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#35348 - 03/19/14 08:42 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Bee]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Bee
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!)


I understand light packs. I like comfort more than light. Also, experience gives you the ability to go light. Is there a 3 lb. canister a part of the 25 lbs.?

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#35349 - 03/19/14 08:56 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: wbtravis]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Bear Can: Bear Boxer mini (much smaller than Garcia)

Note: no cooking devices, pots, pans, stove, etc -- all food is cold served (I have an unusually slow metabolism, so I require much less food than most -- only eat about 1,200 calories a day and STILL have to watch weight gain)

Note: 1/2 ltr water carried -- all other taken from planned/confirmed sources.

Note: Use Osprey Talon 44 -- very light.

I am not an ultra-light practitioner, rather, I just like to be efficient.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#35350 - 03/19/14 09:09 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
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.
Hey Rogue, nobody does what you do for entire summers in the High Sierra, so keep in mind your mileage varies greatly from the rest of us.

A wind shirt (3-4 oz) might be a good compromise for an overnighter with a clear forecast. It's not waterproof, but it will keep the wind chill at bay even if wet. These are perfect for climbing in cool weather in the mornings or evenings and for a windy pass or summit. When you stop, the sweat doesn't evaporate so quickly so you stay more comfortable.

The 2-3 day forecasts for the High Sierra are pretty darn good in July. They typically come in 3 flavors a) clear blue skies b) clear blue skies with afternoon thunderstorms (often due to a well-known pattern of monsoonal moisture from the south) or c) a well-known low pressure freak storm moving in over days from the Pacific, which could bring extended rain and possibly a few inches of snow. It's either settled into a pattern, or it's unsettled between patterns.

A basic light 3-layer clothing system can handle any of these situations. My waterproof breathable shell weighs 9 ounces and my Primaloft insulation layer is less than that. Zip off pants with an extra ultralight merino wool shirt (one long, one short sleeve). Ultralight hat and gloves, done, comfortable, fully prepared. No burden, no sacrifice. There's my $0.02, keep the change.

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#35352 - 03/19/14 03:48 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: SierraNevada]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1012
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
First, a quote about the weather:

“This isn’t the monsoon”
“How do you know it isn’t?”
“How do you know it is?”
With this brilliant display of empirical proof our scientific probing into the secrets of the local meteorology came to a halt
.
Nicholas Clinch, A Walk in the Sky page 164


Physiologist Griffith Pugh studied cyclists, mountaineers, skiers, soldiers, himself (in a tub of ice), swimmers (with a rectal thermometer probe), and hill-walkers in Britain. The latter after there were ongoing deaths in young people on organized lengthy hikes. Back in the 1940s-1960s when he did these studies, yes, clothing was suboptimal. Notably, a cold wet windy 40 F can kill you just as well as what we perceive as worse weather. Actually, more people die in such moderate temps because there are more sheer numbers of potential victims and also less prepared subjects, including rookies and those those who willfully ignore the risks.

Several generalities of his observations:
(A) Young bucks get tired, slow down, and cannot generate enough heat at some point. There ARE conditions where you die, Rogue just hasn't found it yet. (Personally, I learned the hard way that rain and slush in a Sierra August about knocked two of three of us out because we put on rain tops but not bottoms. All that splash wicked up a lot higher than you can imagine. Poor choice - we thought the storm would pass. After 3 hrs it had not, we could not keep up the pace so slowed down, cooled down, and had to stop, strip, and start an "illegal" fire. I was colder there than in subzero, dry, and properly attired.)
(B) Thrashing about in the cold, or in cold water, is actually less beneficial than you would think. Lying still in fetal position with wet clothes on land or in the water is often life-saving, especially for the latter.
(C)Sometimes naked wet skin is safer than wet clothes. Depend on circumstances like wind, shelter.

For more on Pugh and outdoor physiology, see his 2013 biography. It won the prestigious Boardman-Tasker Book Prize. - this is the US version, there is a slightly longer UK version.

Amazon listing
Disclaimer: I wrote a book review of it to be published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine next issue.


