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Another PCT gear list.
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Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Another PCT gear list. on 02/11/2010 23:53:53 MST Print View

I dont mean to beat a dead horse, but any tips/input would be appreciated. Still need an ice axe which will be needed this year I believe, thinking about going with the lightweight aluminum CAMP one. THANK YOU ALL who help me live the dream.

Baselayer-Top: Cotton-polly white dress shirt (desert)/REI Lightweight MTS ziptop
Baselayer-Bottom: North Face Running Shorts
Headwear: nike running cap + bandanna
Watch: Casio basic
Eyewear: oakley polarized
Trekking Poles: REI Traverse
Shoes: brooks cascadia
Socks: Wrightsock Double layer coolmesh (2 or 3)
Gaiters: Dirt Girl Gaiters

Windshirt: Patty Houdini
Rain Jacket: Golite Virga
Insulated Top: WM Flight + S2S 4L silnylon stuff sack
Insulated Headwear : MH Windstopper Beanie
Gloves: MH Powerstretch Gloves

Pack: Granite Gear Vapor Trail/Golite Jam2
Pack Liner: Compactor Bag
Bear Canister: Bear Vault500
Stuff Sacks: OR Ditty Bags S/M/L
Water Storage: Platypus Bottles/MSR Dromlite 4L
First Aid: Adventure Medical Kits .5
Water treat: Aqua Mira

Bag: Golite Ultra 20
Pad: GG Thinlite + Nitelite Torso
Sleep Pants: REI MTS lightweight base
Sleep Socks: SmartWool
Tarp: SMD Gatewood Cape
Groundsheet: Gossamer Gear ground sheet

Stove: Cat can stove
Pot: MSR Titan Kettle
Utensil: Sea to Summit Ti long-handle spoon
Fuel bottle: 12oz pop bottle
Fire: Bic

travel toothbrush
dr. bonners
fire starter
petzl tikka plus2
xtra bandanna
canon digital elph 10MP
halfmile's maps
yogi town guide
S2S headnet
tp (desert only)

Edited by dharmabumpkin on 02/12/2010 18:26:52 MST.

Evan Chartier
PCT List on 02/12/2010 03:02:19 MST Print View

Looks pretty good to me. I dunno if you didnt add these on purpose but what about...
1. Stakes for the tarp
2. Bottle for the alcohol
3. Lighter/matches/fire starter
4. Headnet
6. Extra socks
7. Toothbrush/paste, etc.
I dont know if this was meant to be a complete list, so if not ignore this :)

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
ice axe? on 02/12/2010 05:07:47 MST Print View

I've also been on the fence about getting an ice axe for this summer. Do you have any experience using them? What's the snow situation look like out there? The passes and snow travel thing sound like the scariest part of PCT travel to me, mostly because all the info I find seems to be conflicting. Huh...

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 07:00:05 MST Print View

Well this year has had more snow than last year. I hiked the JMT in July last year and there was a fair amount of snow left on the passes. Considering that I will get to the Sierra much sooner than July I am just figuring there will be a few miles of snow on each side of each pass. Ive used one once before, and there doesnt seem to be a whole lot to it. When you slip it stops you pretty quickly. At the Kickoff there will be a little presentation and workshop on basic mountaineering geared toward trail finding in the snow and ice axe basics. We probably dont need it, its just nice to have I guess.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 07:57:15 MST Print View

Very good point. I guess I might as well get one while I still have some money saved up pre-hike. Even if it doesn't get much use I can always have it as part of my gear-closet for future winter sports. It's not like it'll go bad if I don't use it, right? heh.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Practice and training! Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 09:57:27 MST Print View

..." Ive used one once before, and there doesnt seem to be a whole lot to it. When you slip it stops you pretty quickly."...

I have to disagree. An ice axe is a lifesaving tool with training; without training it can both create a false sense of security and possibly injure you. (sort of like a gun).

I've fallen on steep sierra cement and been unable to arrest a slide with my ice axe. Luckily I was belayed. That experience was enough to convince me that practice and a very sharp axe are critical.

