/ Running in serious snow

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KlaasW on 05 Apr 2013
Last weekend, I ran across three Graham's, Beinn Dubh, Doune Hill, and Beinn Eich off Loch Lomond through snow and ice on my Innov8's and running crampons. All went fine but as I crossed a swamp between Graham 1 and 2, my socks got soaked, and on top of the hills again, where the windchill was about -20, it was getting scarily cold. These were only Graham's and not even Munro's. Yet, I see videos of Kilian Jornet running across Mt Blanc on what appears to be running shoes. What am I missing? After last weekend, I feel that the next step up in footwear is B3 boots and crampons. Is this silly? Does Killian use something in between? How do I avoid frostbite on the next run?
The New NickB - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW:

Killian will wear something by Salomon, but La Sportiva do the these:

http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/mountain-running/crossover
KlaasW on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

Those sound really good! I guess you just have to avoid really deep water crossings.
Wonrek - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW: Run faster? ;-)


Seriously I suspect the Alps are a lot drier so less likely to actually get 'wet' feet. Or SealSkins socks?
IainRUK - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW: Never used anything but sealskinz.. they do let some water in but stay warmer than normal socks...
a lakeland climber on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW:

I use SealSkinz socks. There are several "weights" to them but there's a lightweight version aimed at runners.

In the UK we can go from no snow cover through wet snow to dry snow in a matter of a few hundred metres of ascent. Often the boundary between wet and dry snow may be crossed several times (such as dropping down to cols) so your feet alternate between cold and wet and simply cold. All this is hard work for any gear to cope with.

The one thing I've found with SealSkinz is that they are prone to getting punctured by pieces of grit that get in to your shoes.

ALC
In reply to KlaasW:
> where the windchill was about -20, it was getting scarily cold.

Wind chill is meant to express how wind makes naked flesh 'feels', so unless you were barefoot running, what the windchill was makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. Your feet got cold because they were wet and the temperature was whatever it was, probably around freezing.

If the temperature was anywhere near really being -20 you probably would have had no problem because your feet would have been dry. My cross country ski boots aren't much thicker than trainers and I can ski happily in -20 in them with just normal socks inside.

JayPee630 - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Yes, people commonly mistake windchill factors!
deepsoup - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> Wind chill is meant to express how wind makes naked flesh 'feels', so unless you were barefoot running, what the windchill was makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.

Er.. So you're saying wind chill has no effect on a person wearing wet clothing? Seriously?
In reply to deepsoup:

> Er.. So you're saying wind chill has no effect on a person wearing wet clothing?

No of course not, but that's not what the guy was asking about. Saying it was a windchill of "-20" is essentially meaningless as he was talking about his feet.

If it's windy you'll feel colder - kind of obvious. If you are wet and it's windy you'll feel colder - also kind of obvious. But people use windchill figures, in this case "-20", in ways that don't make any sense. I've seen people on UKC ask things like "if the windchill factor was -15, why was it still raining?" which shows people get confused by what windchill factors are meant to express: http://mentalfloss.com/article/26730/how-wind-chill-calculated

I sometime go running when it is -20 and have no problem with cold feet in a pair of trainers. That figure has nothing to do with why this chap got cold feet.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/26730/how-wind-chill-calculated
This guy is even arguing there must be economic repercussions to reporting windchill! http://ptaff.ca/humidex/?lang=en_CA
KlaasW on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I think the MetOffice prediction was -6, windchill -20. Anyway, my shoes and socks were soaked in the Glenn below and it was pretty cold at 700m with wind so strong I could lean into it. Anyway, like I said, it was ok, but it made me wonder if I should do a 1000m Munro in the same gear. That's all.
Eric9Points - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW:

Funny, I was up that area as well last weekend. I confirmed to myself once more that Kahtoola micro spikes are potentially lethal..and again today on Ben Lawers. Must buy a pair of Hillsound crampons.

Like others say, Sealskinz are the biz but I must say that they do get damp and cold after a few hours in the snow, especially if it's just below freezing. I often take a spare pair of socks with me in case of emergencies.

Like others say, the Alps are nice and dry. Scotland is in a league of it's own when it comes to wet ground..
KlaasW on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:

I used Yaktrax run and thought they were fine.
Southampton Tom on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to KlaasW)
>
> Killian will wear something by Salomon, but La Sportiva do the these:
>
> http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/mountain-running/crossover

currently on special offer in George Fischer in Keswick
sbrt on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:
Riding my motorbike home from work, last week. I could feel the windchill through the lace-holes of my boots.
Eric9Points - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW:
> (In reply to Eric9Points)
>
> I used Yaktrax run and thought they were fine.

Fair enough but I don't think you could have got onto anything steep and icy as Yaktrax don't even have spikes.