Edited by Harvey Lankford (03/19/14 03:51 PM)

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#35353 - 03/19/14 05:23 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
July 12, 2008 on Donohue Pass - with tent and gear these two still got in serious trouble, and we were not the only ones who were surprised by the monster storm that washed out houses in Independence and trucks on 395.



Lots of rain, massive lighting, and 6 inches of hail piled up around our tent. All on a day that had a blue sky until 2:00 pm

We met some ultra runners without any gear on the pass, just before it started. I later read on their blog that they had tough time getting back to Tuolumne Meadows..
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#35354 - 03/19/14 05:25 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
Words of experience, Harvey!

Brings to mind Richard P and his last night near the Whitney summit. He had always said if he got too cold, he could just do jumping jacks and stay warm. After that night, he wrote that he concluded doing that was a fantasy.

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#35355 - 03/19/14 05:26 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
My over all point comes down to simple time frame. When your heading out for a week you can never tell what will happen but if your going out for an over night trip and the forecast shows clear what are the odds that some freak storm is going to come out of no where and give you trouble?
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#35356 - 03/19/14 05:54 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1012
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
My over all point comes down to simple time frame. When your heading out for a week you can never tell what will happen but if your going out for an over night trip and the forecast shows clear what are the odds that some freak storm is going to come out of no where and give you trouble?


All it takes is a cold rain or snow-induced hypothermia, a rain-induced mud or rockslide, a wind-induced treefall on your head. All these are weather-events. Add a solo hiker with a broken leg, no magic helicopter, and you are stuck for a while at best, or dead.

Remember that saying, "mountains make their own weather.' At the risk of sounding paternalistic, come back and report when you are my age, 63. I agree about going "bare" for maybe 4 hours. After that, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Experience had taught us to expect nothing of the weather.
Eric Shipton, Land of Tempest page 753

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#35357 - 03/19/14 06:56 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
See quote below*



Author: Myself.... after one too many statistically "improbable" situations.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#35358 - 03/19/14 09:08 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
That's an interesting way to look at it as not how long your planning to be out but how long you might end up being out.

I ran into a woman once that told me her husband makes her take pretty much an entire pack load of gear when she day hikes just in case. That's one way to say how much I love you. grin
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#35360 - 03/20/14 08:48 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Bee]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Bee
Bear Can: Bear Boxer mini (much smaller than Garcia)

Note: no cooking devices, pots, pans, stove, etc -- all food is cold served (I have an unusually slow metabolism, so I require much less food than most -- only eat about 1,200 calories a day and STILL have to watch weight gain)

Note: 1/2 ltr water carried -- all other taken from planned/confirmed sources.

Note: Use Osprey Talon 44 -- very light.

I am not an ultra-light practitioner, rather, I just like to be efficient.


At 25 lbs. I know you are not ultralight.

I do take a pot, something 2 (titanium) because I like a hot meal, coffee and cocoa.

I could not be bothered stopping for water at known sources, I'd rather keep moving, so I haul up a couple of liters. However, I take 4 L up from Trail Camp...the body requires hydration and I have tendency to have problems with AMS, if not hydrated properly...even when taking Diamox, another annual set of questions asked.

Our base pack weight is not that much different. I carry more food and water and less BRC.

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#35361 - 03/20/14 08:57 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: RoguePhotonic]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
That's an interesting way to look at it as not how long your planning to be out but how long you might end up being out.

I ran into a woman once that told me her husband makes her take pretty much an entire pack load of gear when she day hikes just in case. That's one way to say how much I love you. grin


It's called prudence. I was heading up to San Bernardino Peak last summer, when the lightning and thunder got to be too much for me...emphasis on me. I people past me on the way back while was descending with no rain gear or 39 gallon trash bags.

I go out in the winter and regularly see people climbing high angle slopes with Microspikes and trekking poles.

You calculate risk and throw in a bit of what happens if I screw up when setting up a pack. I've seen a climbing accident, been involved in an accident where only one first aid kit in 12 was good enough to care for the injured person and screwed the pooch a few times myself. This all adds up to a pack that is sufficient to spend an extra night out and care for most medical emergencies.

