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Mountain Dew

A Grocery List of Dumb Newb Questions!

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OK, here is a list of questions I have about climbing Mount Rainier even though I am years away from attempting it:

 

 

1. Even though with weather being unpredictable, what is the Best Time of Year (month) to try and make your first climb?

 

2. How many people here attempted their first Mt Rainier climb without a guide service?

 

3. What are the "Must Have" things that each climber must have with them? (looking for a list of things...boots, water supply, other equipment, How much food and what kind, etc, etc)

 

4. Why do people always write that they start the climb from Muir at Midnight or 1am? Why not wait until the sun comes up?

 

5. What is this registar book I read about...is there a "sign in" book at the top?

 

6. What exactly is Altitude sickness?

 

7. What is "push breathing"?

 

8. Are there mandatory classes you must attend before obtaining a climbing permit?

 

9. What is your list of Newbie Mistakes that you have seen or heard about?

 

10. What are the chances Jessica Alba will be free to go with me on my first attempt? :lmao:

 

Thanks in advance for reading this, look forward to your answers!!! :) :) :)

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1. mid-June through mid-August is prime time but all depends on how the summer goes.

 

2. I climbed without would expect it's 50/50

 

3. The guide services have good lists to start with Alpine Ascents RMI AAI

 

4. Good crampon conditions. When the snow is hard you are more effecient. Also the snow bridges and snow surrrounding crevasses is more stable. Rock/Ice fall is more limited due to stable conditions as well. As things start to heat up stuff breaks apart.

 

5. Yup. Lots of peaks have them.

 

6. Wikipedia Link

 

7. Good Article

 

8. No. Not to attain a climbing pass. But is highly recommended you have confident glacier travel experience. Including using an ice axe, team rope travel, routefinding, self rescue and crevasse rescue techniques amongs others. Many of the guide services offer courses. Then just good 'ol experience comes into play.

 

9. Not being prepared covers most of them. Including many I have made.

 

10. I tried but her agent blew me off :D

Edited by t_rutl

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type a few of these questions into google:

rainier gear list

what is altitude sickness

push breathing

alpine start

 

 

you won't get all your answers but it will help start to fill things in.

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Pick yourself up a copy of the Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills.

 

Good book, gives you LOTS of excellent info for most disciplines. It's a great place to start and will always be a good reference for you.

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Great answers to these questions all.

Right On!! to the climbing community for being helpful to someone just getting started.

You all rock.

 

Plaidman

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Pick yourself up a copy of the Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills.

 

I'll Second this!

There's a good reason that Freedom of the Hills is referred to as the Climbing Bible. It may not go into full depth on every topic but it's a great place to start and talks about an awful lot of your questions. (and quite a few that you haven't even asked yet :P )

 

With regard to your question about guides, 50/50 is probably about right. But a different way to look at is that probably 75% of the people going up with a guide have little or no technical experience (no other glaciated peaks, or semi technical climbs, under their belt and minimal other training).

While probably 90% (or more) of the people who are attempting Rainer for the first time without a guide have some technical climbing experience (crevasses rescue, comfortable in crampons, and on rope teams, other peaks etc.)

 

So if you think you'll take some courses, work with some mentors and climb some other peaks before you attempt Rainer, then you probably won't need a guide.

If you think you'll get in shape, spend some time reading Freedom but won't have time to learn crevasse rescue, spend time working on crampon technique, climb some easier peaks etc. then a guide service is probably the way to go.

 

Option 1 will take more time and effort and, more dedication, and overall may be more expensive (more gear, more trips, etc.) but I think is a more rewarding path as you are more independent, and at the end you'll be a good beginning mountaineer before you attempt Rainer.

Option 2, would take less time likely, but you'll be more dependent on the guide service.

 

Also keep in mind that not everyone summit's Rainer during their fist attempt (guide service or not). Does anyone have a handy statistic for the summit rate? With a guide service you'd need to book another trip (though they may give a reduced rate or something). If you tried it on your own, you just pick another good weather window and go.

