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DasStenzel

Advice would be appreciated.

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I posted this in R/alpinism thought I would post here as well.

 

Short of the long of it. Recently divorced, quite my corporate job that had consumed my life and found a better one closer to a 40hr work week instead of 65-75. I am finally getting back into shape, lost 60lbs. Attending Yoga twice a week etc etc...

 

Time to start crossing things off the bucket list. Two of the bigger items being climbing Mt. Rainier and Denali with my brother. My brother is an retired Army Ranger who was in second battalion. Went through mountain phase training, he is at times overly confident in some aspects. My background is some smaller free climbs in CO along with Pikes peak and Mt Nebo in UT.He wanted to solo with just the two of us, but due to my inexperience I have convinced him to sign up with RMI and do the Kautz Climb. It would offer the training I need and some of the challenge he wants. We also like the idea of the less traveled expedition tenting feel of the trip. We are planning this trip for next summer (august/september) and plan to nail down the dates once they open availability in September.

 

What I am looking for help on. ANY advice from the experienced climbers here. Training tips, gear tips. I am a research nut and will be spending a lot of time over the next several months researching what gear I should purchase.

 

Now for finding clothes, boots, and gloves, I am 6'6, 270lbs (Will be down to 260 by the time we summit) I wear a size 16 boot and have to wear XXL gloves. So far I have found http://www.beyondclothing.com/ That has my sizing. Though expensive, I have no problem spending more for key items. I hope to make climbing a lifestyle and want to have gear that will hold up and last.

 

I look forward to becoming a climber and would like to learn everything I can from all of you! Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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hmmm..any advice.. training and gear tips etc.. training: simply exercise - do your best for your body. Eat a balanced diet and do stretching, cardio, and weight training (or some type of resistance training)-don't need to bulk up. Sure there are super dialed in training regimens for aspiring and limit-pushing alpinists, but for Rainier and Denali I personally would say they are almost irrelevant. You won't be moving light and fast--almost all of what you'll be doing are slow and slogging.

 

gear, you'll have to dial in a few key things and come back to alpinism or here with specific questions. I don't think you'll get a good list of the 'best' pully, picket, rope, ascender, crampon, goggles, glacier glasses, hat, etc to buy. If you're the researching type as you say you'll get those narrowed quick enough and at the end of the day as long as what you have is compatible (ie rope diameter and pully size, crampon size fits boots great, glacier glasses fit your face well, etc) it doesn't matter so much beyond that.

 

With your size you'll need to figure the boots available (will be limited) and also spend a little extra time investigating crampons-you'll probably have to buy extension bars as by default many likely won't go that large. One rec I can give is for automatic crampons (not hybrid or strap). They're a hell of a lot easier to get into and i find the fit preferable, even for sloggy stuff, imo. But your boots need to have a toe welt for the crampon bar.

 

 

 

 

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Proper boots in a size 16 seem to not exist. I used to sell shoes and boots at a high end store many years ago. Attending several classes with Lowa, Nike, Asics, etc... I believe that a good pair of boots will be one of the most important purchases I make. I thought for sure Lowa would make some as I have a pair of Lowa Trekkers in a EU 51 that I have worn for years and love but no such luck.

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I'd say if possible get with your brother and just climb as much as possible. Not sure where you live, but if possible and job permits, move to somewhere with mountains to climb! Climb lesser peaks than your targets. By all means go with a guide to get some training, but also get Freedom of the Hills and go over all that stuff.

 

You'll find that just by getting out you'll start to dial in your systems and gear, finding what make sense for you. That will also get you into shape.

 

Depending on what routes you do you're either mainly just going to need to be in good cardio shape and know how to pull each other out of a crevasse...or if your goal is more technical, well, you'll have more to learn.

 

Also, I would (especially for cold weather gear for Alaska, etc) check the used gear sales forum here. A lot of people dream big of climbing in Alaska (Denali, etc) and buy $$$ gear, only to use it only once or sometime not at all, and they unload it for pennies on the dollar. If you only use it once in your life time, sometimes doesn't make sense to have a -20 sleeping bag.

 

If you need something custom, I bet Feathered Friends here in Seattle could sew something up for you.

 

http://featheredfriends.com/

 

Can't help you on your huge feet!

 

Oh, and make sure your baddass Ranger brother carries more of the gear ;)

 

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A good training climb in your back yard I recommend is the keyhole route on Longs Peak. Long approach and bivy in the boulder field and 4th class home stretch finish make this a slightly strenuous very fun climb.

 

d

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Advice: Doing a guided climb is wise; your brother having been an Army Ranger provides about zero experience for climbing Mt. Rainier. There are many fine guide outfits that offer guided summit trips. I would not necessarily recommend RMI, but if you have your heart set on Kautz glacier they may be your only choice. Make sure you look into that and if you have a choice of guide outfits, go with a good one.

 

Regarding your route selection, the Kautz gkacier is a fine route and will provide a more of the experience you seem to be looking for. If you are limited to August-September time frame, try to get a spot in early August. Earlier in the summer means glacier conditions will be better.

 

Regarding fitness. The fitter you are the more fun you will have. Incorporate at least one 'depletion day' a week in your routine. Trail run, hike, bike ride for a long time, like 4 hour trail runs, 8 hour hikes, etc. Do as much elevation gain as you can. Lift weights, do high intensity cardio like hill repeats, do long slow distance runs.

 

Regarding gear. Spend whatever it takes to get a good fitting pair of boots. Spend on a sleeping bag. Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering are good choices. Avoid the big box brands. Marmot seems to have the best bags of the big box brands.

