and frostnip typically occurs in the hands, feet and sometimes ears and
the nose. The tissue turns white, you lose the feeling in it, and
eventually it becomes black, blisters and finally falls of.
Frostbite is thawed in cool water slowly heated to
lukewarm. If you thaw the tissue too fast (in too hot water) it will
thaw before circulation has returned and the tissue will die of oxygen
depravation, the cells bursting. In addition to thawing you need to
administer antibiotics to prevent infections.
It will take around 3 months to determine the exact
damage. Luckily, frostbite often reverses completely. Never treat a
frostbite by rubbing it!
Feel your feet sometimes while climbing, stretch the
toes, kick the boots in the snow once in a while for improved
Use HotTronics for the summit attempt, donít wear too
tight boots. Always wear gators over plastic shoes - or even better use
the One Sports shoes.
Should you sense a loss of feeling in your feet while
climbing - remove the boots and warm the feet in your buddies armpits or
crotch (well, thatís what friends are for).
The herb Ginkgo Biloba is said to expand the fine
capillaries and be helpful against frostbite. Drinking lots of fluid is
can kill in only 30 minutes. Cold temperature, but also strong wind
causes the body to rapidly lose heat. You start to shiver in order to
maintain body heat from the rapid muscular shaking.
If your body temperature drops to 35C/95F, you'll get
dizzy and disoriented. Then the shivering stops. The body now maintains
temperature only around the important organs; heart, brain and lungs by
shutting down blood circulation to the arms and legs.
At 30C/86F, your pulse is weak and slow. Your blood vessels widen. Now,
you feel hot and want to remove your clothes, finally slipping into
unconsciousness. At 24C/75F your heartbeat stops. How fast you drop
temperature will determine how rapidly youīll parish. 30 minutes is more
Full blown Hypothermia will not be improved by
additional clothing since clothing doesnít generate heat. In difficult
climbing situations, you need to put hot water bottles in your armpits,
to your crotch and/or stomach.
As a last resort, strip and get into a sleeping bag -
together with another undressed person, to warm up by the others body
heat (yeah, yeah - keep your dirty imagination to yourself!).
Otherwise - keep moving until at safety. In 1998, a
climber died of Hypothermia on the North Side. All that was found left
of him was his clothing neatly folded below the summit. This is quite
typical of the condition. Confused, the brain tries to bring some order
in the situation, thus folding the clothes.
Prevent Hypothermia by adding on clothes as soon as you
start feeling the slightest cold. Bring windproof clothing and
lightweight downs in your backpack for the lower climbs, hot water
bottles inside the down suit for the summit and donít pursue the climb
if you start getting the symptoms of Hypothermia, unless you have no