I'm also a new convert to using crampons for snow. Many times on early-season Sierra trips we modified our schedule to hit one pass each day at exactlty the right time that snow was soft enough to kick steps but not so soft that we postholed. With crampons and an ice axe you'll be more able to hit two passes in a day, or at least safely travel steep snow in the early morning.

Total weight for ice axe and crampons combined can be quite light if you go with aluminum models. C.A.M.P. USA XLC 490 crampons and Corsa ice axe add up to only 24.5 ounces. The Kahtoola KTS aluminum crampon is slightly heavier but might be better for flexible hiking shoes.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Practice and training! Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 11:17:56 MST Print View

With Steve's last Suluk46 axe, it'll still add up to about 24.5 ounces too. Not that I'm advising this route.

Andrew Wilson
(andreww) - MLife

Locale: Vosges
Axes, crampons on 02/12/2010 11:31:34 MST Print View

People have done the PCT without ice-axes, and with ice-axes but without prior training; it's insurance, there's now way about it.

But I couldn't advise heading out without one, or without training. Correct, there isn't much to it. But it's not a matter of intellectual skill; on steep slopes you have to react instantaneously, and be able to do it from head first, feet first, on back, on stomach, etc. This requires some training to do it quickly and without goring yourself.

Training is doubly necessary if you choose to use crampons, as self arrest requires a different technique and is actually less effective with them on.

I strongly doubt that the JMT in summer will be covered in such rock hard snow for very long, and it's probably better for those with no experience with such slopes to do a very easy thing and simply wait a few hours.

David T
(DaveT) - F
crampons and ice axes on 02/12/2010 12:35:58 MST Print View

I wrote the same info in a different thread, but I'd say a big yes to the ice axe (and training/practice) and a no to crampons. The ice axe is to PREVENT you from sliding in the first place, through proper technique and self-belay. As my instructor in my winter mountaineering course said (i paraphrase): "once you start sliding, you've already lost." You DEFINITELY don't want to think that that axe is going to stop you before you hit some rocks (e.g. Forester). So get one, learn to use it, and practice. I have an old Cassin Ghost, but if I bought one now, I'd probably just get a Camp Corsa 70cm one at REI. Also, remember that you look like a bad-ass in your photos at Forester if you are holding your ice axe aloft. :)

In 2004, I'd say you didn't need an axe, but that was a low snow year followed by a spring of incredibly hot temperatures, so the snow was greatly reduced when we hit the High Sierra starting June 10 or so. I'd say get it in Kennedy Meadows drop box, and send it home as soon as you don't need it.

Crampons, I'd say no, for a few reasons. In June in the High Sierra, the snow is probably only hard first thing in the morning. So it's easy to hit a pass a day NOT at that time. We didn't worry about trying to do two, and in general we slowed down to 18 or so miles a day in the High Sierra... it's a bit more tiring hiking, and it's so pretty, there's really no need to rush.

I took crampons when I did the Sierra High Route in 2006 in LOTS of snow. We were on snow for most of our hiking time. We did use them, but only to descend hard snowy passes first thing in the morning (passes we had camped atop the night before, which we did fairly regularly). I was happy to have them, but we could've timed things different or just waited a couple hours. I bet we used them for six hours on the whole trip. That said, cruising across hard huge suncups with crampons is WAY better than crossing huge soft suncups without them!

In general, I've come around to thinking that snow is my FRIEND in the High Sierra. I'll take it vs. loose steep talus any day.

heading towards Forester Pass in a low snow year (2004)

Edited by DaveT on 02/12/2010 12:58:50 MST.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: crampons and ice axes on 02/12/2010 12:59:40 MST Print View

..." cruising across hard huge suncups with crampons is WAY better than crossing huge soft suncups without them!"...

Part of my enthusiasm for crampons is sort of like new religion. I've owned a pair of crampons for 25+ years and only wore them for playing around. I always had the midset that they were for "ice climbing", not snow travel. That was before I recently bought a new set that work well with flexible boots- and from one short overnight trip I'm sold. I certainly didn't need them on the afternoon hike up- snow was soft from the sun- but still they helped me to power up instead of having to kick steps. The next morning again I really didn't need them- axe, careful boot placement, and going slow would have been fine. With the crampons though I could travel at will with a lot more security and speed.

