Apparently I'm to blame for some recent frostbite. Here's the story, as relayed by a friend, about another friend who is a guide. The guide and client are climbing a popular route in K-Country, near Canmore. The guide hits the belay and brings the client up; client arrives at the belay wearing very thin fleece gloves. The temperature is -30.
Client: My hands are frozen!
Guide: Why are you wearing fleece gloves at -30?
Client: Because I ready Will Gadd's book, and he said that's what to wear.
Guide is speechless.
At -30 fleece gloves probably aren't going to be enough. In fact, both client and guide got various degrees of frozen fingers that day. The picture above isn't from the day of climbing, I just stole it off the net.
Moral of the story: Don't go ice climbing at -30? If you do wear something thicker than a pair of fleece gloves? Don't believe everything you read?
Twenty years ago used to climb in full mittens at -30; it was almost impossible to generate enough body heat to stay warm, at least dressed in standard climbing clothes of the day. Now we have better clothes and can stay warmer at lower temperatures (Happy Pants!), but it's hard to do technical stuff like climb at -30. I can ski OK (as long as the bindings don't break), ride a snow machine (did that at -40 in the arctic), but climbing is harder. Doable, but harder, especially if you don't spend a lot of time outside in the cold to get used to it. It's amazing how warm even -10 feels after the winter we've had; I can feel my body relaxing outdoors now that the temps are well above zero C, love it! I worked in a T-Shirt most of today, so nice. Anyhow, fleece gloves are likely not the preferred glove system at -30.
I sincerely hope the client's hands heal up quick, and I will add a "Below minus 20" section to my book for the next version in three or four years when I get around to updating it.
I'm just happy the ice on my driveway melted enough to chip it all out today, warmth!
Happy Spring to all.
PS--and here's the link to the Japanese Red Cross.