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jstluise

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Everything posted by jstluise

  1. Advice on our next route selection...

    I figured the Finger wouldn't be an option late in the season, just threw it out there as an option for our progression into more technical terrain. I completely agree with you. That seems like the most natural progression (getting comfortable with 1 tool). I guess that will be a goal for next year. Now the question is what tool to get. Thinking something like the Petzl Sum'Tec or BD Venom would be a good step up from my traditional axe and will get me on those next routes. Time to do some research!
  2. Advice on our next route selection...

    Thanks! I'll keep that route in mind! This probably deserves another thread and I'm sure the answer is out there somewhere, but since I am here I will ask. What would you recommend as a "second tool"? Something along the lines of a hybrid tool (eg BD Venom) with a hammer, or a full technical tool (eg BD Cobra/Viper)? Seems like a hybrid would be a good next step, but I'm wondering if I should just skip that and go with a technical tool, since I really want to progress toward more technical routes.
  3. http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2021116265_reireturnsxml.html 1 year return policy...30 day for outlet items. Disappointing...especially when I pay more money for items at REI just because of the return policy, when I could have saved money and bought them online. Oh, and how about a heads up? Policy if effective starting today apparently. Not even an email or letter to their members?
  4. REI is changing their return policy...

    I'm right there with you. While I'm sure the small shop employee has a good idea on what I should buy, that is only one data point. Going online to check out gear reviews, forums, etc, and talking to other climbers I know gives me a much better idea of what I should buy. I've always used this method and I'm happy with all my gear because of it...actually I can only think of one time where I returned something that was used, and that was because of a manufacturers defect (I exchanged the item with a new one and haven't had problems since). All the other returns I've had at REI are brand new items, mostly items off the online outlet where you can't try it out in person. A pair of running shoes for half off? Sure, I'll order it. Crap, they don't fit? No problem. I stopped by REI today to get some fuel canisters for this weekend, and so I popped into customer service to see what the scoop is. They guy basically told me that all the news outlets put a pretty bad spin on the new return policy. Now, this is what he told me: -First off, the return policy becomes effective today, meaning that jacket you bought 2 years ago is still covered. Only items purchased after today fall under the new return policy. -Secondly, there is still a lifetime return policy for item "defects". I didn't ask about how subjective that is, i.e. who decides if it is a defect or just wear? Of course, you would think the user would be honest and not try to return something they used for years that finally wore out. This idea was touched on in this thread. Anyways, as far as I'm concerned, after talking with the REI employee, nothing much has changed for me, since I've never abused the system. Defects are still covered, so that is good enough for me. Now the only thing that has changed is that I only have 30 days to decide if I want to hang onto that latest outlet deal that I might find...but I think I can deal with that.
  5. REI is changing their return policy...

    Okay, the leaking boot was a bad example. I guess the main point I was trying to make is if I have a product that I only get to use a handful of times in a season (compared to a someone like a guide that uses it every day), that may not be enough time to discover if any defects exist. Then next season comes around and then I do discover a defect, I might be out of luck. Sure, I guess that is my fault for not putting it through its paces, but it was the REI return policy that would help out in situations like that. It was kind of like an extended warranty. Heck, if they offered an extended warranty at a price I would probably take advantage of it for big ticket items. Everyone is making good points in this thread. Going to a local shop to buy gear that comes with input from their employees is a good idea, and I've done that before. But that's not the only way to make a decision on what gear to buy; gear reviews and ratings online give you a pretty idea if the item will last or if you should avoid it.
  6. REI is changing their return policy...

    I was just using the boot leaking as an example. But, a goretex boot shouldn't leak after after 5-10 trips, and in which case, I would consider them defective. I did gather that defective items can still be returned, although it seems like that is going to be subjective.
  7. REI is changing their return policy...

