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Posts posted by Stephen_Ramsey

  1. Hi Mountain Guy,


    Thanks for filing your trip report. SEWS is great!


    Just wondering, did you happen to get a look at the South Arete? Was there any snow left on the route? I'm just wondering if it would be totally crazy to hope that there might be some moderate mixed snow/rock climbing potential on the south arete, this time of year. Thanks for any info.

  2. If the Rangers notice you camping outside of the established and approved campsites they will probably make you move back down. I think Ingraham Flats is your highest "official" bivy.


    Enjoy. fruit.gif

    Nope. You just have to tell the rangers where you will be camping, when you sign in at the ranger station. There are various "alpine zones" each of which has a limit on how many can camp there. Even the summit is considered an alpine zone, and has a quota (though I doubt it often fills up). When we got our permit for the Kautz Glacier route, we were allowed to camp anywhere in the "Kautz Alpine Zone", or some such. RMI expedition seminars sometimes camp above 12k on the D.C. route, and presumably they are well aware of the regulations.

  3. a single carabiner is widely considered to be adequate for glacier travel, but its not. there have been accidents where they break.



    I'm very interested in this. Could you provide a source? Not doubting your information, just looking to read more. Maybe there are examples of this happening, in the ANAM?



  4. Brief report from 4/11: The south side of the summit pyramid was iced up pretty well at 6:30 AM, good front-pointing up the gully. Descending the lower White Salmon was positively horrible without snowshoes, a full-on mush wallow.

  5. Mmmm... ammonia and bleach. When I was 16, I was working in a restaurant, and charged with cleaning some nasty old towels. I figured bleach works well, and ammonia works well, so if I mix them, they should work doubly well. Mixed about 1 pint of each in a pail, and put in the towels. It made a noxious whitish cloud, and cleared out the kitchen.

    Catbird, what is that stuff? Phosgene gas or something?

  6. Stefan,


    But, would you rather SURPRISE the lead partner with being yanked off his feet OR would you want your lead partner to have some ample warning (by the yelling) so he can TRY to get into self arrest BEFORE he is yanked?

    It's a tough call. I suspect it's a "glass half empty/full" kind of thing. I figure the odds are very good that if my downhill partner plunges into a crevasse, I'm going to get pulled onto my back either way, so my best chance is if my partner accelerates as little as possible, so I have the best chance of self-arresting for the two of us. I don't have much faith in the idea that I could instantly brace and stop (without needing to do a sliding arrest) a forceful downhill fall into a crevasse. Being surprised would really suck, but I fear the buildup of kinetic energy (which increases linearly with the distance my partner falls) much, much more. But I do see your point, keeping the rope taught is basically giving up the chance to try and brace before the pull.


    I don't know, maybe Lummox has the most important point of all.

  7. A lot of it probably depends on your group size. Going on a two-week-long backpacking trip with a group of 12 newbies? You probably want a big first aid kit. Going on a 2-day winter alpine climb fast-and-light with just one partner? You probably want the absolute bare minimum.


    I'm no first aid expert, so take this with a huge grain of salt. I usually include emergency bivy gear along with first aid supplies, lumped under the general category of "stuff for when things go horribly wrong". Here is what I bring. Just my uneducated opinions:


    Absolute bare minimum:


    athletic tape

    duct tape


    foam pad (built into pack, but removable)

    band-aids (mostly large size)

    alcohol gel

    sterile gauze

    pain pills (I carry oxycodone)

    analgesic pills (tylenol)

    needle & thread

    sanitary napkin (absorbs blood well)

    latex gloves


    Also don't forget appropriate survival/bivy gear. This might be just as important as first aid supplies. No use splinting that broken leg if you are going to die of dehydration or hypothermia before help arrives. This varies a lot for different people, but in winter I usually carry a space blanket, stove & fuel, a shovel blade, and a homemade nylon bivy sack.


    Stuff I would only bring on an expedition (two weeks or more):





    first-aid manual

    fancy splints and bandages

    triple-antibiotic ointment (for animal bites)

    silverdine ointment (for burns)


    antifungal cream (nystatin or similar)


    Like I said, I have no medical training whatsoever, this is just the list of gear I carry.


    Moleskin? Not necessary.

  8. That does not make sense.


    If you do not have ANY slack you will yank your partner immediately and it will not matter if you yell falling becuase your partner will be falling too with you simultaneously.


    I think it is important to have some slack when you are going on the uphill side. WHY? When you fall, you immediately yell "FALLING", thereby allowing your partner to react and getting into a self arrest position BEFORE he is yanked by you.




    Really, if you are ascending even a moderately steep slope and your downhill partner falls into a crevasse, you are going to get pulled off your feet, no matter what is going on with the rope. The question is, how violently do you get yanked? If you have slack in the rope, even a little bit, your partner will accelerate and you'll get a huge initial pull on you. If you don't have slack in the rope (standard glacier interval, not taught like a guitar string!), the pull will be a lot more moderate. In both cases, you'll probably fall down. But in the case of the moderate pull, I think you won't accelerate as much, and you will likely be able to self-arrest faster. It is simple physics-- the smaller the initial force, the less the initial acceleration. The less rapidly you accelerate, the better your chances of self-arresting.


    Timcb, listen to Sobo. No slack. And if you are a two-man rope team, be very very careful.

  9. What's wrong w/ the G14 frontpoints?



    Nothing is wrong with the G14's frontpoints, for the purpose for which they were designed. As I understand it, the G14 is designed for water ice, and it excels on that medium. I think it is even a bit better than the Bionic for water ice. But the G14's front-points have a much thinner profile than the G12's front-points. So the thinking is that they are more likely to rake through the disconcerting "snow-ice" that one so often encounters on "alpine ice" routes in the Washington Cascades. Obviously, people use the G14 crampons to climb all kinds of stuff, so I'm not saying they won't work, just that the G12 might be a better performer in certain situations. In particular, someone looking for a crampon for general-purpose Cascades mountaineering probably doesn't need the extra weight of the forged, adjustable front-points that the G14 has. Not bagging on the G14, it is a great crampon. Just my $0.02.

