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Posts posted by Stephen_Ramsey

  1. The Suunto Altimax is great for alpine climbing. rockband.gif It can easily be operated with gloves on, and it is easy to read. The three alarms are great for ensuring an alpine start. It is nice to be able to operate the watch without having to de-glove. It is very cold resistant, and easy to calibrate. As for size (I assume it is weight that is the concern?), it only weighs 1.9 oz, and even less if you remove the strap and wear it around your neck on a thin cord. For something as critically important as an altimeter, it doesn't seem to be too heavy. IMHO.


    As far as drift is concerned, it doesn't seem to be a big problem, for me. I just note the altitude when I reach camp, and recalibrate the next morning before I start climbing. Anyhow, even if your altimeter had drift prevention built in, one would want to check the drift correction in the morning in order to know what the weather is doing.


    The Altimax is a triumph of function over fashion. thumbs_up.gif

  2. Wow... 907 grams... that's a beast. I wouldn't have the strength to wield it. Nor would I want to carry it into the mountains. Anything over 700 grams seems heavy to me.

  3. Didn't Peter Croft traverse the entire Stuart Range in a day? That must have nabbed 5 or 6 peaks in the top 100 (Stuart, Argonaut, Colchuck, Dragontail, ..., Cannon)


    Other random factoid: Baker and Shuksan have been climbed together in the same day.


    EDIT: Oops, just saw J_B's post. Sorry for the duplication.

  4. I'm selling two Mountain HardWear synthetic sleeping bags.


    (1) 1st Dimension sleeping bag, size short (up to 5'7"). Weight 36 oz. Rated to 30F. Polarguard Delta. Has the "quantum expander" feature that allows you to adjust how much girth the bag has. Retails for $145. Asking $80.


    (2) 2nd Dimension sleeping bag, size short (up to 5'7"). Weight 42 oz. Rated to 15F. Polarguard 3D. Has the "quantum expander" feature that allows you to adjust how much girth the bag has. Retails for $165. Asking $90.


    The 2nd Dimension has been used only for a dozen trips, and is about one year old. It has worked well on alpine climbs year-around in the Cascdes (Rainier, Baker, Colchuck, Maude, Buckner, Shuksan, etc.)


    The 1st Dimension has been used only for half a dozen trips, and is about eight months old. It has worked well on spring/summer/autumn trips in the Cascades (Glacier Pk, Maude, Chiwawa, Shuksan, Cannon).


    These bags are sturdy and insulate well when damp.


    PM me if interested. Seattle metro area. No personal checks (cash or money order). Am pretty flexible about times and locations for a meeting to show the goods.

  5. Mtngrrl,


    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. However you end up disposing of the personal effects, I hope you find some small measure of closure.



  6. It isn't cheap and it isn't down, but my vote is for the Wild Things Belay Jacket. It is pretty darn warm, and has an Epic shell for wind resistance and to prevent the insulation from getting wet.


    It's overkill for summer, however. In summer, I like a down sweater.

  7. My gaper $0.02:


    A 15F bag seems pretty versitile for winter/spring/fall use, provided you're camping at reasonably low elevations in winter. In winter, you can combine it with your parka (as a blanket), wool hat, a homemade nylon liner, and a hot water bottle, and you should be good down to really cold temperatures. In spring/fall, leave the nylon liner at home, and just use the 15F bag.


    The exception is summer. I just refuse to lug the 15F bag up the trail in summer, and instead carry a 30F bag.


    Bottom line-- no bag is going to be perfect for year-around use in the Cascades, unless you are either (1) truly hardcore, or (2) don't mind carrying around 8 ounces of needless insulation in the summer.


    Incidentally, 49 oz is pretty darn heavy for a 10-degree down bag. You should be able to find one for under 40 oz.

  8. The difference in weight is 4 x (62-45) = 68 g or a little over 2 oz.



    Respectfully, this is exactly why solid-gate ovals seem like a waste of weight. Why not make due with wire-gates? So there is a slightly higher chance that a racked stopper will come off...big deal. A little extra vigilance should avoid the problem. If it is really a big deal, rack them on a positron (most people have an extra lightweight locker anyhow).


    Ice screws are another matter... I keep them on a locker until I'm actually climbing some ice. Losing one of them really hurts.


    Just a different opinion....

  9. Correct, the Ice Pack is a frame sheet design. It does not have a conventional internal frame. No doubt about it, the Ice Pack will not be as comfortable hauling 40+ lbs as, say, a Dana Designs Pack. But the Ice Pack makes up for it by being lightweight, and good for sleeping on. By carrying the Ice Pack, I only need to carry a half-length Z-rest pad (even in winter). I sleep on the pack, the rope, and on the half-pad. It is light enough that it can be used on a (moderately) technical carry-over, but can still haul 40+ loads on the trail. You can also remove the frame sheet when you need it to function as a super-lightweight summit assault pack. It has gear loops on the waist strap, which is hugely useful to me. I guess it is not as light as the Andinista, but also not quite as expensive. At the end of the day, some packs are good for hauling loads, some packs are good for technical climbing, and some packs try to be a compromise in between. I think the Ice Pack fits into the "compromise" category.


    My favorite feature of the Ice Pack: You can retrieve an ice tool one-handed, without having to take off the pack, by reaching around behind the pack and unbuckling the strap. This is really really useful when things get steep, and you need to get your ice tool.

  10. Frank,


    It is good that you have six days to spend on your trip, because the weather on Mount Rainier in June can be very unpredictable. Six days allows you to select the best 3- or 4-day window to spend on the mountain.