    Exactly! People like that definitely ruined it for us. My backpacking boots are 5 years old and in pretty good shape, but one started leaking. I've gotten tons of miles out of them and definitely my moneys worth, so I would feel pretty guilty returning them. So what happens when my $400+ pair of mountaineering boots that I wear on ~5 trips a year springs a leak or something else 2 years after I bought them (when they should last much longer)? Looks like I'm SOL now. Well, backcountry.com still has a lifetime return policy. I'll be going there for big purchases for now on.
  8. I'm looking for some beta from anyone that has been up to Summerland/Meany Crest/Fryingpan/Little T. I'm hoping to get out this coming weekend (pending weather), but I haven't seen any reports on Little T this season. Thanks!
  9. Little Tahoma (Fryingpan Glacier) Conditions?

    Thanks for the response. I've climbed it twice before (almost three, turned back last year because of crappy weather), so I am familiar with the route. I don't foresee there being any problems with the route, but just thought I would check to see if anyone has been up there recently. In the past we've done it in a day (a long, 15hr day), but this time we are going to take it easy and get up to camp on Friday after work. Still keeping an eye on the weather, though...it is no fun when you can't see the views from up there!
  10. Trip: Mt. Stuart - Sherpa Glacier Date: 9/10/2011-9/11/2011 Trip Report: With little info on the Sherpa Glacier route, especially in late season, we decided to hit the trail this last weekend and hopefully add Stuart to our list of summits. We had a rough idea on the route and mileage, but didn't really know what to expect. We thought we would be able to complete the entire climb in a day. Boy were we wrong! We arrived at the Stuart Lake TH Friday evening and opted to start our trip that night and hike into the basin below Sherpa Glacier. That would give us plenty of time to complete the climb on Saturday and be back to the car by Saturday evening...or so we thought. After some dinner, we were on the trail at about 8pm with our headlamps. I read that the trail leading to the basin broke off the main Stuart Lake trail at the beginning of the switchbacks (up to the lake), but we still had difficulty finding it. We found what looked like a trail and took it. Let the bush-whacking and boulder-hopping begin! We struggled our way to the basin, trying our best to follow the rock cairns. It felt like a game of hide and seek, since we could never see the next cairn in front of us. After 7 long hours we eventually we made it to the beginning of the basin where we camped. Four hours of sleep later, we were back on the trail at 8am. Of course it was much easier navigating the daylight! We reached the base of the glacier and started our climb up. The glacier looked good from below, but we still couldn't see where it topped out and the condition of the shrund. From the basin below the glacier: Sherpa Glacier: We had some friends in the basin: Once a good distance up the glacier, we stopped to gear up and strap our crampons on. One lesson we learned: DO NOT try to bend your crampon bar/link back into shape while on the mountain. My uncle tried this and snapped it; looks like he was going up with one crampon. Looking back down the basin: We reached the top of the glacier and finally got a look the shrund. It was MASSIVE! Pictures just don't do it justice. Luckily, there was a small bridge over a rock that was in the crevasse (off to the left side of the shrund). Without that, we would have had to turn around. I suppose if someone was carrying the right gear they could find a more creative way over/around/through the shrund. Below the shrund with our route marked: Above the shrund: We belayed each other over the bridge and then did a running belay across the top of the shrund until we hit the couloir. At the bottom of the couloir we unroped and made our way to the top. The snow was in good shape all the way up; it was all sun-cupped which made for easy foot placements (even with one crampon!). Up the couloir: Sherpa Peak: Sherpa Peak and the balancing rock: Once at the top of the couloir, we dropped our packs and started the scramble to the summit. We reached the summit at around 3:30pm (7.5 hrs from the beginning of the basin). The weather was awesome and views were excellent! Found this guy just below the summit. He was minding his own business: Great views: Stuart Lake: Glacier Peak: Summit!: On our way down we came up on two climbers. One of the climbers apparently hurt his leg when he slid down a snowfield and into the rocks. He was unable to climb down on his own. We got their info and tried to get a call out for help, but we did not have cell service. There were two other climbers behind us on the summit, so they were going to try to get help from them, too. For the descent, I read Pete_H's post about descending via Sherpa Pass. I thought this would be a good idea since going back down the Sherpa Glacier would be sketchy. After retrieving our packs, we took off down the gully to the south below Sherpa Peak with the intention of wrapping around the cliff bands on the south-southeast of Sherpa Peak and ending up at Sherpa Pass. Unfortunately we couldn't find an easy way around the cliff bands and had to descend farther than we wanted. That left us with about a 1000 vf traverse up to Sherpa Pass. This was probably the most frustrating part of the weekend, since there obviously was not a trail to follow and we were running on fumes. Six hours after leaving the summit, we arrive at Sherpa Pass and passed out for the night. Just before reaching the pass, we could see a helicopter flying around the mountain with its spot light on. We assumed it was for the injured climber, but they were making many passes around the mountain as if they were looking for someone (even though the exact coordinates of the climber were known). Every time it was heading in our direction we turned off our headlamps so they didn't mistakenly see us...they were pretty high though. We did hear them hover for some time next to Stuart, so maybe they dropped off a rescuer. I fell asleep soon after, so I'm not sure what happened exactly. We awoke the next morning and got going around 7:30am. We descended down the snow and into the basin. Crampons made life easier on the hard snow, but there are some rock bands you can go down if you want. Looking down the valley from Sherpa Pass: Sherpa Pass: Once we hit Mountaineers Creek, we followed that all the way into the meadow where we met up with the Stuart Lake trail. It was pretty rough travel; there were downed trees and boulders everywhere we turned it seemed like. From the top of Sherpa Pass, it look us around 3.5 hours to join back up with the Stuart Lake trail. From there, we had the short hike back to the car and our weekend was complete! Back to the Stuart Lake trail: Now I know why I couldn't find any trip reports for late season climbs up Sherpa Glacier...because no one does it! All in all, it was an excellent, albeit long climb. I could have done without some of the bush-whacking, but we survived. Also, we couldn't have asked for better weather! One plus is that we were in the shade for most of the weekend. I would climb this route again, but definitely earlier in the season when a descent down Sherpa Glacier is a better and faster option. Car to Basin: 7 hours Basin to Summit: 7.5 hours Summit to Sherpa Pass: 6 hours Sherpa Pass to Car: 4.5 hours GPS Data: In Google Earth: Gear Notes: Ice Axe, Crampons (at least one!), Rope, Helmet. We brought two pickets, though an extra one would have made our running belay more efficient. Bug Spray.
  11. Sherpa Pass as a Descent from Stuart North

