Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wintercamp  Reflection

                                                          NIKOS CHRISIKOPOULOS

   My first impression when I first ever made a little research on the internet about the quinzhee was intimidating. The idea of having to spend a night inside a quinzhee that would be made out of snow, made me feel uncomfortable, because I was under the impression that I would both freeze and it would  collapse on me. However, when the moment came and I went through the process of building it and digging it out, I realized that on one hand, it was not as frightening as I originally thought and on the other hand, it needed a lot preparation, organization and a lot of hard work. This year, as I went through my second experience of making a quinzhee, the way I dealt with it was completely different than last year.

   This year, as I was aware of the whole idea of the quinzhee, I chose to go throughout this process by myself, without a partner. So, this independency made me perform in a better way. This means that every decision, every action and the whole process was made by me, without a partner doubting my calls or my thinking. I had to make everything on my own, so the whole process was better than last year. Secondly, I took advantage of my last years experience of measuring the area and I made a better estimation of the space. I built the quinzhee so I could fit exactly in it and be comfortable in it.
Thirdly, this year, I was by my self and that meant that it would be harder for me to have a warmer space inside, due to less body heat. So, I built a smaller quinzhee and I felt warmer than last year.

   Despite the fact that I had a better experience with my quinzhee this year, there are a couple of things that needed to be improved. First of all, I miss calculated the height of the sink hole in the quinzhee. The sink hole had to be higher off the ground, so that the air wouldn't hit me. So, next time the sink hole will need to be improved. Also, something else that I would want to improve next time I build a quinzhee, is to make a better entrance. My entrance took a big space of the inner part of the quinzhee. Next time, a lot more snow needs to be added to the side of the quinzhee where the entrance will be dug out.

   Since I went through the process of building a quinzhee and sleeping in it twice, here are some recommendations for those who will undergo this experience for the first time. Initially, they should step on the existing snow on the area that they've chosen to pile the snow. The best way to do this, is to use snow shoes so that they could cover more area. Also, depending on the number included in a group, you should take into consideration the amount of snow you need to pile. Moreover, a little advice I would give, is to dig the snow in cube form when you first start digging the quinzhee. This will make the digging easier, because the snow will be dug out faster. It is also important for the new folks to know how far to dig. One good way is to place sticks on the quinzhee, so that when you dig out  and reach the sticks, you'll be able to know when to stop. Lastly, be aware that if you have to sleep in the quinzhee, you will have to make your staying as smooth and comfortable as possible. In order to do this, an important factor is the warmth. In order to achieve this you will need a good sink hole. A good tall sink hole will keep you warm from the cold air that enters the quinzhee during the night.

   In conclusion, I realize that the quinzhee experience may seem a bit terrifying, but in fact it is and experience that makes you independent and makes you practical. For you, the next fellow that will take part in the quinzhee process, I suggest that you take advantage of the whole exciting experience and make the most of  wilderness. I strongly believe that you will enjoy it as much as I did.


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