    You will need two permits. One is a climbing permit, which will cost you $35 per climber, and is not subject to a quota. The other is a wilderness camping permit, which is subject to a quota. Climbing on weekdays increases your chance of getting a permit for the area(s) you wish to make camp. Alternatively, you can reserve your wilderness camping permit. Check with the Mount Rainier National Park web page (http://www.nps.gov/mora/recreation/rsvpform.htm) for details. There is a $20 surcharge (per party) to reserve your camping permit.


    Regarding transportation: For the routes you listed, your likely point of origin will be Paradise. I think there is a shuttle that goes from Sea-Tac Airport to Ashford, and continues on to Paradise. I think it is called Rainier Shuttle? Try googling on "Rainier Shuttle".


    Gibraltar Ledges might not be very fun in mid June. Historically it tends to be more popular a bit earlier in the season. By mid June, the snow coverage is likely to be sparse. The Kautz Glacier is likely to be in good shape in mid June. The ranger station at Paradise has reasonably up-to-date information on all of the climbing routes on the mountain. Your best bet is to come to Paradise with maps and route information for a couple of different routes, and to have some flexibility in your plans.


    Avalanche danger-- It can be significant, or insignificant, depending on the condition of the snowpack, recent snowfall, wind, temperature, etc. I've had to turn back at Cathedral Rocks once in mid June, because of significant avalanche hazard. Try to gather some information about the snowfall and weather data from the few days prior to your climb. Be prepared to make your own assessment of the avalanche hazard.


    Average nighttime temperature: Depends on the elevation. I don't know what the average is at Camp Muir for mid-June, but I'd guess maybe -2C? However, be prepared for anything. I've seen overnight temperatures below -15C at Camp Muir (3072m) in mid-June. I've also seen very mild temperatures.

  11. No, stainless steel is actually too brittle to be used.



    According to Black Diamond, the Raven Pro has a stainless steel pick. It's good for moderate glacier routes and such. [Not saying I'd try to use it for a long alpine route with bullet-hard ice or mixed climbing, though...]




  12. As of last weekend, the central south gully on the summit pyramid was filled with snow, good for cramponing in the early morning. Various parties had kicked good steps. After the sun hits the summit pyramid, small ice chunks start coming down, which may or may not be disconcerting while you are downclimbing the gully. The summit block still had some rime ice on it, but lots of rocks are starting to show through. We found it easy to put in rock pro for a running belay, on the right-hand side of the gully.


    I don't have much information about the Sulphide Glacier below Hell's Highway. But above Hell's Highway, it was fine. Good snow for walking and skinning. I saw one crevasse on the Sulphide at around 7,700', but it was way off to the climber's right of the route.


    Parties who came up the Sulphide from Shannon Creek reported that it was only a 15-minute walk from snow line to the trailhead (I can't confirm this because we came from the Mount Baker Ski Area).




  13. Iain,


    Yes, we're in agreement, but discussing physics is fun. fruit.gif


    Also, you can generate a pretty whopping force if you jerk a 3:1 with two people hauling.


    True, but let's suppose that you and your burly partner are pulling with combined force T on the haul strand. The "whopping force" will be on the strand of rope going to the victim, which will have tension 3T. The anchor will have a somewhat less whopping force of 2T on it. The "whopping force" will not be on the haul prussik; it will only have tension T. Personally, my worry would be with the anchor blowing, in any crevasse rescue scenario. IMHO. wave.gif




  14. It is interesting to note when prusiks do fail, it is in the entrance to the barrel of the hitch and not the knot



    Yes, the presence of the Prussik hitch lowers the maximum allowed tension (Tmax), above which the loop of cord will break, just like any knot or hitch. Evidently the Prussik hitch lowers Tmax more than the double fisherman's. However, that doesn't change the fact that if you are pulling the haul strand with tension T, the tension in the Prussik is going to be approximately T, not 2T. The knot does't increase the actual tension in the part of the cord away from the knot, it lowers the breaking point. Your point about the breaking strength just means that you might only have to pull with, say, 6kN instead of 10kN in order to break the Prussik. Even Mister T couldn't pull that hard. pitty.gif


    Now, if you set up a ZxC, that changes things. Then if you are pulling with tension T on the haul rope, the tension in the prussik would be 2T. wave.gif


    Someone else made the point about a Prussik potentially slipping. This is IMHO a more reasonable thing to worry about than Catbird's implied concern about the Prussik breaking. That's why I use 5mm perlon with my 8.5mm ropes. It seems to grip the rope well.

  15. Iain,


    Yes, it is because with a Prussik loop, there are two strands going from the carabiner to the "winding part" of the Prussik. This is why, if the carabiner is pulling with a force 2T, the tension in the prussik is very close to T.

    The net force on the Prussik (as an entire unit) is not what is important, in terms of the rated breaking strength. It is the tension in the Prussik that matters. This is the same reason why when people are rapping off questionable cord, they sometimes wrap it a few times around a tree or whatever the rap anchor is.



  16. Reread my post. I said TENSION in the prussik. If the force on the center-point of the pulley is 2T, then since the prussik is in a loop around the carabiner, the actual TENSION in the Prussik is T. So it isn't 2T, it is T. It is the TENSION in the Prussik that matters.

  17. you can exert more force than body weight using a 3:1 Z-Pulley. To get the necessary grip on 8 mm, you might have to go with a kleimheist.




    Huh? Draw a free-body diagram for the Z-pulley. If the tension in the rope in your hand is T during pulling, the maximum tension on the prussik closest to the crevasse is going to to be roughy T, during pulling (assuming you've attached your prussik in a normal loop to the pulley with a carabiner). The maximum tension on the ratchet prussik is going to be half the weight of the victim, when you are not pulling. This neglects transient effects when you start and stop pulling, which might briefly give a slightly higher tension.


    Of all the things to worry about during a crevasse rescue, the 5mm perlon prussiks breaking is about the most unlikely, unless you have the strength of a gorilla and are using some kind of insane 24:1 pulley system.

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