Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About AR_Guy

  • Rank
  • Birthday 11/30/1999


  • Location
    Lynnwood, WA
  1. Snow Travel Skills

    Monty: Yeah, I used insteps since I wasn't aware of microspikes in '06 - figured they'd be better than nothing and lighter than the aluminum 10 points I had. Plus, I knew if I fell with the 10 points, it takes a lot more skill to safely self arrest. Insteps were a false sense of security. What I needed to do was properly kick in the steps, take my time and be careful - technique not equipment. I wouldn't bring anything as far as traction aids were I to do another thru hike - no micros, no yak trax, etc. Of course, to each their own. I've got to disagree with chirstophbenells a bit. If it's a normal to heavy snow year, the climb up the passes will NOT be snow free with typical thru hiker timing. In a heavy snow year ('05, '06, '12, etc) you'll certainly be trudging through snow for miles on the south side of the passes, then climbing snow to reach the pass, then descending through even more miles snow on the north side. While climbing, you'll want an axe of proper length since, if your prudent, you'll be setting a self belay with every step and moving only one point of contact at a time. I used a 60 cm axe (I'm 5'9") and found it to be a bit short even though it measured out "right" (point just shy of touching the ground when holding in the hand with arm at the side) - I'd go for a 70 the next time. The extra couple of ounces for the longer shaft is worth staying more upright on a sketch climbing traverse and being less likely to self impale if you actually need to arrest. YMMV.
  2. Snow Travel Skills

    Claire: I hiked in '06, a very high snow year. What you'll NEED to know is how to self arrest. I slipped and fell going up one of the passes and needed the axe. As suggested, find yourself a nice slope with 100% safe runout to practice on. FOTH will have all the book knowledge you'll need for a thru. To the posted that suggested you spend your weight on traction aids and baskets - you won't really need baskets. The snow in June is fully consolidated and firm. Micro spikes might be useful, although the above noted time I slipped, I had instep crampons on. There were times in '06 that I would have turned back without the ice axe - I saw others without turn back, which, after doing the passes that scared them, was a prudent move. Plunge stepping will be quite a handy skill to have. Do a little glissade practice as well - it's a good way to build up some speed to practice the arrest. There are lots of thru's in PDX. Make a post on the PCT-L asking for a local mentor and you'll be sure to have several willing to get together and answer your questions.
  3. Don't forget: http://www.pcta.org/ Click Volunteer on the right. Then Volunteer Opportunities on the left to get you to: http://www.trailprojects.com/projectsdatabase.html Where there is a listing of projects. In addition, each club / chapter / volunteer crew often has a web page, e-mail list and / or a Facebook page where they'll post or announce shorter notice projects as well. Contact the crew in your area, or the PCTA volunteer coordinator, for details. These PCT projects are up and down the length of the trail, from So Cal to Washington. In your case Billcoe, if you're in PDX, check out the Mt. Hood Chapter which has some very experienced volunteers.
  4. We found your rope at Endless Bliss yesterday (Oct 7). Tell me where you were parked (found in one of the parking areas) and what the color scheme is and I'll find a way to get it back to you.
  5. Where are the easy trad leads? <5.7

    Scroll through the guide book for Vantage. There are some easier trad routes there as well. I did my first gear lead in the tilted pillars section (don't recall the name off the top of my head). Little Black Rooster on Hen House (if I recall the name properly) is another option. There are others as well toward the easier end of the spectrum. I'll second R&D at L-Worth. 'Tis a fine route. If you want to do Saber, I'd suggest following it first, the direction to go isn't all that clear from the L-Worth guide book that I have. Once you know the way, yes....a very fun route. Mounties Dome as well.... When you're up for alpine, the Becky route at Liberty Bell is 3 fun pitches with a few 5.6 moves and plenty of opportunity to place gear. I'll also vote for the Great Northern Slab at Index. The mentioned route in Idaho sounds like a blast.....might have to check it out.
  6. Gearheads: 90+ liter packs for 2-3 week excursions

    The following is based on if you're actually just hiking. If you're doing some kind of special project, like lugging an IMAX camera and a few thousand feet of film....well, get a pack goat or mule. There are zero, absolutely zero, places along the PCT that would take 2-3 weeks over 170-200 miles without optional supply points. The only way to go that long in time or distance on the PCT is to willingly forgo resupply opportunities. The only section that comes close to describing 170-200 miles without a (close) resupply is going straight through from Kennedy Meadows to VVR, while doing the side trip up Mt. Whitney. And that's only if you choose to skip heading out for resupply 1/2 way through this section. Lets see....175 trail miles from KM to VVR plus the 15 or so bonus miles up Whitney and back to the PCT = 190 miles. And that took me 12 days on my thru hike in the very high snow year of 2006, with a moderately early departure of June 14. Best damn 12 days of the hike. That said, having been there, done that, next time, I'll take the resupply exit over Kearsarge if it's another high snow year. I did it with a Granite Gear Vapor Trail - about 60 liters. Everything fit just fine in that pack. And my gear wasn't anything close to the smallest or lightest. I left KM at about a 48 lb pack. 16 lbs non-Sierra base weight. Add bear can, add ice axe, add insteps for the snow fest. Carry a full liter of alcohol fuel for the stove (extra carried by choice - heard tales of having to pour boiling water on shoes that froze solid over night to get them on). Remainder of the pack weight was food. In a normal snow year, or even a high snow year with a late June departure, it shouldn't take more than 10-11 days, even doing Whitney. Do yourself a favor. If you're thinking of this section - lighten up your load. If you actually have 80-90 liters of stuff, you really ought to try and pare it down a bit, else you're setting yourself up for a self inflicted suffer fest. Even being in great thru hiker shape, going in with a pack with an extra 5-6 days of food, extra equipment, at that elevation in high snow is some seriously hard hiking.
  7. Carabiner Failure...?

