How To Move Across Untested Ice – The Science of Trouble
Whether you’re wanting to get out on the ice to have a little fun or if you end up on it unwittingly, there are ways to move across it that give you a chance to stay …
It is really really essential,
just the basic awareness and
understanding about ice safety.
What can you do, just
walking up upon the ice
to try to determine whether
it's basically safe.
If you're not accessing the website
You decide to not engage
that as a tool or resource.
What can you do just
walking up upon the ice
and try to determine whether
it's basically safe or not?
The only real practical way is to evaluate
it visually and then to load test it.
If you don't have a tool, like this,
some type of long handled tool
that you can kind of, poke and prod
and put some pressure on the ice
your basically relying on putting
your own body weight
in different positions
on the ice to see how
it responds and reacts.
If you don't have a
fancy dancy suit like me,
you got to be prepared for the fact
that if the ice gives way, the likelihood
of you ending up in the
water is radically realistic.
And that's not any position
you ever want to be in
without a thermal barrier and
a protection suit like this.
So, if you got to tool, as
your approaching the bank
understand that the
ice closest to the bank
is oftentimes going to be your weakest ice
or your least formed ice, that's
your shallowest depth and based on
how the sun comes up, what the sun does
it's going to radiate heat
through the earths surface
and through that shallow area back
up to the backside of the ice.
So those edge areas, are a lot of places
where you'll get percolating water,
very very thin ice, ice that breaks away,
but as you navigate a
little bit further out,
the ice can in fact actually thicken
and become more reliable as you progress.
So, if I was just coming up here to probe,
I want to give it in some good hits,
get good contact points on this ice.
Ya see right there, I just
punched through right there.
So there I am, into the muck,
into the mud, into the mess.
Now I've already cut a
hole in this sheet of ice
so all this stuff that I am
breaking away here at the edge,
I can tell you out in
the middle of this pond,
I've got about eight
to nine inches of ice.
So this is that, radiant heat thing
their talking about, where the earth
is just bouncing heat back up here.
Now as I start navigating out,
you see how much more solid
this ice is getting as I progress.
This is where ice can be deceiving
if you're not using a good
striking tool like this.
You can see that right here on this edge,
I'm standing on this edge just fine.
But when I point load it with just,
something a little bit significant,
it immediately starts breaking through.
This is a load distribution issue.
So when we go out on the ice, my foot
is taking all that force of my body
and spreading it out
over that ice surface.
So it's allowing this thin sheet of ice
to support me much better,
than putting that same amount of weight
on the point or the tip of this tool,
which will then load right through there
and break right through that ice.
We take this same concept and we make it
much bigger when we're actually
working across the ice.
So I don't want to just
walk across the ice.
Number one it's putting two point loads
on the ice, that are the size of my feet.
Number two, if I slip,
this is an unbalanced load
and the likelihood of me falling
and hurting an elbow, fracturing a wrist
or striking my head on the
ice is really really high.
So my first best option
is I'm kind of working
around this ice and figuring things out,
is to get in a good three point stance,
and use this same tool application
I have and reach out in front of me.
If you find yourself just
coming upon this pond
and you don't have all this stuff,
something as simple as a branch,
just laying along here
alongside of the pond
is better than nothing, so having that out
in front of you, to load, sweep
and kind of evaluate
that ice in front of you
is going to be a good impact tool.
By bringing my knee, my foot
and my sole into play here,
I'm now kind of spreading out my load
over three points of points of contact
instead of two, which is going to produce
less point loads and make my overall load,
on this ice, more
dispersed and help the ice
carry my weight a little bit better.
If I find as I'm working across here
that I'm getting a
little bit of crackling,
the ice is going to make noises, so,
if you are starting to fracture the ice
you're going to hear it,
if your encapsulated,
like me, and you are intentionally going
out across the ice to do something
life safety based, then we'll often times,
switch gears and go right to our bellies.
You can see, based on that
load distribution concept,
now I'm really distributing my mass.
I don't have any point
loads anywhere on the ice,
and now I can work across the ice surface
and make sure my load
is really distributed
and I'm not putting any
point loads on there.
So, this is best for load distribution.
This is moderate for load distribution
but still a good safe
position and very mobile.
This is least desirable.