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Stephen_Ramsey

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Posts posted by Stephen_Ramsey


  1. Probably not so important if your M leading ability isn't above a 5 or so, as I doubt you'll be pulling all the pick camming and torquing moves.

    Huh, I'm not sure I understand your statement. I've never climbed an M-rated route in my life, but in winter alpine climbing I use pick camming and torquing all the time... seems to me those techniques are relevant even on very moderate winter climbs, and not just on overhanging M-stuff.


  2. FYI...The integral tents use the same fabric as the biblers. "Todd-tex" is just the name for that DuPont PTFE laminate and fuzzy lining.

     

    Compare the "cups" that hold the poles in the corners between the biblers and the integral. The biblers use this small little "button" that you have to get the pole into. The integrals use a big strong hypalon-type pocket that you could get the pole into even if you were blind. The integral design is wwaayyy better...that is what sold me. The lower price helped too.

    True, the "button" is kind of lame. But I'm already too heavily invested in Team Bibler, to switch teams now...


  3. Hey Guys-

     

    Thinking about buying a top notch tent. Primary use would be for 3-4 day climbs. Obviously the big concerns are weight, weather resistance and practicality as a mountaineering shelter. The tent will be pitched on snow most of the time.

     

    I have been kicking around three options- the Nallo 2, the Bibler I-Tent (Integral Design), and the Stephensons Warmlite 3R. A few considerations are that I am 6'3" and 195#. Second, for me a vestibule without a floor is a very important feature (that boot/cooking hole). Although the Stephenson is the lightest, and extra pound or two is not going to be the #1 factor for me. Also the Stephenson is about $200 more seam sealed than a Nallo 2(which would add a few oz.s anyway right?). The big turn off with the Stephenson for me is that there isnt a vestibule without a floor for cooking. I also think the material they are made of isnt flame resistant. The turn off with the Bibler/Integral Design is that you have to buy a vestibule which, once added makes it more expensive than the Nallo 2 and weigh about the same packed. Furthermore I've read reviews by guys over 6' who are squashed in a I-Tent. All I've heard about the Hillbergs are that they are Bomber Bomber Bomber and have an awesome customer service/warranty and really stand behind their product.

     

    But all of these are assumptions by me. I'm hoping to hear from any of you out there who have used one of these three tents, especially on "up and over" climbs such as Liberty Ridge. I also feel that any tent for $500 or more should be durable, and last for a dozen climbs at least. Thanks ahead of time for you input!

    I've used both the Bibler Eldorado and the Stephenson Warmlite 3R. For bombproof shelter in the alpine, there really is no comparison. Go with the Bibler. During a windy night at Camp Muir, the Warmlite 3R ripped open. The winds were maybe 40 kph, not super windy but pretty gusty. The Warmlite 3R tent is a terrible design for alpine use, because it is very vulnerable to a strong cross-wind, and because it requires tremendous longitudinal tension on the guy lines to give any structural integrity for the tent. The Bibler at least has some structural integrity even without guy lines-- if the weather is really nuking outside, you can get inside the tent and erect the poles from inside. Furthermore, the Stephenson manufacturer claims the middle hoop for the 3R is "optional" and really not needed, and that the tent can withstand hurricane force winds (150 mph or something crazy like that). The "optional" middle hoop is the only way the thing seems to have a prayer of withstanding a strong crosswind, and the 150 mph claim, well, that's pretty hard to believe. I don't know, maybe they've changed the design of the 3R since 1999. But I'll never use a Warmlite on an alpine climb again.

     

    For alpine climbing, sometimes one has to pitch the tent in a sub-optimal location or a confined space. Perhaps on a snow platform in a schrund, or on a small ledge. It may not be feasible to optimally guy out the tent. With the 3R, it seems like you'd be kind of screwed in such a case. I know there are quite a few fanatics of the 3R, and probably they will cry "user error", but it seems to me that for alpine climbing, you want something that is bombproof and idiot-proof. The Bibler is as close as I've ever seen to satisfying those two conditions. Then again, I've never tried the Integral Designs tents...

     

    However, no tent is perfect. The Todd-Tex fabric won't breathe quite as well as many other tents on the market. The problem is less of an issue if you have the two-door version of the tent, because you get good cross-ventilation. If you go with the single-door tent (which makes sense, to save weight), you'll want to consider the somewhat sub-optimal ventilation of the tent in selecting a sleeping bag. Folks commonly gripe about the small reinforced areas in the corners where the pole end sticks; it's a valid complaint, but not a show-stopper for me. If I could change one thing about the tent, it would be to enlarge/improve the ventilation openings at the top of the tent. Just a bit more ventilation for the single-door model, and it would truly be perfect.

     

    These days my partner and I use an I-Tent exclusively, since we are both under 5'6" in height. I could totally see how someone over 6 feet tall would not fit into the I-Tent. It's quite small, even for a short person like me. But of course, it's very light.

     

    About the Bibler vestibule, yup, it's expensive and adds weight. Have you considered a hanging isobutane-propane stove setup instead? I do own the Bibler vestibule, but have only used it once within the last 30 trips or so. It never seemed worth the weight. As for stowing boots, we just put the plastic shells in a garbage bag and keep the inner boots in the tent. Particularly on carry-over type climbs, the vestibule seems like an unnecessary luxury.

