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RTHo

Compelled to Climb- Have a few Questions

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Hey everyone, I am very interested in getting into mountaineering and it’s all I’ve been thinking about as of late. I’ve done a decent amount of research and try to answer my own questions but sometimes you need the advice of the experienced. I have experience in extreme cold, I was stationed in upstate New York for several years. We did non-technical climbing of Mt. Marcy and other Appalachian peaks but nothing serious. I was in a mountain/light infantry unit and anywhere we moved was with tremendous weight on our back so I am no stranger to humping large packs. I have general backpacking experience and have gotten into that more lately. I plan to do the High Sierra Trail with a summit of Mt. Whitney later this year (before the winter, non-technical). I am currently in very good physical condition, though I have already begun altering my workout routine to prepare myself for climbing.

 

Before asking the questions, I know I need to answer what/where I plan to climb as everything is tailored to specifics. To begin, I plan to climb in the PNW with an eventual goal being Rainier. I also have strong ambitions and desires to climb outside the lower 48, such as Aconcagua and Denali. Obviously this is getting ahead of myself and by no means am I not going to take it step by step or not focus on what’s in front of me, I’m just giving you guys my frame of mind. Basically I plan to be in this for the long run.

 

Anyway, on to my questions.

 

What course should I take? I plan on taking an intro to mountaineering course preferably with a summit attempt. I think it would be the best way to put the skills learned to the test. I live in the Bay Area in California so primarily I am looking at courses on Mt. Shasta, but I’m not opposed to driving up to Oregon. From what I’ve seen for courses that offer a summit attempt, most seem to be about three days long and that would be perfect for me. I’ve also seen they range in price from 500-700. Considering I need to buy all of my mountaineering gear as well, I’d like to remain on the lower side of the budget but I do not want to sacrifice quality lessons. I definitely plan to take longer, more in depth courses later on too but this is just to get my feet wet.

 

I was looking at International Alpine Guides and their Shasta course: http://www.internationalalpineguides.com/mount-shasta-summit However, I saw some videos of people climbing Shasta last summer without any climbing gear as there was very little snow. They only offer that specific course in the summer so I would assume there must be snow but I’m a bit confused. Before I make any final decision I plan on calling these places and speaking with them, I just hope to get more insight from experienced people like yourself. Are there any specific courses you guys would recommend?

 

 

Second question(s) regarding my top clothing/layering. I have only purchased one piece of clothing thus far, that being my base layer. I went with the Stoic Alpine Merino 150 Bliss shirt. As for the rest of my layers, this is what I was looking at picking up.

 

1. Base layer- Stoic Alpine Merino 150

2. Light Insulation- Patagonia R1 Hoody

3. Softshell- OR Ferrosi Hoody

4. Hardhsell- Patagonia M10 or Arc'teryx Alpha SL. For something on the cheaper side I was also looking at the OR Helium II

 

Would I be fine in the PNW with the Helium II or should I just go with something higher in quality and versatility like the M10 or Alpha SL?

 

As for the down jacket/parka, I’m not sure yet. I get hot quite easily and through research I’ve read that people tend to climb with less in the PNW, especially during the summer months. I was looking at the Mountain Hardware Nilas Jacket, though it's quite pricy and I was hoping I could find something on the cheaper side initially. If that would be too heavy/overkill for the PNW, I was also looking at a lighter jacket, something like the Eddie Bauer MicroTherm StormDown Hooded Jacket. If the Eddie Bauer jacket wouldn't cut it, I was also looking at these two jackets, the Arc'teryx Thorium AR Hooded Down Jacket and the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody. Those two seem to be a step up from the Eddie Bauer, but maybe only a slight step down from the MH Nilas. I’m not sure.

 

What do you guys think? Also, what do you think of my planned clothing purchases? Would you change anything or should that be sufficient for me to begin my mountaineering career?

 

For the bottom layering I think that’s pretty straight forward and easy, I don’t have any questions regarding that. As for boots, I plan to try on as many as I can to find the best fit, which will probably be a pain in the ass since I’ll have to order them online and then return in store. Not a huge deal, just wish I could go to a store with many different boots in stock to try them on at once. I’m likely going to order the La Sportiva Nepal Cubes as my first try.