 

If you're looking for classes there are lots of good options around: Guide services, Mountaineers, Boe-alps if your in the Boeing family, etc. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Also keep your eyes open for Free Seminars at Feathered Friends, and REI. There are often Avalanche seminars, gear demo days, play days. There is even an AMGA guide thing this weekend where they are looking for volunteer "student" who want to spend a day at Leavenworth working with someone who is working on being certified as a Top Rope site guide.

 

 

Good luck!

 

 

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in addition to Freedom of the Hills, get something like the Mountaineering Handbook, by Conally. If you read freedom of the hills and follow it word-for-word, you'll turn into a mountie :eek:

 

I would also highly recommend option 1. It's far more rewarding.

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Also keep in mind that not everyone summit's Rainer during their fist attempt (guide service or not). Does anyone have a handy statistic for the summit rate?

last stat i remember was about 50% of overall attempts succeed

 

another good book more specific to glaciers: Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue

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1. Even though with weather being unpredictable, what is the Best Time of Year (month) to try and make your first climb?

 

2nd weekend of July through 1st or 2nd weekend of Aug.

 

3. What are the "Must Have" things that each climber must have with them? (looking for a list of things...boots, water supply, other equipment, How much food and what kind, etc, etc)

 

Get out on some winter hikes and scrambles and figure out what clothing systems work for you. Ditto for getting dialied in to what you need for food/water. Try an overnighter or two in the winter to test out your sleeping bag/tent. Try and hit some steeper and more varied terrain as well.

 

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WOW! What great help all of you are!!! This place is awesome! I wish I was ready now (darnit) LOL

 

I will pick up that "Mountaineering Bible" tomorrow at Barnes and Noble if I can...

 

You guys (and gals) ROCK!!!! :rocken::rocken::rocken:

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This advice is great! I took a course from the Mountaineers to learn climbing skills and glacier travel, and I read Freedom of the Hills (7th Edition) to learn and refine my skills.

 

I am very glad to hear you are out getting after your dreams!

 

I made my first attempt on Rainier this August, but it was turned around. Oh well. If you follow your dreams, you can achieve them!

 

-Mark

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""My Goal! My family and I WILL climb Mt Rainier before the fall of 2013!""

 

Realistically you should be able to trim that down to 2 years or even 18 months

 

I would start by hiking to Muir and maybe do Baker first, then maybe Adams by the easy route then Rainier

 

other good training hikes are Tiger Mt, and Big Si. If you have bad knees pack 40-50 lbs of water up and dump it before coming back down.

 

 

""3. What are the "Must Have" things that each climber must have with them? (looking for a list of things...boots, water supply, other equipment, How much food and what kind, etc, etc)""

 

Boots

crampons

axe

harness

prusiks/slings

2 locking beaners

top and bottom polypro

wind/rain jacket

wind/rain pants (prefer full zip) Helly Hansen is affordable

puff jacket

gaiters

thin gloves

ski gloves

mits

knit hat

helmet

sunglasses

2 qts water

 

sleeping bag

bivy sack or tent

foam pad

stove and pot (team)

 

Food on summit day. If you climb it in 2 days, treat it like a marathon, or triathlon because that's what it is. These kinds of athletes eat no solid food on race day. Cutting edge nutrition for this kind of effort is energy gels or energy drinks. Not Gatoraid but something like GU gels and Citomax drink as examples. Always try this kind of stuff on a training hike to find what works for you before the big day.

 

""4. Why do people always write that they start the climb from Muir at Midnight or 1am? Why not wait until the sun comes up?""

 

Depending on the weather the surface snow starts to melt about 1 pm. You want to summit and get back to Muir/Sherman before that. The snow bridges over crevasses get weak from the melting.

 

""6. What exactly is Altitude sickness?""

 

When you go from sea level to 14,000 ft your body internal "pressure" has to adjust to the changing ambient altitude pressure. Like when you go on an airplane and your ears pop, that's part of the adjustment but it's throughout your body and takes days to fully adjust. Sea level to 14K is about the limit in one day and most people have trouble with that. You will feel weak and lethargic and won't want to eat anything. Other worse stuff can happen like pulmonary and cerebral edema. People have died going to 10K. For Rainier I suggest going to 4K a couple of days before, it makes it so much more enjoyable, otherwise it's a marathon effort.

