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Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby ed20320 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:25 pm

Depending on what your goals are, its good training. we climbed Pikes Peak in January and spent the night there as part of our preparation for McKinley. there was good snow on the summit so we took advantge of it an built a snow shelter.

Pick and easier one with a good retreat for your first try. Greys, Sherman, Bross... something like that. besure you have a good tent and build yourself an encampment with snow wall. it is good experience.
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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby mike_kadow » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:05 am

jdorje wrote:
FireOnTheMountain wrote:woke up in an absolute malestorm.


I know Susan suggested partner(s) in your tent, but some details are best kept to yourself.

climbingaggie03 wrote:I definitely recommend sleeping in an igloo or other snow shelter.


What happens if the igloo collapses?


Igloos are awesome but somewhat time consuming to build. Properly or even half-assed, an igloo will not collapse.
They're excellent as a basecamp and as others have pointed out, stay in the mid- to upper 30s throughout the night - and are so much comfier than a tent.
Weather, I think, is the biggest issue. If the wind is howling and you have no wind break, yer kinda screwed. But that is of your choosing knowing the weather forecast.

To be candid, I did one trip above treeline with temps in the single digits and winds gusting to 70mph. Nature called. Twas interesting as we "had to" stay inside.

+1 on down booties.

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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby TallGrass » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:15 am

susanjoypaul wrote:Bring a pee bottle so you don't have to leave the tent in the middle of the night. Mark it clearly so you don't confuse it with your water bottle. If you use some kind of tape then you'll be able to tell them apart in the dark.


Simply cut/tear the label off one of the water/gatorade bottles. Can tell the difference in the dark and in the light it's no longer labeled "Gatorade." Pack it out (empty), rinse, recycle.

climbingaggie03 wrote:Here's a link http://www.grandshelters.com/pics/guy-top-s2.html to a picture of a guy standing on top of one.


Wondering if anyone's tried just covering a dome tent with snow as a form. Have one person on the inside to push back when compacting a layer, dig out half the corners to extract the pole then refill, and drag collapsed tent out the igloo's door.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby XrunclimbskiX » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:47 am

I wanted to weigh in here and share my story of this past weekend at Kite Lake. We are preparing for Denali and we wanted some high altitude, bad weather camping and climbing experience. We got to the Kite Lake trail head on Friday at 9PM and broke out the headlamps, etc. We were going to climb a bit but the weather (with this weekends impending storm) was already getting bad. We found a flat spot above the lake at about 12,500. We camped until Sunday morning. Weather was in the teens Friday night with a 20 mile an hour wind, low teens and 30-50 mile an hour wind (gusts up to 60 or even 70 maybe) and the low Saturday night into Sunday was -5F. Lessons learned:
Stake that tent down the moment you lift it off the ground. Really, really. We had our tent blow a quarter mile and ripped the fly in a couple of places.
4 season tent is mandatory. That tent was blowing all over the place when the wind really kicked up. We built a snow wall around it and it still got hammered.
"0" degree bag with a liner was just barely warm enough.
Bag that has a "membrane" of gore-tex or whatever was really critical because of the condensation build up in the tent. One of the guys got cold on the final night because his down bag got wet.
Mittens. Gloves are great for rope work but you really need something expedition ready for emergencies. I wore my OR mittens about 25% of the time.
Expedition level puffy with a hood. I got sweaty and cold during rope work and could have had a real problem if I had not had a big puffy jacket to throw on over everything while descending.
Boots. Serious cold weather boots with pull out liners (for sitting around the tent). I was in plastic inferno's and my toes still got cold on Sunday morning.
Stove: white gas worked and the jetboil worked. We worried about the jetboil but had no problems with it. All of our waterbottles froze. Sorry for the long post.

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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby XrunclimbskiX » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:53 am

One last thing...have an out when you are new at this. I had never camped in these conditions and thankfully everything that I had worked. But if it hadn't conditions like this could have been fatal. Our truck was a quarter mile away. If we needed to, we could have gotten it in. But, at night, when it is snowing and windier than hell, it may as well have been the moon. You can't see at night when it's snowing with a headlamp more than a couple of feet because of the reflection of the snowflakes. Oh, and the fun factor was really low. To be honest, it sucked being out there in that weather.

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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby DeucesWild » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:17 am

XrunclimbskiX wrote: You can't see at night when it's snowing with a headlamp more than a couple of feet because of the reflection of the snowflakes.


The more light you pump out, the more there is to reflect back at you from the snow so use your headlamp on its lowest setting and aim it more down closer to your feet.

It works just like high/low beams while driving in a snowstorm. Less light equals more while in snowy conditions.
Snowflakes, Uber Alles!

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Re: Sleeping on 14ers in Winter

Postby nyker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:25 am

...and make sure to set up your camp in a safe spot, away from potential slides/avy risk/runout or to a lesser extent, rockfall.

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