 

And my final question. I am planning on picking up a few books soon, both for informative purposes and pleasure reading. In no order

 

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition

No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks

Climbing the Seven Summits

And either Alaska Climbing by Joseph Puryear or Denali's West Buttress: A Climber's Guide to Mount McKinley's Classic Route by Colby Coombs, not sure on which one regarding Alaskan climbs.

 

Should I pick up any others, drop some of the ones above?

 

 

I very much appreciate any help you guys offer and thanks for the time you took to read this. I have joined some local meetup groups and hope to find some people I can climb with. Currently my sister is interested in possibly taking the course with me so if she does that would be a great advantage for me to have someone to share these experiences with. It seems finding someone you can go with and learn from is the hardest process in this.

 

Thanks again.

 

Steve

 

Edited by RTHo

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Welcome Steve. Freedom of the Hills is a good general resource book but I'd also add Training for the New Alpinism by Steve House and I still dig out my old Extreme Alpinism by Mark Twight for various references. I haven't spent a lot of time in Mike Layton's newest book yet but it contains volumes of information on training, diet and moving in the mountains which is helpful.

 

Summer weight puffy parka for sub 10,000 peaks in the PNW should weigh about a pound and be synthetic insulation IMO (not down). Hood is a matter of preference although it's cheap insurance in the event of an unplanned bivy or crappy weather. These types of jackets are available for around $100-$150 if you shop around. Examples would be the Arcteryx Nuclei and Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody off the top of my head.

 

The layers you listed are perfectly fine. Add a pair of soft-shell pants and you have it covered for about 95% of outings. I went with cheaper and used gear when I started out but had a young family. It's really a matter of preference and means but I can say that there's been a few miserable experiences when I've wished I'd spent the extra money on better gear. That being said, it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools and some of my partners who have ratty coats and packs can (and do) hand me my ass on a regular basis.

 

Good luck!

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Bronco, thank you for the reply I appreciate it.

 

Steve Houses's book sounds packed with information, I will pick that up as well.

 

When you refer to sub 10k peaks, is this to assume that those jackets would not be ideal for Shasta or Rainier? Since Shasta will likely be my first climb and Rainier being my short term goal I'll definitely be above that 10k mark.

 

Do you think the down jackets I listed would be too much? The Arcteryx Nuclei and the LT Hoody look interesting. If I could find the Nuclei for 150 that would be awesome.

 

As for the hardshell do you think I'll need something as serious as the Patagonia M10 or Arcteryx Alpha SL or would I be fine with something like the OR Helium II?

 

I just don't want to get clothing that will be overkill for the PNW even if I plan to climb outside of it eventually unless of course that same clothing while being overkill would still be fine for climbing here. If that makes sense lol.

 

Thanks again, Bronco.

Edited by RTHo

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Training with heavy loads is a good thing if you are going for Rainier or Denali but you should def look at keeping your load as light as possible on climbs because lighter is quicker and thus safer. One of the primary considerations and methods of comparison when looking at gear is weight. For instance how much does your empty pack weigh? There's a big diff between a climbing pack and a generic hiking pack. Also a true climbing store will have a scale handy because you can't always trust the manufacture for an accurate weight or for it to even be listed.

 

Forget about down in the PNW, either for the puffy or sleeping bag. It gets wet and looses it's loft and becomes near useless. It is lighter so it is better in places where you know it won't get wet like Shasta.

 

Stick with the manufactures that make climbing gear, don't think Eddie Bauer does any serious climbing gear.

 

I have 3 different weights of puffy's and use them all in the PNW and I don't go above 10K much any more. The thickest is a Mammut that would work on Denali, but I like it for a sub 10K peak in the winter. You can end up using a lighter sleeping bag when you factor in wearing the puffy while sleeping. This is also a weight saving trick where one item has multiple uses.

