Glacier Grub Made Easy:
Warm, Tasty, & Painless-to-Prepare Dinners at High Altitudes
By Sheila Messick
You’ve got painful blisters on the backs of your heels. Your pack feels like a hundred pounds. And you’re sick of eating trail mix and energy bars. You check your altimeter--2,000 feet of elevation to gain before stopping for the night. Ugh! You silently begin listing what you can look forward to at high camp: the sitting position, the nice view, hot tea, and some warm food in your stomach. Not just warm, but palette-pleasing food; the type of food that’s worthy to be eaten at home for dinner. You can almost taste tonight’s Bombay Potatoes in Curry Sauce. Now you’re a relatively happy camper. Just 1,900 feet left . . .
Whether you’re backcountry camping or climbing a glacier, a tasty meal doesn’t have to be compromised. If you’re a serious hiker, you know that eating a good, warm meal can be a morale booster. Warm food also staves off hypothermia and helps your body deal with fatigue (Graydon 67). So don’t default to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (boorrring!) or bland freeze-dried food.
But there are a few factors to consider when planning a hot dinner on a cold mountain. Keep reading for a recipe that considers all the factors involved.
Weight. Packaging. Nutrition. Preparation. Clean-up. Taste. Experienced climbers consider all of these aspects of meal-making. And if you’re like millions of Americans who enjoy ethnic cuisines, you’ll especially appreciate this dinner idea. Some companies have made it easy to dine on flavorful food while away from home. For example, Tasty Bite® meals allow you to enjoy almost-authentic Thai and Indian meals on high alpine climbs—within minutes. These are dinners that don’t require refrigeration. They come in numerous variations (Red/Yellow Curry Vegetables & Jasmine Rice, Bombay Potatoes, Lentil Beans in Curry Sauce, Tofu in Spinach sauce, and Pad Thai to name a few). They’re simple in preparation, yet elaborate in flavor. They’re loaded with carbohydrates (fuel for your body). They pack well; they’re virtually spill-free (just keep away from crampons) and are reasonably lightweight. They’re economical, costing under $5 for 1-2 servings. And best of all—there’s no dishwashing involved. You don’t even need utensils.
Skills required: Boiling water.
Saucy Ethnic Wraps
camp stove & fuel
1 small cooking pot
1 cup of water
1 package of TASTY BITE® heat-and-serve meals (or other brand with similar packaging method*)
tortillas or flat bread of your choice (I like the whole wheat flour tortillas)
Heating Instructions for Dummies:
1. Boil water.
2. Submerge foil pouch in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
3. Remove pot from flame and replace with tortilla.
4. Tear open pouch and pour food onto warm tortilla.
5. Wrap & eat.
Remove the pouch from the cardboard box at home—less garbage to pack out.
Eat all the tortillas you bring and use the plastic tortilla bag for disposing the empty foil pouch.
If you buy a “soupy” dinner, bring a spoon and use your tortilla as a bowl.
Although the serving size for a 12 oz. pouch is 1, my husband and I can usually share one package (leaves us room for dessert).
*Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods sell different brand names of a similar product. Look in the Indian or Thai aisles for the ready-to-eat meals that come in a sealed foil pouch. I buy Tasty Bite® at my local grocery store, but like the other brands just as much.
Graydon, Don and Kurt Hanson. Mountaineering: The
Freedom of the Hills. 6th ed. Seattle, WA: The