    Actually there Tvash, even steel does NOT have infinite fatigue life. That said, civil engineering projects that use steel are (often, not always) typically not driven by fatigue design, unlike (often, not always) aircraft designs that typically use aluminum. Plus civil projects have (typically) far higher (static) margins of safety (what is it - 5, 10?), which provides for better fatigue life. Aircraft typically have far smaller static margins of safety - 1.5 is the regulation. This plays directly into fatigue life. But, what's germane to this particular question: One thing as it relates to fatigue - applying a load cycle close to ultimate (breaking) load does incredibly more fatigue damage than does applying a load cycle at a small fraction of limit load. Only a few cycles of near ultimate load can initiate fatigue cracking where hundreds or thousands of 1% of ultimate load cycles will do negligible fatigue damage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatigue_%28material%29 See the S-N plot - note the logarithmic scale - as the load increases toward the (static) breaking strength, the number of cycles drops on a logarithmic scale. One doesn't need to think about it too many times to understand the nature of the problem as it relates to slack lining. Each time someone hops on the slack line, they're imposing a stress cycle on the attaching hardware. Each time they do a jump or trick where the line is un-loaded then loaded again, it's a cycle. Even bouncing up and down applies cycling loads - each one does fatigue damage. It doesn't take too many of those cycles at 1/2 to 2/3 of the ultimate strength to fatigue out the hardware.
  8. Car break-in in front of Stone Gardens

    One of the things I saw done to prevent, or at least hinder, ones car from being stolen from a trail head: The guy took several carefully selected fuses from the main power distribution panel. Things like from the ignition, fuel pump, etc. A quick and easy way to disable the engine yet reversible in only seconds....IF you know what to do. Oh - and it sucks that your car was busted into there at SG Bellevue. That gym is pretty sweet.
  9. Good backpacking spot

    Another option for pretty good payoff for modest effort: Go either way out of Stevens Pass on the PCT. Lake Valhala is about 5 miles to the north. To the south, there is a lake about 4-5 miles in. Both would be nice out and back over night trips or go in, base camp, day hike / explore for a day, then come out on the 3rd day. Valhala can also be reached via a shorter approach (~3 miles) from the north by driving to the east a short distance and going north up a FS road (I don't recall the one at this point), then taking a side trail to the PCT then going south. I took my brother and 8 y/o niece out to this in the summer of '09 for their first overnight trip. It's quite "mellow" on the difficulty scale. By late August the snow should be long gone at these locations. Pick days with good weather if you have schedule flexibility.
  10. Climbing Harness Safety

    Is your life worth saving $10 or $20 on a harness? Frugal is good, as in getting something on closeout. Being cheap when it comes to life critical equipment......mmmmm....not for me.
  11. rappel device

    Ahem....BKB There is nothing wrong with cast aluminum. I'm an engineer in aerospace...at a certain manufacturer of large commercial aircraft. I've seen and used the design manuals. Not going to quote numbers from them, since it's proprietary data. But you should be able to find info in the public domain that supports what I have to say (Mil Handbook 5 is a good place to start). Cast parts are used all over on aircraft - just a wee bit more regulated usage than climbing...m-kay? Something about killing 400 in one shot with a failure, or losing nukes, you know...... "cast aluminum is extremely weak" is simply incorrect. Ditto "cast metal parts have no structural plasticity" Again, simply wrong. Now, if you're talking some yahoo melting down pop cans in a steel can with an acetylene torch and pouring the melted residue into a scraped out dirt mold in the back yard, sure, it's weaker than crap. If you're talking about proper casting houses, following strict procedure, well, you show you need to do some research and educate yourself on what the facts are. Is cast as strong (raw yield strength) as machined billet or forgings? Nope. Then again, where castings are used, they don't need to be and the thickness is adjusted accordingly. Like anything, a good engineer will tailor their choices in materials, design and manufacturing process to the desired outcome in terms of operation, strength, weight, cost, bulk, etc.
  12. Biting the bullet...

    Rope Enjoy the time off. You'll love it. I did it a bit different for my 6 month PCT thru hike. I managed to score a leave of absence and came back to the workin' world. I'm currently planning the next sabbatical. It's sweet you're choosing to do this in your 20's - that you figured it out now and not later. I didn't do the thru until my mid 30's. You'll have that many more years to have the experience inform your life. Looking forward to the picture laden TR's.
  13. Alpine Climbing

    To answer your question indirectly: Knowledge is power. Class - yes. Mentor - yes. Mounties - yes (I know some will get on this, but they DO work for a lot of folks as a way to be introduced to the sport). I found folks here on CC by posting in the partners forum. Be honest on what you're looking for and your experience and you'll stand a fair chance of a more experienced person willing to partner up and show you the ropes, so to speak.
  14. Rope life

    http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/876071/Retiring_Ropes#Post876071 From the gear forum.
  15. Rope life

    Check the search function here on rope life and other reputable sources (Long's anchor book, FOTH, etc). If you've had your lead line for 6 years, as I recall it, just on a time basis, it's getting time to replace it. I thought it was something like 5 or so years, then retire to a "top rope only" status. In any event, that you're asking the question indicates that you might have some level of doubt in your mind (be it a real doubt or not). That in and of itself is good enough reason to replace it. As said above "IMO, retire ropes early and often. Just one of those maintenance costs. In hindsight, the ropes will seem cheap." Sound words.