 

""7. What is "push breathing"?""

 

you purse your lips as you blow out, to pressurize your lungs and hopefully force more oxygen into your bloodstream.

 

""9. What is your list of Newbie Mistakes that you have seen or heard about?""

 

Using cotton longjohns instead of polypro, big no-no. NO cotton allowed.

 

Not taking the puff jacket, even in the summer.

 

Going to Rainier, even just to Muir without knowing how to dig and use a snowcave. People have died in the summer because of this.

 

Taking poorly fit loose crampons or dull crampons.

 

Going un-roped above Muir.

 

""10. What are the chances Jessica Alba will be free to go with me on my first attempt?""

 

Every bit as good as the chances that Kim Kardashian will go with me on my next attempt.

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Bucky, this is Great advice! Great job!!!

 

2 years? 18 months? I hope so..., but I would rather make my goals long term instead of trying to rush it.

 

Your list of things to have is great!

 

I don't know what a few of them are (but I can look them up),

Like Prusiks/slings...and only 2 qts of water?? (that must be what the pot is for :)

 

I guess it made me curious as to what Weighed SOOO much that people carry, but I think your list explains that.

 

You wrote I should "Go 4000" ft the day prior... isn't Paradise 5000?? Is that good enough?

 

Never have worn Poly Pro, what is it? I love Cotten long johns, should you not wear them because they become wet with sweat??

 

I am taking it that a "puff" jacket is like a winter puffy coat right? :)

 

 

Thank you again for all your help...May Kim and Jessica both keep us warm in a snow cave someday :lmao:

 

 

 

 

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Poly Pro=polypropylene, it's a stretchy material used for baselayers. Things like Under Armor work alright, the Patagonia Capilene is a nice baselayer.

 

The puff jacket is similar to a normal winter puffy coat, the only difference is it weighs a lot less, you will find that ounces can make a difference (especially when they add up to pounds!)

 

Here you go, you can buy Freedom of the Hills online: http://product.half.ebay.com/Mountaineering_W0QQtgZinfoQQprZ2439034

 

-Mark

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Cotton's great for some things, but once it's wet it never dries! (at least not in the amount of time you'll be on the mountain). For long johns that are next to your skin, that's a recipe for blisters and nasty chafing!!

 

Cotton also loses all of it's insulating properties when wet (wool, poly pro, and fleece don't). It's probably an overstatement, but I've heard that in cold weather you'll stay warmer naked than wearing wet cotton :P

 

So between sweat, snow, and condensation it will get wet :P Though a T-shirt at camp, or a cotton bandanna can often be nice depending on the trip.

 

And yep, a "puffy" is a winter type coat, but very compressible. Think down or, sleeping bag type insulation. It's absolutely invaluable. Down is lighter, more compressible, and more expensive, but loses it's insulating ability if it get's wet. Synthetics are heavier, less compressible, less expensive, but don't lose they're insulating ability (as much) when wet, so it's a bit of trade off and depends on the conditions you'll be in.

 

And I'm amazed that neither B&N or Borders have Freedom!! That should be a crime around here!

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Never have worn Poly Pro, what is it? I love Cotten long johns, should you not wear them because they become wet with sweat??

Yes, and you get encapsulated into a nice snow/ice crust and things like the Episcopal School Tragedy then happen:

 

http://www.seattlepi.com/archives/1986/8601100290.asp

 

So, the bottom line is to forget the Cotton.

 

 

May Kim and Jessica both keep us warm in a snow cave :lmao:[/b]

This might be not a bad idea if you do not wanna die of hypothermia.

 

 

Poly Pro=polypropylene, it's a stretchy material used for baselayers. Things like Under Armor work alright, the Patagonia Capilene is a nice baselayer.
While this stuff works fine, Smartwool (wool/poly blend) and Icebreaker came up with a new line of base, mid- and heavyweight layers and bottoms your might also look into. I personally prefer the Smartwool.

