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rmncwrtr

Book help needed

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I need a climber to mark a snow cave so rescuers can see it. It's stormy outside if that matters. In the scene I have the uninjured climber use his ice axe handle to clear the air vent inside and the packs to cover the entrance. They were climbing up the North side so not sure they would have carried wands (correct me if I'm mistaken about that.) Would his partner's ice axe work as a marker (and be visible enough) or would you use something else?

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in any kind of remotely stormy conditions, ice axe or wands would not be visible. one thing that comes to mind is (make your climbers more hardcore...they were not only going to climb, they were going to ski off the top) to take skis with handy neon orange bases and mark the cave entrance with crossed skis.

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Oh, I like that, Alex. Never thought of skis, but that makes a lot of sense and would be visible. Thanks so much :)

 

So, I have them failing upward to descend on the south side after seeing a lenticular cloud overhead (weather moving in sooner than expected, but they're trying to beat it) Not sure if that's how a climber would assess and react to the situation though, so I may be taking some literary license here with my fictional ones. If that thinking is plausible, I'm hoping it will also work w/skis since a skiing descent would be faster. Any opinion? And then I could have the one fall on skis instead.

 

Right now I have him falling in a chute on the way down from the summit and they end up in a snow cave on the Hogsback.

 

Could a fall on skis put him in approx. the same location with similar injuries? I've got him with broken ankle, hurt knee, fractured wrist and various cuts/bruises.

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Sounds reasonable. Accidents in North American Mountaineering would read like this: conditions and visibility deteriorated rapidly towards the top of the route as the lenticular formed. The weather window had closed several hours earlier than predicted! But our heros, lured by the proximmity of the summit and the skis on their backs resolved to go up and over, rather than back off, as the ski down the South Side is an easy cruise as long as there is visibility, and *SURELY* they would have enough visibility to bust up and over with the summit so near. They gain the summit ridge (which on Hood is actually a pretty narrow thing from where you might top out on Sunshine/Queens Chair to the summit) and foresake the summit - they'd been there before - for a speedy decent. Strap on the boards and start heading down but that high on Hood the ski conditions can be quite icy and as they are skiing the first turns, in climbing boots no less,(really crappy support compared to alpine touring boots) they loose control down the face of what would likely be the Old Chute and wipe out hard - broken ankle would be a very common injury - thus snow cave, Hogsback elevation, storm forming.

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Been looking at a map of Mt. Hood and Old Chute TRs to understand the setting/terrain a little a better and imagine what my hero would see. I found some TRs from January and February, but none from December. If anyone has time to click on the links to look at the pics, if it was a snowy early December in my book, would it look similar?

 

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=868610

 

http://www.summitpost.org/old-chute-2010-winter-ascent/599397

 

 

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Yeah my first summit of Hood was Dec 3rd? 6th? 1993 and it was like a "Winter Wonderland " :) ! It looked like the pics in the first TR you linked to. It was a bluebird day and I couldnt believe how small the lifts looked far below on the Palmer. There were wispy clouds between myself and them (likely vapor from the crater). Hood looks a lot steeper somehow when looking down than it does when looking up, climbing. I was flying pretty high, it was my first ever "alpine" climb in the Northwest!

 

Top of Hood looks pretty much the same any winter month of the year, above a certain elevation.

 

Best thing would be for you to just go climb it :) It's really just a nice jaunt.

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Best thing would be for you to just go climb it :) It's really just a nice jaunt.

 

Yeah, but I'm still recovering from being rear-ended on I-5 in March so no climbing for me until I'm better. Spine/neck issue affecting left arm and hand. But I plan on it! Maybe by the time I write the next book in the series. Fingers crossed!

 

Appreciate you looking at the pics! Knowing that helps.

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Question about using stoves inside snow caves. I've read climber blogs, TRs, etc. People use stoves inside snow caves and say they are careful when they do this.

 

But I just can't see my firefighter climber doing this given how many things have already gone wrong for him and his partner on this climb. This might just be too much of my own personality coming through and my not wanting him appear Too Stupid To Live to readers. Anyone want to chime in about using stoves in a snow cave during a winter storm?

 

Right now I have him melting water at the entrance of the snow cave so there's ventilation, yet some protection from wind. Does that make sense or am I totally off base and he wouldn't think twice about using a stove inside the cave?

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Mel,

My first winter descent of the South Side of Hood almost ended up like your story line. Took a several-hundred-foot tumble from near the top of the Pearly Gates almost the whole way to the fumarole. Then got up, collected the yard sale, and skied over the ridge of the hogsback into the Devil's Kitchen, redeeming myself in front of the onlookers at the Hogsback by catching significant air as I vaulted the ridge. This was in an AT set-up.

 

Regarding the stove, I wouldn't give it a second thought about firing it up inside. With the wind as significant as it must be in your storyline, and the holes around the packs at the entrance, CO poisoning with that much air movement inside the cave would not be an issue.

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I don't remember hearing that story before, Sobo! But I do remember you having some trouble when you took your ex up their on a date. Some sort of storm, right? At least I think that was you.

 

About the stove, yeah, that makes sense. But if I get reader mail about it how about you respond ;)

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Uhhhh... yeah... there was that first date in the Easter weekend blizzard and collapsing snow cave, wasn't there..? An omen of what was to follow in future years, eh? :whistle:

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Ohhhhh, I have been told that many times, Alex. :)

It was hard enough getting through it the first time around. I don't want to relive it while writing about it. :laf:

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My first time climbing at Vantage, my brother goes, "You know sobo, on CC?" My reply, "Yea." He says, "Read up on why he doesn't climb here anymore."

 

Suffice to say, I have the utmost respect for sobo and dwell on that story each time I'm out there.

 

In other news, it's awesome that you want to get your facts straight on this story!

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Mel,

 

I've fired up stoves in snow caves for over 30 years. I have never noticed a problem except when I had a large party, and by that I mean ten people, in a snow cave with a "standard" vent of just a ski pole (with basket on it) stuck through the roof. On that occasion we were unable to run stoves inside for lack of oxygen until we made a larger vent.

 

Otherwise, it is not crazy to run a stove in a snow cave as long as you keep making sure the vent is working.

 

One other detail that you might consider: if the snow is not fairly settled the roof will sag while the parties are inside. If it IS settled it will still settle but more slowly. In storm-snow (recent accumulation) I have seen a snowcave with 5' of headspace settle to nearly nothing "overhead" overnight. It is creepy to wake up with the roof right in front of your nose.

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One other detail that you might consider: if the snow is not fairly settled the roof will sag while the parties are inside. If it IS settled it will still settle but more slowly. In storm-snow (recent accumulation) I have seen a snowcave with 5' of headspace settle to nearly nothing "overhead" overnight. It is creepy to wake up with the roof right in front of your nose.

This is precisely what happened on my first date with my (now) ex-wife, mentioned just up there a few posts. ^^

Indeed, very creepy... :shudder:

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And, another point: on the occasion when we were unable to run the stoves properly without increasing the ventilation we found the lack of oxygen completely undetectable while sitting inside the stove. One occupant expressed worry about it just based on a book-based suspicion and I completely blew him off until he showed me that a lighter fired up outside the cave door would fire properly but one fired up inside the cave would not.

 

CO poisoning is insideous.

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Oh, that would be so creepy :eek:

 

If I don't use the ceiling collapsing down in this book, I will in another one. That is absolutely frightening, but could be really fun to play with in a scene. Thanks for that, Matt, as well as chiming in on the stove and CO issue. Glad the guy had a lighter to prove his point.

 

In the story, there is enough snow to build a snow cave as the storm develops around them. It's just two people so not that big. Could this be the slow settling snow then? Fiction is all about conflict, but this poor guy's going through enough already! Time for some romance!

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Would an experienced all around climber who is also a mountain rescuer use the terms "mountain climbing" and "alpine climbing" interchangeably? Or would they use one over the other?

 

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Not sure if I speak for everyone, but when I hear "Alpine Climbing" I think of an ascent requiring technical rock and/or ice climbing with minimal gear and no fixed camps, whereas "mountain climbing" encompasses pretty much everything from hiking to the top of a mountain via an established trail to scrambling to snow-slogging

 

My sense is that "alpine climbing" refers to a more technical subset of "mountain climbing" that's done in a very particular style.

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Thanks Jay. Glad I asked since I had them being used interchangeably.

 

This came up because my critique partner read the first chapter and she had questions about things/terms I'd used since in her words she and along with most romance readers "know diddly about any of this."

 

So if they climb the north side of Hood (assuming ice and more technical than a slog) with plans to do a ski descent down the south side, would that be alpine climbing or still just a mountain climb? When they're stuck in the snow cave, his partner says he's sounding more like an alpinist than a rock climber. Just want to make sure alpinist is the right term to use. Otherwise I guess he could say mountaineer.

 

Edited by rmncwrtr

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I'd just suggest that since the use of "ing" and gerunds instead of active verbs and actual nouns is somewhat poor form, use "mountaineer" and "alpinist" for the nouns and active verbs--I'd use "climb" or whatever verb best describes what they are dong at the time-- when the proponents actually climb or do anything.

Edited by Coldfinger

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the help! My editor accepted my proposal today.

 

The first 26 pages take place on Mount Hood in the scenario we worked out here so I was a little nervous since I've never put that much climbing/MR into a story before, but it went over well!

 

I really appreciate all the help here and from those off list, especially those who put up with my phone calls and never ending questions that probably must have sounded so random! But it really helped me dial in these scenes and most especially characters! :kisss:

 

I'll be back with more questions and to fine tune a few details I'm not quite sure about when I get to the next mountain rescue scene. Right now it's all fun and games and flirty stuff. Thanks again. This forum :rawk:

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interesting. I was rescued....in Washington....by a crew aboard a blackhawk helicopter in the middle of the night. They used night vision goggles lowering a litter to get to me where I was stuck between two large rock towers on a rocky ridgeline. Seriously. This was before the Iraq war. The blackhawk came out of the Yakima Training Base where they are trained for medical extractions. After the war, I think all blackhawks had to come out of Oregon becuase there were no more blackhawks in Washington...they got shipped to the war. I guess you could have this rescue lady get on board a blackhawk in Oregon and travel to Washington to conduct a rescue. Or that might be reaching too far.

Edited by Stefan

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