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skeletor

Making wands

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Wands seem pretty straightforward so I'm buying some bamboo and colored duct tape and plan to make my own. Is there something I should consider in making my sticks with flags? Any advice for newbie to heed?

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I would first of all ask yourself whether you really need them. It's rare to nonexistent that you ever see anyone in Canada placing them yet in WA I have seen people hiking up the Snow Creek trail on a sunny day with a pack full of wands. No doubt they go to da Toof with wands too.

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I would recommend not using colored duct tape. I had some wands which had yellow duct tape on them and they were much less visible in the snow than ones with the day-glo pink neon surveyors tape.

 

Take a bamboo stake

Slit it lengthwise w/ a x-acto or utility knife about 4 inches

Slide 1 foot piece of surveyors tape (available @ hardware store) into slit w/ equal amount hanging on each side

Tie a knot in the tape

Secure top with some kind of tape (I used yellow electrical)

Repeat

 

Or. . .use a gps

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What mattyg said, plus...

 

For the tape you wrap around the top to keep the slit closed, use reflective tape. Not necessary, but a nice bonus feature if you need to use them in the dark.

 

-kurt

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I've always made mine using neon orange ripstop Nylon, bamboo gardening stakes and some permanent fabric glue. You can buy the material by the yard and the glue at most large fabric stores.

 

- Cut a 3" x 6" strip of the fabric

- Run a line of fabric glue along one of the 3" sides

- Place a 36" long bamboo gardening stick along the glue line and roll it about 1-1/2 turns so that it wraps around the stick. There you go. Once you get the hang of it, you can make a lot over 6 or 8 good beers. bigdrink.gif

 

I really only carry mine on glaciers where I may be doing my own routefinding and I need to mark hidden crevasses, bridges, etc. Even then I sometimes opt not to carry them. You're right, GPS makes it VERY handy these days. Wands are kind of old school, but still have there place.

 

I know the NPS on Rainier uses neon duct tape. Seems like it would work somewhat, but to make it big enough to see from a distance, in a whiteout, you would need to use a lot of duct tape. Before you know it, you're carrying alot of weight. Nylon is much lighter, surprisingly durable (I have some wands that are 20 years old...fraid, but still in good shape) and flaps in the wind to help you see it.

 

I have seen some use thin metal wire as opposed to bamboo to make wands. More compact I guess. But they too tend to be heavy and more importantly, when the sun hits them, it heats the metal and they melt the snow and fall over...no good.

 

Also, put your initials on them and make sure you carry them off the mountain.

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