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Ice Box igloo tool

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Have any of you tried this device? It looks like a nice alternative to Colorado's over-booked back country huts.

http://www.grandshelters.com/index.html


--- Jens
post #2 of 12

Icebox tool

Jens,

I bought one of these shortly after Christmas. Santa brought me a new pack instead. Anyway, I've used it once up off the Heart Lake trail south of the Moffet Tunnel east entrance. We didn't camp out that night. We just wanted to see how difficult they are to build and how much time it takes. We are planning to use on a winter backpacking trip in RMNP and didn't want any surprises.

The igloo tool works pretty well. We spent about three hours building an eight foot diameter igloo. I think with experience we will get that time down to two hours or less. It is quite a bit of work. The walls are eight inches thick. I figure we moved and packed around 80 cubic feet of snow. Still a lot less than if we built a quinzee or snow cave. I wouldn't use an igloo for a single night stay, it's just too much work. In RMNP, we plan to snowshoe in one day and build an igloo, do an out and back snowshoe the following day, and then snowshoe out the third. This will give us two nights shelter for one igloo's building effort.

I will be bringing two temperature/humidity dataloggers along on this trip so I can record the inside and outside temps. I'll probably send the info to Igloo Ed so he can post it on his grandshelters website.

Eventually I plan build igloos for a backcountry skiing base camp and use them throughout the winter. If you can recommend a good bowl for a beginning telemark skiier I could build an igloo one weekend then send you the GPS coordinates and you could check it out.

Tom
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Tom.

As for good beginner bowls... I am partial to the area around the 10th Mountain Hut (see Huts.org). I have built several snow shelters near that hut with the thought that if things got hairy, my group could beg their way into the hut. So far, that hasn't happened.

I bought an IceBox tool after speaking directly with Ed - He is a nice guy and was very informative as to what to expect when building igloos with his tool. My plan is to test the tool in my front yard now that more snow is here (I live in Parker) followed by a trip up to the above area later this winter.

I would be very interested in seeing your hut - please keep me posted on your progress and I will do the same.

--- Jens
post #4 of 12
Igloo construction pics:


Constructing base layer


Layer two


Fourth layer comeing around


Cleaning house


Resetting form on fifth layer


Sixth layer ~ 3 hours after starting construction


Seventh layer - Kilroy was here!!


Pack with 5lb. IceBox igloo form. Really put weight out and away from back. Not the best for balance.
post #5 of 12
Hmm...the pictures aren't coming through. To see the same pictures go to http://www.rmnpforums.com/forums/ind...lbum&album=113
post #6 of 12
Can't get to the pictures. I have an Ice Box tool. I have built traditional igloos and dugloos. My friends and I have never successfully completed an Ice box igloo using the tool. We always try to build the giant party igloo and run out of time after about 4-5 hours. One of them got finished traditionally after I went back to WY. The other one needed a few more courses and we were having trouble betting the blocks to stay in place as the angles increased. We quit at about 1:00 am and two days later it got warm and rained. The entire structure collapsed after about 8 hours of this. I think the tool is very cumbersome on my pack. It works better with a sled, dragged or snowmobile. The value is in the ability to use the shelter for several nights or to return at different parts of the season.
post #7 of 12
Um, what is the purpose of the Ice Box igloo tool when you can carry a 2-man Bibler I-tent weighing exactly two pounds that (in my personal experience) holds up in high-altitude storms with 100+ MPH winds?
post #8 of 12
1) an igloo doesn't flap in the wind
2) you don't have to get up several time in the night to shake the snow off an igloo
3) it's safe to cook inside an igloo
4) it's 30 degrees inside when it's 20 below outside
5) if you dig a sit pit you can stand up to pull on your pants in an ingloo
6) an igloo will be usable for three to four months depending on weather. Build once and use many times. Great for sharing with friends.
7) an 11' igloo has enough room for four or five.
8) they are fun to build.
post #9 of 12
tetonpwdrjunkie,

I haven't built a 10' or 11' yet. I did figure you have to move about twice as much snow to build an 11' vs. an 8'. We started with building an 8' on a day hike. When we did an overnight snowshoe we built a 9'. The 8' took us about 3.5 hours. We finished the 9' in about 4 hours.

I think the key to sucess is making sure the bottom row is set at the correct angle. I used a Sharpie to highlight the plumb lines. I also fabricated a plumb out of some wire. Our second igloo went together much better and easier. A properly built igloo will require about 8 courses of "bricks". Things go very fast from course 6 onward, much less snow is required.

Don't over pack. Pack until you feel the snow lock up. This doesn't take a lot of pressure. It kindo' feels like when you go out in fresh snow on skis. You step forward then weight the ski. The ski moves doward into the snow easily then suddenly stops. Sometimes you can hear the snow lock up. If you over pack you will either crack the brick or shift the form. Either case the brick won't stand after the form is removed.
post #10 of 12
The bottom angle is definitely key. I tried the 11' and the bottom angle wasn't correctly set. This resulted in successive layers not sitting exactly on the bottom bricks, creating a little overhang. When the overhang is too severe, the part of the brick sticking out will crumble away, resulting in a thinner igloo wall.

A lot of snow is required for the 11' and eventually you have to bring in snow from further and further away.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have put up two pictures of my solo igloo building attempt from this past March 2 at http://jenspeteraarnaes.blogspot.com/ (You will have to go down the page a few shots to see it).

As you can see, I didn't finish it but I still consider this test to be very successful. I am trying to recruit friends for a back country trip with this tool this season and if successful I will put pictures of the results at this location.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMoritz View Post
Don't over pack. Pack until you feel the snow lock up. This doesn't take a lot of pressure. It kindo' feels like when you go out in fresh snow on skis. You step forward then weight the ski. The ski moves doward into the snow easily then suddenly stops. Sometimes you can hear the snow lock up. If you over pack you will either crack the brick or shift the form. Either case the brick won't stand after the form is removed.
Sounds like you've got it down pretty good.
Sorry to revive this thread but I thought it an appropriate place to let you guys know that we've set up a forum on building the igloos: http://www.grandshelters.com/phpBB3/index.php
I posted a trip report on my Otis Peak climb that you might be interested in.
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