 

Here are links to a couple of articles that may be of some interest.

 

http://www.summitpost.org/so-you-want-to-climb-mt-rainier/507227

 

http://www.summitpost.org/alpinism-101-an-introduction/756518

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Advice: Doing a guided climb is wise; your brother having been an Army Ranger provides about zero experience for climbing Mt. Rainier. There are many fine guide outfits that offer guided summit trips. I would not necessarily recommend RMI, but if you have your heart set on Kautz glacier they may be your only choice. Make sure you look into that and if you have a choice of guide outfits, go with a good one.

 

Are there other Guide services you would recommend over RMI. In my conversations with them over the phone they had a lot of good advice it seemed. If you would recommend someone over them I would like suggestions.

 

Thank you for the other advice as well!

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A good training climb in your back yard I recommend is the keyhole route on Longs Peak. Long approach and bivy in the boulder field and 4th class home stretch finish make this a slightly strenuous very fun climb.

 

d

 

Thanks for the suggestion. One of my best friends lives in CO and I contacted him. He was already planning to climb it in April of 2017 so that will work out great for a practice run

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I'd say if possible get with your brother and just climb as much as possible. Not sure where you live, but if possible and job permits, move to somewhere with mountains to climb! Climb lesser peaks than your targets.

 

I live in Fargo ND. Won 50/50 custody of my kids so I will be here for the next 16 foreseeable years. But, I have drastically reduced my lifestyle, renting a modest apartment and living below my means so I can start traveling and hitting these climbs as quickly as possible.

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Can't help you on your huge feet!

 

I have spent three days trying to find something! One of the most critical pieces of gear and it seems no one makes them. If anyone sees something or has dealt with a similar scenario please let me know. Even Sasquatch needs mountaineering boots!

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Lowa Civettas were made in size 16, although I think they are no longer manufactured you may be able to find a pair on EBay. They would work for Rainier and with an over boot or insulated supergaitor for Denali as well.

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Kurt Hicks is an excellent guide, though he is working as a climbing ranger right now at Mount Rainier. You could look him up and see what he has available next summer.

 

I would suggest you go up the Kautz no later than early August. July would be much better.

 

Good luck, especially with the boots!

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You should PM Sobo to see how he became an elite e-mountaineer.

 

I believe he achieved this through frequenting a pub.

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Just wanted to chime in on the boots. Have a good buddy who is size 15/50. He (still) climbs in Lowa Civettas, everything from Hood in the summer to the Himalaya. I swear the plastic must be 50% worn through and who knows how many liners. He just hasn't found any other option.

 

I think Sportiva will occasionally do special runs of 49 and 50 but I'm not sure about larger. You would have to contact them direct and have them imported. My buddy got a pair this way but they were still tight and only work for 1/2 days cragging. You're looking at pretty big $$ for a boot you aren't even sure will fit.

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Advice: Doing a guided climb is wise; your brother having been an Army Ranger provides about zero experience for climbing Mt. Rainier. There are many fine guide outfits that offer guided summit trips. I would not necessarily recommend RMI, but if you have your heart set on Kautz glacier they may be your only choice. Make sure you look into that and if you have a choice of guide outfits, go with a good one.

 

Are there other Guide services you would recommend over RMI. In my conversations with them over the phone they had a lot of good advice it seemed. If you would recommend someone over them I would like suggestions.

 

Thank you for the other advice as well!

Of the three guide services with permits to guide on Rainier, Alpine Ascents International would be my first choice. If you simply want to tag the summit, any guide service can do that, but if you really want to learn to climb you should look into longer 'Alpine Leader' types of courses like those offered through American Alpine Institute.

 

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Just wanted to chime in on the dates. IMO, September is absolutely NOT a good time to climb Rainier. Either is August in most years - wide-open crevasses, way more zig-zagging around, really icy (compared to when snow is still on the slopes), etc. June or July are hands-down the best months to climb Rainier. It's gonna be tough getting experience from ND, but you're in the same boat as the Seattle-ites who climb Rainier from sea level, so you're not missing much there!

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Hey,

 

I'm former 2nd batt, WEBCO, 90 to 93 Ranger class 12-91. Who's your brother please?

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Advice: Doing a guided climb is wise; your brother having been an Army Ranger provides about zero experience for climbing Mt. Rainier. There are many fine guide outfits that offer guided summit trips. I would not necessarily recommend RMI, but if you have your heart set on Kautz glacier they may be your only choice. Make sure you look into that and if you have a choice of guide outfits, go with a good one.

 

Are there other Guide services you would recommend over RMI. In my conversations with them over the phone they had a lot of good advice it seemed. If you would recommend someone over them I would like suggestions.

 

Thank you for the other advice as well!

Of the three guide services with permits to guide on Rainier, Alpine Ascents International would be my first choice. If you simply want to tag the summit, any guide service can do that, but if you really want to learn to climb you should look into longer 'Alpine Leader' types of courses like those offered through American Alpine Institute.

 

Thank you. I am reading through all of the information right now. It seems they have the 8 Day Emmons Glacier Course or 6 Day North Cascades Mountaineering Course as prerequisites for the Kautz climb. I will have to give them a call and price all of this out.

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Just wanted to chime in on the dates. IMO, September is absolutely NOT a good time to climb Rainier. Either is August in most years - wide-open crevasses, way more zig-zagging around, really icy (compared to when snow is still on the slopes), etc. June or July are hands-down the best months to climb Rainier.

 

Duly noted. We will be scheduling our climb for July.

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The best technical boot I know of made in truly big sizes are the La Sportiva Baruntse, which they make in a euro 50.

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