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#265395 - 11/28/13 01:28 AM Walking speeds in Winter
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2484
Expecting to hoof it home on foot in a Winter storm is possible, but unrealistic.
If your car/ public transit isn't getting through, you probably aren't either.

Normal, unimpeded walking speeds are 2-5 mph. In a true blizzard, with high winds, drifts and very low visibility 1 mph would be good. Plus most of the roads and all of the sidewalks would be snow filled.

You would have to wear additional, heavy gear and:

And half of the time, its dark.
Being seen by cars and plows would be chancy.

In nearly every case, its better to stay with your car ( or move to a very nearby building)

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#265396 - 11/28/13 03:02 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: TeacherRO]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7374
Loc: southern Cal
There are all those stories of folks on the high plains who got lost between the house and the barn during a blizzard. Bodies were not retrieved until the spring thaw.....
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#265398 - 11/28/13 03:47 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: TeacherRO]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Quote:
Expecting to hoof it home on foot in a Winter storm is possible, but unrealistic.
If your car/ public transit isn't getting through, you probably aren't either.


There have been a few times walking back from the city centre when public transport or taxi services wasn't running during a winter storm. Distance was about 3 miles and height gain would be about 100 metres 330 ft. Typically takes me about 50 min in normal conditions. I would add another 20-25 minutes for the trip in a winter storm. I will usually be wearing a Goretex shell jacket and over trouser if necessary.

There have also been some deaths over the years nearby who have died about 200-300 metres from their house during similar winter storm events who were not found for a few days. Don't attempt it when worst for wear from alcohol during the Christmas party season and if you do you must fight the urge to have a little snow nap on the way back home.


Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (11/28/13 03:52 AM)

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#265399 - 11/28/13 04:09 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1200
Loc: Alaska
Back about 1980, when I lived in Denver, one of our geologists was going out to a well in eastern Montana one winter evening. It wasn't a blizzard, but was very cold, and she got stuck in a drift. She could see lights from a ranch, which appeared to be only a mile or so away.

She was a young women from the east coast, without much outdoors background, and in her first year or so working in the Rockies. Back in those days, management wasn't too carefull about field safety training for new hires, or for making sure they were properly equipped before sending them out in the winter. In fact, management paid almost no attention at all to such things.

Long story short, the ranch was more like 7 or 8 miles away, and the young woman ended up getting frostbitten feet before she reached the ranch. Fortunately she recovered without losing any toes. It was a good wake up call for management, a "teachable moment" so to speak. After that they started making sure people had at least some minimal training and had some proper winter gear. They also started to require folks to carry some minimal emergency gear in the field vehicles so they could wait in the rig if they got stuck. It still wasn't as good as it should have been, but it was at least a step in the right direction.
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-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#265403 - 11/28/13 06:17 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2788
Loc: Big Sky Country
Originally Posted By: hikermor
There are all those stories of folks on the high plains who got lost between the house and the barn during a blizzard. Bodies were not retrieved until the spring thaw.....


When my dad was a boy growing up on a farm in South Dakota they had a rope line running from the house to the barn in the winter. You just held/followed the rope. It was pretty common to know someone that died or lost a family member that got lost trying to reach an out-building.
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“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

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#265405 - 11/28/13 07:35 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: TeacherRO]
Herman30 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 381
Loc: Finland
When walking through deep snow it is of great help to have ski poles. Preferably cross-country poles with larger baskets. Helps keeping balance and also increase walking speed.

grinMight look stupid but in a snow storm needing to get home, looking stupid is of little concerne.


Edited by Herman30 (11/28/13 07:37 AM)

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#265412 - 11/28/13 05:37 PM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: TeacherRO]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
This actually depends on so much - the distance the terrain safety how much snow the temperature your level of preparedness your other options.

A few years back I walked 7 miles home in pleasant but steady snow through the suburbs of Seattle. Temps were an ideal 30 F, I had boots and warm clothing. It was mostly level terrain as I cut around and between glacial tarns and hills; I cut through neighborhoods where I was the only person out and about, and got home in just over 2.5 hours. There was perhaps 5inches on the ground when I got home. I had not broken much of a sweat but my feet were tired.

A couple days later when the snow had melted I caught a ride in to work and found my car where I had left it in the lot.

I could have slept in my office or stopped at friends' houses along the way, but the situation didn't require that. That was about as unfriendly as the PNW gets, in snow - unfriendly to cars and auto travel routes but not to those willing to strike out on foot. All in all it made for a pleasant night. My one regret was no open pubs en route.

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#265413 - 11/29/13 01:21 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: TeacherRO]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
very slow going without snowshoes.

the rope from the house to the barn was a very good idea.
that idea also works any time visibility is poor, and/or peoples' attention is degraded.

Pete

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#265414 - 11/29/13 03:42 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: TeacherRO]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 864
Loc: Colorado
It's not the Winter that slows me down. I had a very pleasant 45F walk of 5 miles this morning.

I think you mean that it's the snow that causes problems.

We can get some pretty amazing Spring snowfalls that cause the same problems.

I'll hunker with my co-worker who lives within very short walking distance until conditions are clear enough to walk the 50 miles home. (or she'll give me a bicycle and I'll get home in a day)

Mostly I'm just super-sensitized to weather and the forecasts so that I bail out and go home when bad things threaten.

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#265415 - 11/29/13 04:54 AM Re: Walking speeds in Winter [Re: Phaedrus]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1451
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
It was pretty common to know someone that died or lost a family member that got lost trying to reach an out-building.


Would you elaborate? I'm entirely unfamiliar with such tragedies. How do they happen? I assume people get lost in big snow storms because the visibility is so poor? Do these things happen on big open plains that lack "navigating features" within what little visibility you have?

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