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nader - Feb 22, 2012 9:27 am - Voted 10/10

Brown Water

Interesting article,

On a few occasions I have been forced to melt snow. The result has always been brown colored water. Even when I let the water settle overnight, the next day the water was still brown and I could feel the crunch of the dirt under my teeth. If you don't like that, you better have a filter.

I still rather collect running water whenever possible, even if it is just a trickle coming from a tiny snow patch.


ExcitableBoy - Feb 22, 2012 1:16 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Brown Water

I've never had this problem, but I usually climb in the high alpine. I do prefer to collect running water and disinfect with chlorine dioxide as it is faster and saves fuel.

Jukka Ahonen

Jukka Ahonen - Feb 24, 2012 8:39 am - Voted 9/10

thank you & comments

Thanks for the article!

I would offer a few comments:

1) Sterilizing water by boiling becomes less and less safe, the higher you go, at least in theory. As the boiling point of water is lower at high altitude, it will be less efficient at killing the bugs. If you are in a clean environment, this is not a problem, but in a busy camp area this is something to keep in mind.

2) I think I speak for many, when I promote adding the temperatures also in Celsius :)

30 F = -1 C
15 F = -9 C
-43 F = -41 C


Hotoven - Feb 24, 2012 12:23 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: thank you & comments

Thanks for the comments, I'll try to slide in your suggestions.


ExcitableBoy - Feb 24, 2012 1:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: thank you & comments

You can sterilize water by bringing it up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, acheiveable at elevations up to 25,000 feet, one simply needs to heat the water for longer.


Buckaroo - May 9, 2012 1:24 am - Hasn't voted

Use Clean Snow

I usually look at the snow to decide if it needs boiling. Is it pure white with no dirt or color other than white? It shouldn't need boiling or treating. Chlorine is not good for you and even Iodine kills your normal digestive bacteria and only in very rare cases are these things protecting you from anything. Of course this doesn't apply to a crowded camp area, or somewhere with a lot of animals.


ExcitableBoy - May 15, 2012 6:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Use Clean Snow

You are correct, chlorine is not good for you, however, ingesting chlorine for short periods of time is less harmful than contracting a microbial illness. If you contract a microbial illness any antimicrobials you may end up taking will kill off beneficial flora more than water treated with chlorine. Chlorine can also be deactivated after the desired contact time using ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The one situation where chlorine is not recommended is water sources with high humic acid concentrations (think tea colored water). Chlorine combines with humic substances to form trihalomethanes, a carcinogen. This is not usually a problem in the alpine, but can be in low lying forests. While iodine is not my choice, it is effective against bacteria and virus particles which are far more prevalent than protozoans.


Hotoven - May 16, 2012 9:42 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Use Clean Snow

Stop showing off. ;)


ExcitableBoy - May 16, 2012 8:52 pm - Hasn't voted

Showing off

The internets is the only place I can use my graduate degree =)

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