General solo igloo building techniques

Information and tips on building solo igloos.
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Igloo Ed
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Location: Lyons, Colorado
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General solo igloo building techniques

Post by Igloo Ed » Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:10 pm

When starting to build a solo igloo, set the form in position and try to get it to set at the proper square to floor angle. Then put enough snow into the form to build the entire 1/3 block of the first block of the ramp.
After placing enough snow into the form, position the form correctly and pack the snow. Pack the snow by putting your hand down through the snow and pack it to the floor below. Continue packing while packing your way up and out of the loose snow.
Position the form for the second block of the ramp, you will notice that the form stays put a bit better when positioned on the previous block.
Put enough snow into the form to build the second block of the ramp and again put your hand down through the snow and pack your way up and out of the snow. Depending on snow conditions, you may need to add a little bit of snow to complete the block.
Position the form for the third block of the ramp and fill the form full with loose snow and again go down into the loose snow and pack up and out. You will need to add more snow to finish the third block.
The reason for putting as much snow as possible into the form before packing is for speed but more importantly to keep your hands drier. If you pack just a little bit and handle the shovel again, the snow on your glove melts when holding onto the shovel handle eventually leading to the shovel handle icing up and your glove getting wet.
For the first couple blocks of the ramp, the form moves around pretty easily and it is best to pack them from the inside of the igloo. The third block of the ramp is a bit more steady because it is positioned on the 2/3 end of the second block and it can be packed from the outside. The rest of the blocks of the first and second layer can be packed from the outside and the form can be released and positioned from the outside as well.
On the third layer it depends on how tall you are as to whether or not you can pack and position from the outside.
If need be, you step over the wall to pack and move the form.
On the fourth layer, the Outer Panel is removed and the packing can be done again from the outside.
In order to place and pack snow with the Outer Panel removed, put your right hand on the top of the Inner Panel close to the End Panel and push slightly in and down on that corner of the Inner Panel.
While holding this pressure, use your left hand to pick up one shovel of snow and place it in the form. Spread this snow out so it packs into the corner or crack all along the Inner Panel on the lower layer and the last block.
After this is packed the pressure on the right hand can be released and the form will stay put.
Pick up another shovel of snow and again place the pressure on the form again before dumping the snow into the form. Pack the snow into the rear corner of the form and build out from there. Once the block is built far enough out that it has crossed the center of the pole, the form will stay put without the pressure on the corner of the form.
To move the form, jiggle the form a bit until it comes loose and then move and position it again. There is no need to release the Toggle Handle if the form is slanted a bit so it comes loose when moved ahead.
The door will need to be opened up in order to change the length of the pole for each layer but that should be the only reason to go into the igloo until building the last block of the igloo.
For the last block, go into the igloo and position the form so it is held in place with a little pressure.
Go outside and pack the last block and your igloo is finished.
The door is dug to full depth into the igloo but the door pit is stopped short of the center of the igloo so a person can sleep broadside to the door. Once the door pit is dug, a small trench can be dug off to the side to give the chair sitting position.

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