Sunday, February 20, 2011
The weather has been record cold for this winter in this week, nightly lows has been -25°C to -29°C and daily highs -10 to -15°C. This weekend looked very good for an extreme overnighter with a full moon. I was too tired on Friday evening and didn't have enough time to prepare properly. So I decided to have a go on Saturday night. The destination was the lean-to of Hevonpää in Paimio, a place where I haven't been before, and not too far away.
The goal of this overnighter was to see if I can still be comfortable even with the very cold conditions. Forecasts predicted -28°C for the night. My Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag is rated for -18°C, with the survival rating being at -37°C. Not really enough but I have a very warm wool sweater and old down jacket. Also, I decided to take two pairs of wool socks and two new Vaude pocket warmers. I knew that without them my foot would be too cold and that would make my night pretty miserable.
I left home late, somewhere 11PM, temperature at -24°C. The start was awesome and stunning.
The two batteries of my camera were fully charged, but the first one died after these shots! Not a suprise, as Olympus uTough-8000 has a full metal frame.
I rode very slowly, trying to not to sweat, that was the key for sleeping well in the night. Things went as planned for the first 40 minutes, althought the gears of my bike didn't work properly. My plan was to get to the lean-to in an hour, and I estimated that this way my foot would not get too cold. Wrong. My toes started to hurt slightly after the first 30-40 minutes, but I moved them and the situation was still in my control. The Moose Mitts pogies and Orso two-finger gloves were almost not enough, but they were ok.
I was getting closer to my destination, the only problem now was to find it. I had looked the maps at home and figured that the lean-to should be easy to find, as the instructions says that the route should be marked with yellow strips. I rode two of the small side roads of the 110-road. On the later one, I found a couple of yellow strips but nothing else.
After this photo also my second battery died. Things didn't look too good. My toes were pretty cold. Then I found some ski tracks nearby. I decided to hike and see if they lead to the lean-to. They didn't. I had also early signs of bonking and ate some frozen chocolate raisins. I had also sandwiches but they were, of course, pretty frozen.
The clock was probably close to 2AM in the night. I could have camped to snowdrift, but it didn't feel as a good idea. I decided to abort my trip and head to home. As a plan B I could camp to a place very close to my home where there is some kind of shelter, depending how I feel. But I was running out of time, the night would be too short. And the conditions felt even colder.
I was home at 3.30AM. This was a right decision, look what had happened to the pocket warmers!
Completely frozen. The temperature was -28°C at home! I don't know what kind of liquid it is inside of the warmers, and haven't found the information on the net, but the freezing point is fairly high. In the future I have to keep them in my jersey pockets.
Interesting overnighter! I'm a little disappointed in not finding the lean-to, but I'm not giving up. If the opportunity comes, I will try this again.