Keep your water from freezing in a snow camp


When you're in a frozen environment like a Denali high camp, liquid water is precious. After you melt snow, preserve that water by burying your pots of water.

You need a pot of water, a stuff sack or large plastic bag that goes over the pot (this is essential to avoid frozen ice against the pot the next morning), four wands, and a shovel. Bury your pot about 10 inches below the snow’s surface and cover it with snow (if powder is not available, use the shovel to pulverize snow as much as possible). It is key not to leave any air pockets. Use the wands to locate it the next morning. Even if it’s 60 below, your water will not be frozen! This works with water bottles as well, but you might have to bury those a bit deeper.

More tips:

  • If your water is in bottles, store those upside down so any ice, if it starts to form, will do so on the bottom, not the lid.
  • To keep the cap from freezing to the bottle you can coat the threads of your bottle with vaseline or lip balm.

  • If you have a platypus-type bottle, you can wrap the tube in foam insulation, and be sure to blow water back into the bladder after you take a sip so it won’t freeze in the tube. (Better yet, don't take a water bladder in the first place, they are prone to all kinds of problems when alpine climbing.)

  • If the water bladder water line freezes, just put the line under your jacket next to your skin (not as bad as it sounds, really!)  Your body heat will melt the ice in a few minutes.