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Will Elliott
(elliott.will) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA / Wasilla, AK
Lighten up a Shasta Load— Revised on 05/06/2011 15:10:45 MDT Print View

Hi all,

Heading to Shasta in a couple weeks and wondering what I can leave behind. We're camping. Anyone want to take a crack at the list below? It's my personal gear, with some group stuff added. Trying to figure out my bare minimum here on Shasta, before Rainier, etc.



Basically I'm wondering:

[] warm enough for May?
[] what I could swap out to lighten up?

So far, people have said to ditch the shell pants (no) and shovel (yes). Haven't heard any thoughts on options like

- 50cm alu ice ax (doesn't seem helpful to me: I'm 6'2" and a 50cm ax seems awkward in self-arrest position, and doesn't offer as much security in self-belay); save 7 oz.
- alu crampons instead of steel (I've seen the points break off; doesn't seem all-mountain enough to justify the weight savings)
- silnylon pullover instead of shell jacket (save 6 oz)
- no windshirt (save 3 oz)
- no sleeping bag stuffsack; 3 oz.
-something else instead of a 100 oz camelback?
-can't think of what else would lighten things up, short of buying a new sleeping bag, boots and NeoAir.



_______CLOTHES______
Boots— 4 lb. uninsulated leather, similar to Sportiva Glaciers
pole w/ basket— BD trail model (no foam grip or strap)
pack— GG Virga
snowshoes— MSR Denali
gaiters— trail running
crampons— Grivel Air Tech steel
ice ax— BD Raven Pro 65cm
sleeping bag stuffsack— silnylon compression (will prob. leave this)
baseball hat w/ neck flap
wool hat
uninsulated shell mitts w/ removable primaloft liners
wool t-shirt
pants— Patagonia Simple Guide (unlined, lightweight)
fleece shirt— Patagonia R1 hoody
windshirt— Patagonia Houdini
shell jacket— 10 oz.
shell pants— 18 oz. (note that I'm not bringing long underwear and the soft shell pants are unlined, so these are for warmth, not rain)
Wool boxers
2 pr. Socks— thick wool
insulated jackets— Nanopuff and a 12 oz hooded down thing I just bought on Gear Swap.
sunglasses

__________CAMPING_________
tent— 2 tents between us 3, 4 snow stakes
sleeping bag— 30 degree synthetic + 50 degree down quilt (all I've got)
sleeping pad— ~1 lb. 3/4 length Insulmat (R ~2.5), plus a partial Z-rest, about 4' long
sunscreen
foam beak to protect my nose
lip stuff
compulsory p00p bag from the Forest Service
headlamp— Tikka
1 snowclaw


_________FOOD_______
food 4 lbs. (friday eve. - sunday morn.)
stove, gas, spark— bringing a Jetboil and a Reactor for 3 people; would just bring the Reactor but partners like their Jetboils
insulated cup and a spoon (no bowl);
bladders— bringing one 100 oz. Camelback

OTHER
cell phone
compass & map
small knife, tape, bandaids, tums

Edited by elliott.will on 05/11/2011 14:02:23 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F - M
Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load - Trip Report from May 2010 on 05/06/2011 15:26:45 MDT Print View

Hi Will,

You might want to have a look at this link Ryan Commons climbing Mt. Shasta in May 2010

It contains his pack list as well as a great video.

Have fun and be safe out there!

Manfred

Edited by Orienteering on 05/06/2011 16:37:24 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/06/2011 15:38:26 MDT Print View

Yes, it is best to plan it as a two-night trip. Most of the time, you will be able to finish it before the second night.

You might be a little too thin on the insulated jacket. What you have now would not have gotten me through it five or ten times.

You want a retainer strap for your sunglasses. When descending, the glissade often feels like you are on a ride inside a washing machine.

For the tent, I would select one that is the most wind-worthy. If it is a little snug for three guys, then that is OK. That will help keep you warmer. It's only for two nights, right? Four snow stakes might be a little thin, but that depends on the tent. If you have cord, you can bury shovel parts or snowshoes in deadman fashion. I always carried at least one big snow fluke.

A 30-degree F sleeping bag is pretty thin. You will likely freeze your butt unless you have on every stitch of clothing inside the bag. The worst bag that I ever carried up there was a minus 10 F down bag.

One really dependable stove is all you need to melt snow for three. Select the one that sits lower, or can be wind-shielded easiest. Digging a snow hole is part of that.

A Camelback is OK for going up, but something more indestructable is better for the descent. I generally carried two one-quart water bottles, and I kept Gatorade in one of them. You can use a lot of water on the bottom half of the mountain where it gets hot.

