Clearing off the top of the igloo.

information on making your igloo last.
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Climbingaggie04
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Clearing off the top of the igloo.

Post by Climbingaggie04 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:03 pm

So I've been wondering Ed, if you would reccomend clearing snow off of the top of an igloo to keep weight off of it, or if you think that the extra snow outside helps with insulation. I've noticed that the snow does get firmer and may add some support to the igloo.

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Clearing off the top of the igloo.

Post by Igloo Ed » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:21 pm

Climbingaggie04 wrote:So I've been wondering Ed, if you would reccomend clearing snow off of the top of an igloo to keep weight off of it, or if you think that the extra snow outside helps with insulation. I've noticed that the snow does get firmer and may add some support to the igloo.
A few years ago I built an igloo in a spot that I knew gets lots of snow as it drifts off a huge boulder and collect right over the edge. The snow is probably 18 ft. deep at it's deepest point.
I built the igloo on rocks the size of a wheel barrow and had just enough base that I was able to have a door to crawl into the igloo with the door top even with the floor. I had packed the base as the season came on with the grainy snows of early fall. The base was bomber and not going anywhere.
It was a nine foot igloo at 67 inches tall and it also was built with the early season grainy snow.
I went back to that igloo at least every other weekend and packed the snow around the igloo by walking and stomping around it. I dug the door out a couple times and didn't notice any sagging other than the first couple inches at the very beginning.
After the igloo got completely buried, I stopped digging the door out and waited until spring to dig it out.
In the spring, the pit I dug to get to the bottom of the doorway was nearly twelve feet deep and was quite the job to dig with the snow being the heavy consolidated spring snow.
When I went into the igloo, it had sagged to be the same height as our 7 ft. igloo around 44 inches. That figures out to having a 76 inch thick ceiling.
The beauty of it though is that the igloo still had it's catenary shape after nearly five months since it had been built.
We've had people tell us they were going to live in the igloos for one reason or another. You are the first person I've ever heard from that has done it. Way to go.

Climbingaggie04
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:26 pm

Re: Clearing off the top of the igloo.

Post by Climbingaggie04 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:53 pm

Thanks Ed, my new 8 foot igloo is almost finished! I'm really enjoying living in an igloo, I decided to do it because I didn't want to live in staff housing at our ski resort cause it's too small, smelly, and depressing. I looked into apt's and such but it was out of my price range, so I decided to camp, but didn't want to use a tent because of the extreme cold temps we had last year, and through the process someone steered me towards the ice box. I'm loving it, it's ultra comfy and it's a real conversation starter with people from where I'm originally from (texas although I don't spend much time there these days). I've guided for 6 summers and can't count the number of night's I've spent sleeping outside in a tent or under the stars so camping was no big deal for me, and I've been a dirt bag climber long enough to know how to find showers and live without permanent housing. So I guess the right combination of factors and the discovery of the Icebox all came together and now I get to live in an igloo. It's been an interesting journey and I've really developed a curiousity about the inuit peoples in Alaska and how they built and lived in igloos.

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Clearing off the top of the igloo.

Post by Igloo Ed » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:20 pm

Climbingaggie04 wrote:Thanks Ed, my new 8 foot igloo is almost finished! I'm really enjoying living in an igloo, I decided to do it because I didn't want to live in staff housing at our ski resort cause it's too small, smelly, and depressing. I looked into apt's and such but it was out of my price range, so I decided to camp, but didn't want to use a tent because of the extreme cold temps we had last year, and through the process someone steered me towards the ice box. I'm loving it, it's ultra comfy and it's a real conversation starter with people from where I'm originally from (texas although I don't spend much time there these days). I've guided for 6 summers and can't count the number of night's I've spent sleeping outside in a tent or under the stars so camping was no big deal for me, and I've been a dirt bag climber long enough to know how to find showers and live without permanent housing. So I guess the right combination of factors and the discovery of the Icebox all came together and now I get to live in an igloo. It's been an interesting journey and I've really developed a curiousity about the inuit peoples in Alaska and how they built and lived in igloos.
Well, I'd imagine by now you are moved into your new clean igloo. It feels good to have a new one doesn't it. So fresh and with later snow you don't smell the pine needles and such that you probably had in your first igloo. They warm up faster too with the fresh snow instead of the old thick ice layer in the used igloo.
Sounds like quite the life style you have going with the climbing, guiding and now living in an igloo. Good on ya! You could go a long ways with climbing and using igloos.
It is interesting to see how the Inuits built igloos by digging the blocks out of the center of the igloo. It makes sense as it makes it much less work. It shows that in the videos in the "These Guys Know What They're Doing" thread.
The thing of it is though, they seal their door shut and can't go outside easily. I like having a tall do so I can go in and out of the igloo when ever I want. Staying a little active through the evening keeps me limbered up a bit.
I suppose the type of snow they needed for blocks wasn't found in drifts where the door could come in underneath but instead in a slight depression where the snow collects deeply and uniformly.
I had one guide/school from north of Yellowknife tell me that with global warming they can't find suitable snow for blocks anymore as there are layers of ice in the snowpack from warm days. He also pointed out that the winds change direction making the grain structure change direction. He said that made the layers separate too.

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