scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Quinzee Construction
Ian Shedden (dishedd@HOME.COM
Tue Mar 21 2000 - 19:42:09 CST
I had the 'science' of building a quinzee explained to me this way:
The action of moving the snow into a huge pile causes the molecules to rub
and roll over one another. Silly as that may sound, at that level of action
there is still friction and friction generates heat. That little bit of heat
is enough to cause a miniscule amount of water on the surface of the snow
flakes and the lengthy waiting period (two to four hours) after you have
finished the pile is sufficient time for that water to re-freeze and bind
the snow together.
Once the pile is frozen it is hollowed out. To maintain a constant thickness
in the walls poke numerous twigs and small sticks into the surface of the
pile to a depth of about 8" As the snow is scraped away from the inside the
twigs become depth indicators, telling the (sweating) Scout that the wall at
that point is thin enough.
After the hollowing process is complete some people suggest leaving a
burning candle inside the quinzee. That volume of heat causes the inside
walls to glaze and the surface provides a "wick" for condensation to run
down instead of dripping. Finally, a vent hole is poked through the roof to
allow the excessive heat of sleeping Scouts to escape. No vent makes for an
excessively humid interior with lots of condensation dripping on the
sleeping Scouts. They will wake up at some point and curse their Scouter
soundly for making them sleep in such wretched conditions. If the vent is
installed they will come out in the morning and rave to all their friends
about how incredibly comfortable they were.
As for strength, I've seen pictures of a quinzee built by local Scouts with
eight of them are standing on top of the shell with no collapse. The troop
involved has a rule that quinzees must be torn down at the end of a weekend
camp to prevent any possible accidents with other people using the unit
after they depart. Its almost as much work to destroy the frozen shell as it
is to pile it in the first place.
Quinzees are not good for people that suffer from claustrophobia. At night
there is total darkness inside and the insular quality of the thick walls
makes for virtually total silence. For some people its just too much for the
mind to get around. A good safety measure is to have first time users go
inside in daylight with their sleep system in place and test the environment
for a short while. This way they have sufficient light to orient themselves
and get a feel for just how quiet "quiet" can be.
Hope this helps some of the southern Scouters. We Canucks usually have lots
of snow in winter that we'd be willing to share. Send your own S.A.S.E and
rest assured we'll send as much as we can stuff in. Its one way to avoid
shoveling the stuff ;-)
29th Nepean Group
Cold Country Canada
Growing old is inevitable.
Growing up is still an option.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Murphy Peter" <MurphyP@TCE.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2000 10:37 AM
Subject: Quinzee Construction
> I don't consider myself an expert, but I have built a few
> quinzees. I was taught to pile the loose snow about 6 to 8
> feet high and then let it settle under its own weight.