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Stephen_Ramsey

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Everything posted by Stephen_Ramsey

  1. Alpental winter upvalley travel restricted

    Does anyone know-- Is this an issue that the Access Fund could help with?
  2. Time for Winter Ascents!

    Ken, I've got a partner, thanks. We are both beginners, so we move slow, and hit the trail early. For the Tooth, I wouldn't leave quite that early. But for other winter routes I would. To each his own. Cheers, Steve
  3. Time for Winter Ascents!

    Ken, OK, but I wonder if it would actually be pretty easy for them to enforce. How many lift-served skiers will be parking in their parking lot at 4:00 in the morning (a typical departure time for a winter alpine route). Probably they wouldn't tow unless it was a repeat offender, but who wants to take the chance, given how massively expensive a tow would be? Now, if you show up after the lifts open, I agree it will be hard for them to nail you. But that makes winter alpine climbs kind of infeasible unless you're superhero fast. Overnight parking presumably will also make you stand out as a potential parking violator. I'd be happy to walk further, but where else would you park, without also risking a ticket or (even worse) getting towed?
  4. Time for Winter Ascents!

    I'd like to climb the Tooth, but apparently access is going to be a problem. http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/threadz/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/291126/Main/290831#Post291126
  5. Alpental winter upvalley travel restricted

    Minx, When I asked the USFS ranger station manager about where snowshoers and winter outdoor recreationalists should park after the restrictions are put in place, he said he "didn't know". IMHO that's a bad sign. I'm not trying to fearmonger or anything, but by the same token I'm not too confident that things will "just work out" favorably, without a strong voicing of public opinion. I plan to write a very politely worded letter to Rob Iwamoto (acting supervisor for the Snlqualmie-Mount Baker National Forest) advocating that a plan for public parking near Alpental be created, with input from the general public. Cheers, Steve
  6. Alpental winter upvalley travel restricted

    DBB, I don't know for sure what will happen, but Don Thompson told me that access will be restricted to all of Alpental's parking lots. I can forsee that it will be difficult for climbers to get away with using the parking lot. I mean, if the security guy sees a 4x4 parked in the upper parking lot at 4:00 in the morning, that will be a dead giveaway. I'm bummed. -Steve
  7. Alpental winter upvalley travel restricted

    I just e-mailed Trevor Kostanich (Manager of Planning for Summit at Snoqualmie) asking him about whether they intend to allow fee-based public parking. It would be terrible if the only way to park there is to buy a $42 lift ticket. If others feel the same way and want to e-mail them, you can find Kostanich's e-mail address using google, or by sending me a PM. -Steve Ramsey
  8. Alpental winter upvalley travel restricted

    I just called Don Thompson at the USFS, North Bend Ranger District. I was told that he is in charge of the Snoqualmie Pass area. I asked him about access to Source Lake from Alpental. He told me that Alpental is going to only allow skiers/snowboarders to park in any of their parking lots. General public use of their parking lots will no longer be allowed. This does NOT affect public access to USFS land adjacent to the Alpental ski area. The "winter upvalley route" to Source Lake is not being closed; although I don't know where you would park if you wanted to get in there. I asked Mr. Thompson about whether the state could set up a Sno-Park for public parking in that area, and he said "we've been working on it for years, but haven't been able to get the state interested". Bottom line-- public access to the land is not being restricted, but it sounds like parking could become a problem. This is what I understood from the USFS. You can call the USFS at 425-888-1421 and ask for Don Thompson if you have further questions. Perhaps some polite phone calls emphasizing the importance of this area for public recreation, might help grease the wheels for better public parking access in the future. Cheers, Steve
  9. Double rope advice

    David, Good point. I hadn't thought about the redirection scenario. Cheers Steve
  10. Double rope advice

    Those 8.1mm ropes are indeed nice. You make a good point about rope elongation. I've actually decked when top-rope ice climbing on a single 8.1mm strand, due to the belayer misjudging the rope stretch. Fortunately it was a soft landing in deep powder.
  11. Double rope advice

