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Everything posted by Nick

  1. Use small stainless bolts and nylock nuts. Stay away from aluminum pop rivets (too weak). If you get a tight fit with the sister strip of aluminum you could use epoxy as well as bolts. Assuming the alloy is weldable you would use a strip of the same aluminum sistered on for a weld repair; if you are used to welding aluminum it is not hard.
  2. Your favorite snow saw

    Knotted string works OK for Ruschblocks, unless the snow is hard and crusty, then you need a special cable cord or a snow saw on a long pole. The BD flicklock saw works well on the end of a long (ski) pole. I hardly ever dig ruschblocks, using compression tests etc. instead, so the bone saw works well for me.
  3. 55L pack reviews?

    The packs I know of that have real removable foam pads are CCW, Cilo Gear and Wild Things. Golite pads are tiny. You can stuff a folded pad in the back of any basic top loading alpine pack, especially if you get rid of any internal frame junk that gets in the way.
  4. Sometimes I use a GPS, sometimes not. If you are going to use one, turn it on wherever you park your car. One time I made the mistake of turning mine on when I got to the end of the trail and set off up a glacier. Coming back very late, in pitch black night, we followed GPS bread crumbs through the crevasse maze, very slick until we got to the end of the bread crumbs and spent several hours crawling around on steep wet heather trying to find the one goat path that led back to civilization. We were circling around in a 100 foot radius, so compass, map and altimeter weren't much help either. In the end it was coffee that got us back on the trail.
  5. 55L pack reviews?

    Of the many packs I have used Cold Cold World packs are my favorite. I have used a Chernobyl for overnights and volcano climbs by strapping the tent and sleeping matt to the sides, but for longer trips or winter trips it is sometimes just a bit too small, so I recently picked up the Chaos and I like it very much. I find that anything with an internal frame restricts my movements when climbing and isn't really any more comfortable to carry than a well packed frameless pack that is tailored right. Instead of a frame the Chaos has a really good sized sleeping pad folded in thirds, big enough to combine with a 1/2 or 3/4 pad for winter comfort.
  6. Can you brake in Plastic Boots?

    Various brands and models of plastic boots fit differently. You should be able to find some that are right for you. You could buy a used pair and then get new heat-moldable liners for them.
  7. Granite Gear Packs

    Granite Gear Packs carry well.
  8. ATTN: Grivel tool users...

    Better bendy than brittle. Easy to forge straight. Lay the pick flat on it's side on an anvil or a flat rock with the ends touching and the high arch of the bend in the middle. Gently and firmly hammer the pick flat. If you hit it too hard or too often it will bend the other way. Take it easy. Light blows with a heavy hammer are best. You can take the pick off and clamp it so part of it protrudes from a vise. tap it straight with a hammer, repositioning the pick in the vise as needed. Don't batter the thin end of the pick. Keep the tips sharp so you won't have to swing so hard when climbing. By the way, how do you like the Matrix?
  9. Cold injuries..frost bite?

    Years ago in New Hampshire's White Mountains, in January, we were on an overnight trip that got extended to three nights out on the mountain when a storm came in. It was as cold as 30 below zero at times and we became somewhat dehydrated. Everyone else had mild frost nip in the toes, but I ended up with second degree frostbite in all 10 toes, The difference was that I had soft felt-liner boots and old style strap-on snowshoes that cut off the circulation. I was in the hospital for a week. All the skin on all the toes was hard and black and came off in big toe-shaped chunks. After a week in the hospital on IV vasodilators and oxygen I was up on my feet and back to normal. A few weeks later at a dance all of my toenails came off leaving my toes smooth and alien looking, as if they had never had nails at all. Soon the toenails grew back and my feet have been fine ever since, though I am more careful with them. Once, caught by another storm, I had pretty bad immersion foot. It took about a week for my feet to stop hurting after that.
  10. Bibler I-Tent

    No real trouble if you crawl in the open door with one end of both poles. Stick one end of each in opposite back corners, then reach out the door to pull in the other end of a pole and stuff it in it's opposing corner (bowing the pole towards the center of the roof as you do so), do the same with the other pole, check that the ends are in the protective cups, straighten up and twiddle the thingamabobs.
  11. Synthetic Insulation Jacket

    Montbell Powderlight Parka is a warm synthetic parka that sheds water and wind well, which makes it really handy as a belay jacket.
  12. Winter Mountaineering gear question

    I have experienced freezing rain followed by 30 below zero temperatures within twelve hours in January in the White Mountains. Down is nice and light, but I would carry enough wool or synthetic clothing to ensure survival in case you do get wet. Wind/rain shells should be big enough to go on over warm layers. 60 mph winds are the norm in the Whites, and I have experienced 135 mph winds there. Anything lashed to the outside of your pack needs to be fastened really well. If you encounter deep snow you may be unable to move without snowshoes. Once you are above tree line it can be very hard to find the way back down the mountain in winter.
  13. Light is right..or is it?

