Winter Exploring

I often see people asking about exploring during the winter months. To me, there are two sides to the argument that you'll need to weigh and consider for yourself.

Pros

  • It takes advantage of 3 or 4 months that you'd otherwise waste. If you don't explore during the winter and you're an addict, like myself, you'll be climbing the walls well before the spring thaw.
  • Ploughed snow shows activity. If you've done much exploring, you've likely run across sites that have really made you wonder about the level of activity. Snow ploughing is a great way to determine that. If no one has bothered to plough the driveway, odds are, they're not interested in accessing the property.
  • Winter makes for nice photography. Face it, especially for black and whites, winter provides an excellent backdrop for your photos.

Cons

  • It's cold! Winter isn't the most comfortable time of year to explore. It's windy, wet, cold, and requires you wear extra clothing that can catch and snag on things.
  • It's really cold! Many buildings, especially those made of concrete, feel colder inside than it is outside. You'll actually find yourself going outside to warm up.
  • Your camera is cold too! Most electronic devices really don't like a lot of cold. The colder your camera gets, the more likely you're going to begin experiencing failures, including, but not limited to, the battery. Lens fogging can also be an issue.
  • You leave tracks. As much as the presence of tracks, or ploughed snow can be an indicator of activity, your own footprints do the same. During the summer months, your most vulnerable time while exploring is during entry and exit. With footprints behind you in the snow, you're vulnerable the entire time you're there.

I'm sure if you think about the subject for very long, you're likely to find more pros and cons than I've listed here, but I think this is a good start to get the wheels going. What you do is up to you, and it's dependent on the location you're going to. Perhaps some of the cons listed aren't factors. Perhaps the epic nature of the opportunity is such that the risks are outweighed. That's always the balance in this hobby.