Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 7 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3734 Members
10 Forums
5571 Topics
51008 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#33395 - 09/23/13 09:42 AM What do you do for windy sleeping conditions?
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Stella Blue asked a great question and is getting solid advice. I don't want to hijack her thread, so I'm going to start one with a slight variation.

I spent a miserable, sleepless night up on Mt. Baldy on Friday night. I found a perch in the windbreaks which help around the head area but don't do much for the feet. I had a good pad and never felt cool from the ground. I had a 35 degree mummy bag and wore balaclava, thermal shirt, long sleeve shirt, down jacket and fleece. My upper body felt warm. The exposed part of my face felt very cold. My legs were ok-ish, but my feet were freezing. I dropped a chem pack down by my feet which has always worked like magic, but not this time.

I think two things were going on. One, this bag is just barely big enough for me, but if I'm not situated just right, my head and/or feet will tug against the stitches of the bag which means, I'm getting no loft in the tight, compressed area of the bag--this time, it was my feet that were compressed. As Harvey points out, with no loft, the passive heat retention system of the down bag couldn't do its work. The second thing that was going on was the wind kept sucking the heat out of the bag. I think my core was ok because my bag probably acted a bit as a protective layer, not letting the wind suck the heat from my down jacket and layers beneath, but I had no such under protection around my feet.

I was miserable--shivering and not sleeping the whole night, eventually, puking up my dinner and then wretching after that. (Probably a combination of altitude sickness, exhaustion and shivering.) At around 4 am, I was trying to think what else I could do and remembered that I had a mylar blanket in my bag. I then wrapped it around my feet on the inside of my sleeping bag. Fairly soon thereafter, my feet began to feel ok, but I continued to shiver until the sun came up.

A bigger bag with more room to keep loft would have been good. A tent, a bivy or even a trashbag to keep the wind off would have been good. What else would you have done to deal with the wind and conditions that I have described?

I welcome your criticisms and wisdom.

Brent N

Top
#33396 - 09/23/13 11:09 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I think you answered your own question 90 percent. A tent and a bag that fits. The rest of it would be: what was the ambient temp? A 35 degree bag rating usually means you probably won't die at that temperature. It usually does not mean you should expect to be comfortable.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#33397 - 09/23/13 11:10 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow, Brent, miserable night!!!

I think something as simple as an emergency bivy -- one of those use-once plastic bags -- would have been the right thing. It would have effectively stopped all the wind movement and thermal loss due to the wind.

With high wind, a tent would have been a problem, since it would have needed to be tied down so securely, and might have been really noisy all night anyway. So maybe better than the plastic bivy might have been a more substantial bivy.

Top
#33399 - 09/23/13 11:47 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: saltydog]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Saltydog, Ambient temp was 38.6. That bag has been fine for that temp before when combined with the same clothes and chemical heat packs. The game changer here, I think, was the wind.

Steve, yah, I've found that with a lightweight single person tent, it gets so battered in strong winds that there is no sleeping in one.

Top
#33400 - 09/23/13 11:56 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Even during the Summer, I carry an Adventure Medical SOL Emergency bivvy sack, as well as fleece jacket, Gore-Tex, rain gear, extra energy food. During the Fall and Winter I carry a one pound Gore-Tex bivvy sack on day hikes. Either of those two items, or something similar, would have helped you spend a more comfortable night.

For overnighter's I'm never without the Gore-Tex bivvy sack or one-person tent, to supplement my sleeping bag, regardless of a nice weather forecast.

My philosophy is to be prepared to spend the night safely, and survive, especially if injured.

Top
#33406 - 09/23/13 05:21 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Bob West]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Over the years, I have regularly spent the night on Mt. Baden-Powell without a tent. If it is 40s with wind you had better have a good 15* F, which is all zipped up with a fleece hat. When you tell people this they don't believe you. I have been up there with more than a few people who froze there rear ends off.

I have never had a miserable night on the summit...except for AMS related problems. Getting up and being up and seeing stars and both city and desert lights is why I am up there in the first place, so I don't mind the disturbed sleep symptom.

BTW, B-P is s much better to be on at night than Mt. Baldy.


Edited by wbtravis (09/23/13 05:25 PM)

Top
#33418 - 09/24/13 08:46 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: wbtravis]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
WB, if wind is actively attacking the bag, is a 15 degree bag that much more effective without having some sort of wind shield?

Why do you prefer BP over Baldy at night? ( I haven't been up BP before.)

Top
#33419 - 09/24/13 09:00 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
Glenn Offline


Registered: 09/16/11
Posts: 105
Loc: Oklahoma
Uh, Brent, after a night like that the simple fact that you would even consider going back out to spend the night in the wilderness says a lot about your tenacity!

Ditto what the others have said. And after reading these posts I'm thinking I should trade-in my standard space blanket for the emergency bivy version.

