wind chill is at -38 Celsius right now. Calgary weather is supposed to stay like this right through the rest of the week, it starts to get a bit warmer towards the weekend - right about the time when we are enjoying another bag of Air Canada peanuts at 30,000 feet altitude, enroute for 30 Celsius.

Coldest I ever operated in was -70 Celsius before wind chill. We were living in tents!!! Man, that was cold. If you lifted up the four balaclavas you were wearing to spit, the spit crackled in the air and was frozen before it hit the ground. Of course spitting was a luxury based on the very real and constant danger of dehydration. The cold has a tendency to leach moisture and it's tricky wearing enough layers to survive while carrying 80lb packs and towing 250lb toboggans - you sweat. Once you stopped moving you needed to either get in shelter or start moving again. Sometimes we would bust trail for less than an hour until it started to get dangerous due to freeing extremities and dehydration; then it was a burst of activity to get the 10 man tent up, 2 burner Coleman stove fired up to melt snow in a pot for water and to heat the inside of the tent and then get everyone inside the tent to reduce hypothermia. The goal was always to get the tent setup and stove inside in less than two minutes, a critical orchestrated teamwork dance with no room for error. Sometimes -40 Celsius felt like a luxury comparatively.

I must be getting soft, looking out the study window and typing on the laptop makes me shake my head thinking back to the -70 days. Yup, I'm a cold-weather softie.

4 comments:

Jay said...

Dude, are you going to a coffee brewer for your Holiday? 85 Celsius?

Well you definitely have me beat for cold temp. We skied at Searchmont, Ont in -55 Celsius. Of course back then my plastic covered ski boots were high tech and the only ski lift was a Poma lift. The -5C wax on the skis made them almost stick to the snow.

So did you keep the camp stove going the whole time? If not, what a cold shower it must have been in the tent. I have winter camped at -35 Celsius and just the moisture from my breath made the inside of the tent look like a scene from Dr Zhivago. ;-)

Shaun Taylor said...

Ooops, how embarrasing, that would be 85 Fahrenheit.

Oh yeah, stove going the whole time and a mountain stove as backup. I do have a funny story about inside a tent in Norway and a similar breath moisture foginess and a Norwegian stew but I'll save that one for another day. ;-)

Gobs said...

You and the Family have a safe and wonderful trip. Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Excellent coffee! Coffee that good must be shared, but don't worry, I don't share it with just anyone. I have possible candidates fill out a questionnaire, just to be sure.