Any means of defending against warmish weather?

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

Post by Igloo Ed » Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:07 pm

Banff Martin wrote:I'm curious as to your experiences with repairing/reinforcing igloos?
I've done a bit, eh? :)
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.
Those wind poc marks can be pretty deep sometimes and it does make a difference to thicken up the wall again. Sometimes when I've camped in them and they turn to a sheet of ice inside, the wall thickness doesn't matter as much. But then when the igloo warms up again and the ice layer is lost...
[quoote] 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.[/quote]
The door has it's own sagging problems and anything to help there will help a lot. The bottom layer tipping in like that has always had me pointing the finger at a less dense snow used for the first layer but there are other Factors too.
I generally build my igloos on slanted ground or drifts and this ends up with very deep snow on one side of the igloo and down to the ground on the other side. Obviously, the ground ain't gonna sag much but the five feet of snow on the downhill side can't help but compress. I wallow into the snow down to the ground on that downhill side before I start shifting the snow from uphill. It all gets packed but it still sags and the igloo tilts.
The tilting isn't such a big thing but the boulders underneath the area are what really do the igloo in as it warps the bottom of the igloo and the igloo can warp/fold up.
But for your platform, I'm guessing that the edge went down a bit causing the very bottom to tip out. That takes away the support for higher the the rest of the block leans in because the igloo doesn't want to grow in diameter.
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.
I reinforce the whole lower layer when that happens. Spots will cause uneven sagging much like my boulders. I just carry the true wall shape down to the floor.
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.
It should be a chunk of ice now.
At an event building an igloo to return the next day and find damage to the igloo.
Seems, a few guys got kick out of the local bar that is know for accepting some pretty rowdy behavior. Well, they took their frustrations out on the igloo.
A pile of landscaping wood beams nearby were used as battering rams and they were able to knock one big hole and a few small holes but the igloo stood strong.
Then... They found a discarded concrete footer some 12 inch diameter and 24 inches long. They somehow got it to land close to the top of the igloo. Ha, it broke the wall but the chunks of ice held the concrete.
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.
Well, if it can be broken up into loose ice it'll work but the effort isn't always worth it.
Another event.. ha!
No snow and just below 70 degrees out, the event coordinator asks if I can build with crushed ice. I told him I'd try.
The crushed ice was very large chunks but did stick together. I built about five blocks before the warm air had it's way. The air flowed through the surface of the igloo and melted the contact points of the chunks of ice. The surface began avalanching off.
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.
Sounds pretty luxurious. :)
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.
You are doing good with an ice igloo like that. Generally, it's to much work to knock it down much like the drunks I described earlier. I'm sure they ran out of steam.
Hopefully the igloo gets enough respect that it does well.

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

Post by Banff Martin » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:45 pm

Hm. I suppose the pad surface could have sagged some for the 1st level to angle in. The floor also appeared to have sunk slightly next to the wall..! I will pack in around the entire 1st layer then, so the wall has strong geometry for the life of the igloo.

Thankfully the igloo is too far from the bars for drunks to 'last' all the way over here; it's a good 4-5 blocks and not easily visible at night. There are some that drink in the area, mostly under-aged kids, but so far they are too entertained by the igloo to do more than try to scratch names into the inner wall. As of last night, still no cigarette butts..!

And here are the daytime icegloo pics!
Attachments
Sat Dec 13 2.JPG
Sat Dec 13 1.JPG
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Igloo Ed » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:05 pm

Yes, the sagging of the floor around the edges makes it look like the floor is erupting up into the igloo. That outside edge is attached to the floor and sags at an angle which tips the block outward but the top of the block can't tip out because it is attached to the igloo itself and the igloo will not grow in diameter to match where the new top of the block would be. That makes the first row of blocks warp into a slight "S" shape. The top part of that S is not supported and that is what you'll be filling in.
From what I remember, you built the platform and then added more to the diameter of the platform as you built the igloo. I imagine the igloo itself was supported by the original platform but the new snow probably didn't support the edge of the original platform. That may have added to the tipping....
I'm thinking you and the igloo are getting quite a bit of respect from people and your igloo might not get vandalized. The fact that it is ice should help a lot too.
Merry Christmas,

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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Yes, that makes sense for a 3-D visual. =) I was a bit preoccupied this weekend and didn't work on the igloo, but expect I've some time to take care of this before sagging is an issue again.

