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Melting Snow for Water

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Postby climberslacker » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:52 pm

On my last trip ( and first overnight winter trip) We decided that we were going to melt the snow, but no matter what it aways tasted like burnt rubber. We put about an inch of water in the stove, and let that warm up then slowly added snow to it. But still, it tasted like crap and I couldn't drink it. What was I doing wrong? If it helps, we were using a titanium pot.

Thanks guys!

-CS
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Postby Cascade Scrambler » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:19 am

FortMental wrote:
RickandRhonda wrote:
benjamingray wrote:How many people are boiling the water they've melted from snow? If I know the snow is clean, I'll usually just melt it and call it good.
Clean looking snow isn't always clean- just ask someone who's had Giardia from "clean looking snow" that wasn't boiled.


Nobody gets giardiasis from clean looking snow. Personal hygiene is a much likelier culprit. The following is from a paper entitled, [url=http://www.ridgenet.net/~rockwell/Giardia.pdf]Giardia lamblia and Giardiasis
With Particular Attention to the Sierra Nevada[/url]:

The water that wilderness travelers are apt to drink, assuming that they use a little care, seems almost universally safe as far as Giardia is concerned. The study referred to earlier,3 in which the researchers concluded that the risk of contracting giardiasis in the wilderness is similar to that of a shark attack, is telling. What they did find is that Giardia and other intestinal bugs are for the most part spread by direct fecal-oral or food-borne transmission, not by contaminated drinking water. Since personal hygiene often takes a backseat when camping, the possibility of contracting giardiasis from someone in your own party—someone who is asymptomatic, probably—is real. Recalling that up to 7 percent of Americans, or up to 1 in 14, are infected, it is not surprising that wilderness visitors can indeed come home with a case of giardiasis, contracted not from the water…but from one of their friends.

· Few Giardia cysts survive harsh Sierra winters. Contamination begins essentially anew each year, so springtime water is safer than summer or fall.
· The colder the water is, the more likely it is freshly melted, meaning less opportunity for
contamination.


Unless you're boiling your own water, you should bring some hand sanitizer....and make everyone use it. Another interesting read, along the same vein, is the CDC report on how a population of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn got infected with the Trichinosis bacteria.


I respectfully disagree, as I've seen it happen to a partner and hygiene was NOT an issue. He melted snow, I did not. Hygiene certainly didn't appear to be an issue near as I could tell. The stats you mention indicate, "water... seems almost universally safe", but does not say "is 100% safe." "Clean looking" snow looks no different than "clean looking" water, right?

Of course, I'm just some stupid semi-noob who doesn't know what they're talking about, so no need to listen to me. And by the way, I wasn't talking about freshly fallen snow, I was talking about snow that had been there for months, and wasn't the top, exposed layer.

Cheers!
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Postby Wastral » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:36 am

RickandRhonda wrote:
FortMental wrote:
RickandRhonda wrote:
benjamingray wrote:How many people are boiling the water they've melted from snow? If I know the snow is clean, I'll usually just melt it and call it good.
Clean looking snow isn't always clean- just ask someone who's had Giardia from "clean looking snow" that wasn't boiled.


Nobody gets giardiasis from clean looking snow. Personal hygiene is a much likelier culprit. The following is from a paper entitled, [url=http://www.ridgenet.net/~rockwell/Giardia.pdf]Giardia lamblia and Giardiasis
With Particular Attention to the Sierra Nevada[/url]:

The water that wilderness travelers are apt to drink, assuming that they use a little care, seems almost universally safe as far as Giardia is concerned. The study referred to earlier,3 in which the researchers concluded that the risk of contracting giardiasis in the wilderness is similar to that of a shark attack, is telling. What they did find is that Giardia and other intestinal bugs are for the most part spread by direct fecal-oral or food-borne transmission, not by contaminated drinking water. Since personal hygiene often takes a backseat when camping, the possibility of contracting giardiasis from someone in your own party—someone who is asymptomatic, probably—is real. Recalling that up to 7 percent of Americans, or up to 1 in 14, are infected, it is not surprising that wilderness visitors can indeed come home with a case of giardiasis, contracted not from the water…but from one of their friends.

· Few Giardia cysts survive harsh Sierra winters. Contamination begins essentially anew each year, so springtime water is safer than summer or fall.
· The colder the water is, the more likely it is freshly melted, meaning less opportunity for
contamination.


Unless you're boiling your own water, you should bring some hand sanitizer....and make everyone use it. Another interesting read, along the same vein, is the CDC report on how a population of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn got infected with the Trichinosis bacteria.


I respectfully disagree, as I've seen it happen to a partner and hygiene was NOT an issue. He melted snow, I did not. Hygiene certainly didn't appear to be an issue near as I could tell. The stats you mention indicate, "water... seems almost universally safe", but does not say "is 100% safe." "Clean looking" snow looks no different than "clean looking" water, right?

Of course, I'm just some stupid semi-noob who doesn't know what they're talking about, so no need to listen to me. And by the way, I wasn't talking about freshly fallen snow, I was talking about snow that had been there for months, and wasn't the top, exposed layer.

Cheers!


Where were you that you were melting snow? In other words heavily used area? I will guarantee that in area where there are not people, that there is NO possible way to get giardia from snowmelt unless someone/deer dumped said giardia in said snow. Giardia resides in liquid water, not below freezing snow.

Giardia in below freezing temps does not MOVE in other words. Had to have scooped up some dirt with said snow. OR someone emptied their water bottle out from down below etc.

Yes, there are some things which can grow in snow. Giardia is NOT one of them.

Sorry, either it was Hygiene or it was the campsite you were in was not hygenic. It certainly was not the snow unless he pulled it from a pool of water/snow that had giardia in it from someone before you.

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Postby cbcbd » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:14 am

My advice is to look for running water before melting snow for it. Easy to do in the NE below treeline or at established summer campsite areas, which tend to be near streams. A lot less fuel/energy if you collect your water.
But if you do have to melt then do what everyone before me posted.

Also, from what I remember, ice will take less energy to melt than snow. So if you can find some ice to melt, do that instead of grabbing a bunch of powder.
And even if it doesn't (take less energy), it's a lot less annoying to feed the pot with ice vs snow.
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Postby bajaandy » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:42 am

All good advice. I use a whisperlite with a plastic stove base. If we'll be melting in a high traffic area (Camp Muir, for example) then we usually melt and then filter. Yes, it means carrying an extra piece of equipment, but if it's questionable I'd rather be healthy. The filter can also eliminate that burnt taste if you scorch the pan.
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melting snow

Postby alpinestyle » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:14 pm

I carry a small sheet of tin foil and wrap it aroung my stove and pan...it keeps the wind from blowing the heat away. I dont know how much fuel it saves but makes melting ice or boiling water much faster therfore it must save fuel.
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