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#35284 - 03/11/14 08:54 AM Gear for first attempt in late July?
C Gray Offline


Registered: 03/11/14
Posts: 2
Loc: Providence, RI
Hello All,

This will be my first attempt of the MWT in late July. I was wondering if any of the old dogs roaming this site, could drop some knowledge on me. I've read "One Great Hike: Mt. Whitney" & another, to which I've forget the title. Anyways, they were really informative, but I'm looking for some solid info on tent & pack selection, as well as a "necessary cold rating" for sleeping bags. Also, will I need a winter tent even in July? The info I've came across varies wildly. Any info is appreciated.

-Happy Trails!
Chris

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#35286 - 03/11/14 05:03 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Well of course everything you need depends on what the weather forecast is before you leave. In terms of temperatures in late July it's normally nice. I often just lay out in the open with no tent at all unless the mosquitoes are bad so you shouldn't need a winter tent. Night time lows will probably be in the 40's.
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#35289 - 03/11/14 10:35 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7830
Loc: Fresno, CA
Welcome to the forum, Chris. Coming all the way from R.I. makes Whitney a bit more intense. A few years ago, we had a thread, "Lightest weight hiking gear", that I think would be especially helpful.

You don't need to go ultralight, but it is a good point from which to start. So many people load up with 40+ pounds of gear, and it makes their climb so much more difficult.

Also, since it is your first attempt, the "Orientation Notes" for first timers is a very good thing to go through (see link to the left). It was compiled from lots of experiences posted by others over the years on the message boards. Versatile Fred took on the task of compiling the information in one place, with the express purpose of helping people like you. So I sure hope you find it helpful.

Please keep us posted on your progress, and please do ask any questions that come up.

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#35290 - 03/11/14 11:27 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
juroknow Offline


Registered: 06/01/12
Posts: 19
Loc: Tehachapi, Ca.
Good luck, enjoy, and take your time. Just don't weigh yourself down with too much water, there are plenty of spots to pick some up. That was my biggest mistake the first time.

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#35291 - 03/11/14 11:35 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Take note that there is a very high incidence of thunderstorms from the end of July to the first week or so of August. I would not dare to leave my Precip jacket behind!
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#35295 - 03/12/14 09:17 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Budget determines everything!

If I had an unlimited budget I have have clothing and bags for 10 degree temperature swings...I don't.

I buy for what I have experienced. This is why I carry a 15* F bag in the summer even though I'd like to have a 30* F...I just can't justified $350 for another 900 fill power bag that gets used a few days a year.

Tent...both non free standing and free standing work, I have used both.

Bag...15* F but warmer can work with extra clothing, and I utilize an air mattress for comfort.

Insulation...I have 800 fill power 3 season down jacket.

Bear Canister...Ursack, unless things have changed this year they are legal but you have to take some additional steps to make the safe for use at Trail Camp...experience counts.

10 essentials and personal comfort items. This all fits in 60 L pack comfortably.

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#35309 - 03/13/14 08:21 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: wbtravis]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 90
Loc: CT
wbtravis, could you elaborate on the use of the Ursack product? Can you confirm that it is 'legal' in the Whitney zone? And what you do to assure it's efficacy at Trail (and/or Outpost) camp?
It would be nice to leave my 'bear vault' type of canister behind.

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#35313 - 03/14/14 09:53 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Marty]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
The last year's forest order disappeared from the Inyo website stated, and I paraphrase, any container manufactured to keep food from bears is legal. Again, I don't know if it has been renewed for this year.

I would buy the latest and greatest from Ursack. The two bags I own are 14 and 7 years old respectively and were two versions of the TKO product.

I use them how the manufacturer, not the forest service, states they should be used. Below the tree line, tied to a tree, and above the tree line hang from a rock, so non-climbling marmots and chippies can't get to them. I've used them at Trail Camp and above Guitar Lake successfully, both locations within the Whitney Zone.

In those 14 years, I have never had an Ursack attacked.

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#35317 - 03/14/14 05:57 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: wbtravis]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 90
Loc: CT
Thanks for the info...a 'soft' canister would certainly be a lot easier to pack.

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#35333 - 03/17/14 10:10 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: wbtravis]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: wbtravis


Insulation...I have 800 fill power 3 season down jacket.


