Jani and Shaun cutting blocks for the base of the igloo.
Mike K. holds up one block while Ben prepares another. (Joe photo)
Advanced snowcraft class?
January 2, 2006
Last week Jani began digging the foundation for an igloo in the snowdrift between our tents. A few days ago there was a somewhat spontaneous group effort to finally build the igloo. It was a nice morning with bright sunshine and very little wind. People were ready to get out and enjoy some fresh air and physical labor. Shaun, having considerable experience with frozen water construction projects, showed us how to shape and stack blocks of dense snow to build the igloo. Ben, Jani, Joe, Oz, and I cut blocks out of the drifts with a snow saw. During the construction process, the wind picked up out of the north and blew a snow squall over us. The cold, piercing wind and driving snow helped us appreciate the importance of building such a structure quickly in a desperate survival situation.
I'm sure the Inuit people up near the Earth's other pole would have been rolling with laughter. A shelter that takes two of them about 40 minutes to build took the six of us well over 3 hours to construct. It isn't pretty, but it has held together, and is big enough for 6 people to sit comfortably inside.
Now where did I park my sled dogs…?