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robpatterson5

Parkas for Denali?

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A little early to be posting - but a couple of us were talking about doing Denali for our first trip to the Alaska range next May/June/July.

Just wondering about clothing and if a DAS Parka w/ lots of layers underneath might work or if we need to go the big down parka route?

 

Probably do the West Buttress/Rib, then base camp circuit or Cassin if were feeling strong at Altitude.

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my persian friend aarash did the route w/ nothing heavier than a fleece jacket, but he's a godless savage...personally, i'd think setting foot on the mountain w/o a long-ass, huge puff-daddy is a lot like walking into a thai whore-house w/o a wallet or a pocketful of rubbers...

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I used a Wild Things Belay Parka and it was fine with a mid weight zip tee and a powerstretch zip tee underneath. This was end of May - beginning of June. I also brought a primaloft sweather to wear under the Belay Parka if I got cold, but never had to wear the two together.

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I was there in May of one year. I wore the Rock Ice parka from Feathered Friends on summit day and many days before. It was very nice to have that jacket. On summit day I even wore 2 layers of mid fleece underneath and I had a bottle of water on the inside pocket of da puffy jacket and the waterbottle froze.

 

Had another friend who went in June and had wore heavy fleece and was fine.

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a parka that might be ok for the w rib may not be ok for the cassin. Yeah it is the same mtn but the commitment is different and you may be forced to climb in bad weather. Hence a serious down jacket may be a requirement.

 

I don't mean to be an ass, but someone who is even considering going up the cassin should not need gear info from this website. All the needed info should have been learned in the real alpine classroom. Usually by bad judgements. The same could be said for the w rib (somewhat commiting) and the base camp circuits.

Never underestimate the alaska range. I've been on 8 different routes in the park and every one of them had a serious section to it at one time or another. even the control tower made me shit my pants once.

 

good luck up there. I am jealous!

 

 

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I agree with genepires, I worn my puffy down jacket at 14k while acclimatizing because it was cold. I wore the same jacket on the upper stretches of the Cassin cause I was cold. Though the same jacket I wore it for different reasons.

 

I think in recent times folks have been going to jackets like the DAS or Belay Parka cause they see that is what the light and fast folks are using (i.e. marketing). IMHO, less than 1% of the folks going to the Alaska range fall into the light and fast category. As such, give your self the edge with something puffy. You may not need it but if you do you will be glad to have it.

 

And if you look the DAS parkas (27 oz) are not all that much lighter compared to something like the FF Front Point Jacket (30 oz).

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Thanks all, thats really good advice. I was thinking of getting the Patagonia Down Parka or Marmot Greenland - I'm thinking that'll be enough in place of the DAS?

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I'm not writing from the light and fast hardman perspective. I did use the DAS on the West Butt and it was enough. Just. On the coldest days I wore two layers of merino, a windshirt, hardshell bibs, a WM down vest, the DAS, and hardshell on top. Basically everything I had. I can imagine if having to hang out on belay that the combo would not be adequate. That's not usually a problem on the West Butt or Rib, though.

 

I do use the DAS all the time down here. It's a great coat. That said, it's impossible to exaggerate the potential for cold up there. My cold day was 20-30 mph wind and -40 deg. That was at 14k. Tent, sleeping bag, warm Gatorade, and hearts to 1000 points. It was ridiculous. Imagine that over on the Cassin. Double ridiculous. You can't really hang out for a week, either.

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Ya, I think getting pinned down on the Cassin would be desperate even with the warmist of gear!

 

I've been super happy with my DAS up north in Canada, so that got me thinking if with a baselayer, R1 hoody, 300 weight fleece pullover, shell jacket and a micopuff vest - that maybe the DAS would be a good enough option for something committing in the Alaska range?

 

In either case I was planning on bringing some micropuff pants to go over my winter weight softshell pants.

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I've been super happy with my DAS up north in Canada, so that got me thinking if with a baselayer, R1 hoody

 

What everyone else has said. May is colder than June....early May can be really, really cold in comparison.