I always carry a tent for weather preparedness and warmth. But there are times when I like to sleep out under the stars and leave the tent in my pack. If you end up shopping for a new warmer sleeping bag that fits, consider looking at one with a beefier outer fabric that can help block the wind. Something like the Gore Windstopper on some Western Mountaineering bags, or similar on some Feathered Friends bags. In addition to being more wind-resistant, they also repel the dew that inevitably settles on the bag at night and reduces loft. Even inside a tent it's helpful when there's condensation on the tent walls that can easily find it's way to your bag. The downside, of course, is those fabrics add considerable weight (up to maybe around 6 oz), so there is that to factor in.

A few years ago in early October, a friend and I spent one night at Tulainyo Lake, perched right up on the Sierra Crest just north of Mount Whitney. There was only a small flat site with room for two bags but not enough room to set up the tent, so we decided to sleep under the stars. It was brutally cold and the wind was blowing super hard, but I stayed toasty warm in my so-equipped sleeping bag. I'm pretty sure I would have had an experience close to what you described if my bag that night had the standard outer fabric. I don't always use that bag because of the extra weight, but you might want to at least think about that option.

P.S. Hmm, regarding that anecdote about the night at Tulainyo Lake... now that I think about it that was a Feathered Friends bag rated at something like 35 below. Not exactly a scientific test of the effectiveness of the wind-resistant outer fabric. Still, I do think the fabric is something to consider.


Edited by Glenn (09/24/13 11:39 AM)
Edit Reason: Add P.S.

Top
#33420 - 09/24/13 09:03 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Brent,

I just have a run of the mill 10 year old been relofted once Marmot Pinnacle 15* F Bag. I have been on B-P in conditions similar to what you experienced Friday night into Saturday many times.

There are no wind blocks per se just south of the summit where we usually settle down for the night but there is some manzanita. I use a ground cover and Big Agnes (barely insulated) Air Core mattress. As long as bag is snugged up around the shoulders it provides enough warmth for me wearing shirt and skivees...no socks.

Why BP? My question is why Baldy, other than its cult like reputation. It does not offer much for an overnight. B-P is the best when you go up Dawson Saddle. The plan is to reach Throop at sunset. By the time you reach Burnham, it is pitch dark, the stars are starting to show themselves and the lights of the city and desert are bright as you make your way to B-P. Even Cucamonga Peak is a better overnight destination. I'm not a big fan of Mt. Baldy...there are much more interesting trips in SoCal to "lesser" peaks.

Top
#33423 - 09/24/13 01:25 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: wbtravis]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
The bag was a Western Mountaineering High Light, rated for 35, but the fabric doesn't claim to be terribly wind resistant. I have slept in it in slightly colder temps, including without any shelter and have had great results. For the weight and cost differential, I'm thinking that any sort of windproof barrier like a lightweight bivy bag or even a trashbag would have made a big difference. It's warmth retention ability has proven itself before, but I learned the hard way that it is just no match for wind.

Top
#33436 - 09/24/13 06:20 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
You always have to account for the wind when going out without a tent. It is amazing how much more bag you need when it is windy.

Top
#33440 - 09/24/13 07:35 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1019
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Brent N
shivering and not sleeping the whole night, eventually, puking up my dinner and then wretching after that. (Probably a combination of altitude sickness, exhaustion and shivering.) Brent N


sounds like, in addition to the windchill factor, you were sick. Illness whether AMS, virus, fatigue, whatever, can make you feel bad and be cold intolerant, no matter what.
You could have felt just like that back home at 75 degrees and under three blankets. I have.

So do the scientific experiment :-)
go back up in similar conditions and gear but good heath, see if you feel the same. That would prove that it was you, or it was the gear.

One of the gear-quizzes we have for young scouts is the wind-layer versus insulation-layer topic.

Top
#33444 - 09/25/13 08:49 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Harvey,

When I go out in the winter and come home spent. It is not unusual for me to have problems getting warm, even with the thermostat set at 70* F, with a R2 vest on and being under a blanket, until I spend 15 minutes in a hot shower...this after having 15+* F to 30* F plus wind for hours without a problem.

Going out in winter teaches you so much more about hiking.

Top
#33445 - 09/25/13 10:35 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
I am eager to figure it out. I might do this again, but taking a diamox the night and morning before to deal with altitude. and maybe try the same gear but have some supplemental gear at hand in case I end up just as miserable--extra down clothes, a bivy bag for a windshield, better socks, extra heat packs.

I was exhausted, having gotten up at 5 am for work that day but not summiting until 1 am. I also made the mistake of hiking shortly after a pretty big dinner. WB's experience is the same as mine--there are times that I just seem to run colder than others and have to work hard to get warm--not often, but it happens.

BTW, Harvey, because altitude is sometimes an issue for me, I had some meds with me that Peter Hacket recommended, including an anti nausea drug (Ondansetron, I think?) Because I have handled this elevation just fine, I didn't take any until I started feeling sick. When I started feeling nauseous, I dissolved one under my tongue. 30 minutes later, I was puking. True to my past altitude bouts, descending completely restores me to complete, unflagging strength.

