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Everything posted by DanO

  1. Bivy Sack as Overbag?

    In SAR, So don't have the luxury to choose a good spot to camp every time... Or when on a mountain. Trying to be light as possible. Most times don't have to bivy, but good to have that option, without the chattering shakes when it arises without excessive weight. Seems like the best option is a mountaineering bivy sack(one where you can sit on a ledge if need be), a belay coat and a super light 30 degree down sleeping bag with a pad. May throw in a synthetic overbag or a change up to a 20 degree sleeping bag with extra weight if colder and or more likely to bivy. Being a gear junky I wonder how the synthetic overbag over a down sleeping bag would work out. Thanks all Dan
  2. http://www.everytrail.com/guide/herman-saddle-ski-tour There is a little bit of top ropeable or even climbable ice on mount baker. On the way to Herman saddle along the creak bed there is a bit of ice on the right hand side. Last year I managed to get above it and set up a top rope. It is climbable on lead I think if one can get sticks as when get above the ice. It is a short single pitch of about 20ft max of ice, a couple of lines possible. As I remember it is before the very first lake on map , in the creek bed narrow gulley. I may go there again this year. Dan
  3. layers

    I personally will not risk down clothing in any potential serious survival situation. Yes down is warm and packs down small and light, it is far better to carry than synthetic in this regard but it will not insulate when wet. If one was in a dry climate then down clothing is a consideration. As for down sleeping bags that is a good choice as long as you plan to carry a good quality tent that is double wall. Down sleeping bags you are on a clock of one to a two days when damp such as a bivy sack in bad weather or a dripping snow cave or a leaky tent. So far the synthetic sleeping bags have not been warm enough for me as compared to down sleeping bags. But I have not tried the newest synthetics. In fact if one is on a budget a simple heavy polyester insulated coat with a hood is not a bad option for a over top layer if it is waterproof or made waterproof. Imagine stuck out on a mountain, raining all night without a tent you can't stay dry. You will be soaked to the bone most likely. Even with a poncho it is hard to stay dry. Wet from sweat and wet from rain. And that is one night, several days and nights then it is impossible to stay dry. In fact I have been wondering about the old school boiled wool sweaters, want to find one cheap at a thrift store to test out. Dan
  4. I have never tried to go to Strobach. Looks very interesting, wish I had a snowmobile. I am looking in the Washington Ice guidebook. It looks to me a person can get in there with skies in a "reasonable" amount of time if they are a hard man. The big advantage of skis is coming back out, going downhill. It can take as long as a mile an hour going uphill on skis or snowshoes in decent conditions. It looks like three miles uphill to the ice. To get down on skies can be 15--30 minutes to 45 minutes or so, downhill on snowshoes is around 2x faster than uphill. Snowshoes can be faster/better in woods, most often is, but skis better in more open areas. Yesterday the snow was soft,(at Alpental) even with snowshoes I was sinking up to 2 feet when off trail, breaking trail in that condition will exhaust you in a short time and you will get nowhere even with snowshoes, bring tail extensions if you have them. The larger snowshoes are better in soft conditions, mine are the normal sized older styled MSR's made of plastic. The book has no GPS coordanents for the ice climbs in strobach, I find that very helpful at alpental. It is a four hour drive for me to get there, if I lived nearby, like--with in a hour or so I would be all over the place. Good luck let us you know what you find, if serious about climbing get a early start. It is likely better to spend a trip just to figure out the area, to go in light and even to solo hike on such a trip. Check the avalanche forecast and watch the avalanche conditions while hiking. As a general rule it is fairly safe in the trees, getting less safe when going out in the open. (I know your not a newbie, I just like writing) Dan
  5. Hello, I misread the Wa state ice conditions site. On the bright side I found the location of the climbs for next time when it is actually in. There is ice there, but not that much and a lot of snow cover. Not enough to climb, at least for me, pretty thin. Thanks Dan
  6. Hello, Saw on Wa State Ice conditions web site that Alpental is in. Not sure what that means? I am interested in doing some lower level ice climbs around there this Sat. I have not been there as of yet so will have to figure it out. Any know if any of the lower level stuff around there will be available? 2 to 3 ice. Thanks Dan
  7. Trip: Mount Pugh - Standard scramble route Date: 9/15/2012 Trip Report: Great route, Rated at 3rd class and I consider this rating true in late summer conditions, as in dry with no snow. I like to try it with snow, but looks steep and hairy in places with snow. Solid class three scramble with no 5th class surprises. Lots of exposure, so is fun. In this time of year approx Sept 15th, you do not need a ice axe, no snow on route. No water past Metan lake. Metan lake can be hiked to in about hour and is a great place to camp the night before, after work on Friday etc. These two photos are of the upper mountain scrambling part. There is some scrambling on the ridge line before this part on the mountain, about a thousand feet of scrambling, on upper part. Looks more scary than it actually is once your in it. I would be cautious to go in snow, ice or wet rock conditions, it is a solid scramble soloing with dry rock. http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/uploads/2797/Upper_part_pugh.JPG Gear Notes: If going in late summer, most likely no snow, so do not need a ice axe or mountaineering boots. Plan on no water past Metan lake during fall or late summer. Hiking poles are nice, can ditch them on the upper part when scrambling. Approach Notes: Need northwest forest pass.
  8. Mt Pugh