These are the ones I'm going to get: http://hillsound.com/hillsound-product/trail-crampon/

IainRUK - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to Eric9Points: Amazed YT's are talked about here.. they are for icey pavements..

Kahtoola's are great. the aluminium ones are light, wear quickly but in wales especially we'd rarely wear crampons. Maybe north of the border I'd have gone for steel.

But a ski mountaineering axe is essential.
Neil Williams - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Yaktrax also do a type of microspikes as well as the "spring" type. However, having tried them, they are not as good as the original type for 2 reasons, one being that the front and rear plate are not attached together so they can run off the back of the shoe/boot on a descent, and the other being that the orientation of the spikes and reinforcements are such that while you get very good traction on ice from front to back, say when taking the most direct route up or down an icy slope, the traction sideways is almost non-existent, so the only way to stick reliably to an icey traverse is to face up or downhill and side-step.

Neil
MFB - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW:

http://www.inov-8.com/New/Global/Product-View-Oroc-280.html?L=26

seen these used in reasonably extreme conditions - metal spikes reduce the need for crampon/microspikes - warmth will lie in the sock
KlaasW on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to MFB:

I ordered a pair of Sealskinz socks, see if that works better next time. Not so sure about the Innov8s or Salomons with inbuilt spikes: not so great on the road in and out? I'm pretty happy with the Yaktrak Run running crampons; obviously not for really steep ground but worked fine for running on not too steep snow and ice. Anyway, sadly the temperatures are creeping up so all the snow fun will be over soon.... :-(
parkovski - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Windchill works in part by increasing the rate of evaporation. The water in wet shoes exposed to wind will evaporate surprisingly quickly. All this evaporation sucks lots of heat out of the surroundings, including ones tootsies. Therefore - given the right conditions windchill can have a serious negative impact on the actual energy budget of your feet.

The reason this is normally not relevant when running in winter is that the major source of heat loss in the feet is due to constant flushing in of new cold water. However in some conditions where you're not constantly getting wet feet, windchill can have the most significant impact on how cold your feet get.

W/r the OP. I use the thinnest seal skinz over thick running socks. An ealasticated ankle gaiter can also help , and a shoe with a very high rand, and no low drainage is also useful. The Weave of any exposed socks can also be important I think; some socks seem to gather snow much more than others. Shoe fit and lacing can also be vital to prevent circulation issues. The final point I'd make is that your feet are extremities and the body will sacrifice them in favour of other bits of you. On the other hand if everything else further up the circulatory system is warm enough to be shedding heat then the feet will be used as radiators.
Dave Perry - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW:

I avoid the problems of running in snow by using x-country skis.

Same exercise and probably faster too!
In reply to parkovski:

> Windchill works in part by increasing the rate of evaporation.

The wind will chill you more quickly if you are wet, of course - I hope that's kinda obvious to everyone - but that's not the "windchill factor" (i.e. when, like the OP, people state the windchill in a figure like -20). As far as I can see the UK/US method of calculating windchill doesn't take into wetness/evaporation. Wikipedia at least also says it is calculated on windspeed at face level (approx 1.5 mtrs), not foot height. If nothing else, if you're running in soft snow, your feet will be out of wind for all the time they are in the snow!

I don't think anyone doesn't agree that if you are wet and it is windy, you get cold much quicker than if you are not and there is no wind! I just think stated windchill factors seem to confuse far more than they inform, like in this original post where the chap mentions -20.

By the by; one thing if you are in snow and you do get wet feet, or wet anything else, is to remember snow is very absorbent of water. You'll still have wet feet, but if you can get out the ditch or where ever the water is (in my case going through lake ice a couple of times in shallows below!) packing snow round your feet, or rolling in it if your legs are wet too, will suck a lot of the water up and definitely helps you start to dry off, as long as you can stop going into more water - sometimes hard if hiking or running early winter or in not very cold places like the UK when ice is often only very thinly covering water.
Got a job rob - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW: Peripheral shut down will limit blood supply to your feet when your body is cold. Keep your core and legs warm and the warm blood will still get to your feet.
parkovski - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Fair enough - I re-read your post and think I missed your emphasis. Graphs of windspeed vs. apparent temperature with different lines plotted for different humidity values exist - but I agree that "wind chill factor" is unhelpfully woolly where quoting wind speeds would be more useful. In defence of the OP, he was only using wind chill to illustrate that it was cold - not how cold.

"...remember snow is very absorbent of water."

The problem in the UK is that the snow knows this already and is normally saturated with water!
mrchewy - on 16 Apr 2013
In reply to Eric9Points: Have had a pair of the Hillsounds for over a year now - splendid bits of kit.

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