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Posts posted by Stephen_Ramsey

  1. JM,


    So, if you don't have a belay loop on your harness (e.g., BD Alpine Bod), is it better to just belay the way the manufacturer intended, or to belay off your tie-in loop? For the Alpine Bod, BD recommends belaying with a locking biner through the crotch and waist straps of the harness. Is belaying off the tie-in loop inherently safer?

  2. I took a megalite on Hood in December when the winds hit ~70mph. It held up OK,


    they popped from the grommet in the top, puncturing the fabric. it did not tear any larger than the pole tip however. All of the stitching around said grommet ... ripped out though. the buckle also ripped out. we had to collapse the mid to prevent it from shredding further.

    Sounds like your megalite performed admirably under the windy conditions, but it seems a bit charitable to call that "holding up OK". confused.gif In any event, that must have been a night to remember... wave.gif


    I have fond memories of spending the night in a (poorly guyed-out) Stephenson tent perched crosswind at the Camp Muir saddle. We spent the night laughing at how ridiculously the tent deformed under the 50-knot wind. hellno3d.gif Then the tent ripped. pitty.gif

  3. Ben,


    [edit: Hmmm, I'm basically repeating what others have said]


    Serac calving is the biggest concern on that route. Others have been up there recently, so I would guess there is already a breach in the cornice. Most folks try to move fast on the lower 1/3 of the route. This route is nice because if you top out the ICG Couloir in bad weather, you can just turn left and head down to the Sherpa-Stuart col.

    Have fun. thumbs_up.gif




  4. El Rito has pretty good climbing, with a very short approach (5 minutes from the car). There are a bunch of 2-3 pitch trad climbs there. There is guide book in PDF format floating around on the Internet. I think the rock is basalt. There is a walk-off from the top of the cliff.

  5. how do you top out to the summit from the top of the Fly couloir? I tried this years ago and we couldnt figure it out.

    Hi Alex,


    Last spring, my wife and I climbed The Fly to the notch on the West (?) ridge visible in the photograph. From there, we walked uphill just a few meters until we saw a snow ramp going up and to the left (northeast?). This snow ramp led to a short vegetated chimney, which led to a ledge below a rock face. A pitch of fourth or low-fifth got us to a belay ledge on the ridge maybe 20-30' below the summit, above which it looked like 4th class. At that point we backed off because of pouring rain, and rapped back down to the snow ramp. There were a couple of rusty old pins on the rock climbing part of the route. Finally, we descended a gully on the back-side of Lane Peak down to the Lane-Denman (?) Col.


    Sorry for the sketchy beta, my memory is hazy. Mostly I remember thrutching and scratching with my ice tools on wet chossy rock.





  6. How are those BD firstlight tents working for people in high winds?

    Good 4 season choice?

    The Firstlight is a trade-off, like anything else. It is super-light, and because of that it makes for a decent 3-season tent, and a great emergency bivy sack for two (without poles it probably weighs under a pound). However, in my experience it doesn't stand up to wind-driven rain the way a true 4-season (e.g., Bibler Eldorado/I-Tent) tent does. This even after seam-sealing the tent. As for structural integrity, well, just compare the tent side-by-side to a Bibler or equivalent 4-season tent, and you will see that you are not getting something for nothing; it is hard to imagine the Firstlight is as strong as a true 4-season tent.


    I will continue to use the Firstlight sometimes because it is so lightweight, but I just don't expect Bibler performance and burliness out of it.


    Just my gumby $0.02...

  7. ladyrose42,


    A 10F Feathered Friends bag sounds about right for three-season mountaineering in the Cascades, at least for me. You can supplement with some warm clothes, and it should get you through most winter trips. I use a Feathered Friends Lark (10F) year-round in the Cascades.


    As for the exterior fabric: Personally, I'd go with Epic, for a down bag for year-round use in the Cascades. It's worth the extra ounce and extra cost.


