We headed into the backcountry this weekend (not deep into the backcountry, mind you) to try our hand at building a quinsy. A quinsy is a sort of low-tech igloo. You pile snow to the width and height of the shelter you want, let it set up for an hour or so, hollow out the inside and – wah lah! You’ve got shelter!
Kate and Brian were pros at this type of shelter – having built them each year with the Search and Rescue team in college. Phil, Lhotse, and I were new to this game and I was concerned about collapse so Phil and I threw in our tent just in case.
We hiked in an easy mile with packs lighter than I’ve carried in quite a while. then commenced digging. we dug and dug – we moved snow where there was little snow to be moved. We ended up with a pile about 12′x12′x4′ high, slightly pyramidal. Dark was closing in and we decided to focus on building adequate shelter for Kate, Brian, and Lhotse and Phil and I would default to the tent. Here are the results of our digging: