"Mount Hunter is a siren. Its seductive song captivated me the first time I heard it. I have thrown aside logic and maybe even reason to try to climb it. I am not alone on this bewitchment" Scott Backes

Monday, May 16, 2011

BC Living...

So while I have the opportunity, I thought I would let you all know just a little bit about what goes into the day to day living in temporary -20 deg C living environment. Well, firstly, it really is fantastic. We moved away from the drama that goes on in the Main BC where the plane flew us in. Just too many people and it is much nicer being up hear, nearer the North Buttress and just dealing with the few people passing by in smaller doses. We have gained ourselves a bit of a reputation down in the village... "the boys in a fortress" But this is not in an attempt to show off with who has the biggest......... The walls around the tents act as a very good enclosure and have found on many occasions that there is almost a little micro climate going on inside, out of the wind.

So as one would expect we have our own communal/ kitchen area, the office/ charging station with desk and all, our toilet area (housing those miniature barrels I mentioned earlier) and driveway, an outside entertainment/ BBQ area (used on those lovely summer days) and like every home, we also have a southern and western Snow Block Quarry.

The reason for the quarry's is we built our enclosure using snow blocks cut out of the lower firmer snow. Using a snow saw and a couple snow shovels, dozens of cups of tea and we where quickly able to fashion up our own castle... great day out for the whole family...

Our communal area/ kitchen is mostly submerged into the snow, with a trench for our legs and a higher surfaces along 3 of the sides which act as a counter top and a bench chair...we have used a kinda fly sheet with 2 vertical poles as a roof and it is overall very cosy.. and having a snow countertop is brilliant, you can store and clean your knives just by giving it a quick stab, pots and cups of hot coffee or tea just sink into the countertop... so after a couple days, it needs refurbing as it just looks like a block of swiss cheese. Perhaps a sheet of thin ply wood would work better for a long stay. We have of course sheets of wood for the gas stove, otherwise we would have melted a hole right through the glacier by now..

Drinking wise, we have to melt snow, a lot of snow, luckily we have 3 gallons of white fuel which seem to be working well for the time we are here. Also lucky that white fuel does not freeze either...haha

Toilets wise, the national parks board have issued everyone with a small barrel called a CMC (clean mountain container) which I suspect is purely because people where sick of saying pooh barrel. Basically, it is just big enough for 1 operation, so if you fancy a number 1 and a number 2 at the same time..forget it.... you have to pinch your number 1 until it is safe enough to stand up and release the number 1 valve.... it is a guy thing.... I am sure you all know what I am talking about. After discussing this barrel down in the village with the locals, one also mentioned that perhaps issuing barrels in sizes like you do clothing might also be a good idea. (There are some hefty Americans and really miniaturise the barrels, making it look like they are relieving themselves into a Coke Can.)

Washing.... well if you are talking cutlery, plates and pots.... we just using a paper towel, so if you are a micro biologist, you can probabaly still find samples of food on everything from day 1... If you talking washing your body.... well we are kinda applying the same principles... but with wet wipes, Nobody has actually washed their hair (otherwise you would just end up with brain freeze).... the boys did have a shave the day before they went up, but after inquiring, they said they wanted to look good for each other in the porta-ledge. Obviously this is not some homo-erotic thing, but I can see their point, being crammed up together on a tiny suspended platform for so many days, having some respectable looking chap within your immediate vicinity would be alot more appealing than having a competitor for the hairiest man of the mountain award sleeping right next to you.

Walking around, well we are on a glacier so you have to ideally walk around in pairs, all roped up carrying cravas rescue gear. Or if you like me, all on your own, you can wonder around this enclosure and wait for people passing by and ask them if they can take you out for a bit of a walk....

To keep warm, you basically have to put everything on that you own.... the temperature and sun exposure is brutal and if you not freezing you are getting sun burn/ snow burn, your lips, nose and skin starts to crack, your finger tips crack, some of my didgits have lost their feeling for a couple hours (even when you are warm and cozy)... getting used to hotaches (it is a regular thing).... getting kinda addictive now... like going out to get yet another tattoo. (Not that I have any tattoo's, just saying they could open little hotache centres all over the country where you stick a limb in a blast freezer while having a cup of Java or something and enjoy the after effects driving back home or something)

So think that is enough for now, I am writing this while my camera is occupied with a time-laps, but as soon as it am finished, I am going to take a picture of this pooh barrel and post it on the blog.


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