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#35362 - 03/20/14 11:40 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: wbtravis]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
The exception on carrying water (Whitney) was that I, too, carried water up from the water source at the base of the switchbacks (I allowed for 2l, but drank less than 1 because it was not hot)

When I do Yosemite and other bp trips, I usually carry 2 liters because I don't know the water sources other than the main, reliable ones.

My friends really like their hot meals and chocolate, too, so there is a stove available if I want a quick cocoa.

I could not agree more that a good way to lower the chance of getting AMS is to remain properly hydrated. Almost every case of AMS that I have seen also had a fair amount of dehydration in the mix.

I used the water stops on Whitney as a way to force myself to hydrate frequently and it really worked (as taught by Bob R -- he also introduced me to the concept of frequent "snacking" VS waiting for large meal stops)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#35369 - 03/21/14 06:19 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Fishmonger]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
July 12, 2008 on Donohue Pass - with tent and gear these two still got in serious trouble, and we were not the only ones who were surprised by the monster storm that washed out houses in Independence and trucks on 395.

Lots of rain, massive lighting, and 6 inches of hail piled up around our tent. All on a day that had a blue sky until 2:00 pm

We met some ultra runners without any gear on the pass, just before it started. I later read on their blog that they had tough time getting back to Tuolumne Meadows..


That was a very well known and well tracked storm since it broke the record dry spring (during the last official drought) and unleashed thousands of lightning strikes from the coast to the mountains known as "The Northern California Lightning Series." It triggered massive forest fires all over the northern state. If someone headed out on an overnight trip (like Whitney) without being aware of and prepared for that huge event coming their way, then they just weren't paying attention.

I've been in the same situation with my kids, snuggled into their sleeping bags in the tent with hail piling up and lightning. It's an awesome afternoon adventure if you're prepared. I just wouldn't want to face it on a wide open pass. Note that the trail running blog (I think it's SoCalGirl's site) mentioned seeing the family headed UP the pass as she was turned back. They should have been over the pass before noon in "typical" afternoon thunderstorm weather. With a storm of that magnitude bearing down, an even earlier crossing might be needed. It's very wide open and exposed on the south side. They could've also headed down to Lyell Canyon to ride it out.

Is it just me or does it seem like a bad idea to wrap kids in an aluminumized space blanket in a thunderstorm on a mountain pass. I'm not positive about the physics, but it just doesn't "strike" me as a good idea.


Edited by SierraNevada (03/21/14 06:48 AM)

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#35370 - 03/21/14 08:13 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: SierraNevada]
Snacking Bear Online


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 494
Loc: Saugus, CA
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Is it just me or does it seem like a bad idea to wrap kids in an aluminumized space blanket in a thunderstorm on a mountain pass. I'm not positive about the physics, but it just doesn't "strike" me as a good idea.


Certainly a shocking proposition.
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#35371 - 03/21/14 11:39 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: SierraNevada]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada

That was a very well known and well tracked storm since it broke the record dry spring (during the last official drought) and unleashed thousands of lightning strikes from the coast to the mountains known as "The Northern California Lightning Series." It triggered massive forest fires all over the northern state. If someone headed out on an overnight trip (like Whitney) without being aware of and prepared for that huge event coming their way, then they just weren't paying attention.


I got my wilderness permit late in the afternoon on the day before the storm. If it was that well tracked, the rangers certainly didn't feel like warning us about upcoming storm activity or anything unusually big on the horizon.

We depended on the rangers and the forecasts available there. Nothing special was pointed out to us, definitely not a word about "a huge event." Nobody else on the trail that day seemed to be informed or concerned about a storm. It was the usual train of hikers heading up the pass. I can't speak for the runners, since they entered on the day of the storm, they could have had more current information. We entered the day before and hiked into the middle of Lyell Canyon without anything more than the obvious clouds building above us.

We had all the gear it took to survive, that's the point I was trying to make, and that things happen even when you don't expect them. I have had too many of these surprises in my life to want to gamble with weather.