I think the floor under the walls was part of the pre-built pad, but I only snowshoe-packed it and may not have packed it quite enough. If I'd seen this happen before I might think to boot-pack in the future, but I think it was more due to the heat wave than low density of the pad. I've only boot-packed when converting a 'found' pile of snow into a pad.

Yes, since the re-freeze the igloo has been treated well. Of course, its much harder to damage as well too it may be hard to tell. I haven't been able to find any suggestion that anyone's tried to climb on top of it - even I don't want to try given how smooth it is. Still no cigarette butts found inside the igloo..!

On Saturday I had an interview with the local newspaper, and I expect the article should be out this or next Tuesday; I'll post a link as soon as it is available. I expect it will lead to much more visitation! I had a moment of concern about this increasing the amount of maintenance required, but I don't think the people I'm concerned about read much. =)

Enjoy your holidays Ed! May you get snow!
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Igloo Ed » Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:03 am

Banff Martin wrote:Yes, that makes sense for a 3-D visual. =) I was a bit preoccupied this weekend and didn't work on the igloo, but expect I've some time to take care of this before sagging is an issue again.
It's been a while now and I'm wondering how the igloo has done?
I think the floor under the walls was part of the pre-built pad, but I only snowshoe-packed it and may not have packed it quite enough. If I'd seen this happen before I might think to boot-pack in the future, but I think it was more due to the heat wave than low density of the pad. I've only boot-packed when converting a 'found' pile of snow into a pad.
Sounds like the snow got packed all the way to the ground with snowshoes. That should be fine. Boot packing won't make the snow much more dense than snowshoes but snowshoes or skis don't pack deep when the snow is deep.
Yes, since the re-freeze the igloo has been treated well. Of course, its much harder to damage as well too it may be hard to tell. I haven't been able to find any suggestion that anyone's tried to climb on top of it - even I don't want to try given how smooth it is. Still no cigarette butts found inside the igloo..!
I have the same young boy show up every year at a demo I do. He immediately goes to the back wall and starts digging a hole through the wall, when I open the door and let everyone in. Last time, he seemed to get a shovel full of snow in his face when he first peeked out the hole. He also has his face down in the door when I'm still chopping out the door from the inside. Luckily, the shovel hasn't hit his face yet, I do worry about that. This season I will speak to his parents if I can find them.
On Saturday I had an interview with the local newspaper, and I expect the article should be out this or next Tuesday; I'll post a link as soon as it is available. I expect it will lead to much more visitation! I had a moment of concern about this increasing the amount of maintenance required, but I don't think the people I'm concerned about read much. =)
Ha! You may be right about the not read much.
Enjoy your holidays Ed! May you get snow!
It was busy but we did get snow and I made it up to help a friend build an igloo he uses with his family and friends on day trips. Felt good to be in the mountains and snow again. Hope your holidays were good as well, Martin.

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

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:30 am

Happy new year Ed!

In order of your last questions:

The igloo is completely unchanged since the Friday (Dec 12) night it froze. I've done some floor maintenance but that is all. To my pleasing surprise, only 1 of the cushions has disappeared thus far...and I have loads more of these free from my company. =) While it has recently received a bit of snow, most of that has been blasted off by wind again - we had about 4 days of strong winds here last week (at -20C). Nice to be able to shelter inside the igloo and only hear it!

Yes, the pad was built over 3 evenings & packed with snowshoes each time, with packing done a couple times each evening as I accumulated snow. I'm happy to say I read your notes early on and have never tried to pack a thick pile vs. packing thinner layers.

I have glimpsed a couple people trying to take a run at the pad to scale the igloo without success. A few days ago I also met a couple locals who told me of seeing someone try to punch the wall and almost injuring his hand. =) I figure my igloo has a right to self-defense!

I've one entry in the log of visitors hearing about the igloo via the Banff Centre radio broadcast, but of course those visitors were the type I like. =)

Glad to hear you got some snow and were able to build an igloo! We're in the middle of getting more now but still nothing like the 2' dump we had in early December. Hopefully more will come. My holidays were good, thanks!

We've a freak weather day this week; Wednesday it is to go from -18C in the morning to +4 as a daytime high, then down to -14 that night. I'm sure it will be windy! I don't think a single day of this will affect the igloo much, but I'll use the snowball weather to finish reinforcing the inside 1st layer, as snow conditions made the 1st attempt almost impossible.

