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Thread: When You Fall Through the Ice...Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht

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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    When You Fall Through the Ice...Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht

    Dr. Giesbrecht is a Canadian physiologist who operates the Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the Univeristy of Manitoba in Manitoba, Canada. He studies the effects of extreme environments, including cold, heat, hypoxia and hypobaria on the human body. I have come to know this gentleman in preparing survival medicine presentations to physicians and to pilots. His methods of research are sometimes chilling, pun intended.

    Please take 10 minutes and watch this video, and share some video time with your children and loved ones. The tips he uses in this demonstration are extremely useful should you fall through the ice.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gOW8ZaYqHA

    The importance of this at this time of year is great in Minnesota. We had a near tragedy here in Park Rapids a week ago when a man and woman went through the ice on an ATV. Today I was flying the super cub around to area lakes and was dismayed to see many ice fishermen out on the ice, vehicles and all, despite there being open water nearby. The ice is still a bit too thin for my liking at some of our area lakes, so I am choosing to put off landing for a few days until the sub-zero temps freeze the water a bit more.

    Dr. G's tips will save lives, folks. Please, please be careful, and please take a moment to watch this video.

    Thank you.

    Randy

    Medical Matters

    P.S. Here are two additional video by Dr. G:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyBVWrqvkEg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAwzPgRYOI
    Last edited by WindOnHisNose; 12-23-2017 at 06:17 PM.
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    Kyle Wolfe's Avatar
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    Good stuff, Randy. Even a life long Minnesnowten learned a few things.

    Thanks!
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    Rick Papp's Avatar
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    Randy, thanks for the links to the video. It was very well worth while to watch all of them. Margie and I both enjoyed watching them. Margie is deathly afraid of the water even though she can swim. We are going to show them to our grandkids as they come over for Christmas. Thank you Rick Papp
    Never stay level!!!!!
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    That was quite interesting and informative. Thanks for posting. We spend a fair amount of time on and about the ice and have witnessed some close calls over the years. And, unfortunately, some preventable losses. Some of the snowmobilers like to carry modified screwdrivers in a side pouch to help get out should they break through the ice. It also helps to know what to do to get warm after you've gotten yourself out of the water. That is another great topic.
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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    The sea water of Puget Sound is pretty darned cold year-round.
    Years ago, a friend of mine who was a pilot as well as being an old sailor told me that if I ever had to ditch in it,
    and there wasn't a boat handy to ditch next to,
    I should save myself and everybody else a lot of trouble and just swim for the bottom.

    After trying the new years day "polar bear dip" thing once years ago,
    I decided he was right.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    https://www.nrs.com/product/2245.5/p...-life-ice-awls

    Or a fixed knife held backwards away from the blade. Kick up-float-pull-and roll.

    Gary
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    The good doctor reminds me of a PhD from the University of Victoria who brought a team of his graduate students to Cold Bay, AK to study the effects of cold water immersion. He was working on a better immersion suit and other work garments that would improve survivability in cold water immersion.

    Basically, he rigged up a swing that he could suspend from our dock, then put a graduate student in the swing, equipped with a rectal thermometer, and monitored the length of time it took their core temperature to drop.

    For a baseline, the first “dip” for each student was done in street clothes for an individual baseline. Then, they each got dipped wearing progressively warmer garments, concluding the experiment wearing the new at the time full immersion suit. Every time one of the students went in the water, they stayed till their core temp dropped a specified amount.

    None of the students’ body temps dropped while wearing the full immersion suit....and at least two of them stayed in the water for a looooong time.

    But one of their experiments was to develop a coat that boaters might actually wear (as opposed to an immersion suit, which isn’t very “wearable”) and its effectiveness in delaying the onset of hypothermia.

    The coat turned out to be quite effective in delaying the onset of hypothermia. At one point, I asked them why they’d come to Cold Bay, since near frozen water is pretty much the same temp everywhere. Their response was they wanted the credibility of having conducting testing in severe conditions.