    I wonder how is it to climb this time of year, anyone been up yet? Should I wait a little longer for snow to settle down? Dan
  9. Mt Pugh

    Partner wants to give it another week, may try it out the weekend after this one. Thanks Dan
  10. weather/climbing question

    I wish all the best for the climbers and searchers, almost any mountain is king in bad weather, sometimes we can forget that to climb ANY mountain is by the grace of good enough weather and/or conditions. (Always carry snowshoes or skis in winter even if you don't need them in current conditions/route. If you get dumped on with snow during the climb, then your stuck, also other sections of mountain may be full of soft snow, with many feet of soft snow it simple impossible to move very far)
  11. Can I dig a snow cave with those plastic boards?

    I have a plastic snow claw and it weighs next to nothing at 6ozs. It works pretty good under the camp stove to keep it out of the snow, works decent to level a spot for a tent. It is a item to consider if your thinking of bringing no snow shovel as it is better than nothing and works really well in softer snow. But if you really need to dig you will wish you had a good sturdy snow shovel. I personally bring the snow claw for any trip that I don't think I need a snow shovel, but will be up in the snow, as a compromise to save weight and bulk. Snow claw will have a really hard time on icy snow, but you can chip away at it, same for shovel but metal shovel is better.
  12. FYI: Snowshoer missing on Rainier

