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JudgeMathis

Advice for Mt. Baker climb

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I am taking a mountaineering course coming up in May and ends with climbing Mt. Baker in the beginning of June. I am new to the high altitude summit world and am trying to find the best way to outfit myself for the journey. I'm trying to get a good amount of gear used or on sale, but I will fork over some money for good gear. Can anyone give my some guidance on what to bring/what type gear to have. Any advice on the following items would be great:

 

--Boots and gaiters (type, brand etc)

--Warm synthetic/down jacket and pants

--Day pack/overnight pack

--Sleeping bag (degree?) and sleeping pad

--Harness

--belay/rappel device

--Rescue Pulley

--ice ax

--crampons

--And anyother advice for clothing and layering

 

If anyone has any gear, I would be happy to take it off your hands for a reasonable price. Thanks in advance!

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Used or new of any of the following would be great.

 

Insulated leather boots: Scarpa Mont Blanc or La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX.

 

Puffy: Feathered Friends Volant w/ hood (down), Rab Neutrino Endurance (down), Norrona Lyngen (down synthetic mix), Patagonia DAS Parka (synthetic)

 

Pants: You don't need down pants. Get some Schoeller soft shell pants, such as the Northwest Alpine Fast/Light pants or the REI Acme pants

 

Pack: Cilogear 45L or 60L

 

Sleeping Bag: Any Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering 15 degree bag, or a lighter one if you wear your puffy to bed

 

Sleeping Pad: Thermarest ProLite or ProLite plus, 3/4 if you are comfortable using your pack under your legs/feet

 

Harness: Black Diamond Couloir

 

Belay Device: Black Diamond ATC XP or Petzl Reverso 4

 

Rescue Pulley: SMC cheapo works fine

 

Ice Axe: Black Diamond Raven Pro, 60cm if you're around 6'

 

Crampons: Grivel G12 newmatic or full strap, or equivalent horizontal front point crampon

 

Layering: multiple layers is better than a couple really warm ones. Merino wool base, schoeller soft shell for pants and jacket, maybe a fleece layer like the Patagonia R1 hoody.

 

Have fun!

 

 

Edited by whitenoise

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Generally agree with the advice, although I personally would go for a lighter Primaloft hooded belay jacket like the Patagonia Micropuff or similar 100 gram jackets.

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Assumed it is a 6 day mountaineering course? all of below assumes you are standard climber/student type for mtneering course

 

--Boots and gaiters (type, brand etc)

I would either rent or buy plastic boots (buy if you think you will get more use out of them to justify. Like going to denali or acon-choss-ua or something like) Don't be the guy with leather boots. seriously. gaiters, the standard OR kind is fine.

 

--Warm synthetic/down jacket and pants

med weight synthetic jacket but not pants. If you really need it, get thicker bottom layer (or shoeller pants) to put over thinner bottom layer. Jacket must be able to fit under rainjacket. If you can't wear all if your clothes at one time, you brought too much. Not down gear here. outside of tent = synthetic. inside tent = down.

 

--Day pack/overnight pack

nope unless it is super lightweight and possibly double duty kind that can be used as a sleeping bag compression sack

 

--Sleeping bag (degree?) and sleeping pad

normal types 20 to 30 degree bag. (20 for cold sleeper and 30 for warm sleeper) down. pads is a foam and a lightweight inflatable kind like thermarest.

 

--Harness

simple kind, alpine bod or similar. If you think you will want to rock climb in future, get a rock climbing harness with adjustable leg loops.

 

--belay/rappel device

atc will be used in crevasse rescue z pulley. Other ones may or may not work.

 

--Rescue Pulley

whatever basic pulley from climbing store, not hardware store

 

--ice ax

something lightweight again. (notice theme?) does not need to be able to handle ice climbing. 60 to 65 cm and nothing bigger, really.

