Survival Stressors and Extreme Cold

It’s possible to have a great deal of fun, even in brutally cold climates. A changing or extreme environment can become a survival stressor when it creates a difficult situation, but if you’re prepared and able to protect yourself, it’s possible to survive–and actually enjoy–a harsh climate. Take Antarctica, for instance. It’s a place of extreme beauty, and it’s also the highest, windiest, coldest, and driest place on the planet. But that doesn’t stop those who live and work there from getting outdoors. I’ve spent 25 months of my life living and working at McMurdo Station, Antarctica and I don’t know what I would have done without the many opportunities we had to get out and enjoy our surroundings.

A late-summer-season Castle Rock climb, pictured above at right, would normally have been cold, but with the additional environmental stressor of the wind, it became pretty uncomfortable. But…I traveled with a partner, and we both carried proper food and clothing with us so that when the wind kicked up, we were able to put on our goggles, wind layers, and neck-gaiters to protect our faces:

All U.S. Antarctic Program workers get issued a humongous down parka that we affectionately call “Big Red.” It’s difficult to Nordic ski in Big Red because it’s just too hot, but Big Red is totally necessary for outdoor work and early-season hikes, especially when it’s windy and cold outside:

Finally, survival shelters and warming huts are helpful in the McMurdo area because many people like to get outside, and even those most accustomed to being out in the extreme cold like to warm up sometimes…especially when it’s windy and snowing sideways!

Want to know more about the most common survival stressors?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“Overcome Common Survival Stessors”
Stress is a common physical and mental reaction to troublesome situations. So if you’re stuck in a survival situation, don’t be surprised when you feel your heart beating quickly or when you find that your emotions are difficult to control…click here to continue reading

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.

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