    It was a fascinating illustration of the effects of cold immersion, and the fact that graduate students will in fact do anything in the name of research.

    A link to a story: http://web.uvic.ca/torch/torch2003f/feature_survival_science.htm
    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 12-24-2017 at 09:48 AM.
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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    The rectal thermometer reference gave me an idea.....
    how about something like one of those JC Whitney dipstick oil heaters for wintertime heat in an open cockpit or leaky airplane?
    Warm you from the inside out.....
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    courierguy's Avatar
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    I fell through the ice while ice sledding in Michigan when I was 10 years old. My father had invented this particular type of ice boat back in the '50's (http://www.vintagesnowmobiles.50megs.com/PP15488.html) and it used to be a weekly thing, going out to the frozen lakes around SE Michigan and racing around. There'd be 30 or 40 of us, it was a big family deal, plus my father would be selling kits, plans, and complete sleds on the side. One day I had the urge to go a little further out, and then a little bit more further, who the hell knows what I was thinking, I was 10!

    I still remember the sinking feeling in my still descending testicles (ha ha) when I broke through the ice. At 10, you don't think much about death, but I instantly realized this was a very serious situation. Wearing heavy '50's style winter clothing, that weighed a ton dry, more when wet, I got back up to the surface after getting drug down 3 or 4' below by the sinking sled. then it was a "simple" matter of repeatably attempting to pull myself back onto the ice, while it broke off underneath me, until I either drowned or eventually made it to solid enough ice to support me. It turned out to be the latter. Then, all I had to do was jog (we called it running back then) a mile or so, in single digits temps, in that wet heavy clothing. Once back at the station wagon, I got a pass from my father and mother from being so stupid to get so far out, by surviving the adventure. To this day, I'm pretty sure that's the closet I've been to death. I do not recommend the experience!
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    Thanks Doc Randy! Very informative video. I've spent many many winters on frozen lakes but still learned a lot from this one, Pete Schoeninger.Click image for larger version. 

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    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    The rectal thermometer reference gave me an idea.....
    how about something like one of those JC Whitney dipstick oil heaters for wintertime heat in an open cockpit or leaky airplane?
    Warm you from the inside out.....
    Slightly off subject but... We put my HS girlfriend in our old original 220 Stearman for her first ride with me and my new private rating around 1965. When told to hold on to the fuselage frame she responded,... but won't I burn my hands on those pipes? We laughed uproariously. Say what? "Isn't there hot water in those pipes?" No sweetie, no hot water in the pipes. Fast forward 20 years to 1986 and now a 600 HP Stearman with a rear oil tank. Winter time and I'm frozen stiff, wrapping one hand and then the other round that pipe inside the cockpit running from the oil tank to the engine. She wasn't that crazy after all. Sorry I know this is superfluous to an important discussion.
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    I went through the ice on a snowmachine, it was colder than -40F. Was running a Marten line in Interior Alaska. Came down a frozen creek and went through just before the mouth where it joined a good sized frozen over river. Managed to pull the machine out and up a bank. Looked downriver to get an idea how far my wall tent with a wood stove in it was. I figured it was a little over a mile. I knew I would never make it that far in those temps! Managed to start a fire in a nearby stand of Spruce, I had a fire starter kit in a waterproof container and it started first try. My fingers were cold to the point that there wasn't going to be a 2nd try...After drying my gear enough to hike down river, I stayed at the emergency wall tent camp while trying to get the frozen machine running again. Eventually I hiked 47 miles down to our trapping cabin to get another snowmachine. That was a fun experience...

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    Great links Randy. When the researcher is putting himself through actual life and death scenarios it builds the credibility immensely.

    I fell into a cold November river when my kayak capsized. I didn’t think I was going to make it. The cold water zaps your strength quickly and water logged clothing makes it all the worse.

    Another time I was landing my former PA18 on a frozen snow covered reservoir on skis. Coasting to a stop it broke through the thin ice patch we went over. We were probably going 20 mph at the time, maybe a bit slower. I jammed the throttle forward and we kept moving until reaching solid ice again.