I am looking at an 800 fill jacket treated with DWR. I don't see a waterproof rating for it though. I'm guessing that you should still carry a poncho or rain jacket?

Are down jackets (I've never had one), good at blocking out wind?
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#35334 - 03/17/14 12:11 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 548
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Not sure how much the DWR coating does, but down does not do well when wet (loses its insulating ability). I have a Marmot down jacket that I love. It does block the wind and packs very small. If I anticipate rain then I also carry a shell which provides a water proof barrier, as well as additional warmth if needed. It Also packs very small and only weights 7 oz.

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#35336 - 03/17/14 01:33 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: John Sims]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: John Sims
down does not do well when wet (loses its insulating ability).


That's what I had always heard. When I just recently started looking at jackets, I saw that many of them have the DWR coating and started to wonder how much it helped with water.
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#35337 - 03/17/14 04:11 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
My Feathered Friends Hyperion Jacket was made with W/B fabric but it had sewn through construction, on top of that I've ripped the shell twice and had it repaired. Therefore, it is anything but waterproof but it does a good job at holding off the wind.

I have never counted on it to hold out the rain or elements. I have hiked with this jacket about 3 miles in ten years. It's too stinking warm for most temperatures I hike in. However, two of those miles are on the MMWT in August and September when temperatures were in the single digits.

It's a small package, about 1 liter when stuffed, and about 1 lb. less than the TNF Denali jacket it replaced.

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#35338 - 03/18/14 08:15 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1146
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
Originally Posted By: wbtravis


Insulation...I have 800 fill power 3 season down jacket.


I am looking at an 800 fill jacket treated with DWR. I don't see a waterproof rating for it though. I'm guessing that you should still carry a poncho or rain jacket?

Are down jackets (I've never had one), good at blocking out wind?

The DWR treated 800-fill power down is a good choice. Keep it a thin one - not a winter parka. Any insulation layer should never be used in rain or snow without a waterproof shell layer anyway. They all lose effectiveness when wet. And this combo is too warm to climb in, so the insulation layer is for camp or sleeping or perhaps hiking down the mountain. Keep your shell layer light and as breathable as possible - this and a good base layer will keep you comfortable when active in almost any situation. You won't be wading any deep crossings on MMWT, but for general purposes, I'd buy a dedicated waterproof stuff sack (Summit-to-Sea sil-nylon or similar ultralight version) for insulating and base layer clothing, or use a trash compactor pack liner - worse case is probably having to hike through an afternoon thunderstorm. Most likely it will clear up for sunset, which is a common weather pattern, if you get any "weather" at all in July. This system will work fine in a freak snow storm - which is a remote possibility. Don't forget a thin (fleece or similar) hat and gloves - they add a ton of warmth for chilly mornings or evenings. Think light layers and accessories.

Lots of different opinions about the bear canister. I agree with WBT that the Ursack is a great alternative, but you may want to rent a canister for $5 instead - when you pick up your permit. They rent the Garcia model, which is a little heavy, but it may make the most sense. Depends on your longterm needs - do some research on this thread and elsewhere.


Edited by SierraNevada (03/18/14 08:56 AM)

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#35339 - 03/18/14 09:28 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
[quote=63ChevyII.com][quote=wbtravis]

The DWR treated 800-fill power down is a good choice. Keep it a thin one - not a winter parka. Any insulation layer should never be used in rain or snow without a waterproof shell layer anyway. They all lose effectiveness when wet. And this combo is too warm to climb in, so the insulation layer is for camp or sleeping or perhaps hiking down the mountain. Keep your shell layer light and as breathable as possible - this and a good base layer will keep you comfortable when active in almost any situation. You won't be wading any deep crossings on MMWT, but for general purposes, I'd buy a dedicated waterproof stuff sack (Summit-to-Sea sil-nylon or similar ultralight version) for insulating and base layer clothing, or use a trash compactor pack liner - worse case is probably having to hike through an afternoon thunderstorm. Most likely it will clear up for sunset, which is a common weather pattern, if you get any "weather" at all in July. This system will work fine in a freak snow storm - which is a remote possibility. Don't forget a thin (fleece or similar) hat and gloves - they add a ton of warmth for chilly mornings or evenings. Think light layers and accessories.

