Mountain safety field trip
First time I hadn’t known what I should expect from this trip. We had to pack up all our stuff for sleeping, skiing and surviving four night in mountains. It wasn’t easy to managed and organized which stuff is necessary and packed up it with some organization and strategy…
We were going to Berg by school “taxi.” We were divided into two groups and our teacher (guide) was Ewen. I was in the “more ski experienced group.”
Despite the bad weather first day in our group was good mood. Nobody hadn’t problem with ski and we had good speed. During way everybody from us tried to guide our group for some time. In the afternoon we reached Stavskart and we built tents here. First we had to found some good place for building our tent. I was in the group with Kathrin and Richard. Our group was little slow with making decision and the best places were occupied other groups. So we decided to cover by snow place with stone but hidden. Finally, Ewen said to our group that it will be better if we use different place and only remove snow. This place was also hide but it was further from the rock. Finally, we built nice place for sleep. For dinner we used storm kitchen and cooked couscous. I think everybody was tired so we went sleep very early – immediately after dinner.
Second day we waked up early, little dried and packed up our stuff. After we set off on our journey to Bossbu. The first part of our way was very steep – it was the most difficult part of our trip “expedition”. We went up very slowly. In the morning weather was nice but changed during day – came small snowstorm. Despite we saw almost nothing, our group continued with good speed, mood and without crises. Our group was so good because we reached Bossbu very early – in the afternoon and everybody was surprised that we were already here – in the finish of our way.
After we had to build our snow holes. Ewen chose the place. The place wasn’t look safety (looked as before avalanche) but I trust him. My and others group started to built snow holes. It was difficult. We had to dag and removed the snow. In our group we were changing our position – I think the most difficult it was to remove snow. I spent a lot time on this position and I felt the back pain. I think that we were digging snow holes for four-five hours. Ewen was walking around, checking our work and giving us advices. It was snowy and after building the snow everybody was wet… I was lucky that I had bought good clothes because my goretex clothes were dried very fast. But a lot of people from our ski group had wet clothes for longer time and I think some of them had troubles to keep warm themselves and they were cold.
So when Ewen checked that everything is alright, we started to make dinner and prepared our sleeping stuff because everybody was hungry and tired. It was amazing – our snow holes looked like as ice calve/ ice hotel. In our ski group we were divided into three group. So every group built own snow hole and these snow holes were connected by small holes. I liked our snow hotel because we weren’t so separate and I think that here it was better atmosphere than in tent. Some of our ski group had worry about sleep in snow holes because of ceiling from snow and his behaviour (“go down almost 50 cm”). Night was cold but not so much – temperature in snow holes is about zero.
Surprise in the morning… Our entrance was filled by snow and we had to dig the way from our snow holes. Next some left their clothes outside during the night. These clothes were covered by snow and frozen. I was again happy about my clothes. After breakfast some of us decided to go up on the hill for nice view (the weather was better) and kept warm our body. The ski shoes were wet and my toes were still cold so I joined. It was good idea. On the top of hill we made some nice pictures. When we came back, Ewen suggested us than we could spend one day in the cabin and dried our clothes. I didn’t need this but most of us need to dry their clothes. So we grasped this offer and used the cabin but mainly for drying and cooking. This day we decided to build the igloo just for fun. I’ve never done it so it sounds as a good experience. We used ice saw and made ice blocks from the snow. It was very interesting experience . In the evening before dinner who, didn’t go up on top of the hill in the morning, went up and I joined – why not . This day we also went to sleep very early. Our group was last which fell asleep.
In the morning we had to again dig the entrance from our snow hole. This day gave us a present contained nice amazing whether. Me and Eva – we definitely decided went to up the hill again (I went to the top of hill three times )…we love nice view from top of mountains + sun + snow = LOVE IT! Nobody wanted to join so we went alone. It was amazing! I can’t describe this beauty which make me always happy. We made a lot of pictures again – it was the best whether and we finally saw the landscape of these mountains. This day we went back to the place where we had built the tent before. The way was amazing because of whether and I think that everybody enjoyed this moment . Our group was fast and we made only one break on the not so good place (we chose not to hide place where the wind was strong ) The downhill with the heavy bag was very funny – I enjoyed it but some, who has less experience, didn’t and also tiredness played the role. They fell down very often and I understand that it has to be annoying. When we reached the place under the hill we met our less experienced ski group. They built the snow holes here. We ate the lunch and continued in our way. The way was mostly down so some had troubles because of falling down – but they were brave I still expected where we stayed this day because we should build our emergency shelters…I’ve started to have a suspicion. Finally, we stopped close to parking place and started to build our emergency shelters. Me and Eva built shelter together. I think we have bigger shelter than its necessary . Yes as Ewen and Len mentioned later our shelter were really funny (see the picture)… And finally SUPRISE after when Len and Ewen finished the walking around our shelters, they said “today we came back to Kristiandsand”…everybody: “what!? We don’t sleep here” I think that everybody supposed to sleep here and some looked forward this. – me too…It should be the worst night in my life on the other side unforgettable memory … So yes we really went to home this day…and our snowholes trip finished.
- GOOD outdoor stuff forever…. Again I realized the big advantages when you have good clothes – amazing WOOL!, spare clothes, easy enjoyable food… Never forget sun cream, sunglasses or/and goggles (if you want save the space – take goggles); GAS good to use gas for winter (3 components)
- Map: https://www.ut.no/kart/
- How to build snowholes, tent in winter
Tent – choose the hidden place before wind (check what’s the direction of wind); as the pegs you can use: your ski, poles; in the tend dig out the hole (see the picture). Some snow you can put around tent; you can build wall by snow block – use snow saw. We used only outer tent and tarp (on the floor)…
Snowholes/caves – choose place for building see the picture (for building use the leeward side); check the snow profile = risk of avalanches; building of snow holes takes a lot of time! (we were building for 4-5 hours but it can last all day); Check: 1) wind 2) deep of snow (by probe) 3) height (6 m) 4) snow profile (risk of avalanche); burial depth 1,5 x; the ceiling has to have shape of arc; breathing + cooking melts the snow (breathing: 30-40 cm); you can put your legs into your rucksack…
Digging: good to use extra gloves (dachstein, fishing gloves)for digging – you will be very wet…; the width of door should be same as the width of shoulders after digging to sides; smaller = easier to keep warm; make the blocks of snow! (by snow saw); you can use the tarp or sledge and put the snow on this; need to rotate; the entrance close by snow blocks; as a support of your snowshelter you use ski, ski poles, sleeping mat = be CREATIVE
Living in the snowholes: air goes through the snow but if it’s icy – make air holes (you can use your ski poles); temperature in snowholes is about 0-1°C; start to sagging (= lower or less strong); cooking burn O2 (Danger – feel tired…) – test by candle;
- How to build igloo: make the circle by rope, make snow blocks by snow saw (before prepare the place); fill the gaps by snow; put block, where is the gap between block…
Mountains – so changeable weather be prepare for everything: SUN and SNOWSTORM during 5 minutes
Emergency shelter – Berit and her the best emergency shelter – easy, small = easy to keep warm.