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Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

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Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby herdbull » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:21 am

So would you take a Jetboil Zip as your only personal stove up Aconcagua?

I've heard mixed things about canister stoves, high altitude & cold temps. I currently have a MSR Simmerlite but a local store has a pretty good sale on the Zip right now.

Functionality is the main objective of the stove over size and weight. I know you'd have to bring a few more canisters along than white gas bottles and the stove unit is a bit bigger but mules will be providing a good chunk of the heavy hauling. The main reason of the Zip would be more user friendly inside a tent or vestibule.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby jbchalk » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:32 am

We had both Whisperlite & Jetboil on our recent climb of Aconcagua. I'd bring both b/c you never know, but on our 2nd final summit push up from basecamp, all we brought was my jetboil and performed just fine even at 19,200' for 2 nights.

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby MountainHiker » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:01 pm

I’d make sure there is more than one stove in the group. If your only stove fails, you’re done. Also if someone has to return to base came while the others stay high for a summit attempt, you need flexibility. There will be 10+ days of a lot of use.

We had two MSRs and a canister stove. Each stove took a turn having an issue. The canister stove didn’t work well at Nido – about 18,200’. (Don’t know the brand.) I had rebuild parts and was able to fix the MSRs when they had their issues.
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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby benners » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:12 pm

I've personally had issue with Jetboils in the extreme cold and at high altitude. Mine pretty much stopped working at Camp Berlin on Acon but it was also absurdly cold out, so though to say whether it was more the altitude or more the temperature that affected it. Regardless I feel better about being able to pressurize the fuel caniser to whatever temp/elevation I'm at so I can get a good flame going. I personally would not rely solely on a Jetboil at the higher camps on Aconcagua.

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby dsunwall » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:52 pm

I had good luck with a Jetboil Sol down to zero degrees this winter. I have not been to Aconcagua however. I believe the Sol is rated for a bit colder than the Zip? not certain. I liked using the smallest canisters, and always had 2. One would be on my bare belly while using the other, once the roar decreased I would switch canisters. Granted a bit of a hassle but the advantage of using a stove inside my tent was huge. Yes, I had some ventilation going on and never fell asleep with it on. Some will question the wisdom of this but I never got a headache or felt nauseous.

It's also important to have insulation between the canister and the ground, I made a cozy for the canister. Sometimes I would put bare hands around it to give it a boost of heat. Setting the stove on my leg (while holding it in place) also seemed to help alot. A jetboil is fast and all one contained unit so holding it for a few minutes now and then is not a big issue.

or you can take several canister stoves and stack them. #-o

STACKED CANNISTERS.jpg
STACKED CANNISTERS.jpg (17.58 KiB) Viewed 532 times

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby herdbull » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:46 pm

thanks guys. Kind of what I thought. Might be "iffy" totally relying on the Jetboil. There is no group as it will only be myself. Unless I make friends with other climbers on the way up.

I'll stick with the MSR and maybe try and borrow another smaller stove for just in case moments. I've got no problem sleeping with a couple canisters but if one leaves for a gear haul or even summit day there's no way to keep them warm unless you bring them with you in your jacket or something. Not ideal to say the least.

Anything special to know about running these stoves at 18K+? Obviously keep them clean.

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby MountainHiker » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:25 pm

My strategy on two MSRs was I could swap parts as needed. The mountain was lacking snow when we were there so the ice axe was for chopping ice to melt. The black plastic garbage bag trick for pre-melting that worked well on Rainier, didn’t do much on Aconcagua. But it was nice to have for storing ready-to-melt ice. Speaking of bags, you might want to double or triple the provided s**t bags, so some extra kitchen garbage bags are good to have.

There were three of us and a stove was going a lot of the time making water. Because of the low air pressure you might find the stoves need less pumps. I like to have an extra water bottle or 2 in addition to the ones I climb with. That way I can be drinking from the extra bottles without having to melt just before departure. I used rock to build a stove area just outside of the vestibule. We spent 4 nights – part of 5 days at Nido and above so I had plenty of time to add to it.

