What's the coldest you've ever been?

I was cogitating on this as I was walking doggies today and the temp dropped quite suddenly. This being a planned outing, I was toasty warm in my LL Bean stuff but it made me remember other times I wasn’t so smart:

In high school I went on several “survival” trips that the school counselors put together. Not as rigorous as outward bounds, students would still end up hiking about 75 miles over a week and live on TVP, etc. One of these trips was in April in Utah and a friend and I decided that since we had already been on a few of the trips we would up the wilderness geek ante and take just a blanket for sleeping rather than a sleeping bag :eek:

Long story short: Rainy 25 degree night, sodden cotton blanket = fucking cold.

Second story also occurred during high school. Friends and I went to a dance in January 30 miles away from home. Being cool New Wavers, we eschewed coats as uncool. On the way back to the car after the dance was over, my friend who drove broke his car key off in a candy machine while trying to retrieve his change. 2am, community center is closed, we can’t get into the car to start the heater, no coats because of our vanity. Temp was around 10 and we ran around the parking lot and did jumping jacks while taking turns making collect calls to grouchy parents to come rescue us. My sleepy, pissed-off mother made it an hour later – I was never so happy to see our big ol’ warm Ford LTD!

Having lived in Michigan my whole life, I have endured and participated just about every kind of winter outdoor sport and have learned to dress appropriately ( not matching and mannish.)

The coldest I have ever been has been recently, inside my own house, when despite sitting near the blazing fire in the fire place under a nice blanket and a bathrobe, I was shivering.

I crawled into bed with a hat and bathrobe on and sweatpants under my ugly as sin nightgown.

Everyone else was quite toasty, thanks to the fire place…

I shivered until I finally slept with my head beneath the covered and willed myself to sleep.
I finally figured out that my iron level must be low and started double downing multi vitamins and haven’t shivered since.

Oh, and the winters living in a bedroom with ice on the inside of the window. We don’t know why Shirley had loads of bronchial and URI when she was a teenager. :rolleyes:


Wilderness Search and Rescue in bumblepoot Quebec, trying to find a “lost” hiker. I was wearing appropriate gear, but the temps fell to -40, the wind picked up, and my dog and I both starting feeling the sting. We were quartering and going through our assigned grid, but had to turn back before we froze. The wind picked up and switched directions, throwing the dog’s air-scenting, and we just couldn’t keep on going.

Frostnipped my toes, cheeks and nose (even though i was covered beyond covered) and my dog caused some damage to his pads.

It was awful. The thaw was painful as all hell. The hiker was found about an hour later, in someone else’s section, hypothermic but survived minus a couple of toes and a finger.

Coldest temperature was about -63F in Fairbanks many years ago. Coldest feeling was when an idiot scoutmaster took us out for a ‘winter survival’ trip without checking the weather first. Temps dropped to -30F, most of us were unprepared, and several got frostbite. A long, cold night I can tell you.

I got hypothermia once, waiting for a bus that never came during an ice storm. Someone noticed me passed out on the sidewalk, picked me up and drove me home.

That’s not the coldest I’ve been, though. Standing in the middle of the wide-open parking lot at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds with a wind chill of -30… now that is fuckin’ cold. But I had on two pairs of gloves, a scarf, a sweater and a jacket and snow overalls and a winter coat with hood and a massive orange parka with hood over that, and $200 insulated boots. I did that every day for two winters. I must have been insane!

Now you know why I like where I live now, so very much.

[hijack] Could that be why I’ve been feeling so cold recently, I wonder - I’ve been on a liquid diet for the past 5 months and lost a lot of weight, and I thought it was just loss of personal insulation :slight_smile: . I take a regular multi supplement that has iron in it, but do you really think adding more iron could help?[/hijack]

I’ve been skiing in about -60 degrees wind chill several times. It’s really not that bad if you’re dressed right.

I’ve made several trips to Tibet in the winter. No idea what the temperature was, but ground was permafrost and if you spit, it would be ice before it hit the ground. Go for almost a month without removing the polypro layers.

Various trips hiking around Alaska got a mite chilly, but I think the coldest I’ve ever felt was during a Spring canoe trip down the Colorado River many many years ago. Idiots that we were, we managed to dump the tents and most of out gear into the river. We managed to retrieve the sleeping bags, but not the tents. We faked up some shelter by using the canoes, a tarp or two, and some rope. That night it rained. Hard. Soaked bags and soaked ground do not a comfortable night make. I still shiver thinking about it.

First, note my location. :slight_smile:

The coldest had to the the time two junior high school buddies and I went camping down at the Mississippi River one nice fall weekend. It was probably in the mid-60’s when we hiked down there–both the temps and the years.

Then the temps fell like a rock. By the next afternoon, there were several inches of snow, Brad had been sprayed by a skunk, and I had opened up my own knee with a hatchet.

It was probably coldest for Brad since Mike and I wouldn’t let him under the tarp with us.

