Any means of defending against warmish weather?

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Banff Martin
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Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:38 am

Beginning midday Tuesday and ending Friday, we'll have melting temperatures in Banff ranging from highs of +3 to +8 with a 30% chance of rain on the latter pair of days. Is there anything to be done to reduce the effect of the convection of the warmer air?

The igloo gets almost no sun given its location, and has no debris such as leaves in it. I am hopeful the massive pad will help a little.

One thought I had was to cover the igloo with a large tarp and stake down the edges into the pad. Would this be useful?

I'm not terribly concerned as this igloo was made with dense, 1-week old snow and is the strong 9' geometry. I'm guessing it will sag 6-12"?

Thanks!
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Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:39 pm

Hmmm...

Given I've such a ledge in this case, I could simply add more snow to the outside. It wouldn't be as pretty, but would be expendable. I likely wouldn't go above the 6th level out of challenge of getting that high, which would also reduce the risk of making the roof too heavy...

The same scoop-bucket shovel used for the pad should make it fairly easy to get the snow up on the ledge, then I'd just loosely pack it into place.

Thoughts?
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Igloo Ed » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:21 pm

If you cover it with a tarp, be sure where the water runs off doesn't drip on the igloo and probably base too or dripping water will melt holes.
The tarp should also be white or some pale color, not black so it doesn't warm up from the sun.
It's the average temperature that matters, hopefully you'll have cold nights. Sealing the door during the warm days and opening it up again for the cold nights would help a lot.
Adding snow to the outside part way up shouldn't make the igloo sag but I don't think you'd need to. They can take quite a bit of rain. Old snow helps with the rain.

Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:35 pm

I see as I've been drafting this you've replied..! =)

The forecast has become warmer: Tuesday it will get to +6, then +8, +5 & +5 before getting cold again. It will be a high of +4 through Tuesday night and not get colder than +2 through any night until Friday night. As the temp change comes with a lot of wind out of the West I feel it would erode from that side. 40% chance of rain Thurs+Fri.

Reassuring to hear they can take rain well!

I've gone ahead and added snow to the outside. I dumped snow onto the ledge & swept the snow upwards, eventually covering most of the 4th layer with a lessening layer of sloped snow. It does cost some in the classic appearance of the outside, but at the front it is still obvious. I might have only added snow to the West side, but thought it may be safer to add the same amount of snow around as much of the dome as I could as the walls lean in on each other?
Last edited by Banff Martin on Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:39 pm

I'll think about blocking the door, though being in a public place I'm not sure how it will look. I do own the door that is offered with the Icebox, but don't want to leave it out there.

Any suggestions on what to block it with, if thinking towards free materials in case they get taken?

Thanks!
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Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:39 am

I'll see about a cardboard box to block the door...I can even write a note on both sides of it so people understand why it is there. If I can find extra packing material (good odds where I work) I'll wrap it in a clear plastic bag so it doesn't get soggy.

Here's what the igloo looked like last night after I added snow around it.
Attachments
Wrapped igloo.JPG
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Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:26 am

Well, I checked the igloo upon getting home last night and found it had sagged at least 4", and the outside walls were soft. Someone had tried & failed to climb the outside walls as well.

I spent a couple hours adding about 2" more snow to the entire outside to deflect the warmth. Not only is it an extra barrier of snow, but the softened wall should be slightly more packed now as well. The snow conditions were such that I was able to add & pack it on very easily by hand. This should also protect the original wall from more climbing attempts.

I wasn't sure if I really needed to add the snow to the top as well as it would make that area heavier and perhaps increase the risk of sagging, but thought it best as the walls are leaning in and may need that section strong. Also, if someone does manage to climb to the top it may save the roof from collapsing.

Here's a pic from during the cladding. It's hard to see, but if you look near the top you can see the ridge of the extra snow being added. Looks like due to the warmth I would have lost the block lines anyway, so now I don't regret Monday evening's addition of the snow 'scarf'! Hopefully yesterday's wind was the worst of it and the sagging & melting will slow down. Just have to make it to Friday evening for this igloo to turn into an icy block!
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Mid-cladding.JPG
Last edited by Banff Martin on Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:17 am

As it turns out, adding snow to the outside has helped a lot; for the last two nights the outside wall remains firm. I've added a touch more & smoothed out the surface as the wind was creating divots, but otherwise it is handling the sustained melting temperatures well. Tonight we're to dip down to -1C for the first time since Monday night..! After that, daytime highs remain just below freezing and nights past -10. Almost there!

The ceiling continues to sag per day, by 2-4"/day. I was still able to stand straight in the trench last night, but I expect tonight will be a bit shorter. I can remove more snow from the trench after the temperature drops; I've left about 3" on the ground as insulation.

Last night I spent a couple hours on the inside of the igloo packing snow against the first level to reinforce it, as well as patching & packing the rest of the interior wall. I plan to do more tonight to thicken the walls as much as possible. As soon as we freeze again, the igloo should turn into a rock!

While it is a bit disappointing to lose a good foot of height inside the igloo I'd say it has done well for the situation..! After one is seated it doesn't matter much anyway. This has also been interesting in learning on how to preserve an igloo in warm times.
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Igloo Ed » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:56 am

Sounds like you've figured out a lot about how igloos last. I know you've already seen a lot of it with the different types of snow and sizes of igloos. Now, a prolonged warm spell and adding snow to the igloo. Very good.
People have asked what type of door to use and I think the best would be an old couch cushion with a plastic bag over it. A waxed box would make a nice sign to write on but I don't think the box will work if the door and igloo sag.
A woven door of willow branches and a plastic bag over that but not much insulation.
In the backcountry, I've used a trash bag with duct tape in on the corners and snow in the bag to weight it down. A white trash bag would be best to reflect the sun's heat.

Banff Martin
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:37 am

I'm curious as to your experiences with repairing/reinforcing igloos?

Friday night I had to repair two man-made holes in one wall, though that was a quick thing compared to repairing the warm wind divot damage. It took me some time, but I filled in & smoothed out the exterior wall. I had less work to do inside, but as I saw the 1st level was tipping in a bit I also added some reinforcement to both sides inside of the entrance, so the floor reinforced the 1st level just before the unsupported door opening. When I get back to town Monday I may add more of these supports around the igloo. I'll take & post a pic either way.

While finding the igloo damaged (almost certainly by a child with a branch) was frustrating, I feel somewhat reassured that the igloo is now too hard for 'easy' damaging. It had 12+ hours at -1 to -2 last night, and a few hours ago has returned to what should be permanent freezing temperatures. While a normal Icebox igloo should harden from freezing temps, I'm certain that my repaired/reinforced one will be much more so as the snow I was using was just barely snow and not slush! Even before it froze, the reinforced outside wall was much harder with this wet material. I made a point of doing everything that was needed, as once the available snow froze it would be lost to me - I presume it would turn to icy crystals and only useful for pad material.

I can still stand up straight in the center 'hole' in this igloo, so it is still good enough. I cut in a trench just long enough to enter, leave 6-8", then remove a cube of snow from the center of the floor to create a spot for legs in a lounge setting. There are 6 padded seats in the igloo plus the freezer bag with log & pencil in it.

I made a point of smoothing out the outside wall so that it would be almost impossible to climb without cleats on. The pad is also smoothed down, with most of the footholds I used filled in.
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