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Another PCT gear list.
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Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: ice axe on 02/12/2010 17:56:56 MST Print View

+1 on bivy + cape overkill

Your just not likely to see that much rain to make it worth while. I also found for cowboy camping that the bivy trapped moisture rather than helping much.

You don't need a bivy, just a good ground sheet and you can sleep under the stars most nights. I did and loved it.

Sometime in early to mid june (depending on the temps) you'll hit mosquitoes. You'll need something for this. A headnet and you can survive (you'll want one regardless to keep from eating bugs while walking). But it's nice have a little more bug free space. Since you have the cape the SMD nettent is a great option. If you already have the bivy that will work fine too.

I'd actually recommend crampons as more useful than an ice axe. First it's always better to not fall than to self arrest. Second nothing is that steep that you can't arrest with hands or trekking poles IMO. The camp 6 point crampons (7 oz) are what I used and felt a lot more comfortable walking with them than without. My ice axe was never in my hand so totally useless dead weight.

Edited by nschmald on 02/12/2010 17:59:13 MST.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Re: bivy on 02/12/2010 18:15:32 MST Print View

I think I am going to back off from buying the bivy then... its a lot cheaper to buy a gossamer gear ground sheet! I may switch my sleep pad to a Gossamer Gear Thinlite 1/8 and a Nitelite Torso since people seem to really like this lightweight and relatively comfy combo.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: forest. on 02/12/2010 18:52:48 MST Print View

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

It's a Northwest tradition. But we have trails, too, for tall people with long ice axes. ;}

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
ground sheet on 02/13/2010 10:47:16 MST Print View

Instead of a GG ground sheet, you might consider going to your local hardware store and buying a little box of window insulation "shrink to fit" plastic. I think Frost King is one brand, I got my local Ace hardware house brand. There was a thread about this on this site you can search for if you like, but basically it's the same polycro. The benefits are (a) no shipping charge (but maybe sales tax) if you buy locally, and more importantly (b) you can get a larger size and cut it to fit. I did that with my Gatewood Cape; the size that GG sells isn't bad, but I find it handy to have a piece sized to fit the entire inside of the cape (which is indeed big enough to put my stuff inside). Mark one or two points to make it quick and easy to get it properly oriented inside.

In terms of ice axe vs. crampons (or both or neither) --- note that people's recommendations on this might vary some based on the particular snow conditions that they encountered. I went through in a relatively low snow year. Still lots of snow on the passes though, but my personal experience was that I needed neither axe nor crampons, and so mailed both home along the way. That Camp axe you're looking at seems like a fine choice to me, assuming that you know how to self-arrest and to make the assessment of when it's best to carry the axe (perhaps putting away poles to do so). I too personally tend to stick with poles --- I guess you could consider a self-arrest pole (no experience).

Bottom line is that if it looks like a lot of snow I'd still probably bring both a light axe and 6-point crampons, or maybe Kahtoola microspikes. Your resupply plan impacts this too a bit --- I resupplied in Independence, which gave me the option to mail some stuff home relatively early on after I had first climbed Whitney and gone over Forester Pass --- I.e., had a better in-person sense for what conditions were like.