  10. Quick links at $0.85 are cheaper than biners and weigh less. I always carry a couple.

    A steel quick-link lighter than an aluminum carabiner? I don't think so.


    Petzl GO quick link: 60g.

    BD neutrino: 36g.

    BD ovalwire: 45g

    BD oval: 62g

    BD positron: 55g


    Or are you talking about aluminum quick-links?? If that's the case, then I'm kind of dubious about the price you're quoting. I've seen aluminum quick-links for $0.62, but it's the kind of thing I'd use as a key-chain, not rap off of.

  11. Bakej,


    You can't go wrong with either the Sabretooths or the Grivel G12s. Note that the G12 is almost an ounce lighter, per crampon. That may not seem like much, but for the long approaches on many Washington climbs, it can matter to some people. That said, the BD Sabretooth is a great crampon. I think the Sabretooth excels on mixed climbing.


    Actually, more important than the vendor of the crampon (Grivel, BD, or whatever) is the choice of binding. Probably a new-matic binding system would work best, as it would allow you to use a wider range of boots.


    The G14 is a great crampon, it is my first choice for waterfall ice. But it would not be my first choice for an all-around crampon for use in the Cascades. This is because of weight, insufficient front-point area, and cost.


    If you ever plan to do any mixed climbing (even moderate stuff), or climbing snow/glacier interspersed with rock, or climbing in winter, I would recommend against aluminum.



  12. Brief report: The hike up to 5k on the White Salmon approach took us about six hours using snow-shoes. The various small stream crossings had easy snow bridges. We encountered a party of two who had (we think) just skied the White Salmon Glacier; they warned us about the avalanche hazard. A pair of ski tracks were evident coming down the glacier, possibly from that party of two. thumbs_up.gif The traverse across the basin is sobering; we crossed various large avalanche debris swaths, some of which looked recent. From a safe distance, we saw a large (probably icefall-triggered) avalanche come down from Shuksan Arm and travel almost all the way to White Salmon Creek, burying the skin tracks we were following. We hiked directly up towards the rock band that splits the lower and upper White Salmon, skipping the lower lobe of the glacier. We camped at a small saddle at 5k, thankfully far away from that Hanging Glacier. It was still quite warm at 3 AM, but we gave it a shot anyhow. We traversed a ways over to the edge of the White Salmon, and climbed up a few hundred feet. The snow was a weak wind-crust with looser snow underneath. In those conditions, I suspect it would be more efficient skinning up with skis rather than trying to plunge step with boots. We bailed at about 5300'. Perhaps conditions were better higher up, I guess only those skiers will know. From our campsite, we saw an avalanche come down from the Hanging Glacier and sweep down the lower White Salmon. As soon as the sun hit the Shuksan Arm, we started hearing occasional small snow/ice releases.

  13. hi, I'm lurker for a while, but thought that I'd post a few stupid newbie questions to take advantage of the experienced climbers that hang out at cc.com to spray.


    Im not brand new to the sport, but my partner and I are self-taught in climbing with the exception of a crevasse rescue course we took with RMI. Have done moderate alpine climbs, easy to moderate trad multi-pitch, lots of sport climbing, and some top-roped WI. We hae summited Rainier a couple of times and did the Ptarmigan Traverse and climbed the easy routes on most of the peaks.


    My question is how to progress from here? Not looking for answers like "just go out and do it" or "hire a guide".


    Want to know what specific routes will get me from the slogs on Rainier to a route like TC or Lib Ridge. Where is a good place to start covering steep snow/ice routes easiest to harder?


    Any advice is appreciated.

    I'm just a gumby, so take this advice with the requisite grain of salt.


    Some great suggestions of routes have already been made above. I'll just add some observations and a few more route suggestions.


    Winter alpine climbing is a really good way to gain experience and push your limits. Lots of north-facing routes that are are mere scrambles in summer, become good moderate alpine climbs in winter. With the few winter alpine climbs that I have done, I've found the pro to be generally sparser than on spring/summer climbs. Furthermore, those winter climbs forced me to become creative in finding ways to move upward (e.g., hunting for hidden cracks under the snow to torque the pick into, dry-tooling on little rock features). It also forced me to be really disciplined about testing the strength of a pick placement before committing to it. Spring and summer climbing are a lot of fun too, of course, and can be just as runout and challenging as winter climbing if you find the right route.


    Some other moderate alpine climbs that might be a good stepping stone:


    * NE Couloir on Colchuck Peak (II-III, AI2)

    * North Ridge of Pinnacle Peak (II, class 4, AI2)

    * Entiat Icefall on Mount Maude (III, class 4, AI2)

    * Northeast Slab on the Tooth (II, class 4, AI2+)


    The two winter routes above (Tooth & Pinnacle) are highly condition-dependent. Bring a few pins.


    The Colchuck climb is more of a spring thing. It is quite moderate, but speed is essential because of icefall hazard. There is potentially a large cornice at the top of the couloir. Bring a shovel. Some variations are possible for the couloir exit.


    The Maude climb is probably most interesting in late summer, when the schrunds open up, and the icefall becomes more challenging. Basically the schrund crossings and the initial 80' of rock climbing on the east ridge, are the hard parts. The rest is fun cruising.


    Will the above routes get you to the point where you're ready to tackle the Triple Couloirs or Lib Ridge? Hard to say. Certainly, they haven't done it for me. On the other hand, they are fun and a good experience.


    Good luck and have fun. wave.gif

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