What do you do if you get lost during a snow hike? Maybe construct an Igloo? Will you survive?

Of course. If you know a little about snow, you can adapt and build yourself one. Even if most people find it unimaginable to build themselves an igloo and stay inside until the night or the storm ends, with some minimal knowledge, you can go successfully through this challenge.

Of course, this knowledge is not for everybody. However, if you are passionate, you will have the possibility to learn and test for yourself.

Are you curious about this kind of experience? If yes, read further because you will discover some exciting aspects of this simple construction.

First, the snow and snow blocks used in constructing an igloo provide excellent insulation against the cold temperatures outside. The snow is a natural insulator, trapping heat inside the igloo and keeping its occupants warm.

Second, an igloo has an excellent Stability. When properly constructed, an igloo can be remarkably stable and sturdy. The dome shape of an igloo evenly distributes the weight of the snow, making it resistant to collapse, even in harsh weather conditions such as high winds or heavy snowfall.

Third, in winter, snow is always available. That means igloos are a convenient and sustainable shelter option.

Ultimately, igloos can be built relatively quickly using simple tools like snow saws or shovels. Their design can also be adapted to accommodate varying group sizes, making them suitable for individuals or small groups seeking shelter in remote, snowy environments.

To build or construct an igloo, here are the main steps to consider:

Remember that ideally, it takes two people for this type. One is responsible for cutting and trimming the blocks, and one is responsible for building the igloo. 

1. Choice of location: most importantly, it must be safe from avalanches. The essential requirement is a depression with many snow drifts. For the igloo, it is a straight horizontal site. For the block area, a sloping site makes extracting the snow blocks easier.

2. Test the depth with the probe. You need to check the quality of the snow because you’ll need a compact layer of at least 50 cm. Remember to remove the fresh snow before cutting the blocks. To gain access to the height of the blocks, you must first dig a trench.

3. The place where you will build the igloo must be prepared. That means the area must be tamped so the wall doesn’t sink. As a comparison, the area where the igloo will be built should be as hard as a ski slope. In addition, it should be as close as possible to where you get the snow because snow blocks are heavy and weigh between 10 and 20 kg. For example, for a 2-person igloo, you need 2.5-3m in diameter and around 40 to 50 blocks of 60x35x20.

4. Use a ski pole and a line to make sure you make the igloo round. This way, the radius is the same everywhere. After you mark the area and cut the blocks, they must be transported to the construction site. When transporting, ensure the blocks are not grabbed by the corners, as they are very fragile.

5. The first blocks (the bottommost radius) are placed at an angle of 17 degrees. Also, the blocks must be adjusted with a snow saw for the best possible positioning. After you notice that the sides fit together, place the blocks against each other and make a single tap for connection.

6. Use as much snow between the blocks as possible to make the joint smooth. The last block of snow is placed from the inside.

7. After the first two rows, you can start with constructing the igloo entrance. You can use the snow sonde from the inside for the colleagues outside the igloo to know where you want the entrance. Dig a 60 cm entrance hole from the inside, and protect the entrance from the wind with snow blocks on the outside.

Now you’re prepared to overcome this challenge, and when you have the time, try it and construct an igloo with your friends just to practice!

If you have a message or question about how to construct an igloo or if you would like to know more about hiking around Munich, please feel free to write to me.

Additionally, if you are preparing for a multi-day hike or you have an important peak to conquer, let me know, and besides equipment and strategy, I will support you in reaching the proper mindset through coaching.

construct an igloo