At Mules, we had liquid water so I didn’t have to melt. But the water had a lot of silt. It was declared tested safe to drink – which was good because it would have clogged a pump pretty fast. We had some coffee filters to catch some of the silt, but we also let a lot of it settle.
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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby dsunwall » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:08 pm

herdbull wrote:
I'll stick with the MSR and maybe try and borrow another smaller stove for just in case moments. I've got no problem sleeping with a couple canisters but if one leaves for a gear haul or even summit day there's no way to keep them warm unless you bring them with you in your jacket or something. Not ideal to say the least.


I didn't think I needed to keep the canisters warm at all times, I could warm up a small one in 10 15 minutes, lots of tricks you will figure out. Not saying your plan for the MSR isn't a good one, it takes a few field trials to trust new gear for a major route. If you can afford to bring both you will have safe chances to test the Jetboil.

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby pvnisher » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:04 pm

I haven't done Acon, but myJetboil has worked fairly well in the cold, with the exception of the piezo igniter being finnicky. I now always carry a lighter after a cold evening where I couldn't get that thing to light.

I also think that that on long/isolated trips it is good to be redundant and replaceable, i.e. I try to have everything electronic use AA batteries so they can be swapped at will. Having 2 identical stoves might be a good idea. You can cook in a tent with white gas, just don't do the lighting/priming in there.

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby herdbull » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:44 am

The upper camps on this climb have the potential to be pretty nasty if you hit bad weather. Temps close to zero and high winds. It would still be possible to use a canister stove but heck, I haven't been there so who knows how hard it would be to keep fuel warm enough.

So would you lean towards a stove like a Pocket Rocket as a back-up and hope you could find canisters at PDM or try and pick up another gas stove? I'm going during peak season so there will be plenty of people around. You would hardly know you had a pocket rocket along but I like the idea of one fuel type.

I've had this single serve reusable coffee filter for upwards of 15 years and I think I finally have a use for it. I'll bring it and use it with a hanky or a piece of cheesecloth to pre-filter the silt from the water. It drops right into the opening on a 1L nalgene bottle. I've heard a lot about the silty water down low on this climb and was wondering what to do about it.

Guess I'll start hitting the for sale sections of the normal sites for a used stove :-D More gear, I can never turn down an opportunity for more gear!

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby SteveBonowski » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:13 pm

Herdbull: lots of good advice from fellow climbers, but since you'll be using an outfitter for some services, also ask them for some recommendations. When I was last there in early 2004, we were using MSRs and white gas, which was available in Mendoza. I've asked already about canister fuel for my CMC climb later this year and as of earlier this month, they weren't sure what might be available. I suspect we'll take at least a couple of MSRs, maybe a Jet Boil, probably a couple of pocket rockets. As an aside, maximum group size for the CMC climb will be 8.

Whatever stove set-up, or two, that you take, be sure to field test it at home before you leave. You should have some good cold temps in Wisconsin before you leave.

Mountain Hiker gives real good advice about the poop bags; don't use grocery store bags. A kitchen compactor bag is also useful for gathering snow for melting; may be a bit stronger than a trash bag. Good idea about the filtering of water at Mulas base camp as it is glacial water.

You are correct about the potential adverse weather. In 2004, most of our group made the summit, but we had snow, fog, near zero Fahrenheit temps at Nido. In early 2002, on try #1, we did get up to Berlin and were pinned down under clear blue skies by high winds high up on the mountain. On the other hand, some CMC friends went there in late 2004 and literally strolled up the mountain under rare perfect conditions.

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Re: Aconcagua & Jetboil Zip: Yes or No?

Postby winmag4582001 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:27 pm

I wouldn't trust the JetBoil over 11,000' in the summer or over 8,000' in the winter. In both cases I bring matches. Just my experience with them.
I use a Optimus Nova+ for winter. It packs small and I like the setup.
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