    Situations like this are no time or place for panic. Making good decisions quickly is important.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp
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    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Randy. That was all new to me and very timely.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Folks, winter has set in pretty firmly in the North Country...lakes are freezing up and I have no doubt that the ice fishermen are pulling against the reins to get back on the ice. So, too, are some of us who look forward to landing on these frozen lakes. Please take a moment to watch the video at the top of this thread, and share it with your family and friends. This could save your lives should you find yourself having gone through the ice.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3gy5XyaBo

    Randy

    ps: another rendition of this is demonstrated in this video. The technique is the same as that pioneered by Dr. Giesbrecht. Fast forward to 4:30 of this video to see a good overview if the "Dr. Popsicle" technique.
    Last edited by WindOnHisNose; 11-24-2019 at 09:01 AM.
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    I once flipped a canoe while in some whitewater a little too early in the season. The old hearsay muddled my thinking more than the hypothermia. I was desperately clawing my way up the loose bank thinking I had seconds until brain fog set in. As my shoulders came out I figured I should make one ritual sweep behind me and there was the bowline as the canoe tried to pass me. I had no idea where the boat was, just dumb luck. I came within a moment of losing the whole rig to certain destruction. Now I know that fatigue matters more than core temp in those first few minutes. Thank You!
    What's a go-around?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywalker View Post
    I once flipped a canoe while in some whitewater a little too early in the season. The old hearsay muddled my thinking more than the hypothermia. I was desperately clawing my way up the loose bank thinking I had seconds until brain fog set in. As my shoulders came out I figured I should make one ritual sweep behind me and there was the bowline as the canoe tried to pass me. I had no idea where the boat was, just dumb luck. I came within a moment of losing the whole rig to certain destruction. Now I know that fatigue matters more than core temp in those first few minutes. Thank You!
    I did something like that, was ferrying across under a low dam while in my carbon fiber cruising canoe. We still had ice on the water as we normally do for first paddle. When the bow dropped into the rapid flow the boat just rolled out from under me. I had a wetsuit on but the 50 min paddle out became enduring. I did some learning that day.
    It was another two hours till we got home but our hot tub was very welcome.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I watched a few more of Dr. Giesbrecht's presentations, he doesn't play around with his teaching methods. If he can't get a point across no one can. I will be forwarding links to his teachings.

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    I’ve have hyper-ther. Many times from cold water. I worked as a Hard-Hat diver year around in the Northeast doing Hydro Dam work and underwater construction and salvage. I’m here to tell you it’s no joke and needs to be address before you go in. You do get somewhat used to it and better at it but no matter what you can’t stop the effects for ever. I wear a inflatable vest on ice, that ice fishing, flying you name it. From my experience most people drown from gasping when they hit the water or start chocking and then Injust water. If you are in a plane before you get out or go under the water take a deep breath and hold it and put your hand over your mouth and hang on closing off your mouth and nose. You will pop up and the funny one calm down the best you can. Now watch the video again and remember this fellow has been in cold water many times and is about as good as you get at it and he couldn’t get out the second time.
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/sh...ska_s_Wolf_Man

    Read how Frank Glaser dealt with cold weather immersion and survival.

    Think about the going out before the coming in. Prepare your survival gear and skills accordingly.