I was wearing tennis shoes. By the time I got home and took them off, my feet were whitish yellow and numb. They ached like hell when they started to thaw out.

Was caught on a motorcycle in a fall rain storm. Road 3 hours in the rain. Can’t remember being so cold, even in winter.

The winter of 1946 in Fairbanks was the coldest in years, and we had a spell where it got down to the -60s several nights, and one day on the radio, the announcer said there was great news, that “…it has warmed up to forty below!” Actually, it did feel kind of warm.

The coldest I’ve seen was that year when it got so cold in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory that the plane I flew in on (on way back to Fairbanks) got grounded, and stayed there ten days. It finally got down to -70. It was weird, people walking around left little con trails behind them as their breath turned to ice crystals in the air.

It was soooo cold that…

For people who do Americorps and Americorps*VISTA MLK day isn’t a day off, but a “day on.” No one can take the day off for any reason other than funerals or being hospitalized yourself. (maybe this varies by state, though)

So in 2000, while still getting over a very bad cold, I wasn’t allowed to skip the day of service even though I still felt like hell and had been out the two previous days. -43F windchill that day. The wind while pumping gas early in the morning ripped through my clothes like I was naked, or so it felt. We spent about 1/3rd of the day outdoors hauling things to various buildings for the part of the day they punished us by making speaches. I spent most of the day wishing I’d died of my cold.

Hail and hearty the year before, it dropped to a -40F windchill the year before as well in January. I was working for Housing over break, and had to be the person to let people who had been “invited to take the semester off” into dorms so they could move. One Dad wanted to know if it was okay to prop the outside door open. Um no, the university would prefer you didn’t leave the door open a couple hours so the pipes can freeze. That was almost exactly as cold as MLK day, but not nearly as miserable. Though we did fight over who had to go warm the trucks up at 8am!

But with real temperatures even below -20F isn’t so bad if it’s not windy. The wind is the part that makes it alllll suck.

Standing outside in bare feet in the middle of a forest in the dead of winter, around -10 degrees, wearing only a nightgown and a blanket, waiting to go inside a sweat lodge. It was really really fucking cold. You’d think my feet would be the coldest, but I couldn’t tell since I couldn’t feel 'em. Thankfully it was less than a 5 minute wait before we got to go in.

Beat that!

A few years ago my cousin and I went deer hunting in SE Ohio. It was the first week of December, and damn cold. Snow was all around.

We were way back in the brush when we happened upon a very wide creek. (In some parts of the U.S it would be classified as a river.) We had to get to the other side of the creek, but there was no bridge, no boat, etc. So we decided to wade across. We didn’t want to get our clothes & socks wet, so we each stripped down to our underwear, held our clothes and gear above our heads, and waded across. The water was waist deep. Took about 4 minutes to cross.

Damn that was cold.

In the early 80s I had a diesel Rabbit with a block warmer, but I pretty much never used it because I had bought the car just after the cold snaps the previous winter and it always started for me. Then one night it dropped to -15 after an 8" snowfall. Since I had not been using the heater, I had to slide under the car on my back with a flashlight to find the plug. I was not under the car that long (I thought), but lying in the -15° snow the whole time. When I got in, I could not stop shivering even after taking a hot shower and when Deb tried to warm me up by spooning with me, she couldn’t stand how cold I was, so she turned around and we slept back-to-back. She said that hours later I was still cold to the touch.

Went skiing when it was -44F in Laramie, Wyoming. The ski area was a thousand or so feet higher. I like to froze when on the lifts, but on the bright side the crowds were minimal.

A friend and I decided to ski into the Wind River mountains one February. The first night I didn’t sleep any, the second one I managed to get a couple of hours. In Pinedale, some 3,000+ feet lower it was -45F. I frostbit my feet but when we got down we decided to go skiing in Salt Lake City.

I was a pipefitter and often worked in Wyoming when it was -30F.

Wisconsin is a place where the people walk around in short pants when the temperature gets above 50º F.

I remember going to church when the temperature was –26º F. in Milwaukee, in 1982, and I was in Madison when it dropped to –29º F. in 1996.

I’ve been in really cold temperatures, remote parts of Canada and Alaska where it may be -40 F or something. And I’ve been skiing with pretty monstrous wind chills.

But none of those instances was nearly as cold as I was one day when I was 16 or so. I was working in a local supermarket and was cleaning out one of the freezers. It was summer, so I just had a t-shirt on. The thermometer outside the freezer showed it as being -15 F in there. With shorts and a t-shirt I thought I was probably going to die several times, my entire body went numb very quickly in there and I had to take many breaks.

A similar incident would be a University of Wisconsin football game I attended in the winter many years ago. It wasn’t particularly cold on the thermometer but with wind whipping on me combined with the fact I didn’t dress appropriately for the weather at all I had severe pain and numbness over my entire body for about 2 days.

Oh, I forgot. I’ve been in a walk-in freezer that is kept at –40º F.