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Gumby (1/14)



  1. I'm heading down to Aconcagua in December with some friends to climb Aconcagua and am pondering boots. I did some searching and it seems most guiding services want plastics. We're going without a guide, so there is some flexibility here. I have a pair of Sportiva Nepal Evo GTXs that I really, really like. I wore them for 3 weeks in varying conditions in the northern Coast range last summer (see Scud trip report). I also have a pair of Koflach Degre's that have a lot of miles on them and are nice in snow. While we're drinking pints, the route up is the Polish Direct. Otherwise the Normal route. So, not much snow and the plastic will be a bit clunky. The main advantage that I can see is the warmth and the ability to put the liners into my sleeping bag at night. Given the rubble nature of the route, I'd rather be in the Sportivas. Various searches turned up various opinions, with some people summiting in lightweight boots and others freezing in plastics. Any opinions here? My feet are pretty neutral while on the move, though they can get cold if I'm standing around. I could bring something like Hotronics as a back up for summit day. Things get a bit more complicated if I take the plastics as the liners are pretty old and really need to be replaced. But, where to buy high altitude liners? Koflach stopped making plastics and a quick (but not thorough) search of gear companies didn't turn up much. Any thoughts?
  2. Just wanted to chime in with some recent experience. I had my Katana's resoled at Rock and Resole in Boulder, CO. The cost was $39 including shipping both ways, with C4 rubber. Now, the neat thing is the time: 1 week, from when I sent the shoes to when I got them back.
  3. I'm going to resole my Katana's and this is the first time I've done it. I've got options of: 4 or 5 mm Sportiva XS grip 4 or 5.5 mm 5-10 C4 5-10 Onyx Thin 4 or 5 mm Sportiva XSV To be honest, I have no idea what to choose or even if it particularly matters at my ability level. People have told me that they really like the C4 stuff. But what size? The original soles took a pounding in the toes. Any suggestions? If it helps: I climb outside, mostly at Frenchmen's Coulee or alpine routes (have a different pair of shoes for that). The Katana's are my gym shoe (where I spend most of my time in the winter), where I mostly boulder at the V2-4 level.
  4. Trip: Mount Hood - South Side Date: 2/17/2008 Trip Report: I'm getting older and fatter every day, and this winter isn't helping my waistline at all. With all the snow this winter, alpine climbing has pretty much been a distant memory and I've been spending more time drinking beer at the Harmon than in the backcountry. But then the weather decided to take a break. Clear conditions and a favorable avy forecast, a rare treat on a weekend. So, The Great Destroyer, V Girl, Kevin "I'm not a 140 pounds" G., and I decided to head down to Mount St. Helens. The only problem was that the Forest Service decided not to plow the road to the snow park. So, we went to Mount Hood, where the Forest Service there can apparently plow a road 3500 feet higher than the St. Helens one. Hood was looking good on the drive through Portland. The guy in the pickup didn't really like me blazing away with my camera, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it. Later on, Hood lit up with amazing alpinglow. We got some beds in the Mazama lodge and, after a beer and dinner in Gub'mint Camp, went to sleep at 8:30 pm. Its been more than 6 months since my last alpine start, and I wasn't super happy about waking up at 1:30 am for this one. Yeah, I know I was in a lodge and got to sleep in a bed, but I've gotten soft in the last 6 months. When your only training is putting away pint and pint of IPA, this is bound to happen. We drove up to Timberline and, after some beacon checks and filling out paper work, we were headed upslope, alone, at 3:40 am. The air temperature was pleasant, in the 30s, and there was little wind. We had the moon to guide us for a while, but that soon set and we were reduced to headlamp navigation. That means we used our headlamps to find the ski lifts and just followed those. Navigationally hard Hood is not. After about two hours we had gone beyond the ski lifts and passed two groups of climbers, one of which had camped out. The east began to get light as we crossed 9000 feet. Below, TGD rests for a bit before starting the push to the Hogsback. As the sun rose, we were treated to a shadow of Hood cast down upon Portland. The snow was perfect for easy cramponing, but eventually became too icy to make skinning feasible. Below, you can see Jefferson and the Sisters lighting up, with the rest of our party coming up. Below them is the beginnings of about 15 Mazamas on their climb up. The obligatory crop and blow up of Jefferson, the Sisters, and Broken Top. We climbed past Crater Rock and got a good view of what we had ahead of us. The Hogsback with a waiting climber on one end. The Pearly Gates with several climbers inside. Only, the bottom two climbers were not moving. There were two climbers above them, and they seemed to be having a lot of difficulty. In the below photo, you can see the waiting climber on the Hogsback and the two stuck climbers at the base of the Pearly Gates. We regrouped and ate lunch (at 8:30 am!), consisting of sundried tomato roasted turkey sandwiches with pepperjack cheese, courtesy of V Girl, who will be taken on every single climb I ever go on (TGD almost proposed). The two bottom climbers still hadn't moved, but the waiting climber had run out of patience and had crossed the Hogsback and was in the process of climbing around them. We moved up into the sun, finally, at the base of the Hogsback where we could warm up. After watching the episode in the Pearly Gates climbers still hadn't moved, but seemed to still be healthy and seemed to be getting ready to climb down), we decided to contour over and take the West Crater Rim route. Some old steps led over there and the snow had been super stable so