 

DAS will work fine with the right combo. I like a decent jacket just to lay over my sleeping bag when the temps drop. When it is so cold you need to climb in a belay jacket it is not a great day and easy for things to go bad fast and start freezing things like feet/face/hands. But if you really want to figure out your cold weather gear just spend a a few nights out in the Columbia Icefields in Jan or Feb.

 

The idea of a good bag, boots and a decent jacket will mean something different on day three or so while you are thinking you really should have just stayed at the hostel ;)

 

If you haven't been in the Alaska range I wouldn't suggest anyting too committing in a technical sense. Get a feel for the place and the conditions/temps then think about bigger projects. The West Butt is no gimme, even in decent weather and it just gets harder and colder from from there.

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I used a Wild Things Belay Parka and it was fine with a mid weight zip tee and a powerstretch zip tee underneath. This was end of May - beginning of June. I also brought a primaloft sweather to wear under the Belay Parka if I got cold, but never had to wear the two together.

 

This is what I had on West Buttress this May. I was never cold to wear both.

Same thing I will bring to West Rib. My primaloft sweater was also WildThings (with hood) and I spent all time in it when I was on the move or in camps up to C4. From C5 and up I was in belay Jacket and bibs. I think my Wild Things jacket is much better than DAS.

 

Cassin is a different story. Cassin is so demanding that you have to have different tactic, move very fast-bring less (like Steve House, Colin or Marko Prezelj) but increase risk up to extreme level. Cassin is out of my league and others will give you better advice.

Also, I will carefuly read what Dane wrote. Trust me, he is right.

 

 

Edited by Zoran

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When I was there in early May (some years ago) temps of -35 C at night was normal. I'll echo the others here: unless you have the entire climbing season to blow, your first trip to the range is totally training.

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Ok so I summited the Butt in a lenticular wearing a 3 year old DAS that was busted and it was fine. Ambient Temp was estimated around -80 F. It sucked, but I was warm. I have also climbed the Cassin in a push and know two guys that weathered it for 12 days. If you are in a storm on a push you are going to be miserable no matter what.

 

That said if you have the loot by a nice big downy from Feathered Friends. They will make you the Jacket you want at almost the same price as the other big names and they make a far superior product.

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Ambient Temp was estimated around -80 F.

 

Is that a typo, or was the air temperature actually 80 degrees below zero?

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Air temp was -30ish with gusts to 60+mph. At the ranger's station they described the weather as nuclear and a friend at 17 camp that has more than 20 years guiding and climbing on Denali came up with the -80 figure. Any exposed skin was numb in seconds. We just if things ever got uncomfortable or began to feel out of control we would descend. It never really reached that point, it was just cold, really cold.

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Ok I have an older north face summit down coat that is 700 fill with dry loft. not the baltaroo but the sewn through one with the insulated hood. It's pretty heavy but not baffled. I have used it on Rainier and an unplanned May open bivy on Shasta. I have a "jagged edge primaloft belay parka" that is identical to the DAS and I think this down jacket is warmer. Should I just get a new baffled down jacket and be done with it? thanks much

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....I worn my puffy down jacket at 14k while acclimatizing because it was cold. I wore the same jacket on the upper stretches of the Cassin cause I was cold. Though the same jacket I wore it for different reasons.

 

I think in recent times folks have been going to jackets like the DAS or Belay Parka cause they see that is what the light and fast folks are using (i.e. marketing). IMHO, less than 1% of the folks going to the Alaska range fall into the light and fast category. As such, give your self the edge with something puffy. You may not need it but if you do you will be glad to have it.

 

Good info.

 

I have a fairly intensive belay/bivy jacket review (nine Denali weight jackets reviewed) coming soon that might help enlighten you on choices these days. My conclusions/results may surprize you. But at least you'll see many of what I consider the better choices and their detailing.

 

DAS and two Feathered Friends jackets are reviewed and two of my first choices originally. And all three nice jackets. But none of the three get high marks in the side by side comparison of my review. Which came as quite a surprise to me.

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