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mes5421

BD superlight tents on Denali?

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Has anyone seen any of the newer BD tents, like the Firstlight, on Denali? The thing isn't fragile by any stretch, but it seems awfully puny for the likes of Denali. Still, House and Anderson used one on Nanga Parbat, so maybe the idea isn't entirely ludicrous.

Edited by mes5421

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They also climbed it alpine style which for most of us is a ludicrous idea...

 

I think if you're going to do the route very quickly then a tent like that would make sense, but if you're doing denali expedition style the extra space and security of a more substantial tent might be worth the weight.

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For technical routes on the mountain where you are trying to pare down weight and move quickly, this style of tent would be the way to go if you plan to camp on the route. For the Buttress or Muldrow etc, a bigger and more durable tent would offer a higher safety margin and be a lot more comfortable.

 

In 2006 we recorded winds of over 100mph at 14k. A tent like the first light would have probably evaporated in those conditions. I saw several Trango's and North Face tents get shredded, albeit they were not properly protected and anchored.

 

Good luck.

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Now there's a bad idea.

 

The Skylight uses a roll-down canopy/vestibule setup. So there's no physical barrier between the vestibule and screen/net surface as far as I can see.

 

Wind transported snow will blow into/through any hole. The screens in those tents are not sufficient to stop spindrift. Coming back to camp on summit day to find your tent full of snow would suck. Plus those would be some cold mofos in the wind. Single walls are bad enough.

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I've used Biblers/Intergal Designs a number of times in Alaska including on the West Butt from the air strip up to 17K. One of my tents now is a BD First Light. The First Light is the 2.0 version of the original Bibler...just done in a lighter weight material. Note, I didn't say less strong material.

 

I know a few guys who have used the BD First Light in some pretty shitty conditions up high. And now they won't use the heavier versions.

 

I have watched the seam lines widen by the gust in a good Alaska blow on an old, well worn Bibler @ 17K. But our tent never failed....while others did.

 

If you are planning on a long trip I would take a bigger tent and at least take a bigger tent into the air strip or to 11 on the west butt just for comfort. But for a fit team of two from 11K (or the strip) up I wouldn't bat an eye at taking a BD First Light on McKinley.

 

Just make sure you realise how cramped the small single walled tents really are when you'll have to spend days (and days) in them.

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Forgot, the last couple of times we used a Bibler on the West butt we also used every available snow cave on route to cook in. As mentioned previously, how you protect your tent in a storm (snow walls and keeping the tent shoveled out) will make a big difference on how -or if- the tents lives through a storm.

 

The long version (the BD First Light doesn't come in the long version) is decent for two climbers and is pretty tight for 3 for all but the best of friends. Once acclimitized we did a quick trip with three in a long Intergal Designs tent and it was really pretty unpleasant.

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One December trip into Stuart, at the north ridge notch, we watched ice crystals get blown through the Firstlight fabric and build up inside. Gusts were not much over 40-45 knots but the white stuff was coming in through the walls, not just through the closed zippers. Glad we had synthetic bags...

 

That being said, I'd definitely bring one for a climb of less than a few days where you can watch and wait and then blitz up the route before the shit moves in. Hopefully. Really hopefully.

 

For a route requiring more than that, you're probably going to get nailed by some weather and I would personally rather bring the ID bivy tent instead of the Firstlight. The Leaktex or whatever-Tex bivy tents I've had in the past were incredibly bombproof; good for Alaska trips with a compatible partner.

 

-M

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Personally I would suggest a slightly bigger tent. After all, it is in a sled being towed behind you on most routes so the roomy factor is worth the weight. Also, build your snow walls high sturdy around your tent each night.....

 

Kevin

 

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I don't think it could have been crystals coming thru the wall, maybe frozen condensate being knocked off. The Firstlight lacks the side tie out that the Eldorado or the I Tent has. I have been 50 plus winds in my FirstLight in Colorado winter conditions. The side walls were drastically pushing in on me. I was using the tent solo, which was the only way the walls would not rub on me lying in the middle. I could have changed the tent direction but did not want to hack out the anchors.

 

The little tent came thru fine with no damage. With 2 people in the tent with high winds be prepared to have fabric in your face.

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One December trip into Stuart, at the north ridge notch, we watched ice crystals get blown through the Firstlight fabric and build up inside. -M

 

I would also doubt the possibility of ice crytals coming though a First Light tent wall.

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I just got back from a three week trip in the Revelations. We used the firstlight on a three night assault of a ridge and squeezed three people in it, rather comfortably actually. There was some crystal build up, but that happens with all tents.

5 Stars

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we watched ice crystals get blown through the Firstlight fabric and build up inside.

 

that Stuart is a bad MF

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We used the MH EV 3 on West Buttress and the Firstlight with lightweight carbon fiber poles on the Cassin. The CF poles are 6oz lighter than the poles that come with the tent.

The tent never saw any high winds or heavy snow.

I would not be comfortable (physically or mentally) taking the Firstlight as my ONLY tent on the WB.

If I did the trip again, I would use the same tents.

 

Kraken, 3 people must have been warm and cozy.

 

I did use the body of the FirstLight tent as a bivy sack, on the Harvard Route on Huntington, but the weather was ideal.

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"I would also doubt the possibility of ice crytals coming though a First Light tent wall."

 

We doubted it too for the first half day.

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2 in our party used the Firstlight on a Blackburn trip where we had an exposed high camp that was hit with a horrific storm for 12 hours. It held up fine. However - they had a fat tent at basecamp and only used the Firstlight for high camp.

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