Otina's Adventures

Otina's Adventures

Trip reports and photos from hiking, climbing, skiing
and mountaineering adventures in Colorado, Alaska, NY and beyond.

My Alaskan Outhouse

Date: Various; March 2003 - March 2007
Camera(s): Sony DSC-V1, Canon 30D

What would a waterless cabin be without an outhouse? No matter where you live in Alaska, eventually you will visit an outhouse. Everyone has different rules about usage and TP disposal. Some burn it. Though once, a geology graduate student ended up setting the tundra on fire, and then subsequently the cabin he was living in. So care must be taken ;)

In winter there are minor inconveniences like ice, snow and cold. The TP must be in an enclosed Tupperware container or box. Why? Ice crystals will bond with the TP and turn it into a block of frozen TP. When I moved into my cabin, this is what the previous renter left me, frozen TP.

Some hang lights from their cabin to the outhouse, I chose to just leave the door cracked open for light from my cabin's outdoor light. Others would use a heater to make winter outings more pleasant. I didn't bother, since that would mean more equipment to take care of, and how warm will it ever get? Not enough. These choices lead to quite the ice crystal formation from exhaled breath condensing around me. Some pretty photos for my hard work.

On occasion when I would be away from my outhouse for a few days or week, ice crystals would form in the "hole".

The Styrofoam seat... When my grandmother visited, she thought she would do something nice and replace my styrofoam seat with a real plastic/porcelain one. Then she used it. Styrofoam does not get as cold as other surfaces. Some people keep the "seat" inside their cabins for extra warmth. Mine was pretty well fit into the outhouse, so I left it where it was. It was adequately warm enough...

The Shitsicle or Shitagmite: WHAT? Yes, with the frigid temperatures, this is what happens in your outhouse. Over time this shitsicle will grow up towards the sky. If you are not careful it will crest the top of the seat. There is a local legend telling of one poor dumb sap who never knocked over the shitsicle and just stood over the pile until it grew well over the seat!

Blog on outhouses

Back to my cabin...


Last Update:
Page Last Modified = 2009-11-10 13:41 PST
Boulder Webcam

Time since last injury: