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Jeff M.
(Catalyst)

Locale: Costa Mesa, CA
Backpacking (Shasta trip) gear list help on 02/16/2010 16:20:37 MST Print View

So I'm doing a Shasta trip the end of June and I need some gear advice concerning the holes I have. I'm not new to backpacking, but I am new to backpacking in snowy/colder conditions. The following is what I have and am considering. I mostly need help with layering the torso area. Also, does anyone know if Vasque Breeze Gortex boots will work with 12 point crampons? Thanks! (I did notice and read the other gear post about Shasta)

Bottoms
- Patagonia Capilene 2 or 3 (I have both)
- Fleece pants (if necessary)
- REI convertible hiking pants
- Marmot Precip pants

Tops
- Patagonia Capilene 2 or 3 (don't have either)
- Smartwool long sleeved shirt
- REI Muir Woods fleece jacket
- MontBell Ultralight Down Jacket or GoLite Caddy Jacket (Need them, other suggestions?)
- Rain/Shell Jacket (Could use suggestions)

Feet
- Liners
- Smartwool socks
- Vasque Breeze Gortex Boots
- Gaiters

Edited by Catalyst on 02/16/2010 16:22:48 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply to Jeffrey on 02/16/2010 18:20:13 MST Print View

This year in June, the conditions should be similar to an average year in May, of which I am familiar. Here is my concern about your boot/crampon arrangement. Crampons are traditionally strapped tightly onto the boots, and if your crampons are on that tightly, the straps might compress the boots and restrict blood flow to your toes. As a general rule, crampons are best used with fairly solid boots, and these Vasques look a little too comfortable for that. To test whether a crampon is strapped on tightly enough, try to kick the crampon loose. If you can even kick it crooked, then it fails, and if a crampon starts to go that way when you are halfway up or down a slope, you have a problem. There are also crampons without straps and use a hinged arrangement like a ski binding, but they generally need rigid boots also. More than 95% of the time that I was on Shasta, I used a solid leather cross-country ski boot (Asolo Snowfield) since I had skied the bottom half of the mountain. Occasionally, you will see guys climbing the mountain wearing heavy downhill ski boots and carrying downhill skis. That must be painful.
--B.G.--

Jeff M.
(Catalyst)

Locale: Costa Mesa, CA
I thought that might be a problem... on 02/16/2010 18:53:59 MST Print View

I was worried they may be too soft. I'll drop by REI and try on some crampons and see how they do, but I think I may be buying some new boots.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Vasque boots on 02/16/2010 19:47:49 MST Print View

The boot area that I would be most concerned about is directly in front of the laces. That is where your foot normally flexes when you walk uphill. If that's too tight, then your toes will be cold or susceptible to frostbite.

When you are wearing crampons and going up Avalanche Gulch, you will have a slightly abnormal gait. Sometimes your leg muscles will adapt to that, and sometimes they won't. You can try to follow tracks that go directly up, or you can try to follow other tracks that zigzag up the slope. The zigzag route will put extra strain on the crampon straps. Once you get above Red Banks, the slope gets a tiny bit easier.
--B.G.--

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Backpacking (Shasta trip) gear list help on 02/16/2010 20:15:49 MST Print View

As far as rain shell, for a great price and a so so, but alright jacket check out the Golite Virga.
http://www.golite.com/Product/proddetail.aspx?p=AM1726&s=1

For a very good and reasonably cheap jacket (though not as long as you may like) check out the Integral Designs eVent Rain Jacket
http://www.prolitegear.com/integral_designs_event_jacket.html

But there are countless jackets to choose from depending on your budget, search the threads here for much more detailed discussion.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Shasta in July on 02/16/2010 20:29:17 MST Print View

I did shasta in July via Hotlum-Wintun route. Im not sure how much difference a month makes, but our trip was very very warm. Even with a 12am start, all I wore was a capilene 1 underneath an arcteryx 3 layer goretex proshell for my top, and capilene 2's underneath some MHW conduit hardshells for bottoms. Wore Outdoor research PL gloves (the thinnest of the PL line) the whole way up and back. For rest breaks, I had my expedition parka. By the Afternoon while descending, all the snow was melted to the point of post holing, and my jacket was fully unzipped. Again this was in mid July. I'm not 100% sure, and i dont want to give you bad advice, but I think you're okay with your current kit. Have you checked out average weather forecasts for that month?