Top
#33448 - 09/25/13 11:22 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1019
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
That's Zofran, good stuff. It is the gold-standard in anti-nausea med, although by the time you took it , it might have been too late - the train had already left the station.

wb - my wife had an episode like that once - we were caught in a late-spring snowstorm in Bryce Canyon. Kept moving, climbed out, but after getting back to the Lodge for 6 hrs she shivered and was cold despite hot shower, food, and blankets. This perhaps is analogous to febrile illness where there is shivering when the body tries to RAISE its temperature, ( but sweating when the body tries to LOWER its temperature)

Coldest I ever was was after Aconcagua. Plenty of subzero F nights, but I handled that okay, but back at the trailhead, chugging 3 Cokes in rapid succession was like having an ice enema. I imagine that.

Top
#33452 - 09/25/13 04:01 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: Brent N


I was miserable--shivering and not sleeping the whole night, eventually, puking up my dinner and then wretching after that. (Probably a combination of altitude sickness, exhaustion and shivering.) At around 4 am, I was trying to think what else I could do and remembered that I had a mylar blanket in my bag. I then wrapped it around my feet on the inside of my sleeping bag. Fairly soon thereafter, my feet began to feel ok, but I continued to shiver until the sun came up.


So here's a question, albeit blunt, that I haven't seen asked yet:

If the conditions were so miserable, and you were feeling so miserable, and you had an inkling that it might be altitude related...

Why didn't you descend to where you didn't feel as miserable and to where you might find appropriate shelter (ie: trees, rocks, the entire mountain (since I've been on the Ski Hut trail when it's completely calm and then got blasted up above the treeline))??

Sorry guys and gals, but all the talk of emergency blankets becomes fairly moot if your brain is starting to potentially wig out due to hypoxia, esp when you're at the point of tossing your cookies and then continuing to wretch.

To answer your direct question, Brent, as in what do I do if the wind is blowing? Find a better campsite that provides shelter.



Edited by MooseTracks (09/25/13 04:02 PM)
Edit Reason: Fixed link to photo
_________________________
Facebook

Flickr Pics

Think outside the Zone.

Top
#33453 - 09/25/13 04:05 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: MooseTracks]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1019
Loc: Richmond, Virginia

There’s an old joke: “bivouac” is a French word for “mistake.
Ed Viesturs and David Roberts, K2, page 20

Top
#33458 - 09/25/13 09:34 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Harvey, that quote is hilarious.

Laura, great question as always. The answer is group dynamics, separation and degrees of danger.

I was hiking with two others and I recomended that we bivy at one of two fairly sheltered places that were maybe 400-500 vertical feet below the summit but I got outvoted. Once we were up there, we separated into three separate windbreaks. Nobody else could hear me puking. As miserable as I was, it wasn't so bad that I felt the need to wake the others at 3 in the morning to go down to where I had hoped to sleep in the first place. There was also probably an element of diminished mental capacity--exhaustion and sickness don't make for great critical thinking skills.

And by the way, that picture and the shelter. Wow.

Top
#33460 - 09/25/13 10:25 PM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: Brent N]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: Brent N
Harvey, that quote is hilarious.

Laura, great question as always. The answer is group dynamics, separation and degrees of danger.

I was hiking with two others and I recomended that we bivy at one of two fairly sheltered places that were maybe 400-500 vertical feet below the summit but I got outvoted. Once we were up there, we separated into three separate windbreaks. Nobody else could hear me puking. As miserable as I was, it wasn't so bad that I felt the need to wake the others at 3 in the morning to go down to where I had hoped to sleep in the first place. There was also probably an element of diminished mental capacity--exhaustion and sickness don't make for great critical thinking skills.

And by the way, that picture and the shelter. Wow.


Sounds like your partners were looking out for themselves, but not the other members of the team. Found yourself some quality guys there, Brent. mad

And "it wasn't so bad", huh?? Puking and wretching isn't so bad? Next time I push myself so hard that I start choking back my own meals, I'll remind myself to harden up!

Just a different perspective, Brent. Sorry if I sound harsh.


Edited by Bee (09/25/13 10:50 PM)
Edit Reason: inserted "eye roll" as requested :)
_________________________
Facebook

Flickr Pics

Think outside the Zone.

Top
#33461 - 09/26/13 06:28 AM Re: What do you do for windy sleeping conditions? [Re: MooseTracks]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: MooseTracks
Just a different perspective, Brent. Sorry if I sound harsh.


Nah. Not harsh. I wouldn't have opened up my folly if I weren't asking for some criticism too. You make fair points. Groupthink can lead to bad decisions. Being tired and just wanting to bed down can lead to bad decisions. I made some bad decisions and opened the thread so I could learn from them. My question was narrowly focused on gear vs. wind. You are giving a great answer which is to make better decisions given the weather, terrain, gear, health, etc. It has been said on this board before that the most important piece of gear we carry is between our ears.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >