how to build a quinzee snow hut

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by CATO, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    A quinzee is a simple shelter made by hollowing out a big pile of snow. They can take several hours to build, but are an effective way to stay warm when camping in the winter. Here’s how to build one.
    Step 1: Shovel a pile of snow into a mound seven to eight feet high and big enough around to hold two people once it is hollowed out. Mix snow of different temperatures to cause it to harden, or “sinter.” Flip the snow over so it mixes when you pile it into a mound.

    Step 2: Shape the mound into a dome and allow it to sinter for about 90 minutes. Then begin to hollow out the mound.
    Dig a small entrance on the downhill side. Smooth out the walls and ceiling. The walls should be one to two feet thick. Poke measuring sticks through from the outside of the mound, so you will know to stop hollowing out the inside when you see the ends of the sticks. Hollow the shelter out from the top down.

    Step 3: Use the last foot of snow to make elevated snowbeds. Dig a narrow trench between the beds all the way to the ground. This allows cold air to flow down and out of the quinzee. Poke a small ventilation hole near the top of the dome.

    Step 4: Building a quinzee will make you sweat. Prevent hypothermia by changing into warm dry clothes after you finish building your shelter.
    Make sure you mark your entrance in case it gets covered with snow while you are away having fun. Keep a small shovel inside in case you need to dig your way out.

    - If you have to visit the latrine in the middle of the night, eat a snack afterward to help warm up your body and get back to sleep. Don’t worry about keeping the snacks in your quinzee — when you camp in winter, you don’t have to worry about bears.
    - Jell-O gelatin mix makes a great hot drink. Store Jello-O powder in refillable backpacking tubes and add it to hot water. Try cherry Jell-O in instant hot chocolate!
    - Eat your meals from their packages. Vacuum-sealed meals and packages of oatmeal can be opened and used as “bowls.” If you don’t rip the top off completely, you’ll have only one piece of trash to dispose of.
    - Bury your water jugs in a snowdrift. The snow insulates the water and keeps it from freezing.
    quinzee-1. quinzee-2. quinzee-3. quinzee-4.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    We used to practice building those up at the Summit, over on Guy Peak... When I was a Professional Ski Patroman, in a previous LifeTime....
  4. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    ....and they work!

    Missing Medford skier, 17, found alive near Sugarloaf ski resort in Maine; Nicholas Joy healthy -

    A Medford teenager built himself a snow cave during the two days he spent lost on Sugarloaf Mountain and managed to walk out to safety today by following the sound of snowmobiles and the tracks searchers had left in the snow, officials said.

    Nicholas Joy after the rescue (Game Warden Sergeant Scott Thrasher)
    “He built a snow cave,’’ said Maine Warden’s Service Lieutenant Kevin Adam at a press briefing at the Maine ski resort this morning. “That was the right thing to do.’’
    The teenager, Nicholas Joy, 17, had been skiing with his father at Sugarloaf Sunday morning and was last seen near the Timberline trail on the mountain’s west side around 1 p.m. Sunday.
    Today, he walked out of the tree line onto Caribou Pond Road, well west of the ski resort, and found Joseph Paul, a Massachusetts man who had ridden his snowmobile along the road, partly in hopes of finding Joy, officials said.
    Joy was cold and hungry, but otherwise showed no obvious signs of medical need. His joyful parents joined him when he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, officials said.
    “This kind of thing, it’s almost like a miracle,’’ said Sugarloaf general manager John Diller.
    Diller said he was with Joy’s parents about a minute after they learned the good news that their son had survived.
    “I cried,’’ Diller said.
    Diller said that after Joy’s rescue, Joy spoke with a Sugarloaf employee, telling the worker that one of his favorite things to do was to watch television survival shows.
    Officials said searchers included Navy SEALS, US Marines, Border Patrol officers and at least two volunteer mountain rescue teams.
    Search crews had previously covered Caribou Pond Road, a snowmobile trail in the winter, officials said, leaving behind tracks in the snow that Joy used to help find his way out of the woods, officials said.
    Joy’s rescuer, Joseph Paul of Warwick, Mass., told WHDH-TV (Channel 7) that Joy told him he had used the survival skills he learned from television to keep himself alive, including using branches to provide warmth and by drinking water from a nearby stream.
    “Amazing,’’ Paul said of the teen’s survival. “Amazing.’’
    Paul said the teen told him he was skiing on Sunday, reached the end of the trail and then started hiking back up the mountainside. At some point, the teen decided to take a shortcut.
    “And then he got lost,’’ said Paul.
    Paul said Joy was not overly worried about his potentially life-threatening situation.
    “He wasn’t too concerned. He was a little cold and he got his feet wet,’’ Paul said. “But he was in good condition.’’
    Tim Foley, who is a neighbor of the Joy family in Medford, said his wife spoke to the family this morning by telephone. “The family is appreciative of the efforts of the authorities in Maine and everyone else involved,” he said.
    “It’s a moment of joy. There were no negative thoughts, just hoping it turned out positive and glad it turned out positive.” He also said he and his wife had paid a brief visit to Joy’s grandmother, who lives with Nicholas, his mother and two older siblings, on the quiet residential street off Riverside Avenue.
    “There was a lot of hugging and obviously we’re thrilled,” said Foley.
    Paul O’Sullivan, 71, another neighbor, said Nicholas was a “quiet, very friendly kid. ... I said a prayer last night. If they didn’t find him today, I’d have had my doubts.”
    BTPost likes this.
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