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Posts posted by Stephen_Ramsey

  1. Minx,


    i'm worried about access to the valley but imagine there will still be parking available somewhere in the area.

    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.




  2. 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.



  3. 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

  4. 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.




  5. David,


    I'm thinking ice climbing mostly as that's what I do most and am most inclined to use a 2 rope system. I tend to run it out more than many so this stuff got me thinking. So taking Ice baby's advise, best to for sure clip alternate ropes for your first two screws no matter what. But in a scenario say with a situ where you go around a big corner and you want to direct both ropes, you might be ok to clip both as long as you go back alternate clipping again for the next few screw. Obviously there are a bazillion scenarios and best to not clip both as a rule, but to do so isn't neccessarily gonna cause both ropes to fail or anything.

    Good point. I hadn't thought about the redirection scenario.




  6. Those 8.1mm ropes are indeed nice. thumbs_up.gif


    The only thing they suck for is single pitch sport climbing and they aren't too neat for the seconds when climbing as three because if they fall, they are going to stretch the fall into a good distance and could cut the rope if sharp corners, etc are...

    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.

  7. So essentially when using double (aka 1/2) ropes, you really have two independent systems going on and in the event of a fall, one rope is doing ALL the work and the other is merely a backup system. In the event of the top pro failing, there will be quite the shock on the next lower piece with the other rope. Even more if your last 2 clips are on the same rope.

    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.... wave.gif




  8. Rope systems


    As all the ropes are designed and manufactured for different Rope Systems, it is of crucial importance (!) that climbing ropes are only used for the purpose they are designed for. So for example, never use a twin rope in a Single Rope System nor using a twin rope in a Double Rope system.


    I'm just here for the beer.... bigdrink.gif


    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.




  9. 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. wave.gif


    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.




  10. KCClimber said:

    Also...people with formal training and a ton of experience can generally take on bigger objectives and manage the amount of risks a LITTLE better than under-equipped novice's



    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.




  11. It was glaringly apparent when we were in the parking lot that the forecast was wrong,


    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:




    Considerable avalanche danger above about 4000 feet and moderate

    below Friday. Avalanche danger increasing and becoming high above

    about 4000 feet and considerable below Saturday.


    The text of the forecast issued on Saturday at 2:30 PM is included here:




    Avalanche danger increasing and becoming high above 3000 feet and

    considerable below Saturday especially Cascade passes. Avalanche

    danger decreasing and becoming considerable above 4000 feet and

    moderate below Sunday.


    Why are you saying the forecast was wrong?


  12. 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.

  13. 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. cantfocus.gif


    I hear the latest Guide gloves are primaloft insulated. Those should be mega toasty. I'm keen to try them out some time.

  14. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get to Curry Gap, this time of year? I called the USFS and they told me that the North Fork Skykomish road is gated at Troublesome Creek, much too far to walk to the Quartz Creek trailhead. Is it accessible via the PCT? If so, how far would it be to get there?


    Thanks for any information.



  15. gmknight said:

    as much as i love the snow slogs what i am really looking for are mid to long routes with 50 to 80 degree ice and a little rock wouldnt hurt either.

    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. wave.gif

  16. Found an article that says the following:


    In response to the Silverton incident, the BLM has now closed access to the land adjacent to the Silverton Outdoor Learning and Recreation Center except to Silverton employees and guests, Heli-Trax operators, property owners and the sheriff’s department.


    “It’s the safest option right now,” Brill said. “The BLM decided to close the whole area because these people couldn’t understand our avalanche warning signs. This way, there won’t be any possibility for confusion.” (© 2002 Ski Press Media, Inc).


    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.

  17. thelawgoddess said:

    i honestly don't know the specifics about the legality, but i believe that in the winter (when silverton is open for business) that land is considered under lease ...


    Are you not the LAW goddess? confused.gifwave.gif


    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).

  18. My short "gumby report" on ice-hunting in MRNP: Elain and I drove up to the Narada Falls TH on Sunday, hoping to find some ice somewhere. The WI2 flow opposite Narada Falls was not really "in" (ice coverage was too sparse for my taste), although I'm sure it is climbable. The other flows in that same gully did not appear to be "in", either. So we hiked back to Lane Peak, to look for ice on Lane Peak's NE buttress. We did not find any significant ice there, just a few icicles starting to form. Some of the steep gullies are filling with snow, which is a good start, I guess.


    There is a hill east of Lane Peak's NE buttress, whose north face had some ice smears forming. We hiked up to it but found the ice was way too thin. The 30-degree slope leading up to it was a cause for some concern; unconsolidated snow on top of a sheet of ice.


    Given what we found at Narada and Lane Peak, we decided not to bother hiking in to check on "Mikey's Gully". But from the road it looked as though two steep pillars are starting to form, on the cliffs above the Nisqually. I have no idea if those pillars are named, accessible routes or whatever.


    I imagine that the many people going up there for skiing had a much more productive day than we did.

  19. For what it's worth, I like the Bibler I-tent. I have one with just one opening (to save weight). It makes a nice tent, and also makes a nice two-person bivy sack if you choose to leave the tent poles at home (to save weight). I've also used a two-door Eldorado tent. As one might expect, the two-door models are easier to ventilate. But for a carry-over, I would prefer the I-tent over the Eldorado, because it is lighter weight. When I checked last year, the weight of the I-tent (without poles) was actually less than the weight of two Bibler bivy sacks. For winter climbing without a carry-over, I prefer the two-door Eldorado. More room for gear and ventilates better.


    Oh, I just re-read your post. You're looking for a tent with some room for gear. The Eldorado would probably be a good bet, then.


    I have tried the Eldorado/I-tent vestibule, and it is OK. But I almost never carry it because I find that it is not worth the extra weight.


    If you are camping above treeline, I would caution against considering the Stephenson Warmlite, despite the glowing testimonials you may hear. The first time I used one (at Camp Muir), it was subjected to a sustained 50-knot crosswind. It tore open.


    Hope this helps.




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