    Gary
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    Scouter's Avatar
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    Well, just when you think it will never happen to you, guess what. Bam. In the interest of other folks who hang around frozen water I will urge you to watch the videos at the beginning of this thread. They info they have will save your life. It did mine yesterday.
    My folks live on a lake in central Maine. I always enjoy being able to take the cub to their house at Christmas time, land on the lake and have dinner with them. My dad taught me to fly in his super cub when I was 17, and I think he likes to look out on the lake and see me in mine 40 years later. Those of you that know me know I get up early, I have most of my life. I like to go into the hangar am mess with the plane, there is never anyone looking for me, and the phone doesnt ring at 4 am.
    Yesterday I was putting the ski fittings on the cub, and decided at 5 to go check the ice on the lake in the pickup. We have had several nights with lows in the single numbers so there should be good ice.
    Its still mostly dark at 530, and my mom and dad are still asleep in the house. I walked by a spade next to his shed, and grabbed that. I have a little elec chainsaw with marks on the end.
    there is a solid 4 inches of good ice out to 200 yards then starts to thin out to 2. Thats far enough, and turn and head back. I stepped on a bit of crunchy ice I just walked over, and boom, Im in up to my neck. I caught myself with the spade so I didnt go completly under. Its 530 am, still pretty dark, Im 200 yards from my dads house, and up to my neck in the water. I told myself out loud that boy you have found a world of shi$$t for yourself now
    I remembered the points in the video, the biggest one is not to panic. Told myself i had been swimming in this lake for 55 years, Keep your cool and get out. It took me three tries, but then I was rolling on the ice, and headed for the pickup.
    I decided not to wake up the folks, but have since paid for it by my mom ripping me a new one. I certainly deserve it, and wont do that again.
    A special note of thanks to Dr Randy for posting this up again. You saved my butt with your info yesterday. Thanks is kind of a weak word. But thanks. You are an angel living among us

    Jim Crane
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    Wow, and glad you are here, and had a usable tool with you. It was a cold morning yesterday. This time of year I just look at my pond, I have a fair bit of trimming around my pond that is best done from the ice, it can wait. Still to much stream flow to trust the surface.
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    courierguy's Avatar
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    Just 10 minutes ago I was walking with the dog and jumping on the ice on the stream on my property, and flashing back to my childhood fall through the ice in Michigan, which still gives me shivers. In this case I only would have gotten my feet wet, but I do land some of the Idaho reservoirs when on the skis, and they are always a bit spooky, even if safe, just knowing that cold water is so close! Good work Jim! wow....
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    This happened yesterday morning on my pond when a Cherokee seemed to have power troubles and landed "on" the thin ice.



    Two days ago there wasn't any ice on the pond. Fortunately for him, he was close to the shore and a neighbor broke ice while picking him off the plane with a canoe.
    N1PA
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    CubCruiser's Avatar
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    Wow!

    Meanwhile, in Florida:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Daryl Hickman, CFI
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    http://www.KidsFlyCubs.org

  25. #25
    Scouter's Avatar
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    Daryl
    if you look closely in the water behind you you can see that 12 ft gator getting ready to chomp you in the butt
    we generally don’t worry much about those.
    I was flying with chuck in his amphib Carbon cub last winter and he told me not to dump this airplane in the lake, the gators would soon show up and they won’t be looking for airplane parts

    That said I should be there after the holidays with mine. Would love to stop by and say hi

    jim
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    CubCruiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouter View Post
    Daryl
    if you look closely in the water behind you you can see that 12 ft gator getting ready to chomp you in the butt
    we generally don’t worry much about those.
    I was flying with chuck in his amphib Carbon cub last winter and he told me not to dump this airplane in the lake, the gators would soon show up and they won’t be looking for airplane parts

    That said I should be there after the holidays with mine. Would love to stop by and say hi

    jim
    Come on by. I had my wife watching for gators. I'm sure she was diligently looking out for me...
    Daryl Hickman, CFI
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    SJ's Avatar
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    Scouter, thanks for posting! It was good to hear your voice yesterday.

    What did your mom have to say about it?

    sj
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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CubCruiser View Post
    Come on by. I had my wife watching for gators. I'm sure she was diligently looking out for me...
    If you catch her googling the word "chumming", start to worry....
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Ole & Lena lived by a lake in Nordern Minnesota. It vas early vinter and da lake had yust froze over.
    Ole asked Lena if she vould valk across da frozen lake to da yeneral store to get him some smokes. She asked him for some money, but he told her, “Nah, yust put it on our tab.”
    So Lena valked across, got the smokes at da yeneral store, den walked back home across the lake. Ven she got home and gave Ole his smokes, she asked him, “Ole, you alvays tell me not to run up da tab at da store. Why didn’t you yust give me some money?”
    Ole replied, “Vell, I didn’t vant to send you out dere vit some money ven I vasn’t sure how tick the ice vas yet.”