    Many people have the idea of digging a snow hole and climbing in for survival, but often once you dig it your soaking wet and then spend a freezing night. It is warmer than the outside air, but your still very cold, may not survive, especially if more than one night. Climbers and hikers often have no concept of primitive camping skills, it is not in the "cool" climbing and hiking books and it is not practiced. Why? Primitive camping is destructive to the environment so it is not practical to use in a on going basis and modern equipment has left primitive camping skills behind in time. But, for emergency usage modified primitive camping skills can save many lives. Basically you need fire starter, a lighter with man made tinder is the most practical and some kind of tool to work up the wood to make tinder. The tool can be a small knife or a bigger knife,a hatchet or a small machete etc. The most important thing is practice and skill, in building a fire. Knowing how to find dry fire wood or making dry fire wood when everything is wet. Then after this basic skill you can think of fire beds, shelter construction, how much wood to gather for a night and so on. To build these skills takes some time, effort and practice. My basic and very light kit if I pretty much know I can get to the tree line is this. Some sort of pot to melt snow in, I may carry a small canister stove and a single gas bottle in it. I also carry a very thin sheet of plastic, painter's plastic is super thin super lightweight 9' by 12'. You make the frame work of a tent structure or lean to with sticks that you pick up off the ground and then cover with plastic, many different ways to do this, depending if you can get a good fire going or not. Then of course you have two lighters, carry at least two just in case one breaks and this happens often enough. A bic or dejeep lighter is a lot better than matches as you can light thousands of fires with a well cared for high quality lighter(the cheaper junky lighters break more often). Even if you have one of those fancy survival lighters, carry a back up disposable lighter. Good tinder is important. Simple good tinder is cotton with a dab of Vaseline in it, a small bunch of it in a container. The weight of all my gear for a unexpected night out including a belay coat is 5 pounds at the most. Swiss army knife 12oz or small machette, about 1.2lb, lighters and tinder about 8oz at the most. Sheet of thin painter's plastic about a pound. A titanium pot is about 4oz, canister stove can be carried or not, I may throw in a snow claw or snow shovel, all depends how far and now long above tree line, above tree line has only a snow cave option for a night out. If you have a partner then the gear for a emergency primitive camping overnight is easy to divide up in two and weight for each will be very small. For instance, I let my wife carry a nice sized snow shovel for group gear on our day trips, I carry pretty much everything else in group gear, she may have a little fire starter also. To be practical, when in trouble. You move down toward tree line and look at several trees and find the best spot in area. If lucky, you will find plenty of good dry fire wood and able to work it up with the tool you have(rule of thumb, want standing dead wood,or dead limbs dryish sticking out from tree--small enough to work up. Want about arm thickness, if too thick then to hard to work up,if too thin then maybe wet to center of wood, working it up means splitting it up down into the center dry wood. You also cut off the outside skin layer to remove this wet layer. When get a fire going good you can dry this wood out with the fire but at first you need work up the wood to get dead dry fire wood, a real skill and it takes work to get a fire going, with really wet wood, a good tool is necessary, such as a small machete). Gather about 10 full arm fulls of wood, rough estimate is one large armful per hour of night. If on snow build a bark platform for fire to burn on, better though to get fire on the ground if you can find it. Then build a basic lean two wood structure in front of your fire. Make fire about 3 feet away from shelter. Make shelter very small, just big enough to get into. Small shelters are warmer and more easy to build. Cover shelter with plastic, trying to be careful not to rip up. The plastic is a use and throw away item. If you can try to extend plastic all over shelter and over front of shelter. Build fire, then in use, the infrared radiation from the fire will penetrate the plastic and warm the inside of the shelter. Build a smallish fire. Build a reflector on the back of fire using firewood you gathered. Use fire to melt water in your pot. Use boughs to make bedding shelter, figure about 4 to 8 inches of bedding, the more the better. One inch of boughs is about a R factor of 1 per inch, you need a minim of R-4 for ground insulation, you can start off with small logs and put on boughs on top of this well, to get insulation and softness. When building the lean too, the best fastest way is to make wood frame, cover with a little boughs and then cover with foot or so of snow, up to three feet. If have a shovel this will go fairly fast, but make it sturdy, it may collapse with weight. In this kind of construction you do not need to have the plastic if not raining, but it will make more dry if raining, and of course covering the front with plastic will make it much warmer. So with a few pounds of gear and skill, you can turn a night outside out into a primitive camping trip. As you can understand such camping can't be done all the time as it is too destructive to the environment especially in well used areas, even if we wanted to. If I was carrying overnight gear, I would greatly cut down primitive camping gear that I would carry for a emergency night out. A lighter knife or no knife, may leave plastic sheeting behind and so on. To go bare bones, you could just carry two lighters and plenty of tinder, but if everything frozen wet you will have little chance to build a fire in the cascades and this happens often enough. REALLY need a bigger tool to have a chance to work up the fire wood. If nothing else trying to get a shelter and fire going will keep you warm moving around all night. As a practical matter figure about 6 hours of work building a shelter, gathering wood, making fire, melting water and so on. That seems excessive but that is what I have found to be true, to make a good shelter and fire, it takes a long time. I would only do it if no other choice, rather would walk out, can walk a long way in 6 hours if you know where your going. Oh yes, I forgot you should have a good head lamp as this work will most likely be done in the dark. The amount of time it takes to build shelter and fire depends a lot on good location selection, so I would try to look at 3 to 6 likely spots and pick the best one, often your in area with no good places for fire and shelter and you move on for a few hundred yards and find a great spot(most often under the biggest evergreen trees, usually if I check several of these one spot will be the best, have the most wood and/or the best natural shelter under evergreen limbs of big trees). Another reason should try to practice these skills some or at least think on them. Dan
  13. Choosing your Partners wisely

    Rescue can be quick with a helicopter in good weather or very slow in bad weather, like days, waiting for a weather window or a team moving in by foot. In general you should not climb anything that you can't backtrack in bad weather. Even slightly injured you should be able to backtrack. Rescue teams are human too and helicopters must have at least fair weather. The community should have the mentality of using a Spot device or something like it, only as a back up for the worse case kind of accident and otherwise have the mentality of being totally self reliant determining your abilities AND your partner's. If you pick up a new partner be sure you are on a route that you both can handle up and back down.
  14. Good beginner solo climbs?

    Some of this depends on how you define a "beginner"? Some people have a higher natural ability than others. A person who is a natural in climbing and thin, with woods experience is not a bare bones beginner. That is a totally different than a novice from a city environment. Every hiked with a city girl? They walked on a smooth flat surface all their lives, no experience of being on a uneven surface, much less a rock face. Except for a city park , never been in the woods. Starting out, it can take time for many. Compare that beginner with a person in the woods from a early age and scrambling up and down hills and so on. There is a difference. After a start the beginner will figure out their level. To be cautious on class 3 and 4 is a good idea, the risk is real, not everyone has a desire to take that risk, it is a personal choice and the rope can make it more dangerous. The summit is optional, going home is not. Good Day. Dan
  15. Good beginner solo climbs?