Aluminized blanket when everyone is hypothermic not a good idea? We were in a tent with aluminum poles, which is about 50,000 times more aluminum than you will find on that blanket. Why would any of this matter when you're wet and freezing? We'd been playing the lightning roulette for an hour before we decided the hell with wet ponchos and set up the tent with shivering hands right on the trail (like several other groups of hikers near us). Water kept running through the tent, my sleeping bag soaked, that's when the blankets came out and they saved the day.

In hindsight, we probably should have kept going across the pass at the start of the storm, however, nobody told us anything about the size of this storm, so we expected it to blow through quickly like most of those 3pm storms in July do. Stuff doesn't always work out the way it should if you have limited information and have to make decisions on the spot. Running out and staying warm by moving fast isn't an option for children. Their core temp drops a lot earlier than those of adults.

Thing is, the kids didn't care one bit about the whole experience the next morning, and after drying out, we kept going for another 160 miles.

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#35373 - 03/21/14 05:10 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: C Gray]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I wasn't as lucky. I was out in that storm but I didn't get hit very hard. Nothing more than any other storm.
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#35374 - 03/21/14 08:21 PM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: Fishmonger]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Fishmonger,

I need to apologize for not reading your post more carefully before replying. I've got a couple corrections to make.

From your post, I thought this was a different group with kids that you happened to meet on the pass. Now realizing this was your group, I'm sorry if my reply was too critical. I was not in your boots.

I now realize you were referring to a storm on July 12th and I was referring to a series of thunderstorms that peaked on July 20th. So your storm was probably not publicized nearly as much as the later storms. However, I assume afternoon thunderstorms were in the forecast whether the Rangers told you about them or not. Everyone needs to do their own weather check before heading out, and keep an eye on those "building clouds."

It's not clear what you mean in your post by these kids being in trouble. They look fine in this picture, and the boy's smile portrays a kid really enjoying the adventure. When dicey situations happen to me with the family, I'm usually way more nervous than my kids.

Regarding the space blanket, I've never read anything about them being a bad idea in a thunderstorm, but the general approach is to insulate yourself from the ground as much as possible. There's as much danger from current passing through the ground due to a strike nearby, as there is from a direct hit to your tent poles. If the space blanket is just on top of sleeping bags, then maybe it doesn't matter. The physics is not clear to me on this, but I'd avoid using one if I was worried about lightning.

Looking back at all this, you may or may not have done things differently. It's not easy to get an early start with kids and it's hard for anyone to turn back once you're near the top of a pass. Your main point is well taken - be prepared with adequate gear.

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#35381 - 03/23/14 10:13 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
The blankets mentioned are metalize mylar, the metal being aluminum, which is a conductor of electricity. I certainly would not use one if there was electricity in the air.

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#35533 - 03/28/14 08:39 AM Re: Gear for first attempt in late July? [Re: wbtravis]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
@Bee says "1/2 ltr water carried -- all other taken from planned/confirmed sources."

@WBT says "I could not be bothered stopping for water at known sources, I'd rather keep moving, so I haul up a couple of liters. However, I take 4 L up from Trail Camp."


I use a mixed approach. I usually dip & drink along the way, but have the regular chemicals if the source looks in any way suspicious.

From Guitar, I carry 3L, knowing I'll be thirsty the last couple of miles before pulling into Portal.

I'm planning on hiking my first r/t day hike this summer (prior trips have been from the back route). Based on my calculations, I'm going to carry 4L from the TH, again knowing I'll probably be out by LP Lake on the return.

If I really need to, I can treat some water there before heading down, or just gun it and rely on the store's abundance of good things to eat/drink when I arrive.

As for weather gear, I always take my poncho for overnight trips, no matter what. I've been surfing since I was a teenager, and even in tropical conditions, wind against wet skin can chill you to the bone.

With the poncho (+ tarp) I can put on my down and wait out a storm. As others have noted, sloshing around getting wet is a sure recipe for potential problems. The wicking effect practically guarantees you'll be wet in areas that weren't directly impacted.

And of course, granite/trail in wet conditions means you're going to be traveling slow(er), so you most likely won't burn enough calories to compensate for the chill.

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