As backcountry skiers, we head to the hills with intentions of moving quickly, thinking on our feet, and getting things done as efficiently as possible. But when we’re sent to the tent for weeks on end by a storm, our approach changes a bit. For important camp tasks like building wind-break walls and clearing snow from the tent, the previous principles might apply. But maintaining sanity within a 30 meter wanded radius requires mastering the art of doing nothing and a commitment to lethargy.
Here are 5 tips for disciplined tent-bound sanity preservation:
1. Conversation conservation
Are you certain you won’t get bored of your best friends? Guarantee it by rationing your best conversation topics. Wait until you revisit the same topics 3 or 4 times before busting out that emergency podcast.
2. How about a fun time-killing project?
Whoa, take it easy there. I’d recommend the following approach: visualize it today, plan it tomorrow, and carry it out when you’re desperate for something to do. You’ll leave yourself something to look forward too when you finish counting your remaining dry socks, again. Whatever you do, don’t do it all at once.
3. Be entertained by your human resources
Everyone has a topic or two that they can ramble on about forever. Discover these in your bored comrades, prime them with a few pointed questions, and just like that you’ve got a personal radio show to listen to.
4. Don’t think too fast
Make sure to slow down your thoughts a bit so you don’t run out. Writing them down takes longer, which is good. Also try waiting until noon to have your morning coffee – your neurons will keep a conservative pace all morning and the day will fly by.
5. Fiddle constructively
We all have little gear projects that aren’t important enough to take care of in our busy lives. But if you’re stuck in a tent and completely bored, now’s your chance! Patch the crampon tears in your pants, make leashes for you gloves, or craft anti-balling plates for your crampons. Warning: this can be fun, so try to resist damaging things just so you have something to fix.
While practicing these techniques, it can be helpful to break things up with some refreshing exposure to the storm. Check out our short video from our second storm at the Glacier Bay Saloon, where boredom was quickly replaced by vigorous shoveling by day and night.
WildSnow readers: what are your tips for avoiding tent-bound insanity?
(WildSnow.com guest blogger Zachary Winters is an avid coffee drinker, splitboarder, photographer, and rock climber who calls the North Cascades home. Living in the small town of Mazama, Washington, you could encounter him on the trail working as a Wilderness Ranger in the summer months, and the rest of the year he is chasing good snow, working on his photography, and looking for wolverines. Check out his outstanding photos.)