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dlofgren

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About dlofgren

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    journeyman
  1. Survival Gear for Winter Routes

    First Saturday of January, 2002, I experienced my first winter emergency bivvy. I’d bought my first new (alpine) skis and boots in almost thirty years, and was going to hike to Muir and ski down – figured that would be an awesome way to break them in. Ha! Put them in/on my pack at Paradise….they are HEAVY! So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to lock them inside my pickup and just make a quick hike to Muir and back for conditioning. Since I had planned to pack my skis and boots up, I had forsaken my usual winter hiking backup stuff – stove, fuel, bivvy sack, pad, etc. – to save weight. The hike to Muir was non-eventful, though I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure it wasn’t socking in behind me. If I’d seen even the beginning of that, I would have turned around quick and hustled back down. Arrived at Muir, went in the hut to get out of the wind and rest up. I was in there only about a half hour, but when I put my things back in my pack and opened the door to leave, I was greeted my a snowing, blowing whiteout and two options: 1. To endure a shivering night in the hut, or 2. To chance a return to Paradise in the whiteout. I opted for #2. To make a long story short, after crossing a boulder field that I knew I never crossed on the ascent, and with the clock ticking toward six o’clock, I decided that I was going to have to hole up somewhere. Found the lee side of a rock outcropping, dug a small cave and crawled in, using my snowshoes as a door. Laid on my pack with an empty water bottle for a pillow. Spent a surprisingly comfortable 12 hours in the hole, emerged the following morning to the same blowing, whiteout conditions, found the route and descended to Paradise. Three things that helped: (1) I kept my head. Kept repeating the #1 rule for survival if you’re lost: don’t panic. Took my time digging the cave; didn’t work up a sweat; only things that got wet were my fleece gloves (saved my NF down mitts for the night). (2) I had a really good clothing system – wicking layer, fleece and shells, and plastic boots. (3) My cave was small and tight. Too tight, but it worked well to keep the heat in. I could lay down, but not sit up; had about a foot to spare on both ends. As the spindrift filled my entrance I had to sort of roll on my side and stick my right foot up through the air hole to clear it. It worked, but each time I did it (every 20 minutes the whole night) my foot would bring back a bit of snow, which would fill a little more of my cave. Toward morning my foot couldn’t reach the top of the snow outside, so I was a bit worried about the roof glazing over with ice from the warmth. When I finally decided to exit it took twenty minutes to dig my way out. No wonder I was so warm – a thick white blanket of insulation! Back to the thread: my survival gear consisted of a shovel and an excellent clothing system. Would I ever again head up to Muir in January with only a shovel? No. A stove and pad would have been really nice, and a bivvy sack would have been essential if the snow hadn’t been so thick.
  2. Two dead on Rainier?

    Mike, you hit the nail on the head - "puzzling, but more than anything, very sad." So very sad. They didn't HAVE to die! Every time I've thought about this incident, that phrase comes out. Who knows how many times they could have made one right decision, and come out of it ok. Our prayers are with the family. Dan L.
  3. New Snafflehound Discovered

    Jordop - where did you get that picture? Is that white stuff bean curd? Are they growing the rats? What's the child doing in the white stuff? That is gross.
  4. Pros & Cons of Layering with Laminated Garments

    Good for you. A good layering system can be a lifesaver. Got caught in a January whiteout on the way down from Muir a couple years ago and had to spend the night in a cave in my clothes laying on my empty pack. Was reasonably warm all night. So continue on with your analysis of what works and what doesn't in your applications. To some extent all of us have. It may save your skin some time. Literally.
  5. Pros & Cons of Layering with Laminated Garments

    I think this is called "the paralysis of analysis". Put your clothes on and get out there.
  6. Lets make Rainier more climber friendly.

    Michael, you're a softy. Forgive the million-dollar fine if you want, but at least stick'im with the latrine duty. But you didn't answer "Forrest_M's comment about the gate not always being closed if it doesn't snow?" I can certainly understand the crew's need for time to clear roads and the parking lot if it snows. (and BTW, they do a great job.) But if it didn't, why not open the gate earlier? Also, did I hear correctly that you've been promoted? Hope so; you deserve it. Dan L.
  7. Who else

    I remember asking the proprietors of a local climbing/hiking shop re. the giardia danger around Kennedy Hot Springs. "Big time. Lots of reports of people getting sick with it." they said. "You gotta have a filter!" Got lost trying to find the trailhead; stopped to ask some Forest Service workers for directions, and asked them about giardia. They'd never heard of it. "Been drinkin' outta these cricks fer yeers, sonny." Finally reached Kennedy Hot Springs, and asked the resident ranger about the epidemic of giardia that she was dealing with. She looked a little puzzled and said she hadn't heard of anyone getting sick from the water. A friend of mine is a ranger at Rainier; never filters anything, there or anyplace else. On the other hand, my daughter imbibed giardia from a small town water system in Southern Oregon a couple years ago; vomited for 24 hours. Ugly time. Also remember dipping my cup into a small waterfall that looked clean, and noticed a bunch of little wiggly things when I brought it to my lips. I filter, just to be sure.
  8. Rainier in December

    I punched through/fell in six times crossing the Nisqually from the Muir snowfield to that "gunsight" notch that treknclime mentioned. It was May, but the conditions I think would be similar - unconsolidated snow over a honeycomb of cracks. Very tough to see the cracks in that area until you're right on top of them - literally. Be extra careful if you do that option. Dan
  9. badass solo rescue

    Get a copy of Andy Selter's book "Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue. He deals with it on page 110 and following. The key is to have your Bachmann already tied with the loop in your carabiner, and a picket within easy reach from an arrest position. Place the picket, clip the loop from the Bachmann, ease the weight of your partner onto the anchor, set your backup, check on your partner and go from there. Don't even think about being able to do it in real life without practice, practice and more practice! Dan
  10. Questions about Camp Muir-going 11/19/2004

    Greta - Not many people stay in the hut this time of year; nothing like in the summer. Partly because of the overall lack of numbers; partly because it's like a walk-in freezer in the winter. You're better off in a good tent. Only advantage is that you don't carry the weight and you melt snow and cook out of the wind. Other than that it's dark and cold. Always seems like it's colder inside than outside, IMHO. If you go, heed the good advice of all the folks above who shared their advice, and have fun. Dan
  11. Cool Sunrise

    Thanks, bud, for sharing the pic. Always an amazing mountain.
  12. Signs of the Coming Winter

    Nice pic, P&L. I pulled that over to my background, just to inspire me to the joys of winter coming.
  13. Camp Muir- 10/10/2004

    Cool pics, guys. Interesting to see the contrast. I'll take the new snow scene any day. Beautiful. But maybe I'm gushing because I haven't been able to get out since April. ANYTHING looks good to starved eyes!
  14. D.C. Sept 27/28

    Wow, that must have been beautiful in the moonlight. Glad you suvived; good for you.
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