far. TGD and I headed out in front as V-Girl and Kevin "I need a nickname" G. finished un-freezing their fingers. We got to the top of the Hogsback in time to see the other two climbers at the base of the Pearly Gates, and then detoured to the left through awkward snow. The tracks were several days old and the steps had to be re-kicked by TGD. Normally this wasn't too bad, but occasionally he'd just hit ice, making for slow progress. We slowly rounded (in the now roasting sun) the corner and ran into a climber who was coming down from the top. He had gone through the Pearly Gates and found the climbing to be difficult at best, with a lot of ice. After we rounded the corner, I took over and kicked step s up the 45 degree slope to the rim. There were some old steps from time to time, which helped a lot as the snow was pretty icy. At 9:40, we topped out all alone. The climber who had come down must have been the solo climber waiting at the Hogsback. So, where were the other two climbers? Had they also gone down? Or were they still working their way up? We celebrated on the top for quite some time. Kevin "You know my name" G even did the worm. The Mazamas and a few independents slowly filtered in. After nearly an hour, two tired looking climbers came up from the Pearly Gates. It wasn't clear if they were the two we saw or not, and they looked too tired to answer and questions we might have. It was getting hot out and so at 11 we set off for the descent. TGD had hauled his skis all the way up so that he could ski all the way down. With the super icy conditions, the steepness, and the narrow constriction, we were all pretty sure that he was going to die, but watched anyways. Slowly he slipped away and made it past the worst of the ice. We down climbed, follow the Mazama groups. I spied him ripping turns further down, then cresting over the Hogsback, and continuing down the other side. Those of us on foot were all jealous. After the down climb, I followed the now massive boot track that TGD and I had kicked out in the morning down to the Hogsback, and then down the Hogsback to the top of Crater Rock, where I found him sunning himself, pleased like a cat who just found a mouse to play with. Our party eventually regrouped and, after dodging a second ice fall that had tumbled down, we set out for the Lodge and beers. Keving eventually picked up his skis and was able to get a bunch of turns in on the way down to the lodge. V-Girl and had to walk down. Eventually we got to the parking lot, de-geared, and met the others in the Lodge where, the beer was flowing liberally. Now, this was the kind of training I was used to! None of this climbing stuff. Just glass after glass of frothy goodness. Gear Notes: Axes and crampons. If you're going to go into the Pearly Gates, a second tool and perhaps screws, harnesses, and ropes would be a good idea. Approach Notes: Road to Timberline is well plowed. Snow is in good condition for hiking, but is pretty icy in places for skiers.
  5. Cross the border and head to MEC in Vancouver. That is where I got mine. Beautiful boot that climbs rock really well!
  6. suge


    In terms of the southwest, there is a ton of stuff on the BC side of things. See my trip report for some of the easier to get to objectives. http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/751648#Post751648 Here is a teaser: This is (roughly) the East face of Ambition. The mountain has been climbed once in 1967 via a ridge on the other side. The East Face hasn't been climbed. And another: The prominent mountain in the middle is Hoole, which hasn't been climbed by any route (that I know of). Both of these mountains have, by Coast Range standards, easy access (2-4 days with minimal bushwhacking and manageable river fords).
  7. Sorry, I should have added that after my experience, I thought that another climber might have better luck. I handed off the pack and he is currently testing it this winter time. The ideas should work, and hopefully he will have more success than I did.
  8. Not to put a damper on things, but I tested 40L (I think) one of these out for a local gear shop and could really say that I liked it. The strap system isn't really all that obvious. In order to get the side compression straps to function securely I had to double back them, meaning I couldn't adjust them on the fly. Perhaps I didn't have all the pieces, but I also couldn't rig the top pouch and have full compression: There just were not enough straps and connecting pieces (of which their are several types). I never could figure out how to put an ice axe onto the pack. I'm sure you can, but I couldn't figure it out. No one has ever accused me of being the brightest candle, but I've strapped a few axes on in the past. Because of the unique rigging system, you can't just walk into a gear shop and get replacements or add ons for your pack. Finally, there was a pouch up front that looked like it was designed to hold crampons. Well, my crampons didn't even come close to fitting in there. Not even half way in. Additionally, the pack can only be called light weight in comparison to a Bora 65 or similar porker. My 40 L MEC pack weighs about the same. The materials and suspension are all standard grade in most, but the pack inexplicably uses lightweight nylon in places, such as the extension collar, where seams on ultralight packs are apt to tear. So, rather than using the ultralight stuff throughout and having a truly light pack that you'll thrash in a season, you now have an average weight pack that you'll need to have repaired or replaced every season. Why not just get an average weight pack with a standard compression system that will last for more than a season? If you want ultralight, buy a genuine ultralight pack. I really, really wanted to like the pack going in. The suspension looked solid and I'm a sucker for clever ideas. But the ideas confused me at times with their utility. Granted, I didn't have an instruction manual for the pack and, again, I'm not the quickest of people, but I really should have been able to figure it out on my own.