    Were you guys rock climbing your way around the south side to the pass? It seems like you had to have been, since we waited until we were below the rocks at the beginning of the tree line. I think you guys are just plain fast, since you blew us out of the water on the descent from Sherpa Pass to the Stuart Lake trail. It felt like we were moving pretty good (given the conditions), so you guys must have been hauling! Good job!
  12. Another Stuart N. Side rescue?

    We descended Stuart on Saturday around 4pm and came across a climber in need of medical attention/evacuation. He apparently slid down the snowfield and couldn't arrest in time; he ended up bouncing into the rocks and injured his leg. He didn't say it was broken but he probably tore something. Anyways, he couldn't make it down on his own. He was with one other climber. We took their information and coordinates and made our way to our packs that were at the top of the Sherpa Glacier couloir (we dropped them before we headed up to the summit). Unfortunately we didn't have cell coverage at our packs so we couldn't get a call out. There were two other climbers behind us that must have made it down the CC route to get help for them. We camped at Sherpa Pass and saw the helicopter fly around quite a bit. We thought it was odd since the GPS coordinates of the climber was known. Unless there was another climber in need, I don't know what they were doing. I remember hearing them hover for some time, maybe to drop a rescuer off? Then they left and came back later. I ended up falling asleep so I don't know exactly what time they stopped.
  13. Sherpa Pass as a Descent from Stuart North

