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Everything posted by cneum

  1. Does anyone have a strong opinion about which forecast tends to be most accurate for Rainier? I've been following the UW recreational site (https://www.atmos.washington.edu/data/rainier_report.html) and the mountain-forecast.com site (http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Rainier/forecasts/4392), and just looked at the NOAA forecast (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=46.87&lon=-121.75&lg=english&FcstType=text&TextType=1). For the system coming in this sunday, UW and NOAA make it sound like there will be light snow accumulating but nothing too bad. mountain-forecast.com is showing 2+ feet of snow at the summit, and 1-2 ft mid-mountain! Is this at all reasonable and/or trustworthy? It seems to vary a bit from day to day, but always sounds way worse than the "chance of showers" the UW forecast is calling for. We were hoping to head up Emmons this week, and can wait for clearing Tuesday to start, but if there is 1-2 feet of wind affected snow up high there might be lingering avy concerns we aren't prepared to deal with. Any thoughts as to whether the one outlier forecast should be trusted? Also willing to accept comment on if avy concern is really an issue on Emmons route... I default to "yes."
  2. Most trustworthy Rainier forecast?

    Yeah, last evening confirmed that Mountain Forecast is garbage. At 8:30, they were calling for 13 inches of snow overnight but a quick check of the web cams showed not a cloud in the sky over the mountain. Muir looks cloudy this morning but no sign of snow yet. We'll trudge up to Schurman in the mist tomorrow and by Thursday it looks to be in good shape.
  3. Do the Crooked and/or slot couloirs make enjoyable, steep-ish snow climbs this time of year? The wife wants a confidence building climb saturday and we'd rather not drive terribly far from Seattle. I'm looking for something north-facing since it will be a bit toasty, and soemthing without intact "ice bulges" as Volken suggests the exit of Crooked may have. If those aren't good options, any other recommendations in the Snoqualmie / Highway 2 / Mountain Loop areas? Unicorn (Tatoosh) was another option, but so far to drive and a lots of walking on Stevens Canyon Rd required. Thanks...
  4. Thanks for the thoughts. I was getting excited about Vesper until I just saw the NWAC report for the weekend. Now I am not so sure. Is the E/SE side of the mountain as slabby as the NE? Looks like major glide avalanches going off with the warm weather.
  5. Hi all, I am finally getting around to replacing my Lowe Alpine Contour IV pack that I bought back in 1995. At 90+15 liters, it got me through an extended mountaineering trip in the Chugach, a couple of 10 day self-supported outings, and more routine trips. I want to replace it with something close to that size (but maybe a bit smaller) with the intention of climbing Rainier next summer, carrying my kids crap on family backpacks, and otherwise over-packing for smaller backpacking trips for no good reason. based on quick readings, my top choice right now is the Osprey Aether 85 available at REI. Has anyone used this particular pack and have input on its use for backpacking and occasional mountaineering outings, or can someone recommend another pack in the 70-90 L range? Is 85 overkill, and would 70L be fine? I'm not a fanatic ultralight kind of person so I need space, but sometimes having too much space just encourages me to fill it up with uselessness. I'd also just take input on other stores to explore aside from REI that have other brands of note. Thanks for any help you can offer...
  6. Haute Route and Lift Skiing in Region

    Did the hiking version of the route back in summer 2003. We stayed at Gite Le Belvedere in Argentiere at the start (http://www.gitelebelvedere.co.uk/) which was cheap and super close to one of the lifts. More than a hostel I'd say, but not quite a full on hotel either. I guess that's what a "gite" is. I still plan to go back for skiing some day, just not sure when. Have fun. Nothing in zermatt is cheap, at least nothing we ever found. I think you can stay cheaper down the valley and take the train up to ski.
  7. So my wife and I thought it would be good to get some life insurance to help our kids out if anything ever goes south. A preliminary discussion with an agent made it clear that they are scared of (or confused by) "climbing." I want to be honest about the type of climbing my wife and I do (which I would consider highly recreational and easy compared to what I see others here doing), but I've already got odd questions like "how hard is it?" Well... 5.8 on a good day multipitching, but I don't think they would get that. has anyone been through this before? Are there any specific words I can use to cover my ass legally but not make these people think I am a professional alpinist? Already I am concerned as they seem to have a 13,000 ft cap on total elevation, but I'd like to climb Rainier someday. Failing this, anyone have affordable insurance from a company that isn't scared of recreational climbers? Frankly I am way more scared driving Lake City Way in the mornings.
  8. Thanks for that link Jay. Might end up being useful. And I am not a lawyer, but my guess is that you can't lie on the application because that would be fraud, but if after two years you participate in activities that you didn't at the start then they have to cover you still. I have the same international problem as my last day cragging was at smoke bluffs last August. Who knew that me flailing on a 5.7 top-roped crack was so extreme. I did get one quote that was ~$2K per year for $500K, but that is almost three times what it would be if I didn't climb. Which begs the question: are middle aged (say >35 years) recreational climbers 3 times more likely to die in the next 15-20 years than non-climbers? That is what such a quote insinuates. Another possible way to look at it: given a pool of climbers, I bet that climbing-related deaths are way less that 3 times as high as non-climbing-related deaths. Anyone here an actuary? is this the right way to think about it?
  9. Do you mind saying who you used. I am talking to Allstate who we do home/auto with, but frankly I'd rather have a detailed/educated discussion with someone with a clue. In general, I got similar questions this afternoon, but they couldn't pronounce "carabiner" and asked specifically about using hexes and nothing about cams so they may be a bit behind on developments in climbing gear (or I am going to dinged for still carrying hexes!). It didn't seem like they knew distinctions like "sport" vs "alpine", and I had to explain that climbing at Vantage is not an "expedition." Selkirk, good luck with your pursuit. Post back if you have any luck.
  10. Thanks for the thoughts. I have my "official" interview today, so I'll stick the policy of honesty about current practices, and no discussion of aspirations (since few of my aspirations have materialized since having kids!). I don't think I am going to get gouged to the order of 8-10X (the agent thought it might be on the order of 25-30% more), but if that's the case I'll turn down the offer and look for a better situation (and then rat out the current company I'm in discussions with).
  11. DIY pulk ideas

    I currently have a 4.5 yr old and a 9 month old, but only one pulk for the upcoming XC ski season. Our current pulk is a Kindershuttle which is great, but I don't really have the money to shell out for another one of those plus I am not sure I could get two to fit in my Outback. So I was thinking of making one. There are plans out there to convert an "Expedition Sled" from Paris Company into a gear pulk, but does anyone have advice for putting some kind of seat into that for a 4.5 year old? The Kindershuttle has a rather customized seat that looks hard to replicate at home. Would a Thermarest seat work? Anyone tried something else? The other alternative is to convert an old jogging stroller to a pulk by removing the two back wheels and attaching skis, then remove the front wheel and attach poles there. My concern is that the poles will then pull from essentially a single front point (versus to the two front corners of a rectangular sled) and I wonder if this will be unstable. Thoughts? We mostly ski the blue loop at Cabin Creek (at a very slow pace), so there are a couple of downhills for which a relatively stable setup would be preferred. Or anyone have a used Kindershuttle they want to sell?