    I would be cautious with class four and even on class three, often there are few class four moves on a class three route. I have decided in the future to always carry a 120ft rope for my wife for such ratings for just in case for my wife. No harnesses or gear, just the rope, you can loop the rope around the legs and waist and use a quick mountaineers belay if needed. I would not want to be on loose class four ground for very long without protection. It is all personal choice, don't pressure someone to solo above what they are comfortable with. Bad Karma. Dan
  16. Good beginner solo climbs?

    I will give a few examples from my experience. Once my partner and I lost the trail. I knew from the map that how to pick the trail up, so I let my partner , my wife for practice try to find the way. We go way off trail on a steep hillside, going wrong way for awhile. I then took over and angled downhill in the right direction to pick up the trail again, in this case I used the map and knowledge of where the trail had to be from our last known position while on the trail. If there was any question I would have not done this and would have back tracked to last known spot where I had the trail and from this known point, do searches until I picked up the trail beyond the snow. We lost the trail because buried in snow. Another example, a jumbled up area, where there are many tracks going all over the place. I marked the snow with a few sticks and also way pointed the spot with my GPS as the known trail was close to that point. I then move forward on the trail knowing if I had to I can back track to that point again. Another example is using wands on snowfields to mark crevasses and to find your way in a white out. Also you can use a GPS unit in back tracking mode or way point good points along the way. Always way point a dropped pack if you drop it to climb a summit. Always way point your tent and camp and I usually way point the truck. You also can way point the summit to use as a indicator above and below you as you are going down. I way point at any uncertain spot, as if I go forward and it does not work I can get back to that point. Also you can use cairns, These are piles of rock at least three high to mark the way back, a good practice, if at a junction you mark the correct way back with sticks with a arrow the right direction. Every member of the party should be paying attention while hiking and look back every now and then as it looks different coming back than going forward, mostly important to do in terrain that is open with possible wrong ways to go. Usually only the leader is paying attention to where they are going and this is a mistake, all brains should be active on navigation at all times. A common situation is going downhill in a whiteout, lost, in a fierce wind, letting gravity and wind push you in the wrong direction. Map and compass and GPS and brain need to be in play. Dan
  17. Good beginner solo climbs?

    I "cheat" with a handheld GPS unit. I way point my truck at the parking lot and other way points ever so often as I go to be sure I can back track. I also always have a map and compass with me and pay attention to where I am going. GPS may fail. A raw beginner mistake is to plow ahead while hiking once they lose the trail. NEVER do this. instead stop and start back tracking and circling around searching for last known good point on trail and trying to pick up the trail ahead. Never start plowing ahead downhill or uphill lost etc, keep looking for the trail or a known landmark etc, until you find it unless you know what your doing. Dan
  18. Good beginner solo climbs?

    A lot of good moderate stuff on mountain loop highway, half hike, half climb sort of stuff. The two I done recently that are good are Mt Dikerman and Pilchuck mountain. These are a lot of fun and good for a beginner to solo, a lot of people on the route with you on the weekend most likely. No Glacier. But half of those day climbs are on snow. Dickerman is a little harder and more fun. As for skills, I use a two hiking poles and one ice axe. On hiking the trail and easy ground. I use two hiking poles. On snow and steeper snow, I use one hiking pole and one ice axe. I use the ice axe in the uphill hand and the ski pole on downhill hand. This is the proper way to travel with mixed ground, semi steep. First know how to self arrest with ice axe and know how to self arrest with ski pole alone. When going downhill use the same ice axe and single ski pole combo, if it gets really steep, use only the ice axe alone uphill or downhill. When glasading put the ice axe in your hands in self arrest position. Always be ready to self arrest while glisadding, if get going too fast just start digging in the ice axe pick like you would when going to self arrest, if needed roll over on belly and go full bore self arrest. If you go on a safe glassade spot this trip, get your speed up fast and then roll over in full bore self arrest FOR PRACTICE of self arrest, the key here is to do this in a safe glassade run. I try to practice my ice axe and ski pole self arrest skills every year, this is important for some people. Not many know how to self arrest with a ski pole, look it up on the internet or it goes like this, Stick the pole in your armpit. With your arms above it, hands on pole and then on your back and side you roll all your weight on the tip of the pole to get it to dig in. It is more easy to do than describe. Your guide should know how to do this. This self arrest with ski pole is not as good as ice axe but close to it. Get the Snohomish hiking guide book and look in the north cascades section of the book and anything with 4 stars of difficulty and has a mountain to climb most likely would be a good trip and good for a beginner. Snow is melting out now but should be really good until mid July. Safe from avalanche danger but watch out the ridge lines as there are cornices that you can fall through. Dan
  19. Diet Article by Will Gadd

