This ttips link is related to this subject... it seems that the primary nucleation points for most precipitation are bacteria!! So fresh snow isn't sterile at all. That doesn't mean it's harmful, though. Those same bacteria are floating in the sky, afterall. I know I'm prone to eating snow (and getting it down my buttcrack) pretty much every time I go out!
From a thermal point of view, I think the question depends on if the temps are above or below freezing. If your water bottle is in freezing temps, adding snow will only hasten the freeze. If your water bottle is in above freezing temps the added snow will eventually melt to water.
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:06 pm Posts: 249 Location: Orange County, California
Always willing to try and learn, I drank (mixed it in with some applejuice in my nalgene bottle after the gallon of water I brought was gone!) and ate a nice batch of good ole Sierra Snow on our long ass trip up Mt. Irvine last saturday!
And I felt fine too!
_________________ I'm a german transplant. That's why I sound weird
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:15 pm Posts: 2583 Location: san diego CA
First....it would depend on what mountain range you are talking about. The reason is :what animals are native to the range and do those animals carry and bacteria know to be harmful to humans.
In the sierra the only know bacteria that could psooibly be found is Guardia which is carried in the intestine of the brown bear. The only party that has reported wide spead symtoms were also community cooking at the time so it really was never determind what caused the illness but it could have been either.
In the rockies you need to consider : Bears, Bighorns , Mountain Goats and marmots . a local Biologist will be able to tell you if there are any know diseses carried by the local wildlife
Water- natural water is full of minerals. Some are needed by the body some are not.
Filtered watwer will have particulates as big as the filter medium allows.
Reverse ossmosis water is 100 % pure of minerals ( this water will not conduct electricity which is the test of "pure water"
Reverse ossmosis water is not good for you not because of missing minerals , those can be obtained through food as mentioned. R.O. water is bad for you because it has no bacteria.
Without certain bacterial your Immune system cannot figt off common diseases
So with that I would say if its sunny out and the snow will melt...then suppliment your water with snow.....as long as you are not near a stream with campers or animal crossings upstream.
if the temperature is below freezing...bad idea if the water bottle is in an exterior pocket
if the temperature is above freezing...good idea if the water bottle is in an exterior pocket
Reason: in order to break the bonds holding water as a solid external energy must be added, most commonly in the form of heat. thus if it is warm out there is a near endless supply of ambient heat to melt your water. -side note- the temperature of your water in your water will not raise until all the snow is melted
This weekend while climbing Black Peak I was concerned because there was no access to water and all I had was a nalgene. What I would do is take a drink (around 1/8 of the bottle) then fill it up with snow. Shake it a few times and start hiking again. By the time I needed more water the snow had melted and I was good to go. This worked all day and saved my ass big time.
the one thing I learned it works when you add small amounts of snow to large amounts of water any other way the snow absorbs the water and you my friend are screwed.