Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Terrain Training Tuesday: Ice Ice baby Part 1

Survival Kit top up: anything that promotes warmth and shelter (though tents are colder that snow shelters so plan to make an igloo or snow cave if you’re going to have the time), some tools such as an axe, knife and spade, and if there is room extra fishing stuff. Oh and goggles if you can...and did I mention warm stuff?

As with all extreme conditions you have to be aware of the weather and treat it with respect, regardless of how good your equipment is. In the Arctic, even when it is sunny, temperatures can fall to as little as -40 degrees Celsius. Human skin starts to freeze at -37 so first thing is to take care that exposed areas, such as your poor nose and ears are not freezing. Wind chill is another thing to be aware of as this increases your chance of getting frostbite.

Your clothes should be loose enough to allow a free circulation of air so that your perspiration can evaporate. If it doesn't, it will form frost inside your clothes and you will be well on your way to freezing and frostbite, and keep your clothes and your socks dry. Now survival is tough work but try to avoid becoming overheated as excess of perspiration will mean wet clothing and drying them in sub-zero weather is difficult. If you get wet, change to dry clothing as soon as possible. Frost can be removed by turning the garment inside out and beating it with a stick. If you are caught in the unfortunate situation of no clothes try to dry your clothes a few pieces at a time with the heat from a fire build a rack to hold them.

The Arctic produces severe conditions such as ‘white-outs’ which means, like the Jungle at night, no one moves. To avoid snow blindness you can make yourself a pair of cool goggles out of wood, don’t make them out of metal as it will freeze to your face. Just cut the wood out (use bark if necessary) and cut slits for your eyes to see out of (yeah, total survival coolness, look at us now, rockin' the Tron look).

Yeah, look at us go, we're either in the Arctic or an extra from the filmclip to 'Video Killed the Radio Star'

As an additional precaution against snow blindness, blacken your cheeks and the bridge of your nose with soot, charcoal, or dirty engine oil. The blackening will help cut down reflection.

REMEMBER: SNOWBLINDNESS CAN OCCUR DURING A BRIGHT OVERCAST AS QUICKLY AS DURING SUNNY WEATHER, so make sure you pack some cool goggles otherwise you run the risk of being rescued in the DIY goggles, not a good look despite the Eighties Revolution currently happening.

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