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Women and ice climbing


CWood · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5
Jay Patterson wrote: No, having a full bladder of pee does not keep you warmer.  You will get colder.  Tried and true.


I don't disagree that it doesn't keep you warmer, but I'd like to hear your explanation for why it would keep you colder. Sounds anecdotal, and I can't think of a plausible mechanism.

Jay Patterson · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

I know it gets me colder because I always wake up shivering, over and over until I go to the bathroom.  Then after going, I stop shivering and I'm able to go back to sleep.  I would think that having more body fluid to keep warm would detract from efficiently warming the vital organs.  That's just my hypothesis.  

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

A couple pints of fluid sitting inside your core is two pints of fluid your body is struggling to keep at 98.6F. Blood is shunted from your extremeties and drawn to your core to save your organs. Ditch the waste water, save your fingers and toes. 

CWood · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5
Jay Patterson wrote: I know it gets me colder because I always wake up shivering, over and over until I go to the bathroom.  Then after going, I stop shivering and I'm able to go back to sleep.  I would think that having more body fluid to keep warm would detract from efficiently warming the vital organs.  That's just my hypothesis.  
Maybe the urgency keeps you from sleeping and so you're awake and more aware of the cold. Maybe getting up and getting moving in the middle of the night brings your temperature up enough that you get a really solid sleep cycle right afterward, and it carries you through until morning. Maybe a change in autonomic tone from a full bladder leads to the perception of heat loss, or actually does lead to more heat loss in a way that a pure physics analysis wouldn't account for (i.e. increased circulation to the skin). There could be a hundred other things going on there.

I'm looking at it in an admittedly simplistic way that amounts to a physics approach with napkin math, which is certainly less rigorous than a physiology study, but I trust it more than anecdotal evidence.

Stiles wrote: A couple pints of fluid sitting inside your core is two pints of fluid your body is struggling to keep at 98.6F. Blood is shunted from your extremeties and drawn to your core to save your organs. Ditch the waste water, save your fingers and toes. 

This is what I'm taking issue with. There's really no "keeping it warm" - it doesn't cost any energy to maintain the temperature of something like that because the heat loss through your skin would be identical whether there's an extra pint of non-circulating fluid in there or not. Technically, you could argue that additional mass/volume at 98.6F increases your volume relative to your surface area which makes it harder to lose heat, and it also serves as a reservoir of heat. If anything I would err on the side of it very slightly keeping you warm -- but I maintain that the effect is negligible and it's contribution is essentially zero one way or the other.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

CWood--legitimate query-- is there a difference between keeping 2pints of coolaid warm inside your jacket or inside your body?

Curiosity--Doesn't more mass require more energy to keep warm? 

CWood · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5
Stiles wrote:
CWood--legitimate query-- is there a difference between keeping 2pints of coolaid warm inside your jacket or inside your body?
Curiosity--Doesn't more mass require more energy to keep warm? 

I haven't taken measurements, but intuitively there should be a major difference. Conductive heat transfer occurs over a temperature gradient - the greater the gradient and the lower the insulation factor, the greater the loss. Something that's well inside your body (i.e. below the skin and fat layers) is held at a relatively constant temperature by circulation and metabolism/homeostasis. If this temperature changes much, you become hypothermic or die. In contrast, a drink inside your jacket is outside your skin, which can change temperature greatly without killing you, and half of the drink faces your jacket insulation, which is a lower temperature still. That's a temperature gradient, and heat transfer is definitely occurring. Heat energy is transferred from your body to the drink (which is colder) and from the drink to the jacket insulation (which is colder). The main question is whether the insulation factor of the liquid is less than air next to your shirt, and it almost certainly is.

Why is that different from a urinary bladder? The bladder is under many layers of tissue, and a circulating fluid (blood) is keeping this at roughly the same temperature. If there is a temperature gradient, it's not much of one.

Mass does not by itself consume energy to maintain a temperature. Energy input is required to maintain a temperature only when energy is being lost through heat transfer. Heat transfer within the core should be neglected because it is "well-mixed", and held at the same temperature by circulation. Core temp is also roughly constant. The outside temperature is presumed constant (for an apples-to-apples comparison), the surface area is constant, and the insulation factor is constant. A little more volume/mass doesn't really change the rate of transfer (except that there is a negligible amount more "thermal inertia" to the change).

 Assumptions: core temperature is uniform (approximation). Blood flow in the chest and abdomen is fast enough (forced convection) that it's keeping everything at about the same temperature compared with more superficial layers. Now I don't have a graduate-level understanding of heat transfer, and I don't do this stuff professionally, but to a first approximation this analysis should be accurate.

EDIT: Urine is created at blood temperature in the kidneys, so there's no "warming it up" initially either. You warm up liquid when you drink it and it enters the stomach, then no more heat need be added.

I made a silly graphic to illustrate (definitely not an artist). The "core" area should be all the same temperature. Heat transfer is only occurring in the gradient spaces, going from one area of constant temperature (the core) to another area of constant temperature (the outside). This could be modeled with a lot more math and complexity, but the graphic/sketch is the gist of it. Is there a gradient in the water? It's probably all mixing to a stable temperature, but you're probably losing measurably more heat through it than through the air insulating your skin.

If you move the bladder contents from inside the core to the outside (neglecting disrobing), has internal energy been lost? Definitely yes. But the internal energy per unit mass (i.e. J/kg, specific internal energy) is what we're concerned about - the energy inside you decreased, but so did the mass, leaving you with the same energy per unit mass (i.e. temperature).
Jay Patterson · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
https://www.glamour.com/story/theres-a-scientific-reason-women-are-always-colder-than-men

If you're interested, check out the link above for the science behind why women get colder than men.
Jeff Wilson · · Las Vegas · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Highlander wrote:

Maybe a product of environment, around these parts women get after it. Here is my wife on a WI5 first ascent with marginal or very little protection.

Does your wife have a friend or sister who climbs ice? I’m in Ouray 1/7 - 1/11 2019, and again in March... Seriously, you have found the holy grail in this woman. 

I was on Ben Nevis two years ago in March, climbing based out of the CIC hut for a week and had a blast, saw one woman on the mountain, she was a guide, one of the other guides better half. 

Climbed with a notable US woman climbing guide in Washington some years ago on multiple occasions, she married another guide. 

On a guided climb in the Tetons a few years ago my guide was a woman, married to another guide. 

I would be more than happy to support my partner in her aspirations to lead on rock, ice or alpine climbing, and welcome the opportunity to swap leads, go skiing, climb in the desert, Sierras, Europe, Tetons, wherever... Somebody point me to a unicorn!
Jackie Sweet · · Burlington, VT · Joined May 2015 · Points: 40

The northeast has some great ladies but there are definitely a disproportionate amount of men. I'm not sure why and I don't really relate to some of the reasons putting around... but I will say that my least favorite part of ice climbing is having to pee. I know there are funnels, which I still have yet to try, I usually end up holding it all day which in turn makes me dehydrated since I'm not drinking water. Oh the joys of squatting.

More seriously though, I have found it really hard to find consistent female partners so I'm in agreement with the overall theme of this thread.

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