 

And if you worried about overheating you usually don't climb wearing a puffy except maybe Denali or Rainier in winter. It's more for when you are stopped for some reason, like at a belay, or in camp or a forced bivy.

 

There's 2 grades of hardshells, amateur and guide, both do the same job essentially, the guide level is just more durable. It will last longer, but it's heavier and more expensive.

 

I got lucky when getting into climbing. There was a local community college that had a "climb Mt Rainier" class, it lasted about 6 weeks two days a week in the evenings. The teachers were volunteers and we had about 3 training trips and then a final climbing trip. It was really affordable, like $100, the school must have donated the space.

 

Partners are getting easier to find with the advent of the internet.

 

Shasta is a lot easier than Rainier due to the better weather but both are high enough the altitude will kick your butt. Especially if you live near sea level. This is not like the Colorado 14ers where you are living at 5000'. It's not so much the ultimate altitude as it is the total gain. It might be better to start with something like Hood or Baker so you can concentrate on the basics without the added problem of altitude.

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Thanks for the reply, Buck.

 

Keeping light is definitely something I've been trying to stick with. Currently I plan on using an Osprey Atmos AG 65 that I picked up recently. It was a big improvement over my old pack and while it's not the lightest, it definitely makes the same weight load feel lighter versus my old, lighter pack. Perhaps as I get more into this I can upgrade to a lighter, climbing specific pack.

 

So it sounds like for climbing in the wetter mountains of Oregon a different puffy would work better than say Shasta or Rainier. I was kind of hoping to find one that could fit the bill for most climbs in California, Oregon and Washington. Essentially I want to build up to Rainier so I will definitely be planning on climbing in those generally drier conditions plus in Oregon's cascades.

 

So for the hardshell it seems like I could probably get away with something cheaper since my climbs starting out will be ~3-5 days max. I forgot to mention another hardshell on the cheaper side, the OR Foray. For 120 bucks it's definitely a nice price. The Arcteryx Alpha SL does look very nice though and would definitely be more durable. The fact that it's five ounces lighter than the Foray is nice too but the SL is obviously on the guide level.

 

Wow, that class sounds awesome! Too bad I can't find anything like that now.

 

By no means am I dead set on Shasta as the first climb or the course, it's simply the most practical for me due to my location. I am not opposed to heading north to attend a course but I would prefer to go no further than Oregon.

 

Do you have any particular courses in mind? Thanks again.

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RTHo,

Climbing Beyond the Basics has everything! Forget Freedom of the Hills.

 

If I could do it all over again I would do these things in this order.

- Take an anchors class preferably trad anchors.

- Take a crevasse rescue class. Read Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue

- Take an avy class. Read Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain

- Find internet partners who are officially experienced (guides, ski patrol, etc) and safe and pick their brains.

- Get a puffy and always take it with you. That's your get out of jail free card when you screw up and get stuck out all night, which you will.

 

 

If you ever want to climb in the Tahoe or Yosemite area, send me a PM.

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Used climbing kit! Don't buy new!

 

This is actually an ethic, for me.. but it just makes huge economical sense also. $600 for a shell? Hell no.. how about the same level jacket for more like $150 or $200? Yea.

 

I go back and forth on down vs. synthetic... if synthetic was as compressible as down, I'd accept the weight sacrifice.. but my biggest problem with synthetic has always been the space it takes up in the pack. You just cannot get near the compression with synthetic stuff. And if you're not going to be climbing IN your down (and I don't know why you would) and it's definitely going to be cold and dry... all my stuff is down, right now. Maybe I'll go synthetic again at some point in the future, as technology gets better

 

"Light is right" has always been my mantra, but this falls on it's face when light starts to encroach on function and comfort. Do not sacrifice basic comfort or critical kit necessities for light weight. Who cares if you get up and down 15 minutes faster if you're uncomfortable the whole time? And those 15 minutes, or even 2 hours, saved won't be worth much when your ultra light shit fails in the field because it's too light and can't even hold up to normal use. Dynafit, anyone? There's some really expensive, extremely cheap ass shit out there. You'll experience it. (Where you at, Astrov)

 

Hooah, BTW. I did an extremely short, non-combat stint as an 11B, long, long ago.. but I still think of myself as Infantry. Let me know if you want to take a run up Hood sometime... I'm very familiar with the mountain, and could lend you some hard-earned alpine knowledge.