    Hello all, the rate of change of food is far greater than we are able to adapt. What is the magic number for grams of sugar a day? I don't know, I think the main concern is processed sugar in processed products. On average humans are not designed to eat so much processed sugar. So most likely fruit sugar from fresh fruit is not harmful, but processed sugar in excess in soda's or pastries can be really harmful over time for many people. From my reading processed sugar is a greater cause for heart disease than saturated fats. This post of mine is a heads up, if you drink lets say a 20 ounce soda a day that is 65 grams of process sugar and then add in a pastry that could put you to about 75 grams of extra processed sugar. Over time this could destroy your health, there is a epidemic of diabetes today. What is moderate for a cave man verses what is moderate for a person living today is totally different and we have the genetics of that cave man. Hence the epidemic of overweight people, heart disease and diabetes. Some people may be able to handle it better than others, genetic differences, but on average many people can't handle the modern processed foods in great concentration. Just a heads up post, good day all. Dan
  20. Diet Article by Will Gadd

    There is about a million different ways to do diet. Recently I just found out that ancient man ate about 8 grams of sugar a day. Today in the world of processed products the average person in the USA eats about 170 grams of sugar a day. A single 12 oz soda has 39 grams of sugar, about 5 times the ancient man's daily intake. No doubt short term, in the 20's you may be able to get away with a poor diet, but many catch hell in later years. There are many paths to be healthy, just be aware. Dan
  21. Inexpensive Synthetic Puffy

    I have a thought to pick one of these up sometime. http://www.idigear.com/nballinone.php, Not much good to climb in but would be good sitting or standing around, and open hiking. Other than that I got a Marmot primaloft jacket in brand new condition from value village that I am using now. If you have good thrift stores close by and have the time to be patient you can find what you need eventually. Of course the high dollar stuff is the best but ordinary jackets made of good material with a hood with the right kind of lighter design would not be that bad, basically, polyester is polyester. Can water proof with spray if wanted. Puffy jacket, synthetic, at a pound and cheaper, not that realistic to find. Something has to give unless you get really lucky. Dan
  22. I took my totally inexperienced brother up Baker one July, It was my wife me and my brother. My wife with some experience in the rear, me in front while going up and my brother in the middle. Basically I had to be able to self arrest for my brother on the way up and the way down. On the way down, my wife was in lead, My brother in the middle and I was in the rear. This orientation once again so I could be self arrest anchor position for the team. Such a climb with so many inexperienced people could be risky. I think the guide services spend a day or two on trips teaching the basics. Self arrest falling in all positions, how to use crampons on ice, the french technique of walking on ice with crampons. Also some basic knowledge of crevasse rescue and gear. On steep slushy snow it may not be even possible to self arrest, it can be like a slushy slerpy. I don't have knowledge of your route, steep snow and unsafe run outs? In such cases you plunge your ice axe's spike in deeply for every step as a primarily belay as if you slip you may find it hard to impossible to self arrest. This is one reason to climb early to get the colder firmer snow. Two danger points, hard ice, not as likely this time of year but possible, slushy snow from mid day on heat, so that self arrest can be impossible. The best is firm cool to cold snow, hence the alpine start, like 12pm to 1am or so. I remember some hard ice on one trip to baker, I think in the in the fall, , that situation would not be fun with many inexperience people on a rope. I did run into several hundred feet of ice on solo down Shasta in the early summer, fairly steep, that was interesting. I hope you guys spend a day at least getting in basic skills before heading up. Good luck Dan
  23. Chi Running

    http://www.chirunning.com/shop/home.php I found this guy's book at a thrift store and picked it up cheap and checked it out. I read through about half of the book and it seems worth trying out. The guy has run 100 mile races so must know something. Dan
  24. Chi Running

    Went on a couple of hikes using the ideas he gives and it seems to help, he claims that you can use up to 70% less energy by using his methods over a bad running form and your recovery time is much less than if using poorer form? With my very little experience with this I think he is right, of course I never studied different methods of moving etc, while walking, hiking and running before, I just went out and did it. I see that his web site is very commercialized, luckily I got a book cheap. Dan
  25. Chi Running

    I have been going through the book and I am actually learning a lot of different ideas about running. Don't know how well these ideas translate to hiking with a pack. According to the book power running is more injury prone than using the methods of "chi" running. Since the guy practices super long distance running, like marathons and more I am sure he knows something worthwhile. A few ideas is to run using the core of the body helping, to lean forward at the ankles while running. Feet kicking to the rear of the body, as opposed to a more upright running position or a power running type of movement. The author says he has success in helping previously injured people run and to greatly reduce injuries by using his methods. Dan