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Canadian Canoe Routes

Winter ice conditions.
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Author:  jedi jeffi [ November 26th, 2015, 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Winter ice conditions.

Winter Ice conditions.
As we slide into winter (no pun intended) and people rush to get the best-frozen waterfall image I hope you take the time to prepare so your photo shoot is as safe as you can make.
If you are not familiar with how river/stream ice forms it is worth a little bit of research.
I have been hanging around rivers/lakes and ice for about 50 years and the one thing I was taught then and is still very relevant today is, DO NOT TRUST THE ICE !
Conditions change very quickly, not only with what you see but what currents do under the ice.
Anything where a stream/river flows through any urban environment should be considered even riskier because of the effect of road salt runoff.
If you don’t have safety equipment to get you out of trouble then you should not be there.
And remember safety equipment is useless if you do not know how to use it.
What I take along on a trip depends on the type of trip I am doing.
I am not an expert, just a well seasoned outdoors person and I am always looking out for new tips and tricks to make it easier and safer. I will post later what I take,
We will start with ice formation, and remember it is constantly changing, and evolving, river ice does not follow a rule book.
“Anchor ice” forms from the bottom of the creek/river, it can be identified as sort of a strange glow when it first starts to form. Once it is “anchored” it can grow quickly in size and create ice dams that can cause the river to change it’s flow pattern and depth.
That is why it is good to know the site you are visiting at different water levels so you might be able to gauge the depth of the water.
Again remember there are no rules on the strength of these or the depth or how long they will last.
In this example of 16 Mile Creek in Milton, this small falls does not exist. In these images it is almost half a metre high, so at the flows shown the depth here would normally be 10 to 15 cm.



So now you have a new “pond” with a lot of depth that could cause you serious trouble should you fall into it. You can view examples of flooding from anchor ice on youtube.
So take some time and learn about river ice and getting some gear that will help you stay out of trouble.
I will post some of the stuff I take when I head out on my solo trips.


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