Edited by Konrad1013 on 02/16/2010 20:47:38 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Mount Shasta seasons on 02/16/2010 20:55:20 MST Print View

On a normal year, winter lasts until about April 1. During winter, you can get lots of storms that last days. Then spring is about April to May. You can still get a few storms, but they don't last so long. During that time, the snowpack starts to stabilize. After May, the snowpack gets very stable and weather gets nicer. It can still be cold and windy in July, but it depends where you are on the mountain.

Now, this year I expect the snowpack to be about one month later than normal. So, yes, you can get some pleasant weather, but you can also get blown off the mountain, so to speak. The dangerously high wind that I had reported once was in late May. The snowpack might be a bigger factor than the weather.

In high camp one time, I saw an old avalanche debris path down Avalanche Gulch from 12,000 to 10,800 feet. We left camp, crossed the debris, and went to the summit. On the way back to camp along the same route, something seemed different. The whole slope had slid again, and the debris path had doubled in size, just during the five hours while we were above it.
--B.G.--

Jeff M.
(Catalyst)

Locale: Costa Mesa, CA
More questions... on 02/17/2010 02:41:28 MST Print View

I think there is a chance that it could be warm, but I figure its better to be over-prepared. I'm going along with a friend who is setting up a team with a guide company, and they require you bring certain gear. I think I'm pretty set on buying the MontBell Ultralight Down Jacket as an insulating layer. That will give me the Pat Capilene thermal, mid-weight fleece jacket, down insulating layer, and then I need to decided on a hard shell jacket. For the shell jacket the guide company calls for a gortex or equivalent shell, recommending the Arcteryx Theta AR Jacket. That's way out of budget, so I need to find something else that works.

There's lots of less expensive rain jackets (around $100), but I don't know if those will work. If I want this gear to double for general winter gear, do I need a heavier shell than just your typical rain jacket shell?

Also, I was thinking, is it a problem that only my hard shell jacket will have a hood? Do I need an insulating layer with a hood as well? I ask because it would be nice to be able to use this gear for winter camping at San Gorgonio and San Jacinto after the trip. They're nearby and its getting harder to convince the wife to let me leave on extended trips.

Sorry for information overload. I'm new to winter clothing and it seems like there are a lot of options. I want to make sure I end up with the right gear. Thanks.

Edited by Catalyst on 02/17/2010 02:43:02 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Shasta gear on 02/17/2010 10:51:34 MST Print View

Yes, it sounds like you have your insulating layers figured out. I don't think it matters whether you have a top shell parka that is this brand or that brand or this model or that model. What is important is that you have some top shell parka that is nearly waterproof and windproof. Also, you may not want to take the most expensive garment up Shasta, because people tend to be very hard on their stuff up there. Sometimes there are tears and holes from ice and volcanic rocks and ice axes. I have some army-issue wool trousers with a very neat ice axe hole in the thigh area. Just make sure that you have backups. For example, take some thin glove liners, and then some heavy mitts. If you drop one item, you still have something else. I would take one very warm hat (fleece, pile, down, etc.) and then the parka hood. One year my only hat was blown off my head when I was near the summit, and I had only the parka hood to cover me on the way down. Instead of only one big water bottle, I would have that plus some small one that I could hide inside the warmth of my parka. When it gets really cold up there and you get thirsty, you don't want to drink some half-frozen water.
Hmmm.
Sunglasses and retainer strap.
Ice axe and pick guard.
Whistle (to attract the attention of a guide)

The guide services typically take clients off Avalanche Gulch and onto the ridge routes. It depends on the avalanche conditions.

--B.G.--

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Shasta routes on 02/17/2010 11:02:39 MST Print View

The Hotlum-Wintun Route is on the north side. Avalanche Gulch is on the west-southwest side. The snow and ice tends to accumulate more on the north side and not melt off so much, which is why there are more glaciers there. If you like cool snow-covered glaciers, then that is the way to go. Avalanche Gulch is snow over rock, and it is exposed to afternoon sun. At that time of the year, the prevailing weather tends to hit from the west, so Avalanche Gulch can get high winds, but it is much warmer on a nice day. There are no crevasses along the Avalanche Gulch Route, except possibly the one at the right end of Red Banks. There is normally a bergschrund at the Konwaktikon Glacier edge. If it is open, that is a good place to get out of the wind for a minute.
--B.G.--