    You guys are very fast! We used this descent route this weekend (after climbing Stuart via Sherpa Glacier). Our times were a bit longer, but we did make some mistakes that cost us time. We didn't go all the way to the base of the West Ridge of Sherpa Peak before heading down the gully, so we had to meander our way through the gully to avoid cliffs and what not. Looking back at the top, the line from the base of the West Ridge down into the Gully looked good and would have saved us some time. We couldn't find a good spot to head east to wrap around the cliff bands on the south side of Sherpa Peak. We ended up going farther down the gully before heading east. From there, we had about a 1000 vf traverse up to Sherpa Pass, where we camped for the night. Yesterday morning, we left the pass and followed Mountaineers Creek down until we hit the meadow and rejoined the Stuart Lake trail. It was pretty rough travel, but we managed to make it through. Our Times: Stuart summit to Sherpa Pass- 6 hrs Sherpa Pass to Stuart Lake trail- 3 hrs 45 min So almost 10 hours compared to your 4...yes we are slow! I'll be writing up a TR of our climb up Sherpa Glacier soon.
  14. We're looking to climb something this coming weekend and Stuart is on our list. We've never climbed it before and I have looked into the Sherpa Glacier route in the past, but I don't know the condition of the route this time of year. How is the Sherpa Glacier route looking right now? If it still is climbable, is there anything we should look out for? If not, we'll look for another mountain; seems like all the other routes on Stuart are for you rock climbers
  15. Stuart Conditions - Sherpa Glacier

    Thanks for the info. I think we'll give it a shot and see what happens. It'll be nice just to get up close to Stuart since I've never been. IF we manage to summit, we do have the option of descending via Sherpa Pass (after reading the recent thread about this). This depends on the condition of the Sherpa Glacier. My guess is that Sherpa Pass will be better to descend. I was originally thinking of camping in the basin below the Sherpa Glacier, since we would be heading out of Seattle Friday afternoon. But, because of the possibility of descending the Sherpa Pass we would have to carry everything to avoid backtracking to get our stuff in the basin (even though it would only be a couple miles extra). Now I am thinking we just crash in the parking lot and leave real early Sat morning, fast and light. Thoughts? Not sure on the time from car to summit, but we can expect around 6 hours from summit to car (via Sherpa Pass) based on the other posting.
  16. Pair of sunglasses found at the climbing wall. Give me a description of the glasses so I can get them back to you.
  17. Trip: Mt Rainer - Gib Ledges Date: 6/17/2011 Trip Report: After receiving some great beta on the route, the two of us were excited to get up there and try something new. We left Paradise at around noon on Thursday (6/16), with plans to climb the next morning. The weather was excellent on both days with little to no wind. After talking to the climbing ranger, we confirmed the route was in excellent condition. He suggested climbing the ridge all the way up to the Beehive before dropping onto the Cowlitz, due to a crevasse opening up below. You could see tracks from climbers staying on the Cowlitz the entire way to the ledges, but he just found it easier to climb the ridge. We followed his advice. With only 4 hours of sleep we were out of Muir just before 2am. There were only two other climbers on the route; they camped at the Beehive so they got a good head start on us. I think they were at the entrance to the ledges by the time we hit the Beehive. After passing the Beehive, we had a short rappel off the ridge onto the glacier. Once to the entrance to the ledges, navigating the ledges were pretty straightforward. We soloed the route up to the rib. We roped up at the rib just in case we wanted to do a running belay on the last part of the ledges, but the snow conditions were great and we were comfortable so we cruised up to the top of the chute. We made it from Muir to the top of Gib rock (12,700') in just under 4.5 hours. From there, we followed the ranger's advice and climbed straight up to join up with the DC route. We hooked up with the DC route at around 13,700'. The route up the ledges definitely wiped us out. The time from Muir to the summit was around 8.5 hours. We got some pictures and took a short break on the crater rim, then we took off down the DC route. We were beat and it took us a long 5 hours back to Muir. Oh, and then another 2 hours back to Paradise! Long day! All in all, it was a great climb and we couldn't ask for better weather. It was nice to try something new and get on the route while it is still in good shape. I think the route still has a lot of life left in it. Photos: A bit cloudy going up to Muir: Above the clouds: A view of Gib Rock and the route: Gib Rock: Looking up the Cowlitz at the entrance to the ledges: Sun going down over the ridge. You can see the two climbers heading up to the Beehive (on the ridge to the lower right of the sun): We had a visitor at Muir: Finally on the summit: Steamin': Adams, Hood, and Shasta Jefferson: Saint Helens: Myself on the summit...er...upside down: Nice day!: Ingraham Flats and Camp Muir from the top of DC: Ingraham Flats: Little T: Camp Muir from Cathedral Gap: Here is some GPS data (ascent in green, descent in red): Gear Notes: We carried our standard glacier gear. We had 3 pickets, two screws, and some longer pieces of webbing in case of any belaying on the ledges.
  18. [TR] Mt Rainer - Gib Ledges 6/17/2011