 

 

On the Buckaroo's list, a few things are not mentioned but probably assumed:

- Mountaineering dynamic rope (not a rock climbing rope) as a team gear. Usual length is 30-40 meters.

- Mountaineering (not a garden) shovel for making a snow cave (one per team).

- Snow pro: pickets and alpine draws (and know how to use them)

- Two pairs of heavy duty socks (wool/nylon blend)

- Headlamp

- Sunscreen

- Map, compass, altimeter

- First-aid kit

- Trekking poles

- Ultralight pulleys for the crevasse rescue (preferably take a class if you are not going with a guide and read a book: "Glacier Mountaineering: An Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse rescue" by A. Tyson and M. Clelland, 3rd edition)

- Light backpack ~ 50 liters (made of Cordura or alike, if not, then also bring a pack cover)

 

Drink LOTS of water and electrolytes (not beer) and eat well (Freeze-dry food, protein bars and chocolate) one day before the summit. On the summit day - high performance food like Clif Shot blocks, energy gels and supplements.

 

To Buckaroo: why not a Gatorade? Works well for me.

 

 

Another thing to remember is to pack light. Cut down on every single ounce you possibly can, so choose the gear/food/clothing accordingly.

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Yeah, should have said my list was not all inclusive. Thanks for filling in.

 

Cotton is bad because it holds moisture next to your skin. Moisture increases heat convection. That's the main reason cotton is bad. Polypro and the other synthetics and wool wick moisture AWAY from your skin.

 

When the triathlon craze came into being there was no product that worked to replace lost reserves during an extended max capacity effort. The energy gels and drinks were created to fill the niche. Citomax and the other cutting edge energy drinks are scientifically formulated and tested to bring maximum nutrition to athletes at maximum exercise levels.

 

Gatorade is formulated to be cheap to produce and profitable. Hence the HFCS, it's only purpose is cheap and it's bad for you.

 

There's a reason Gatorade is found in every 7-11 and Citomax is only found in a supplement store.

 

I raced road bikes for a year. Experimented with several energy bars/drinks. As confirmed by the long time racers Gatorade was the worst of the bunch. I wouldn't even classify it as an energy drink. I wonder if the really good football teams substitute something in the Gatorade cups on the sidelines.

 

Talking going light. In hiking/climbing as in car racing, weight savings is free reliable horsepower. In climbing pounds is what makes the difference, but when purchasing gear you have to pay attention to ounces, because that's were the differences in gear weight usually lies.

 

On all purchases weight should be a primary consideration. If two comparable items are all the same except for weight, choose the lighter item. You can tell a really good climbing shop by the presence of a scale because manufactures advertised weight is not always accurate.

 

Some examples.

 

full zip Gore-Tex shell pants-----------------12 oz. $150.00

full zip Helly Hansen urethane lined pants-----8 oz. $35.00

 

"Lexan" 32oz water bottle (REI etc.)----6 oz. $15.00

"nalgene" 32 oz water bottle------------4 oz. $10.00

re-used "Vitamin Water" 32 oz bottle----2 oz. $1.50

(and you get a free drink)

 

Packs are a good way to reduce weight. Most packs weigh way more than they should. Example

 

Dana 5,000 cu ---------6 lbs. $300.00

Go-lite 5,000 cu ------1.5 lbs. $100.00

 

Granted a Go-lite won't be as comfortable but if you start with that you will get used to it and never notice the difference. This kind of thing may apply more to someone smaller. Smaller people having less load carrying capacity. But overall more weight will slow anyone down.

 

Look for dual use items also. For instance Chouinard makes an aluminum snow shovel blade that slips on the end of an ice axe. Thus saving the weight of a handle. It also doubles as a snow fluke. So your ice axe is being used as an axe and as a shovel handle. And the shovel blade is being used as a shovel and as a snow fluke.

 

Another example would be the new line of ultra-lite tents that use ski poles instead of tent poles.

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