 

--crampons

if mountaineering is what you are all about and nothing "extreme", get lightweight aluminum crampons. If you think you may go for some steeper terrain, then metal but with horizontal frontpoints. no ice climbing crampons

 

you will get a gear list from the guide service and it will be close to what I suggest. The gear list works so stick close to it. But always think lightweight. The pack will get heavier when you load up the food, water and group gear. Expect packs to be 40 to over 50 pounds. Being lightweight means your pack will be in the 40 pound range vs the over 50 pound range and you don't want to be that guy, I promise.

 

ahead of time, figure out your food needs calorie wise. Food need is easy to over estimate and will cause the pack to be overly heavy. Try to pack about 130% of your normal daily caloric needs.

 

no water hoses even if you have a sleeve for it.

 

while out there stay hydrated and fed. Personal maintenance is so important.

 

gloves. thin liners and windstopper gloves and standard OR mittens. versatile and lightweight.

 

Hopefully you will get lucky with weather but late may can be a fickle time. good luck and let us know how it goes. leave photos. :)

 

Edited by genepires

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Gene is right about group gear, in addition to all your personal kit you have to carry shared gear. My favorite trick is to offer to carry the rope, arguing it is the heavist item so I can tuck it under the pack lid rather than needing to carry a larger pack to accomodate a bulky tent or stove kit.

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I luv to climb with you dan. You can carry the heavy soaking wet rope on way down.

But of course if you get to pull the rope out before the tent is put up, then it is a win in the slacker game.!

 

I have seen many people get so much stuff and their pack is fine till they get to the office and realize how heavy the group gear and food and water is. Then we had to go through their stuff to lighten the load. Such a waste of money.

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I would think that any real mountaineering course worthy of the name would be providing you with just exactly this sort of information on clothing and equipment. If you don't mind my asking, where are you taking this course and who's running it? Are you paying for this instruction, or is it a free or low fee course through a community college program of some sort? If you're paying, you should already have been given a very complete and detailed list of clothing and equipment, at the outset. But then, perhaps they don't pass out that info. until the beginning of the class. Smart of you to want to get a jump on it. Anyway, it should certainly be part of any good course on climbing and mountaineering.

 

That said, I'd refer you to the book which is the basic text for all The Mountaineers climbing courses, the basic "Bible" for all beginning climbers, and which is useful until well along in your climbing career. The book is:

 

"Mountaineering:Freedom of the Hills", published by the Mountaineers. I believe the edition out now is the 7th edition, comes in both hardback and paperback. Buy it, NOW. read and study it thoroughly, frequently. Get to know it backwards and forwards, and equip yourself according to the various lists it has, depending on the particular climbing activity you're going to be doing. Some other excellent books are:

 

"Glacier Mountaineering: An Illustrated Guide to Glacier travel and Crevasse Recue" by Andy Tyson and Mike Clelland.

 

"The Mountaineering Handbook" by Craig Connally

 

"On Snow and Rock" by Gaston Rebuffat. Although now far outdated as to the type of gear shown, the basic principles and methods, the wisdom , cautions and inspiration for climbing set forth by the famed French guide are timeless, pithy, uplifting and dead on. This is what an "alpinist" is, and his book is an excellent guide to how to start becoming one. There may have been guides and alpinists as good as Rebuffat, but there have been none better.

 

 

"Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue" by Andy Selters. pub. by The Mountaineers

 

"Glaciers! The Art of Travel and the Science of Rescue" by Michael Strong, Eck Doerry and Ryan Ojiero. A Falcon Guide in the How To Climb series.

 

There are, of course, many,many books on alpinism,climbing and mountaineering. These are a few of the best to get started with, and will give you plenty to chew on for now.I would also refer you to Jim Nelson at Pro Mountain Sports in Seattle regarding solid advice on actual brands and makers of clothing, boots, and technical gear. Frequent the various climbing and mountaineering stores such as REI, Marmot MountainWorks, Feathered Friends, Mountain Hardware, begin to familiarize yourself with the various brand names and makers like Black Diamond, Patagonia, Petzl, North Face, etc., pig out on catalogs and brochures and get to know what's out there, BUT DON'T BUY ANYTHING YET, until you start your course and begin to learn and understand just what you really need and why, and what's best suited for you, for now, here in the dawn of your days in the mountains. Believe me, there'll be plenty of time to pile up gear later.