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RTHo,

Climbing Beyond the Basics has everything! Forget Freedom of the Hills.

 

If I could do it all over again I would do these things in this order.

- Take an anchors class preferably trad anchors.

- Take a crevasse rescue class. Read Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue

- Take an avy class. Read Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain

- Find internet partners who are officially experienced (guides, ski patrol, etc) and safe and pick their brains.

- Get a puffy and always take it with you. That's your get out of jail free card when you screw up and get stuck out all night, which you will.

 

 

If you ever want to climb in the Tahoe or Yosemite area, send me a PM.

 

Thanks for the reply, Pete. Are you saying to not even bother picking up Freedom of the Hills altogether?

 

Of those type of courses you are suggesting, do you have any specific recommendations? I'm not opposed to taking different courses than a general intro with summit bid, I just thought that would be the most resourceful of my time and money. My problem is finding the right course to take, though I don't know if I'm over thinking it and pretty much any course I take will be good to go.

 

I will definitely keep that puffy tip in mind, thanks. And I would definitely love to climb in Yosemite and Tahoe some day, I will absolutely take you up on that offer after I get some experience, thanks.

 

Used climbing kit! Don't buy new!

 

This is actually an ethic, for me.. but it just makes huge economical sense also. $600 for a shell? Hell no.. how about the same level jacket for more like $150 or $200? Yea.

 

I go back and forth on down vs. synthetic... if synthetic was as compressible as down, I'd accept the weight sacrifice.. but my biggest problem with synthetic has always been the space it takes up in the pack. You just cannot get near the compression with synthetic stuff. And if you're not going to be climbing IN your down (and I don't know why you would) and it's definitely going to be cold and dry... all my stuff is down, right now. Maybe I'll go synthetic again at some point in the future, as technology gets better

 

"Light is right" has always been my mantra, but this falls on it's face when light starts to encroach on function and comfort. Do not sacrifice basic comfort or critical kit necessities for light weight. Who cares if you get up and down 15 minutes faster if you're uncomfortable the whole time? And those 15 minutes, or even 2 hours, saved won't be worth much when your ultra light shit fails in the field because it's too light and can't even hold up to normal use. Dynafit, anyone? There's some really expensive, extremely cheap ass shit out there. You'll experience it. (Where you at, Astrov)

 

Hooah, BTW. I did an extremely short, non-combat stint as an 11B, long, long ago.. but I still think of myself as Infantry. Let me know if you want to take a run up Hood sometime... I'm very familiar with the mountain, and could lend you some hard-earned alpine knowledge.

 

Thanks Ben! Fellow 11 bang bang here. I only got out a few years ago but I still miss it sometimes haha.

 

I've been looking to buy used where I can but am not seeing a large selection. The best site I've found for used gear so far is www.geartrade.com but I have yet to see anything I need on there. Do you have any particular sites in mind? I've been stalking Craigslist as well but I guess living in the heart of the Silicon Valley doesn't really result in a lot of used mountaineering gear.

 

The down vs. synthetic debate has come up every time I try to do some research. As you said, I like the idea of the compressibility of down. It seems to be a matter of personal preference from everything I've read. I definitely want to keep the weight down as much as possible, but I am not interested in going super ultra light weight or whatever the latest name is. I can actually handle weight on my back quite well (though we will see if/how that changes when climbing) and while I'm not going to purposely load my pack with unnecessary weight, I won't sacrifice any necessities for the sake of weight.

 

After I get my feet wet in a course and understand the basics I would definitely love to climb Hood and appreciate the offer. If I learned anything in the infantry it was follow the experienced guys haha.

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www.mountainproject.com, the classifieds here, ebay, geartrade can be useful... have to be diligent and check all these sources regularly - MP in particular is super active. Tons of new stuff posted every day. You can also post "WTB" (want to buy) threads, and, especially on MP, you'd be surprised how often someone has the piece you need in your size just taking up space in the closet.