  30. #30
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Jim, I, too, was very happy to hear your voice when we spoke after your incident. I know of several people who have benefited from the video that was on the lead post of this thread. You kept your wits about you, and that was so important.

    Thanks for letting us know, and for posting here. Things are taken a little more seriously when this stuff happens to people we know and respect.

    I assume your Mom put you in a timeout for awhile. Thank heavens using the paddle isn't as prominent today, as it would be difficult for us to know that she made a grown man cry

    Randy

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    Scouter's Avatar
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    After I got dried out and warmed up,I figured the best thing I could do would be to dissapear for awhile. A couple of hours in the CarbonCub always makes it better. the problem is the jungle drums pound pretty hard around here,and dear mom and dad were here when I got home. At first I got a hug, then she started to hit me with a fly swatter. Then it was downhill from there. She is going to make me a santa hat that says Darwin on it.

    thanks to all for the well wishes. Lesson learned

    Jim
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    Rick Papp's Avatar
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    If mom gives you Coal for Christmas at least you can use it next time to warm up.
    Never stay level!!!!!
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    Very timely. We were up in ND earlier this month when my hunting buddy went through the ice, up to his chin. Fortunately for this southern boy, a there were some Yankees who sprang into action. We got him out and stripped him and got him on heat, a lot of heat. My concern was too much heat and his capillaries would open up too quick and he would go low on BP. My buddy was some what isolated because he was on the other side of the cat tails, but he fired off two shots to get attention. He said he was about 2 minutes from loosing his legs. I really think but for the fact he was not wearing his hearing aids, he would have heard the ice cracking, because it happened to me several times and I knew immediately to "back out" of the area. That all said, the biggest problem for us was the dogs wanted to "help" by jumping in with him, but made matters worse. The hardest part of the whole rescue was wrangling the dogs so they would not churn any more ice so we could get him out and safe.
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    A few years ago while winter hunting on a snowgo I had an 800# freight machine break through the ice with me on it. The right running board had my right leg pinned against the ice and that was literally the only thing keeping the sled from sinking and pulling me into the flowing deep hole under the ice. I was pinned part on top and part under the ice in fast flowing water for about 45 minute before friends found trees to cut to use levers to lift the machine off me. Scared and soaked, and 800# pinned on one ankle hurt like hell. Once upright and safely away from the hole we had to spend the next four to five hours repairing the machine well enough to get to the cabin for the night and back to town tomorrow. The oil tank had broken and the engine was full of water. That was a project. Temps were in the low-mid teens and I was aware of my condition but never got cold. That evening at the cabin when I undressed my clothes were dry except for water in my boots, and in my Whites my feet weren’t the least bit cold. I had been wearing my normal snow gear. Polypropylene long underwear, Simms power stretch fleece pants, a polar fleece shirt, polar fleece sweather, and Klim gore tex outer gear. Once out of the water the water drained immediately and the insulation value of my clothes was 100% effective. Residual moisture vented through the Gore tex and looked like ice fog on the jacket. The moral of the story is when you go into the bush in winter there’s a good chance somebody will get wet. Make sure you and your friends are properly dressed for it and limit the exposure to an inconvenience rather than making it life threatening.

    Cotton kills. Leave it in the dresser and wear polypro and polar fleece and goretex. It’ll save your life in the cold when you get wet.
    Last edited by stewartb; 12-25-2019 at 10:11 AM.
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  35. #35
    nanook's Avatar
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    The white bunny boots (bata) are lifesavers on the ice. You can get in overflow and fill the boots with ice water and your feet are still warm! When you get out of the overflow, empty the boots out and wear them for the rest of the day.
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