     

    Finally, regarding durability, you can expect that the Bibler tent will last a lot longer than a dozen trips, at least for short trips in the Cascades (probably different if you're talking a dozen Alaskan expeditions). I've used my I-Tent on at least 30 trips, and it still looks like new.

     

    Anyhow, the Bibler is a fantastic tent, especially for pitching in confined spaces and carry-over type climbs.


  4. If you are so worried about it then why not just get a regular stove like the Dragonfly? the fuel bottles are reusable there, ya know? Is pumping really that tough for you?

    Griz,

     

    I'm sure you're a hardperson, so weight is no issue for you. But have you considered that maybe Kiwi wants a lightweight stove? The MSR Pocket Rocket weighs 3 oz, and the Dragonfly weighs 14 oz. For a short trip, the fuel weight benefits of white gas over isobutane do not nearly compensate for the 11-oz difference in stove weight. (Yes, I know there's a difference in performance under cold & windy conditions, blah blah blah).

     

     

    Cheers,

    Steve Ramsey


  5. JoshK,

     

    Good point. I did notice this however:

     

    Tumwater shows 0.12" rainfall today and 0.15" on the 24th.

     

    Stevens Pass shows 0.42" rainfall today, 0.64" yesterday, 0.26" on the 26th, 0.18" on the 25th, and 0.25" on the 24th.

    That's a fair bit of rain.

     

    Over an inch of rain at the Mount Baker Ski area today.

     

    Sadly the precip gauge for Washington Pass seems to be broken?

     

    Assuming a normal lapse rate, the snow level seems to be about 6000' at Stevens Pass during the day, falling to maybe 4500' overnight. Probably that means some new snow at higher elevations, yes? Don't know about how much, however.

     

    Not trying to be alarmist or anything, just trying to read the tea leaves like everyone else...


  6. Fair enough. Back to the avalanche discussion... I dunno, lots of rainfall and new snow scares me. My limited understanding is that rainfall can really weaken the old snowpack. New snow falling under high winds would have me worried about substantial buildup on lee slopes. If I were heading into the hills this weekend, I'd be aiming for some kind of ridge route...JMGO (just my gumby opinion).


  7. I just think saying that the entire snowpack is going to avalanche off of the mountain is a little "hysterical" as in, exhibiting a quality of hysteria.

    Thanks for posting. But Gary Brill didn't say that the entire snowpack is going to avalanche off the mountain. He said that a large avalanche involving much of the existing snowpack is possible. Having seen huge blocks of the entire snowpack fracture off of slabs above the Ice Cliff glacier and avalanche down the route on multiple occasions, I don't think this is an farfetched statement at all. Characterizing Brill's cautionary post as hysterical is mischaracterizing what he was saying.


  8. Alpinfox,

     

    Thanks for your post.

     

    I'm curious, was there any representation of climbers who have no interest in new route development (if that means bolting, clearing, and making trails)? I imagine there are quite a few climbers out there who do not really care about new crag routes (bolted or otherwise), and are primarily concerned with avoiding climber vs. land manager conflicts that might (in the worst case scenario) threaten climber access to established climbing areas.

     

    I guess what I'm saying is, the folks actively creating new routes may actually not be a good representation of the interests and priorities of climbers in general. I think we also need someone to represent the "please don't rock the boat with the USFS" point of view.

     

    I'm not disrespecting the hard work of new route developers, or the pioneering aspect of new routes established in a bottom-up fashion. I just worry that they are not necessarily at all representative of the "mainstream" climber. They are certainly not likely to be representative of my interests (which is to above all else, preserve access to existing climbing areas).

     

    Cheers,

    Steve Ramsey


  9. Letsroll,

     

    Just another vote for getting 2x16s instead of 2x10s, unless really really thin ice is your thing.

     

    The 16s are quite versatile. I also really like 19s for glacier ice.


  10. Dr. Crash,

     

    Sorry, I was repeating a factoid heard on CC.com (and should have stated it as such). I heard something anecdotally about the Ice Line being usable as a twin, but you're right, there's nothing on Beal's web site indicating that the rope was tested for twin rope use.

     

    I've edited my post accordingly.

     

    Caveat emptor!

     

    Cheers,

    Steve


  11. Hi Matt,

     

    I don't know, since I only used the Ice Line rope the one time on top-rope. I hope to buy it and use it for alpine and waterfall ice, for which (I hope) the wear-and-tear might not be as severe as for alpine rock climbing. But durability is still a concern... I'd sure like my ropes to last for more than 25 days!

     

    As for tangling, I suppose one should expect this from skinny ropes. I guess that's another reason why super-skinny cord isn't a great choice for an "all-around" mountaineering rope...

     

    Cheers,

    Steve


  12. Beal's Ice Line (8.1mm) seems pretty lightweight and skinny. I've heard some people use it both as a double and a twin.

    You might not want to top-rope on them... I decked once (thankfully into deep snow) while top-roping on a single strand of 8.1mm Beal rope, due to longer-than-anticipated rope stretch.

     

    The Ice Line is probably what I will buy, when I upgrade from my 8.5mm Mammut half ropes this winter.

     

    http://www.bealplanet.com/produits/anglais/produit2.html

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