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Thanks for the reply, Pete. Are you saying to not even bother picking up Freedom of the Hills altogether?

 

Of those type of courses you are suggesting, do you have any specific recommendations? I'm not opposed to taking different courses than a general intro with summit bid, I just thought that would be the most resourceful of my time and money. My problem is finding the right course to take, though I don't know if I'm over thinking it and pretty much any course I take will be good to go.

 

I will definitely keep that puffy tip in mind, thanks. And I would definitely love to climb in Yosemite and Tahoe some day, I will absolutely take you up on that offer after I get some experience, thanks.

 

Freedome of the Hills is "the Bible" of mountaineering, but it's kind of like a children's Bible. Good pictures and you get the point, but if you want to get serious about it you'll be left wanting more. I guess I just look at my bookcase and FotH is surrounding by other books that cover the same topics in more depth. If you're looking to save money, I'd start with skipping FotH. I'd recommend Michael Layton's Climbing Beyond the Basics as an overview book that isn't too broad to be useful.

 

I took a trad anchors class at J Tree that was great https://www.joshuatreerockclimbing.com/sem4.html. I also have a friend who's an single-pitch rock instructor in Northern California. If you're interested, I'll send you his info.

 

My crevasse rescue class with Rainier Mountaineering was great. My "Mountaineering Class" with RMI was a waste of time and money. All classes are good, but specific well-tailored classes are well worth the money. In Cali, there are some great resources. Sierra Mountain Guides is a fantastic company based out of Bishop.

 

Classes may seem expensive, but the amount you'll learn (especially if you prepare beforehand) is fantastic. Also, you'll be trusting your life to your skills - probably worth the extra few $100 bucks

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www.mountainproject.com, the classifieds here, ebay, geartrade can be useful... have to be diligent and check all these sources regularly - MP in particular is super active. Tons of new stuff posted every day. You can also post "WTB" (want to buy) threads, and, especially on MP, you'd be surprised how often someone has the piece you need in your size just taking up space in the closet.

 

MP.com looks like an awesome place, going to check there daily. Thanks for the tip.

 

Thanks for the reply, Pete. Are you saying to not even bother picking up Freedom of the Hills altogether?

 

Of those type of courses you are suggesting, do you have any specific recommendations? I'm not opposed to taking different courses than a general intro with summit bid, I just thought that would be the most resourceful of my time and money. My problem is finding the right course to take, though I don't know if I'm over thinking it and pretty much any course I take will be good to go.

 

I will definitely keep that puffy tip in mind, thanks. And I would definitely love to climb in Yosemite and Tahoe some day, I will absolutely take you up on that offer after I get some experience, thanks.

 

Freedome of the Hills is "the Bible" of mountaineering, but it's kind of like a children's Bible. Good pictures and you get the point, but if you want to get serious about it you'll be left wanting more. I guess I just look at my bookcase and FotH is surrounding by other books that cover the same topics in more depth. If you're looking to save money, I'd start with skipping FotH. I'd recommend Michael Layton's Climbing Beyond the Basics as an overview book that isn't too broad to be useful.

 

I took a trad anchors class at J Tree that was great https://www.joshuatreerockclimbing.com/sem4.html. I also have a friend who's an single-pitch rock instructor in Northern California. If you're interested, I'll send you his info.

 

My crevasse rescue class with Rainier Mountaineering was great. My "Mountaineering Class" with RMI was a waste of time and money. All classes are good, but specific well-tailored classes are well worth the money. In Cali, there are some great resources. Sierra Mountain Guides is a fantastic company based out of Bishop.

 

Classes may seem expensive, but the amount you'll learn (especially if you prepare beforehand) is fantastic. Also, you'll be trusting your life to your skills - probably worth the extra few $100 bucks

 

Gotcha thanks. I'll take the advice and pick up something more in depth like your suggestion.