    One thing to look for in a down sleeping bag-- continuous transverse baffles (for example, FF bags have this feature). This allows you to push all the down to the top of your sleeping bag, for when it is really cold out. Basically, I think a bag with smaller down compartments might not be as versatile, because you can't move the down around.


    Just my $0.02. wave.gif

  8. 6mm static works. You might want to make sure it is a bit longer than your dynamic rope (maybe 3m longer?). But you don't get anything for free; 6mm cord is super light, but it tangles horribly and feels a bit sketchy any way you rig it. I have often rapped on 8.5mm + 6mm tied together, and have not found it to be too terrible. Generally I rig a pussik to the 8.5mm rope from the anchor, so the first rapeller avoids any rope slippage. Then before I rap, I remove the prussik and then make sure the knot is on the 6mm side of the anchor, and not on the 8.5mm side. Then I use an extra biner and an autoblock back-up to make sure the rap is super controlled. A bit of extra tension on the thin cord seems to prevent rope slippage from the differential friction through the belay device.


    I wouldn't recommend using an EDK to tie the two cords together. I've used double-fishermans and also rewoven figure 8 (with a backup knot), instead of the EDK. So, some care is recommended to avoid getting a stuck rope.


    If there is a chance of rockfall nailing your rap cord, you might want to consider using a rap ring and a really fat knot. This way, if the skinny cord gets cut, the knot wedges in the rap ring and (theoretically) you don't fall.


    There is a fancier system to rap on a single 8.5mm cord with a 6mm retrieval line, involving a carabiner. But, it means a carabiner will be pulled down with your retrieval line, with the extra potential for rockfall and rope stuckage. So, I've been reluctant use it in the alpine. YMMV.


    I haven't used this 8.5mm + 6mm system when it is super icy, so I don't know how sketch it would be.

  9. Dxmetal,


    OK, so you are looking for a parka for "ice cragging".


    To answer your questions:


    (1) Ideally, you would want your winter parka to be at least somewhat water resistant, *especially* if you go with a down parka. You might consider getting a parka with an Epic exterior. No, most folks don't wear the shell over the parka, for reasons already stated above.


    (2) Yes, you want your parka to be somewhat oversized, but not ridiculously so. But, often they are made oversized to begin with, so you may not need to jump up to the "next" size.


    (3) For "ice cragging" in the lower 48, I personally wouldn't buy a high-end parka unless I had a very specific need. But for alpine ice, or multipitch ice climbing in Canada, I would.


    (4) Personally, I use a synthetic parka (Wild Things Belay Jacket) for ice belays. Admittedly, it is both expensive and more insulation than many folks would want for the lower 48. But, I still think synthetic is very useful for ice cragging in the Cascades. It (usually hahaha.gif) snows often in the Cascades in winter, and on too many occasions I've been wet and miserable at ice belays in a down parka. If you do decide to go with down, I recommend getting one with a water-resistant exterior.


    (5) Yes, a hood is quite nice, but only really required if it is really cold.


    (6) You asked about alpine. Most of the time, I carry a synethetic parka in winter. Although down is lighter per unit of insulating power, I (subjectively) regard synthetic as more "bombproof" insulation for when it is really snowing hard outside. The extra few ounces is good piece of mind, especially if you have to bivy in a storm. Ideally, you could try both (down & synthetic) out and find what works best for you. Feathered Friends is pretty cool about renting down gear, and letting you apply the rental cost towards a subsequent purchase.


    Just my gumby $0.02...

  10. ladyrose42,


    Have you checked out the Feathered Friends Egret (20F)? It might be what you are looking for. My wife uses this bag, year round in the Cascades (supplementing with extra clothes in winter, of course).



