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Survival Skills: Snow Cave

snowcave 1

A snow cave can mean the difference between life and death during a storm, but digging one requires not just know-how but the right conditions: deep snow, a steep slope, and snow of the right consistency for digging.

snowcave 2

Begin by digging an entrance large enough for a climber to crawl through. It should be about three feet deep, and dug directly into the slope. The entrance should also be lower than the main chamber to prevent winds from blowing into the cave.

snowcave 3

Next, dig the main chamber in, upwards, and to the sides of the portal. Do not dig down. The outer walls should be no less than one foot thick. As the climber digs, he/she pushes the snow to the doorway, where a partner helps shovel the snow outside the cave. Continue to dig until there is enough room for the number of people in the party to lie down, and to sit or stand comfortably. The main chamber should be level and flat.

snowcave 4

After the main chamber has been dug, create a ventilation hole with an ice axe. When all occupants are inside, blocks of snow can be placed in the doorway to stop wind from blowing inside.

Self-Arrest Snow Cave Igloo Crevasse Rescue
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