    Hi David, I'm not sure I agree (or I'm confused, which is perhaps more likely). It seems like it would only be "even more if your last 2 clips are on the same rope" if the rope broke. Let's suppose your last two pieces were on the blue rope, and the piece before that was on the orange rope. In this scenario, if just the top piece pulled, you'll just fall to the next-to-last piece as if on a single blue rope. The second piece would have to pop as well, before the orange rope comes into the picture. Now, if the blue rope broke, then I agree, you're going for the big ride (all the way to your third piece). The other thing about twin ropes is that the two ropes are right next to one another and are thinner, which increases the chance (albeit unlikely) that a single rockfall or errant adze chop can cleave both ropes, as compared to a double rope system. With a double rope system, the ropes are usually a bit more separated. This is one reason that I tend to favor double ropes over twin ropes (although rope drag is still a more important factor for me). It seems like occasionally twin-clipping with a 1/2 rope might decrease the distance of a fall in the event a rope breaks, but at the cost of (in the event neither rope breaks) increasing the potential force on the piece that was twin-clipped. I guess it's a case of "pick your poison"... But as I said, I maybe misunderstood your post, or I could be just totally confused.... Cheers, Steve
  12. Double rope advice

    I'm just here for the beer.... This is a good point, although it is common practice to use double ("half") ropes in "single" rope mode, for roped simul-climbing on moderate alpine terrain, where fall forces are unlikely to approach the forces of 80-kg UIAA test drops. Cheers, Steve
  13. Double rope advice

    Assmonkey, I'm just a beginner, so I'm probably misinformed. But I was taught that you do not want to twin-clip with a "double rope". I was told the reason is because twin-clipping increases (in the event of a leader fall) the force on the piece of protection, as compared to using a single-clip with a rope of the same diameter. With official twin ropes, twin-clipping is OK because the ropes are designed for this (i.e., they have the diameter and elasticity such that even with a twin-clip, the combined force on the piece of pro is less than some threshold). The following explanation assumes a serious leader fall in which the belay is at least somewhat dynamic (some rope slips through the belay device). The maximum force that the belayer (with the belay device) can exert on the rope to slow it down (as it slides through the device) is dependent upon the thickness of the rope. With an 8.5 or 9mm double rope, this force is larger than with a 8.1mm twin rope. Twin ropes are designed to be thin enough that even when this force is doubled (two strands of rope going through the belay device), the net force on the anchor is less than some magic number that is considered "safe". But no such guarantee is made if you twin-clip a double rope, and both strands of the double-rope go taught at the same time. The foregoing analysis neglects the kinetic friction of the rope passing around the carabiner at the "last" piece of pro. This friction force depends on the diameter of the rope relative to the cross-sectional radius of the carabiner. I believe this friction force is increased if the diameter of the rope increases. This has the effect of very slighly reducing the force on the anchor, relative to the twin-rope scenario. But I don't think it compensates for the increased force from the belayer. Bottom line-- if you twin-clip with double ropes and take a leader fall, your last piece will see a net force that is (possibly significantly) greater than what you would have with a twin-rope system. Again, just repeating what I was told. Take with the appropriate grain of salt. In any event, I make it a point to never twin-clip with my 8.5mm double ropes, even if I'm clipping a bolt. In ice or alpine climbing, I personally am much more frightened of a piece ripping, than I am of the rope breaking. Just a personal choice. Cheers, Steve
  14. Avalanche: Harsh lessons

    KC, I agree with this. And another distinction of a guided party is that in my experience, guided parties are equipped and prepared for self-rescue. So if the guided party chooses to take a calculated risk, they (ideally and hopefully) do so with the understanding that they will rescue themselves if things go wrong, in most situations. This distinction is important because with self rescue, they are (ideally) not endangering the rescue personnel of the local authorities. At least, this was a clearly understood principle when I have been on guided outings with reputable local guide services. In contrast, an ill-equipped and unskilled party traveling in the same terrain, but implicitly assuming that the ski patrol will rescue them should anything go wrong, is (IMO) behaving irresponsibly. I should be clear that I'm not blaming the victims for this tragedy, since I don't know all the facts. In the above, I'm just talking about hypothetical scenarios. I have no issue with folks wanting to take significant calculated risks in the mountains, provided they are equipped and skilled enough to deal with any likely outcome, themselves. [Obviously, there are sometimes unlikely "freak" events that no party can anticipate or be prepared for (e.g., the massive icefall avalanche in 1981 on Mt. Rainier)] Again, just my $0.02. In any event, it was a sad weekend. Cheers, Steve
  15. Avalanche: Harsh lessons

    I don't understand. I just rechecked at the NWAC forecast issued at 2:30 PM on Saturday, and the forecast issued at 2 PM on Friday. Both forecasts predicted high avalanche danger above 3-4k, and considerable below 3-4k, for Saturday. The text of the forecast issued on Friday at 2 PM is included here: The text of the forecast issued on Saturday at 2:30 PM is included here: Why are you saying the forecast was wrong?
  16. Road conditions (Paradise entrance)