    There are some companies that make light single ropes that don't stretch all that much.
  14. For the climbs you describe you want something comfortable, that allows good ankle flex and is comfortable to walk in. The top of Sahale is rock, so something nimble would be much better than plastic boots. My favorite all around boots for the kind of climbs you describe are a pair of sturdy synthetic hiking boots. These have sturdy soles that nevertheless allow a good amount of flex under the ball of the foot for walking comfort (and better smearing on rock). They are sturdy enough and waterproof enough to tromp through snow all day. They are also comfortable enough to walk on trails for miles and miles. Plastic boots are not required at all, though after climbing Rainier with the hiking boots (and cold feet) and then again with a pair of the light plastics known as "Scarpa Alpha Ice" I liked these particular plastics better. The Alpha Ice model allows very good ankle flexibility. I find that the heavier duty boots, whether plastic, synthetic, or leather are all too uncomfortable to walk in for the sort of moderate to low angle routes you are talking about. Plastic boots are really only good for glacier (volcano) climbs and winter routes; lighter boots are much more versatile. The main problem with using light boots on the big volcanos is that if you have to bivy high up with inadequate shelter you may risk frostbite. One solution is to carry light insulated booties that you can use to bivy in if your boots end up cold and wet, and some plastic bags and dry socks for when you need to put the wet boots on next morning. A third alternative that I also use is to carry specialized snow and ice boots in my pack and wear approach shoes on the trail. These special ice boots also allow extreme ankle flexibility, are insulated, and have rigid soles. Unless the route is steep though, I stick to just the sturdy hiking boots. For late season when the glaciers are bare and snow is scarce I use very lightweight hiking boots that have a stiff enough toe box to work with strap-on crampons. Several people I know are very fond of Scarpa Charmoz boots.
  15. Snowshoes

    I have had a pair of Denalis for years and I am sick of them. Atlas or Redfeather decked snowshoes are much nicer to trudge in. The hard plastic is not only noisy but puts more stress on legs, shins in particular. The stiff plastic and rigid hinge of the Denalis prevents the snowshoe from flexing with the terrain and so forces your foot to move with the snowshoe which is less comfortable and, in some snow conditions, less secure.
  16. Helmets for Mountaineering?

    I have had multiple hits on a helmet and was very glad it was not a super light polystyrene helmet (it was the classic Edelrid bucket). Sometimes rock comes down in streams, and then comes again. Now I compromise and use a mid-weight helmet with both polystyrene and a moderately sturdy shell (Petzl Elios). Seems like a reasonable compromise for the alpine. One thing I like better about some of the newer helmets is how the improved fit can protect your forehead in a fall. Damage to the frontal lobe can mean major personality changes. I don't know anything about the above-mentioned mystery instructor, but sometimes you will find that climbers have pet peeves based on some ugly experience in their past.
  17. Gear question.

    There is no one best design for packs. A good alpine pack will work pretty well for most purposes, but I end up liking various specific packs best for specific purposes. For instance I like a close-fitting pear-shaped bag best for alpine rock climbing, while a firmer, more straight-sided form is better if you have to climb with skis strapped to the pack.
  18. Picket Range end of May/June am I stupid?

    June, in one of the nice weather windows, can be a great time to climb the volcanoes. Most of the crevasses tend to be filled in so the routes are usually direct and easy. Climb early so as to be back down before the afternoon heat makes the snow nasty, slushy and more prone to slide. When choosing a route for May and June, particularly on a heavy snow year like this one, keep in mind that the upper reaches of many access roads may still be snowed in, so you may have an extra long approach.
  19. Just in case this troll is not trolling: Avalanche danger is particularly serious this year and is always serious high on Rainier in winter. It takes more than a few trips to get a useful grasp of avalanche safety.
  20. Avalanche Deaths This Season

    Better reporting on snow conditions might help, though the info is all there if you know where to look. The weather dude could at least post links to the avalanche forecast web site on a regular basis. And while were at it, why not get the media to explain global warming in depth and report on ways to end senseless warfare and reduce poverty and . . . and . . .
  21. Avalanche Deaths This Season

    Unfortunately people with a lot of experience are often among those caught in avalanches. Education and experience are not enough protection. The one thing that keeps a person out of avalanches is the willingness to stay off the dangerous slopes when the danger is significant.
  22. Mountaineers???

    The Mountaineers, like any other good sized group of people is a mixture of great people, ordinary people and lame people. There are several different branches of the club and many varied activities involving separate groups of people within each branch. You shouldn't generalize about the club as a whole; it is better to look around until you find people you get along with. Many climbers meet through the mountaineers and then climb regularly together on their own. The how-to classes have had good points and bad points, but a number of the volunteer instructors and climb leaders are experienced people who are a lot of fun to climb with. The Basic Climbing Course as taught by the Seattle Branch of the Mountaineers has just been radically re-organized this year. The big lectures and massive field trips have been done away with in favor of instruction in small close knit groups. The Tacoma branch has also overhauled their basic climbing class. The Everett Branch has always been smaller and more close-knit. The best thing about the mountaineers is that they make it possible to choose from a large number of trips every single weekend, so if none of your climbing buddies are available you can always get out and climb something.
  23. Sigg bottle questions

    The Sigg bottles are marginally heavier than a 1 liter lexan Nalgene, but I am using aluminum now because I am sick of the taste of plastic. Sigg makes plenty of gaudy bottles that don't look like the traditional fuel bottle. The small mouth will probably be prone to freeze up in cold weather, but is less prone to dump water down your shirt front. Clipping the lid of a Sigg is a lot more secure than clipping the fragile plastic loop on a Nalgene lid.

    Much of the route changes from year to year, from season to season, even from month to month depending on snow conditions, crevasses etc. Use the breadcrumb backtrack feature on your GPS to find your way back down. The route from Paradise to Muir stays the same though, and it is a good idea to have those compass bearings marked on your map as well as any GPS waypoints loaded.