 

One thing you could go ahead and buy for now would be a good USGS map, a 7.5 min. quad of MT Baker, and good guidebook of routes on the mountain,and really familiarize yourself with that mountain. Also buy a good quality compass, the best you can afford, with a good instructional book on how to use a map and compass,or refer to that section in Freedom of the Hills. The Silva Ranger, in it's various sizes, and Silva Explorer are two good choices. Suunto and Brunton are also excellent, usually a little more pricey. Eventually you'll want a GPS and an altimeter, but leave that for much later. LEARN THE COMPASS, first, last and always. It will never lie, doesn't depend on batteries or barometric pressure,and will get you where you need to go, but ONLY if you know how to use it.

 

Take that compass and get to really know and understand thoroughly the art of navigation and orienteering. This is stuff you can practice in the schoolyard, in your neighborhood, on your next hike. For now, never go anywhere to hike without a USGS quad of the area and your compass, and always take an interest in the terrain and geography from the standpoint of a mountaineer.

 

If you're a complete novice/beginner, please don't venture out unprepared or untrained on anything like Baker or other big, or even smaller alpine peaks. Wait until you've taken your course and are well-equipped; and even then, you still are just beginning, so be absolutely sure that your guides and instructors are competent. Take things one step at a time, learn each lesson and aspect thoroughly, until it becomes second nature. You have a long way to go. Safe travels and adventuring, best of luck and welcome to the grand world of alpinism. Best wishes for a long, happy and successful career on the heights. :wave::grin:

 

 

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"I would either rent or buy plastic boots (buy if you think you will get more use out of them to justify. Like going to denali or acon-choss-ua or something like) Don't be the guy with leather boots. seriously. gaiters, the standard OR kind is fine."

 

 

genepires, I was just wondering if you could specify why it is such a bad thing? I personally know people who have used leather backpacking boots with BD contact crampons (I used Vasque boots with contacts for adams Which I know IS different).

 

I had been considering using them for baker with two pairs of wool socks so that I could have one less thing to pay for (as I have already spent waaay too much on this hobby), why exactly is it such a bad thing?

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The real issue with leather boots on a multiday climb is keeping them dry. With plastics (or most any double boot) the shells won't absorb moisture and you can keep the liners in your sleeping bag at night to dry them out. Although not impossible with leathers, it is much more difficult to keep them dry and functional when you need them for 4-5 days at a time. Especially if you are new to the climbing game it is probably best to stick with the plastics.

 

Now if your climb is a 1-2 day event the leather boots may have a big advantage in comfort / weight / performance and moisture management shouldn't be as big an issue.

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"I would either rent or buy plastic boots (buy if you think you will get more use out of them to justify. Like going to denali or acon-choss-ua or something like) Don't be the guy with leather boots. seriously. gaiters, the standard OR kind is fine."

 

 

genepires, I was just wondering if you could specify why it is such a bad thing? I personally know people who have used leather backpacking boots with BD contact crampons (I used Vasque boots with contacts for adams Which I know IS different).

 

I had been considering using them for baker with two pairs of wool socks so that I could have one less thing to pay for (as I have already spent waaay too much on this hobby), why exactly is it such a bad thing?

 

Additional layers of socks does not necessarily mean warmer. You have watch blood flow closely. If the additional layer results in a snugt fit at home it will be down right tight after all day on your feet. The reduced blood flow will then cause your feed to be colder than with 1 pair of socks and some room to wiggle your toes.

 

If really need to stretch them, you might consider vapor barrier socks or something of that sort, though you have to watch moisture management or you'll get blisters :P

 

That said taking a good pair of leather boots that have been waterproofed, on a 2 or 3 day climb of most local mountains will be just fine. Rainier in cold weather might be chilly but Baker, Shuksan, etc. etc. shouldn't be any issue.

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I know! I sized slightly up in order to use thicker socks and waterproof them. I know its not ideal, I was just making sure there were not other reasons I had missed previously that would make it a bad idea.

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