  9. I used a single pole for my tarp during my PCT hike in 2003. Before then, and after, I logged maybe 30 nights outside with it. I only had a couple of nasty weather days where high winds taxed it, and it did just fine. Camped on an exposed butte in the Grand Canyon, a storm came in and thrashed me with high winds. The pole bent and bent, but came through without any visible damage. I probably wouldn't change poles for a tent that my life might depend on, but if it is for more casual use, then they should be ok.
  10. I put up a TR last year, which is way buried. http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/659961#Post659961 Most climbers head to the Tonsai-Railey area in the south or Chiang Mai in the north. If you head south, fly to Krabi, taxi to Ao Nang, and then boat to Tonsai or Railey. Tonsai is the most dirt bag like, but it is being developed and a lot of cheap places are now way in back, far from the water. You can walk from Tonsai to Railey East, West, and Phra Nang pretty easily. There are two main guidebooks (Sam Lightner, Wee Changrua). Both are ok, though I'd give a slight nod to Wee's book. I'd bring both, though, as they disagree on star ratings and worthiness on some really key climbs. Prices for food/housing are about double (sometimes triple) what you would pay in the rest of Thailand outside of Bangkok. In terms of climbs, the area is, I think, rather soft for the ratings. Of course, some climbs are pretty brutal for their grade, but for the most part I found them easier than at, say, Vantage. Once you get used to the steep, featured limestone, there are tons of climbs. I didn't do any of the multipitch stuff, but people raved about Humanality (4 pitches, about 10d) and Lord of the Thais (5 pitches, about 12b). Try climbing in the early morning before the sun gets hard. I would generally hit the rock around 6:30 or so and get a few pitches in, then retreat for breakfast. The air was a lot cooler and we could hit climbs that were popular with no one around. If you want to try something different, there is good climbing near Lopburi, a few hours outside of Bangkok. You can see some info at http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/thailand2/lopburiclimb.html There is a really good 5-6 pitch 5.9+ called Waltz for a Lovely Wife. There is a harder, but stunning looking 6 pitch 10b/c route called Corcovado on the crag also. You'll need your own transport to get to the crag, which is accessed through a local monastery.
  11. When it sucks here, it is nice somewhere else. Tonsai Wall, Tonsai, Thailand Dum's Kitchen, Tonsai, Thailand Humanality (left part of Tonsai Wall), Tonsai, Thailand Tonsai Wall, Tonsai, Thailand The Thaiwand, Railey, Thailand
  12. It works every time. And, it is even cheaper than the beast. What's not to love?
  13. I've used a lot of eVENT jackets over the past few years. The ID jacket (not thruhiker) is cut very narrow and tight. You can get a light fleece underneath, but anything puffy will get squashed. The hood won't fit over a helmet. It is one of my main hiking jackets and I've spent a lot of time in it. Durability is good, but the inside part of the lower back is beginning to wear out. I've climbed in it before, but never on anything with serious weather. You do need to wash it frequently. Weight is minimal (9 oz). Breathability is excellent. I've also used LOKI's alpinist shell jacket, and like it a lot. I climbed a fair amount in it and it is more appropriate for alpine use. Fortunately, I got it on sale for about 40% off, which made it much more reasonable in price. The fabric seems thicker than the ID jacket. It is longer cut, with more room to layer underneath. The hood can mostly fit over a helmet, though it is a bit tight. There are built in mitts that I like and use a lot. There is also a built in face mask, which I also like a lot. Durability is great and the jacket came through a season of climbing, capped by three weeks in the Stikine (see TR in the BC section). No damage to jacket. Breathability is also excellent. Lastly, there is a Rab eVENT jacket that I've just recently started using (I don't think you can buy it) and like alot. It has a full on helmet compatible hood and is cut for alpine activities. It weighs in a 16 oz and is a really sweet piece. I haven't spent enough time in it to say much more, but I suspect that it will be my main shell this spring time. In short, eVENT works very well. Durability is superb and breathability is as advertised.
  14. Thanks for all the kind words! The Coast Range is just massive and begging to be explored. Some suffering is required, but mostly you just need time and some maps. We came out of the trip pretty healthy, though there was one broken arm, some torn tendons, and the Devils Club spines didn't rot out of my hands, arms, and legs for more than a month. There are years and years of trips in this immediate area, and lifetimes in the greater range. I'm not sure what the peak in the background of the Hoole shot is, but I suspect that it is false Hickman. This is the Mount Hickman as listed on the Canadian government maps, but isn't the actual Hickman. Hickman is, I think, further right, out of the shot.
  15. Dan Pakula from Stikine Riversong picked us up. He runs between Telegraph Creek and Wrangell and his website is http://www.stikineriversong.com However, the Stikine, as it turned out, was big enough and slow enough where we came out that our float plane pilot could have picked us up there. As we're on pretty good terms, it would have been cheaper than the jet boat, which we had to hire as a charter.
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