Sometimes a basic snow wall is not sufficient to keep the elements at bay. The wind can drop spindrift on the leeward side thus burying the tents. Is there a solution in the way we can construct snow walls that would make them more efficient?
I asked this question on the Worldwide Expedition professional group on LinkedIn
Last year on the Patagonian Icecap we built snow walls as normal. In high winds spindrift gets dumped on the leeward side when the wind hits irregularities in the surface ie snow walls. This gave another problem in that we had good snow walls but the tents behind them got buried! Do you think there is any way the shape or construction of the wall can be improved to eliminate this occurrence? I ask this as I am heading for a rematch in Patagonia in November 2011!
Thanks to the respondents and their excellent suggestions.
Damien Gildea • Richard, I had this problem once at high camp on Vinson. A 3-day storm blew in a lot of new snow and half-buried our VE25, needing lots of digging and a broken pole. I think it might help if you build the wall not so flat to the wind, with more of a V shape, or a U shape, so that the wind blows around the wall more, taking the snow with it, rather than just hitting it flat and dumping its load on your tent. I think it’s also good to make the wall at least as high as the tent, not the same or lower.
Stuart Remensnyder • no doubt shape is a huge factor along with height but something we had good luck with on Denali was a second lower wall in front of the main wall. The biggest mistake we made was taking over and abandoned “dug-in” site which filled in rapidly and we had to dig out in the am from drift snow only. from then on we always set up on a level the same as the main snowpack. good luck in November!