Lots of different opinions about the bear canister. I agree with WBT that the Ursack is a great alternative, but you may want to rent a canister for $5 instead - when you pick up your permit. They rent the Garcia model, which is a little heavy, but it may make the most sense. Depends on your longterm needs - do some research on this thread and elsewhere.


Clothing is personal. I regularly hike with less on than most...especially native Californians. However, I do come more prepared than most because I have seen some pretty wild weather in the Mt. Whitney area. Thunder, lightning, rain like what Noah saw, snow in summer and temperatures colder than any winter hike I been on.

I always suggest you bring extra this and that to the trailhead...and I know this is difficult for those who are traveling by air. This way you have choices.

As for down, I mentioned sewn through construction that is used on my jacket and all the "puffies" that are popular today. Those needle holes negate any W/B fabric used. Also, if you wear these jacket for hours and sweat them up, they will fail because the feather are wet with sweat.

As for the Ursack, if this is one and done, rent a canister. However, you intend to backpack extensively in areas where the Ursack is legal, buy one. If you feel uncomfortable with an Ursack and want something light weight spend the big bucks on a carbon fiber composite Bearikade. This canister is weekender is size but solo in weight. This is the canister I use when going into areas where the Ursack is verboten.

Any cold day or midnight run to the summit, requires 2 pairs of gloves because one will wet out on the way to the summit leaving it useless when you stop. I had a pair get frost layer on it while it was a rock and I was eating a Clif Bar at 14,000' one morning on the Mt. Whitney Trail.

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#35340 - 03/18/14 05:27 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
It's just my opinion and many may disagree but if the forecast looks good then there is no problem leaving all rain gear behind. Even if it did rain on you I have hiked soaked to the bone in pouring rain and was happy as can be. We all can pick and choose what level of safety we want but when your talking about a forecast of only a couple of days it's highly unlikely to get hit with some freak storm.
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FlickR

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#35342 - 03/18/14 09:56 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Okay, it's that time of year to make my usual statement:

If you can carry 25lbs, than you can carry all you need to eat, sleep, survive down to 19f, rainstorms, snow...Yes, this is what my pack weighs for a 3 day trip expecting 20f nights. There is no need to "leave behind" any essential gear (btw, the list includes all the meals, down jacket/pants, rain jacket/pants, silk underwear,bivy sak, Z-rest, 20f sleeping bag..) Anyone going less than 3 days can expect an even lighter pack. Summer? You could leave behind the extra thermal wear.

Sorry, I can never understand the need to make a pack so light that you cannot even carry essential gear to keep you alive if -yes- the unpredicted should -and does- occur.

'K, I said it for the season...have at it (you can always drill holes in your spoon to make it lighter, too!)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#35343 - 03/18/14 10:26 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I don't have any problem with people carrying everything they might need to survive I just feel that it's not necessary. Just because you can carry the weight doesn't mean it's not allot easier to carry 10 less pounds. I've spent hundreds of days wandering the Sierra and the only time I have ever felt I actually needed rain gear in general safety terms is in October of last year. My rain gear had shredded to the point that it no longer worked at all and I got snowed on which soaked through my gear and got my down jacket wet. I had two more weeks in remote country before I would be out so I was indeed worried about having a lack of gear.
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FlickR

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#35345 - 03/19/14 12:59 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
I guess it depends on whether you are well-seasoned or succulent...

Read Mount Whitney—The Early Climbs.

"Many years later Muir wrote, "For climbers there is a canyon which comes down from the north shoulder of the Whitney peak. Well-seasoned limbs will enjoy the climb of 9000 feet required for this direct route, but soft, succulent people should go the mule way." Should someone of the present generation of mountain climbers feel inclined to make light of John Muir’s exploit, let him endeavor to duplicate it, starting from Independence (not Lone Pine) on foot, with or without sleeping bag and modern concentrated foods — Muir had neither."
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#35347 - 03/19/14 08:37 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
It's just my opinion and many may disagree but if the forecast looks good then there is no problem leaving all rain gear behind. Even if it did rain on you I have hiked soaked to the bone in pouring rain and was happy as can be. We all can pick and choose what level of safety we want but when your talking about a forecast of only a couple of days it's highly unlikely to get hit with some freak storm.


I was at Cirque Peak on June day with a forecast of no weather for days. Out on the horizon was a storm that was not supposed to be there. It eventually dumped a bunch of rain on us.

I do that locally all the time but in the Sierra...I find it risky.

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