 

It sounds like I may get better training for the money if I take more specific classes than a broad climb, maybe I'll go that route. I'd like to get the basics down and gain the skills required for me to climb some of the easier routes of smaller mountains and then get into some advanced classes to be able to expand my skills for something like Rainier. At least that's what makes sense in my head.

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You ask good questions about what kind of clothing to purchase or whatever but I'd say that if you just up your game in slow steps you'll do fine. You've done winter backcountry expeditions in the Adirondaks? You're ready to try a winter outing in the Sierra or ...

 

The gear you carry is not as important as you might think. Your success on a climb of Mt. Shasta will not depend on whether you bring down or synthetic insulation. McKinley and Aconcagua were first climbed well before modern fabrics were invented.

 

You mentioned Denali and Aconcagua. If your goal is to climb famous peaks, and maybe the seven summits, take it slow. A good experiencial background may help you when you attempt the more dangerous summits.

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my two cents regarding down: a lot of it is treated now, in theory it should perform well even when moderately wet. For me so far, it's been fine on short multiday, but relatively dry (by PNW standards) trips.

 

Keep it going man, don't overdo it, and work towards your goals in bite-sized, manageable chunks.

 

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You ask good questions about what kind of clothing to purchase or whatever but I'd say that if you just up your game in slow steps you'll do fine. You've done winter backcountry expeditions in the Adirondaks? You're ready to try a winter outing in the Sierra or ...

 

The gear you carry is not as important as you might think. Your success on a climb of Mt. Shasta will not depend on whether you bring down or synthetic insulation. McKinley and Aconcagua were first climbed well before modern fabrics were invented.

 

You mentioned Denali and Aconcagua. If your goal is to climb famous peaks, and maybe the seven summits, take it slow. A good experiencial background may help you when you attempt the more dangerous summits.

 

Thanks for the reply, Matt.

 

I've never done any expeditions or backpacking in the Adirondacks before. It was all strictly infantry training using Army issued gear, for example using a -30 degree sleeping bag/system that weighed 10 pounds lol. When we did "climb" Marcy and other peaks it was not technical and we were weighed down, usually carrying our combat gear and weapons. The same went for the clothing, it was all Army issued so I don't have experience with the seemingly endless options when it comes to clothing. I think I may have just been over thinking it and I've already picked up a softshell jacket and will pick up the other layers over the next few weeks.

 

Good point on the first climbers using what they had, again I was probably over thinking it.

 

I definitely plan to take it gradual and slow, I just wanted to stress those larger ambitions to explain where my mind is at and that I want to jump into this with both feet. Both of those are far on the horizon and I don't plan to consider them until I have real experience climbing and some serious knowledge through additional classes.

 

my two cents regarding down: a lot of it is treated now, in theory it should perform well even when moderately wet. For me so far, it's been fine on short multiday, but relatively dry (by PNW standards) trips.

 

Keep it going man, don't overdo it, and work towards your goals in bite-sized, manageable chunks.

 

Thanks Maurop, appreciate the encouragement.

Edited by RTHo

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Freedom of the Hills is not that bad, and is especially applicable for beginners. You can also find it used.

 

Yes synth is not as compressible as down but there are some nice (silicone) compression stuff sacks made by Sea To Summit that will get a synth bag or jacket compressed to half normal size. The last climb I did was a 2 day climb with a medium size bag and my warmest puffy, all fit inside a day pack that weighs less than 1 pound. Synthetic is a margin of safety and comfort where moisture is a possibility. On a multi day climb you are going to be comfortable with down, as long as the weather forecast doesn't change in the middle of your trip.

 

Yes there can be an overemphasis on gear, but the more you pay attention to the details the more versatile your kit is going to be. And starting out you might not even want to hold yourself down to one type of climbing. I started out being a peak bagger with Rainier, Denali, Aconcagua on my list, but I got sidetracked by rock climbing and only ever made it to Rainier. But I've since climbed every type of climbing there is and feel just as fulfilled.

 

There's two ways a large peak can be climbed that will decide how light you want to go. One is going up and down on the same route. The other is a carryover, going up one route (usually harder) and down another easier route. When you do a carryover you probably want to go lighter because you are taking everything over the summit. On a two day carryover climb maybe sacrificing some sleeping comfort knowing it will only be for one night. When ascending descending the same route you can take a heavier sleeping bag because you can leave it at high camp, and go to the summit from high camp with just a bivy sack for safety. A rookie just starting out is going to go up and down the same easy route but the carryover is something to consider for the future.

 

Another thing to consider when climbing the volcanoes, and this especially applies to Rainier, is the alpine start. This is where the light weight time factor really comes into play. You leave high camp somewhere around midnight to 2 am. You want to summit and get back down across the glaciers before the snow bridges across the crevasses get soft from the day's sun and heat. This can also apply when all you are crossing is snow and not glaciers. Snow is much easier to climb when it's somewhat frozen and consolidated than when it has a melted layer on top.

 

Climbing a 14K peak from sea level in 1 or 2 days has been compared to a marathon, mostly because of the altitude gain. Gaining 14K in this short time is pushing the limits of the pressure differential that your body can handle. This can be alleviated by acclimatizing at 4000 ft or higher for a couple of days before the climb. I've climbed Rainier both ways and I climbed Shasta after hanging out in the foothills below for 3 days. The comparison in difficulty is huge. Summiting in 2 days is somewhat of an ordeal for most people, doing it with acclimatization makes it almost easy and much more enjoyable.

 

I would start with Hood, it looks like you already have an offer on this very thread. But the easy route on Shasta in summer is not that difficult either, and with just a little patience you can find someone that will take you.

 

 

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FOTH is a good introductory text. There are not too many other texts that cover the breadth of climbing. I recently purchased a used copy from Amazon for $8.00 as a gift for a friend's son who started climbing.

 

The down vs. synthetic argument is like democrat vs. republican. Both sides have their points but neither is completely wrong or right. IF you can keep down dry, then it is in all ways superior. IF it gets wet, you are SOL.

 

I switched from down to synthetic for outerwear after getting soaked winter alpine climbing in the Cascades one too many times. If you plan on only climbing in perfect weather, (July-September in the Cascades or Colorado or California) then down is a great choice. I have found that my 100 gram Primaloft hooded parka (Patagonia Micropuff) is the most used piece of clothing next to my Marmot DriClime wind shirt.

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Hey everyone, very sorry I disappeared for a while. To be perfectly honest, a lot was going on at the time I made this thread and between all of the other research and posting I was doing at other sites, I simply forgot I had made this post here. Poor excuse I know.

 

Since then, a lot has happened. I have all of my own personal gear and attempted Shasta twice with my sister and a buddy. The first time my buddy sprained his ankle pretty bad before we even hit the snow line and we had to turn back. The second time we made it to Lake Helen and practiced as much as we could since none of us had done this before. We were hit with a pretty bad storm which delayed our start time and unfortunately had to turn back after reaching the Red Banks, which was a bummer since the hardest part was behind us. I wanted us to keep pushing but I also had to play it safe and decided to turn us back.

 

Being up there got me hooked though and I am anxiously awaiting the season to start to get back up on Shasta, we plan to return early in the season. My sister and I are also currently planning a trip to Nepal next spring. We plan to do Everest Base Camp trek and then climb Island Peak. I am very excited.

 

If all goes well, I hope to hit several mountains in the Cascades next year.

 

As for the gear, the most notable purchase I made were La Sportiva Nepal Cubes. These things were awesome on Shasta and as comfortable as any regular hiking boot. My feet never felt cold or uncomfortable. I also waited to pick them up from REI when they had a 20% coupon, so that made the purchase a bit easier.

 

 

 

It's too bad the storm didn't pass earlier, it was a pretty nice day otherwise.

 

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Edited by RTHo

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I am anxiously awaiting the season to start to get back up on Shasta...

Clear Creek route is doable now, just bring low gaiters for the scree fest.

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I am anxiously awaiting the season to start to get back up on Shasta...

Clear Creek route is doable now, just bring low gaiters for the scree fest.

 

I meant the snow season. Don't have a desire to scramble up it.

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