = high reward. You are very happy if you survive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Well it's addictive in a funny way. You know, high risk = high reward. You are very happy if you survive.
    I think this is a very smart statement and very true. What gets them old endorphins kicking more than knowing you might die if you don't do all the correct things. I think that's 1 thing we all like about hiking if we realize it or not. Putting your body through the pain of hiking all day and all buiety around again endorphins release. Whoohoo. Get u some!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    . . . Oh that night got down to -38 wind chill
    Pet peeve found!

    If you're going to ask the question and then respond to it, please give meaningful numbers. Getting down -38 wind chill is almost completely meaningless. If you are climbing along a ridge line fully exposed to the wind, it has some real meaning. As soon as you tuck behind a bolder and climb under a tarp or just drop into the lea of the ridge, it means almost nothing. And, without reference to the actual ambient temperature, windchill is completely meaningless! Was it -20 with 5 mph winds or 5 with 80 mph winds. Heck, I've camped in windchill temps well below -50, but what does that really mean when in reality it's really only slightly below zero when I drop off the lea side of the ridge.

    Coldest ambient temperatures I've ever camped in were -15 F. Coldest I've been camping was probably at about 5 degrees in an actual hard-sided shelter. Good golly shelters (even sealed from the wind) are cold compared to tarps and tents!
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Pet peeve found!

    If you're going to ask the question and then respond to it, please give meaningful numbers. Getting down -38 wind chill is almost completely meaningless. If you are climbing along a ridge line fully exposed to the wind, it has some real meaning. As soon as you tuck behind a bolder and climb under a tarp or just drop into the lea of the ridge, it means almost nothing. And, without reference to the actual ambient temperature, windchill is completely meaningless! Was it -20 with 5 mph winds or 5 with 80 mph winds. Heck, I've camped in windchill temps well below -50, but what does that really mean when in reality it's really only slightly below zero when I drop off the lea side of the ridge.

    Coldest ambient temperatures I've ever camped in were -15 F. Coldest I've been camping was probably at about 5 degrees in an actual hard-sided shelter. Good golly shelters (even sealed from the wind) are cold compared to tarps and tents!
    Yes, totally agree with the wind chill "hysteria". You see it all the time on televised weather reports---WIND CHILL NUMBERS WILL BE LOW!!! But so what!! I think they use wind chill figures to instill fear in people---like they do with "Feels Like" numbers.

    "It is currently 15F outside but it feels like -10F". Feels like to whom? Inuits? Siberians? Hikers on Denali?

    Coldest temps I ever backpacked in were -30F during a freak Arctic Outbreak in January 1985---when Knoxville got -18F and Boone NC got -30F. I was living out of a backpack literally during those years and my set up could take me down to about -15F so I left the woods surrounding Boone in the worst of it and slept under a pew in the Baptist Church on King St for a couple nights to get thru the Hell Storm.

    Nowadays the coldest temps I encounter on a backpacking trip are at elevations above 5,000 feet. It's very common to see -10F or -15F at such spots. Here's a pic of one -10F morning in North Carolina---while Mt LeConte got -22F.


    This is a typical -10F morning at 5,000 feet in January 2009. NC mountains.


    Here's another -10F morning in the TN mountains.


    Another camp this time at around -5F. January 2010.


    And who can forget the wonderful Polar Vortex of 2014?? I'm on the BMT below Sled Runner Gap at -8F.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Pet peeve found!

    If you're going to ask the question and then respond to it, please give meaningful numbers. Getting down -38 wind chill is almost completely meaningless. If you are climbing along a ridge line fully exposed to the wind, it has some real meaning. As soon as you tuck behind a bolder and climb under a tarp or just drop into the lea of the ridge, it means almost nothing. And, without reference to the actual ambient temperature, windchill is completely meaningless! Was it -20 with 5 mph winds or 5 with 80 mph winds. Heck, I've camped in windchill temps well below -50, but what does that really mean when in reality it's really only slightly below zero when I drop off the lea side of the ridge.

    Coldest ambient temperatures I've ever camped in were -15 F. Coldest I've been camping was probably at about 5 degrees in an actual hard-sided shelter. Good golly shelters (even sealed from the wind) are cold compared to tarps and tents!
    Um ok, I was just trying to start a general conversation. I wasn't trying to impress anyone or get to technical. I believe the ambient temp that night was -5 and the winds 30,40 mph. And I did walk along a ridge until I found this camp , does it have real meaning now? I'm sorry it means almost nothing to you .but to .me knowing what was coming that night and making a make shift shelter like that means alot to me. And you could have moved right on past this thread instead of being such a negative nanny.

  16. #16

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    As I always say---and despite my wind chill rant---Cold Hurts, Wind Kills.

    It's amazing how 0F or 10F on a backpacking trip---whether moving on foot or in camp---is made so much worse by a high wind. It's cold enough at 0F in still air---then add 30 or 40mph winds and it becomes a battle to conserve heat and keep it either inside your hiking clothes or inside the tent. But I still don't put much value in wind chill numbers---except to say how a butt cold wind against the face and body is a BITING wind.

    When I lived in my NC ridgetop tipi with a woodstove I used 3 or 4 times more wood heating the lodge at 5F in a high wind than 5F in calm conditions. Basic physics.

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    +13F on The Foothills Trail in February 2015. Which is nothing compared to what others are posting!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    +13F on The Foothills Trail in February 2015. Which is nothing compared to what others are posting!
    And just think of those REAL winter backpackers up north who do backpacking trips and it never gets above -20F. That's -20F during the day.

    We're just playing around with cold here in the TN/NC/Georgia/Virginia mountains. I never carry snowshoes, period.

    But hey, a 3 day rainstorm at 35F gets old really fast---because air humidity is at 100%. This kind of cold eats into your bones.

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    I've camped at 40 below twice in the White Mountains of New Hamshire. The worst part was the dead battery when we got back to the truck the next day.

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    Back in the 90's I guided a winter overnight in the Catskill Mountains of NY for the AMC. On the first night it got down to -28 F; the second night was colder yet at -32 F. Both evenings were crisp, cold and breathtakingly beautiful. The stars jumped out of the sky and all night long you could hear the trees creaking and cracking in the cold air. Everyone was well prepared for the conditions so we all had an enjoyable weekend. I've been out in colder temperatures (-50 F outside Old Forge in the Adirondacks on two occasions) but during those times I was staying in a cabin with a wood stove so we never had to worry about the cold once we were back inside at night.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper

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