  11. Gwhayduke,


    You are right to be wary of reviews, in general. I remember one review in "Rock and Ice" that recommended the La Sportiva Trango S as a good boot for climbing Mount Rainier via Liberty Ridge. wazzup.gif


    Anyhow, you mentioned winter climbing in the Cascades. If your feet tend to get cold, you will want to own plastics. On the other hand, if you have good circulation in your feet, there are great leather boots out there that would be good for winter use in the Cascades. Thing is, even if you buy leathers for winter use, those leathers will likely be warmer and heavier than what you would want for summer mountaineering. It is hard to identify one boot that works well year-round in the Cascades. In winter, you want lots of insulation. In summer, you (generally) want lightweight boots.


    Personally, I use the Scarpa Alphas in winter, and on the volcanoes. In summer, I switch to the La Sportiva "Trango S" boots.


    Just my gumby $0.02. wave.gif





    Not sure if you were soliciting opinions on your boot choice, but here is an unsolicited opinion: The Scarpa Inverno is a heck of a lot of boot (over 6 pounds worth, I think), for the types of climbs you will likely be doing (and the season you will be doing them in) in the Mountaineers Basic Course. The Invernoes are clunky rock climbers, as well, though I guess it could be more "sporting" to climb the Tooth wearing those gunboats. About the only place in the Cascades I could imagine needing that much boot, would be on a winter ascent of Rainier. But, the best thing is to wait and see what boots they specifically recommend in your class... wave.gif

  12. Yeah, it seems like the 45L Ice Pack would be pretty ideal for the Cascades, especially for 2- and 3-day trips. thumbs_up.gif I have the 50L Ice Pack, and it is plenty roomy for weekend trips, year round (and I always bring too much crap).


    Anyone use the GoLight Gust? That thing is crazy light, something like 20 oz? Is there any drawback to it? confused.gif

  13. Anyone here want to fess up to owning the Mountain Hardware tent I watched shoot 50ft up into the air,tumble down the Muir Snowfield for a 1/2 mile and then take the big launch of a cliff into the Nisqually glacier back on a very windy day in May '01?


    poor bastard...

    I saw that tent flying, also. When the owners of the tent vacated their campsite to go hunt for the tent, our party got their nice windbreak at Camp Muir.

  14. three ice screws on N. ridge of baker w/ biners and some sweet patagucci belay pants on the same trip!



    Just out of curiosity, did you find those screws during early July 2004?


    If so, was it: three BD screws, two of them Express; BD neutrino biners; spectra runners and some green perlon cord?



  15. Ibuprofen. always. I have consulted 2 doctors on this, both told me that ibuprofen does not bother the liver and kidneys, but that acetaminophen does, particularly in conjunction with alcohol.

    ummm. No. There have been several cases of Ibuprofen related renal failure. All of the drugs mentioned Acetimenophe, ibuprofen, naxopren can cause renal problems with long term use.


    come to think of it, they said liver, but didn't mention kidneys... I wonder what "long term use" constitutes in this case?

    There have been cases of people going into acute renal failure after a single massive dose of ibuprofen, during extreme endurance competitions (try googling on "ultramarathon ibuprofen renal failure". I would be careful taking a huge dose of ibuprofen if you are on a long climb and are very dehydrated and might have a very elevated CPK level. I know it's cliche, but "talk to your doctor". There is a reason why sports med doctors often do blood tests for kidney function, on patients who are taking high doses of ibuprofen for prolonged periods.


    Not that I'm trying to bash ibuprofen. It's a fantastic anti-inflammatory drug, widely prescribed for sports-type injuries. But I would personally avoid taking big doses of it while on a climb, unless it was an emergency situation. Just my $0.02.


    Alcohol is also potentially a bad idea, when taking high doses of ibuprofen. This is because alcohol can make the stomach lining more susceptible to irritation from the ibuprofen.


    And, I have to agree with Chestbeater... When things go horribily wrong and you need to (for example) ambulate on a fractured leg, you want opioid analgesics. [Obviously, you need to know the risks and contra-indications and make an informed decision about whether to take them.]

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