    My D90 came with the 18-105mm, as well as the 70-300mm, which I haven't used a whole lot yet. I just got a killer deal on the package so I figured what the heck. I looked around quite a bit for a good setup, especially for mountaineering. Seemed like the chest harness deal worked well for people. Another system that was recommended to me: http://cottoncarrier.com/ Looks pretty cool, though I don't like that the camera is exposed all the time. Maybe in a hiking situation where falls are unlikely, but I wouldn't be comfortable using it on the side of a mountain. And, no weather protection.
  19. [TR] Mt Rainer - Gib Ledges 6/17/2011

    Thanks! I took along one lens: 18-105mm. The lens is very versatile. This is my first dSLR and I am VERY happy with it. I am packing it with the Lowepro Topload Zoom 50 holster (perfect fit and it allows for me to keep the lens hood on) bag with the Lowepro chest harness. Wasn't quite sure how it would work out carrying it on my chest (especially mountaineering) but it worked great! I could hardly notice it and had no trouble seeing my feet...even on the descent. Only difficulty I ran into was messing with my harness, but I managed. Best of all, I had quick access to it for fast shots
  20. [TR] Mt Rainer - Gib Ledges 6/17/2011

    I'm glad everyone liked the pics! Hauling the extra weight of my D90 proved to be well worth it! d, glad to hear you got another summit in. We're planning on hitting it again later this season. We have some other peaks we want to cross off our list first. The Muir fox was very active while we were up there...he even woke up at 1:30am to see us off and scrounge around for some leftovers. The headstand idea came about from my high school drafting teacher. There was a picture of him in the local newspaper headstanding the summit that I thought was pretty cool...I'll have to dig out the article and scan it. This was the first time we were on top where we had headstand conditions PS. It took me numerous tries to muscle my tired legs up over my head to complete the move...I was literally laughing to myself upside down because I didn't realize it would be that hard to do a friggin headstand
  21. [TR] Mt Rainer - Gib Ledges 6/17/2011

    You're right! Thanks! I figured Shasta was a little too far away to see.
  22. [TR] Mt Rainer - Gib Ledges 6/17/2011

    Yeah, we were right up against the rock, as high as possible all the way to the chute. There were some patches of ice and crusty snow, but most of the snow made for easy foot placements. The sketchiest part was dealing with the rock/ice with crampons...I think it was right around the rib but I don't remember exactly. d, after you exited the chute did you ascend straight up, similar to our route to join up with the DC route? Or did you go climber's left? The ranger told us to the way we did because even though going left looked good from below, it was broken up pretty good. I didn't know how the route looked back when you climbed. For our first climb of the season, I thought we were in pretty good shape (physically), but definitely could be better. I'm sure the lack of sleep didn't help. PS. Whoever skis the Gib Chute is insane! Looking down that thing...I couldn't even imagine
  23. [TR] Little Tahoma - 6/9/2011

    Looks like an awesome day! Hoping to get up there soon! Excellent pictures, Tim. What camera are you shooting with?
  24. My climbing partner and I are planning a climb next week (Thurs 6-16 thru Sat). We were going to just go up the DC like usual, but I saw that the Gib Ledges route is still in good shape (as of 6/1). IF the route is still okay by next week, we want to give it a go. This will be the first time on the route, so any advice would be great! Besides being quick through the ledges I couldn't find anything else. Also, how about staying at the beehive? Good idea? This will be the earliest we've been up on the mountain. Usually we hit it mid/late summer. Especially with the current conditions it is more like winter. What additional gear (besides warmer clothing) is recommended? I assume we should both be carrying avy gear (shovels/beacons)? Thanks for the info. I hope the route stays okay...I guess I'll know more by this weekend. We'll assess the route when we get up there. There is always DC, but it would be nice to change it up a bit.
  25. Looks like the route is still in good shape and should be next week (report yesterday on blog). Here is the picture they posted. Can someone tell me where this picture was taken from? It looks to be somewhere at the beginning of the ledges...you can see footprints on the right of the screen.
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