    Dustin, I was told by a park ranger that once "winter camping regulations are in effect" (their words), you are allowed to overnight camp pretty much anywhere (except not in buildings like that public restroom facility at Paradise). Winter camping regulations go into effect when there is 5 feet of snow cover at Paradise, and 2 feet of snow cover "elsewhere". Whatever that means, I imagine winter camping rules are in affect, by now. However, as I understand it, they do NOT allow you to sleep in your car, even in winter. There is an overnight parking at Narada falls, in addition to the overnight parking areas at Paradise. I guess it would be a good idea to use the overnight parking area, so the rangers do not get distressed thinking you are a day-hiker gone missing. Although the official rule is that you cannot sleep in your car, I kind of doubt anyone would catch you, this time of year (assuming you are discreet). But I'm not endorsing this practice, just speculating. This is just the information I could glean from talking to some park rangers. For the straight scoop, call (or visit) the rangers at Longmire. I think a park ranger staffs the museum thingy at Longmire after 9:00 AM on weekends.
  17. How to get to Curry Gap?

    Jim, Thanks for the info! Did you ascend and descend via the NE ridge? Or perhaps another route? Cheers, Steve
  18. How to get to Curry Gap?

    Thanks Erik. Food for thought... Cheers, Steve
  19. BD iceclimbing gloves

    I have the Ice Gloves from last year's line. They are pretty good. I used a mechanical pencil (as a crude seam-rip tool) to remove the stupid thick rubber "Black Diamond" logos on the gloves. Not sure if the weight savings was worth the effort. The leather palms waterproof well with Aquaseal or Nikwax. I used seam-grip to seal the seams and any stitching that is exposed on the exterior. The index fingers of the gloves each have a tiny loop that you can use to hang the gloves on your gear loop, so that the gauntlets face down. This is helpful so ice and snow don't get in the gloves when they are hanging on your harness. Took me a while to figure out what the little loops are for. I hear the latest Guide gloves are primaloft insulated. Those should be mega toasty. I'm keen to try them out some time.
  20. Blackcomb ice

    The "West Coast Ice" book by Don Serl has some information on water ice climbs near the Blackcomb Glacier, if I remember correctly. Cheers, Steve
  21. How to get to Curry Gap?

    Bummer. I was thinking it might be a nice winter scramble. Anyhow, thanks for the information.
  22. How to get to Curry Gap?

    Paul, Thanks. I'm interested in checking out Kyes Peak. Cheers, Steve
  23. NW ice

    The CAG (Cascade Alpine Guide) is your friend. There are tons of routes in there. One winter/spring route that comes to mind is the NE couloir on Colchuck Peak (8705'). Grade II-III, snow and ice up to 65 degrees, and likely a "fun" cornice to dig through at the top. By veering climber's right for the final pitch (rather than escaping through the small left gully for the last pitch), you could likely find some quite steep mixed climbing. Another route that comes to mind is the Stuart Glacier Couloir on Mount Stuart (Beckey grade III maybe?). I haven't done that route, but the description in Nelson's "Selected Climbs in the Cascades" sounds like what you might be looking for. JoshK has a trip report which describes this route (when the west ridge was in challenging rime-iced condition), somewhere on the CC.com web site. Other winter routes that may be of interest: (1) "The Standard," Mazama Goat Wall (WI3, 2-3 pitches) - see Washington Ice guidebook. Fun route. (2) "The Tooth" via the NE Slab (Grade II, with some class 4 rock climbing). The slab itself looks to be about 50 degrees. If on the other hand you are looking for more serious (or longer) winter alpine climbs, ask around on this board for suggestions of grade IV winter alpine routes. People will be happy to recommend routes to you. Have fun and climb fast.
  24. Silverton

    Found an article that says the following: Full article is here: http://www.skipressworld.com/us/en/daily_news/2002/02/colorado_backcountry_brawls_raise_slope_rage_concerns.html?cat= That's messed up. It seems (to me) unfair that BLM should close the land to the general public, and only allow people pursuing commercial use (guided skiing) of the land. That said, I don't condone what those "trespassers" did (in the Silverton iincident). But the BLM has overreacted. IMHO.
  25. Silverton

    Are you not the LAW goddess? Seriously though, I have heard of BLM restricting access to certain sites. But AFAIK, most ski areas operate under a permit from the USFS that allows them to operate their lifts and such. It does NOT mean that the ski area owns the land (although they sometimes act as though they do).
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