See you between the lines! :geek:
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:26 am

Well, we're now at the end of another heat wave. Through more reinforcing work, the igloo has survived!

(any multi-night spell that doesn't include a freezing temperature counts as a heat wave in igloo territory as far as I'm concerned)

This hot spell started Saturday with just-above freezing temperatures. It wasn't forecast to be warm enough to condition the snow for easy working, so I just touched up the entrance & inside of the igloo. On Sunday however I spent 5 hours adding snow to the outside of the igloo in preparation of the melting weather.

As the duration of this hot spell was shorter than the one in December and the igloo had a dense outer shell due to that one, I was expecting the igloo would suffer minor erosion but not be too bad. Unfortunately Sunday's warm weather came with very strong winds that carried through the day, night, and into Monday, with temps between 6-12C. The first picture below is what I saw when I got home after work around 5pm. A bit demoralizing! Those are holes right through the wall, which got bigger during my repair efforts. The wear was lesser on the rest of the igloo as it was a wind out of the West.

While I did have moments of wondering if I could win this round, I added about 4" of snow to the Western third of the igloo wall and just filled in the divots on the rest. Sourcing snow was getting more challenging at this point; I was using a scoop bucket shovel to harvest some snow about 60 metres away, then shovelling that into a large bucket as the ground was so mucky pulling the shovel would have been harder than carrying the large bucket. Still, at a good 60lbs/bucket, it was taxing. At the end of the evening however, I covered the western 2/3 of the igloo with a tarp, weighing down the ends with wood and sealing other edges with the near-slush snow. This worked very well - no damage at all though the winds were lighter Monday night. Now I feel foolish for not using the tarp Sunday night..!

Gearing up for Tuesday evening's 'final' repairs before the forecast freezing changed the near-slush snow to sugar crystals, I was able to borrow a wheelbarrow from my company. I knew carrying buckets of snow just wasn't going to work out as the remaining snow was 3x as far away now. This worked extremely well; I found that the 'original' piles of snow on the edges of my parking lot only had a crust of removable grit covering very clean snow, and this show was easy to shovel into the wheelbarrow & get back to the igloo site. (lessons learned in load-balancing the wheelbarrow for easier use...)

So, 15 loads of snow later, the walls are again reinforced and I've learned the value of a tarp when the enemy is convective warming from wind. It froze slightly last night and should enter long-term freezing starting tonight. I'd say the walls are about 6" thick now, with very dense slushy material.

To the passer-by that thought I was fighting a losing battle Sunday...I call him defeatist! =)
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Blasted west side.jpg
Repaired west side.jpg
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:02 pm

I forgot to mention: to my surprise the ceiling hasn't sagged in the slightest. I think the rest of the igloo's walls held it in place while the West wall was getting blasted. The inside of the igloo is also ice from all the visitors which has likely also helped.
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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Igloo Ed » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:36 pm

Banff Martin wrote:I forgot to mention: to my surprise the ceiling hasn't sagged in the slightest. I think the rest of the igloo's walls held it in place while the West wall was getting blasted. The inside of the igloo is also ice from all the visitors which has likely also helped.
Well, you've certainly learned a lot with this igloo about igloos sagging and not sagging. So many variables and you've handled all of them well. It's been a lot of work for you but I do think you are enjoying the experiment.
That inside layer of ice does make a big difference but the density of the snow/ice helped a lot when you fixed it with the slush. But then too, I've seen igloos with large areas with nothing but ice left and only a few small holes. Clear ice, it was.
Hope you see some more snow.

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Re: Any means of defending against warmish weather?

Post by Banff Martin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:41 am

Thanks! Yes, though it has been a lot of work I am enjoying this. I remind myself that once the work is done and the igloo remains for another 6+ weeks, I won't have minded putting in the effort.

Last night I did minor work on the inside of the igloo; when I was doing major repairs the inside was also soft and the 'barrier' between the entrance & center foot space was damaged. I realized that as it had only barely frozen the night before that I could likely find some insulated slushy snow within the plowed banks if I removed a few inches from the top of such piles. Sure enough, a little digging and I struck gold. Sticky, easily-worked snowy gold. =)

I also put in a new log book as the last was between full & hard to know in what gap of entries visitors were writing.

No snow in the next week's forecast unfortunately, but at least there are the plowed piles if I need to make repairs. Other than the piles & wind/sun protected spots, we've little snow left now..!
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