How to Make an Ice Hole Yourself

We are used to considering swimming in an ice-hole as national fun. It turns out that it is also good for the body. An ice-hole for a bath or fishing can be made by hand. The main point is to comply with all security measures.

Ice hole – what is it for?

The first question that comes to mind when mentioning an ice-hole is “walruses.” People are hardened and courageous, for whom being in the water at sub-zero temperatures is the norm and way of life.

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An ice-hole is an indispensable attribute of Epiphany bathing, when people, young and old, are immersed in icy water on frosty January days. A pool in ice is usually cut in the shape of a cross and is called Jordan. This is a massive event. Therefore, municipalities or public organizations are often involved in organizing the Epiphany font.

Plunging into an ice hole also goes well with a good Russian bath. You can, of course, practice the “light” option: leaving the steam room, rubbing yourself with snow. But the ice-hole is much more interesting and invigorates at times better. It is optimal for these purposes to have a reservoir in the country or on the site of a country house. Although, as we will see below, this is not essential.

Without an ice hole, anglers can go anywhere in winter. And we are talking not only about small, individual holes in the ice but also about quite solid, “meter by meter,” backwaters.

The goals may be different. The general thing here is the rules when choosing a place for an ice hole.

Firstly, not everybody of water is suitable, but only one where the current is no more than 0.25 meters per second—a lake, a pond, a reservoir, but not a rushing river. If there is nothing next to you but a river, then an ice-hole can be built only in its quiet backwater, at a great distance from the berths and confluence of other rivers.

The second important point is the thickness of the ice. It should be at least 20-25 cm and better than 30 cm. Even in this case, there should be no transport and more than 20 people near the ice-hole.

A standard ice hole is a rectangular or square hole in the ice. It can be small or large, depending on the purpose. But two conditions must be met without fail: the hole must be safe and comfortable.

To do this, decks are equipped on the ice hole. A ladder is lowered into the water itself, either attached or stationary, a warm room for changing clothes is placed next to it. Actually, in places of mass bathing, all these things are provided. In addition, doctors and police officers are on duty there, and the place of the hole itself must be coordinated with the local authorities. At the dacha, there will not be such a safety net. Here it would help if you foresaw everything yourself with maximum responsibility.

So, what is the hole made with? The simplest tool is an ordinary ax. He will only cope with thin ice, previously cleared of snow, so that you can take it with you as an aid.

Scrap and ice pick are capable of handling 15-20 cm ice, but they are heavy and not very productive.

An ice saw is a specialized tool. It is controlled with half-meter thick layers. Alternatively, you can make such a saw from a regular two-handed. A chainsaw ( electric saw ) goes through ice like a knife through butter. It costs from 4 thousand rubles, is relatively heavy, leaves oily stains on the water, in all other respects it is an ideal tool for these purposes.

Also, you cannot do without fishing drills (rotors), an ice ax, a net for catching small pieces of ice, or a special shovel with holes.

There are only two ways to cut through ice and arrange an ice hole. Choose the most convenient one.

  1. The first method consists in sawing or chopping the ice into relatively small pieces and then removing them to the surface.
  2. The second is optimal for making a large hole: ice in the allotted area is sawn into large slabs, which are then driven into and melted under the edge of the surrounding ice. This is done using long hooks.

In general, the sequence of actions is as follows:

  • snow is cleared in place and around the new ice hole;
  • the territory of the ice hole is covered with bright tape for the safety of bystanders;
  • the sides of the hole are marked; 
  • six holes are drilled with a fishing brace: 4 in the corners, 2 in the middle;
  • a rectangle is sawn out or cut through (another desired shape);
  • the ice is divided and removed in one of the two above ways;
  • ice porridge (sludge) is scooped out.

The hole is ready.

For those who like to plunge into the water in the fresh air, regardless of the season, you can consider the option of arranging a hot tub: in a summer cottage or a garden plot, something like a small pool equipped with a heating system (wood stove) is equipped. Of course, heating deprives the very idea of ​​interacting with the cold of its essence, but you don’t need to flood the stove.

Ice hole maintenance and safety precautions

The winter ice hole needs regular maintenance during the entire period of operation. The passage to the hole and the space around it must be cleared of snow deposits, and the ice crust appearing on the water must be cut and removed promptly.

Ladders, decks – everything must be in working order and in its place to avoid accidents. It is appropriate to lay a rubber mat in front of the stairs; feet will not slip when leaving the water.

In general, you should be guided by several simple rules that will protect you from the negative consequences of the icing procedure:

  • You need to go into the water quickly. This will help to avoid hypothermia.
  • Be in the water for no more than 20 seconds, but not less than 10.
  • Do not rub yourself with a towel after getting out of the water.
  • After getting out of the water, you need to get dressed as quickly as possible.

Well, and besides, you should not make common mistakes: not to plunge headlong, pat yourself on the body after getting out of the water, warm up before diving with the help of physical exercises, after – alcohol.

Most importantly, remember that reservoirs (especially in winter) are a zone of increased danger, so be as careful and collected as possible, approach plunging into ice water without fanaticism. And then a healthy mind will arrive in a healthy body.


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