Regarding ice axes- length depends not only on use, but also on how it fits your pack. "Walking cane" length is a real pain in the forest- if it sticks above your head when strapped to the pack. If you're carrying trekking poles too you probably wouldn't switch to the axe until the slope hits 30 degrees. In that case a shorter axe will be preferred.

Back to suncups- with hard cups and boot soles you tend to step down in the buckets. I can only imagine that with crampons you can dance the ridges. I keep thinking back to a 4 day trip in the Sierra over July 4 weekend, 1983. Except the first and last few miles, I never set foot on anything other than snow or rock. It's too early now to estimate what sort of snow cover the Sierra will have in June. Snowpack on April 1 will give a good clue but weather (temp, wind, rain) in the spring can either leave lots of snow or melt it away.

Edited by jimqpublic on 02/12/2010 13:05:43 MST.

David T
(DaveT) - F
hard snow. on 02/12/2010 13:10:01 MST Print View

I definitely agree with you about how fun it is to move on HARD snow (e.g. first thing in the morning) with crampons. It's a joy. And then those suncups start to warm up in the morning sun, and your crampons get full of soft snow, then comes the inevitable time (much too soon) that you have to take them off, and just start slipping and sliding around. It's fun while it lasts.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: crampons and ice axes on 02/12/2010 13:19:55 MST Print View

"Walking cane" length is a real pain in the forest- if it sticks above your head when strapped to the pack."

Try stowing the ax upside down, i.e. with the head above the top ice ax loop and the pick hanging down below the bottom of your pack, secured by the lower ice ax loop. SOP on heavily forested approaches, at least up here in the sunny Northwest.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Scale and weights? on 02/12/2010 13:29:22 MST Print View

Brandon - Do you have a scale yet???

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: crampons and ice axes on 02/12/2010 13:29:27 MST Print View

> snow is my FRIEND in the High Sierra. I'll take it vs. loose steep talus any day.


Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
"Snow is my friend" on 02/12/2010 13:37:21 MST Print View

Absolutely. I've been places early season (May) that were a cakewalk. Nice firm Sierra Cement to walk up, corn to glissade down. Came back August the next year and found scree and talus near the pass, endless willow thickets lower down.

Lakes are also easier to cross when they're frozen!

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Re: crampons and ice axes on 02/12/2010 13:39:26 MST Print View

Well, I finally caved and got a 50 cm CAMP Corsa. I'll practice as much as possible with just keeping myself steady, and not falling. Now I just need to find WHERE I can practice.

Anyway, back to Brandon's gear list :)

David T
(DaveT) - F
forest. on 02/12/2010 14:12:23 MST Print View

"Walking cane" length is a real pain in the forest- if it sticks above your head when strapped to the pack."

Who hikes in a forest? I've never heard of such a thing.

Anyway, I'm tall so I like the 70cm length; if you are shorter, shorter is fine.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Gatewood cape plus bivy? on 02/12/2010 14:46:12 MST Print View

I'm carrying a Gatewood Cape plus bivy to start the Appalachian Trail, but wouldn't do so to start the PCT. Just go with the G.C. and no bivy to start with (do bring a head net for the *very* infrequent insect attacks in the first 700 miles).

After you get into the Sierras you could consider a bivy, but I'd go instead with the SMD Serenity Shelter that's made to go with the G.C.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 15:27:57 MST Print View

Im thinking Ill get the CAMP corsa with my dividends and 20% coupon from REI when the time comes. Probably forgo crampons. Does anyone else think the bivy plus cape is overkill? I figured I wouldnt want to set it up every night and the bivy would simplify things. Thanks for the discussion!

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 15:37:17 MST Print View

I know I'd want some sort of covering to pull all my stuff under when it's raining. The cape isn't really big enough for that.

Edit: Oops, maybe it does have room for gear. I was thinking of another dual purpose poncho.

Edited by leaftye on 02/12/2010 15:38:26 MST.