A Snowclaw is better than nothing, but a Lifelink is better. An all metal shovel is better yet, but almost overkill. If you are on the standard route, it is common for all strangers camping near one another to borrow and loan snow shovels.

Whatever you carry for food, make sure that half of it can be eaten without any cooking or water. You can go a long way on cheese and cookies.

Of course there will be all sorts of small items like TP and duct tape. You want to stick some duct tape around the sharp part of an ice axe until you need it. A loud whistle might be handy, as is a standard first aid kit. Good tape gets used a lot up there.

--B.G.--

Edited by --B.G.-- on 05/06/2011 15:40:02 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/06/2011 15:49:01 MDT Print View

I don't know exactly where, but you can get an idea about low temperatures at

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=41.380930388318&lon=-122.22702026367187&site=pqr&unit=0&lg=en&FcstType=text

cursor around to where you're going

lows could be in the 20s F

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/06/2011 16:03:35 MDT Print View

In twenty-five years on Shasta during May, the coldest that I ever saw at Helen Lake was +8 F with a 40 mph wind. When you get up around 13,000-14,000 feet, the windspeed can be much higher. However, that tends to be during the middle of the day.

For Helen Lake, we used to put four people in a three-person tent to improve warmth.

The worst time, though, is when you have to wake up at 4 a.m. and move out at 5 a.m. That one hour is the worst.

--B.G.--

Will Elliott
(elliott.will) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA / Wasilla, AK
thanks! on 05/06/2011 16:44:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help. Sounds like I will be shivering a lot with the current clothes. I've worn the same alpine climbing in AK in February, but there wasn't any sitting around.

I enjoyed Ryan's video, but am leery of bringing an 85L pack and plastic boots.

Re: Bob's comments—

You might be a little too thin on the insulated jacket. What you have now would not have gotten me through it five or ten times.

-OK, will add a second micropuff. I'm down here for school and left a lot of comforts (belay jacket & pants etc.) at home. 8 degrees, huh? I expected warmer!

For the tent, I would select one that is the most wind-worthy. If it is a little snug for three guys, then that is OK. That will help keep you warmer. It's only for two nights, right? Four snow stakes might be a little thin, but that depends on the tent. If you have cord, you can bury shovel parts or snowshoes in deadman fashion. I always carried at least one big snow fluke.

- 4 stakes + 2 axes, + a windwall of snow. I will collapse the tent flat when we leave for the top, mark it with GPS, and if it snows, find it by the snow wall or coordinates when we get down.

A 30-degree F sleeping bag is pretty thin. You will likely freeze your butt unless you have on every stitch of clothing inside the bag. The worst bag that I ever carried up there was a minus 10 F down bag.

-I normally wear all my clothes and sleep inside my backpack. But I will see about bringing 50 degree quilt to add to the bag. I don't have a warmer bag and don't want to rent a 0 degree.

One really dependable stove is all you need to melt snow for three. Select the one that sits lower, or can be wind-shielded easiest. Digging a snow hole is part of that.

-yes, I advocated for that; the other two just bought their stoves and are going to carry them anyway.

A Camelback is OK for going up, but something more indestructable is better for the descent. I generally carried two one-quart water bottles, and I kept Gatorade in one of them. You can use a lot of water on the bottom half of the mountain where it gets hot.

-I may bring one of the huge white nalgenes, then, plus a small clear one to put in my bag at night with hot water.

A Snowclaw is better than nothing, but a Lifelink is better. An all metal shovel is better yet, but almost overkill. If you are on the standard route, it is common for all strangers camping near one another to borrow and loan snow shovels.

-OK, we will bring one metal shovel instead.

Whatever you carry for food, make sure that half of it can be eaten without any cooking or water. You can go a long way on cheese and cookies.

-For lunch, I bring jerky, dried fruit, logan bread, and something sweet for the water bottle. For dinner I bring potato mix, olive oil, nuts, parmesan cheese, and drink it as soup.

Of course there will be all sorts of small items like TP and duct tape. You want to stick some duct tape around the sharp part of an ice axe until you need it. A loud whistle might be handy, as is a standard first aid kit. Good tape gets used a lot up there.

-OK, will bring duct tape. I keep it in the pack, though, so it's in good shape for using over blisters.

Edited by elliott.will on 05/06/2011 16:50:22 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: thanks! on 05/06/2011 17:45:17 MDT Print View

Will, I think I was up there in May for 26 years, of which I managed to summit 22 times. The weather was very bad on the other four years. One year, we had the other extreme, and we were walking around at the summit with only one wool shirt on. You really need to prepare for the extremes. Sunburn and dehydration are big risks there.

If you can't work out the best stove plan, then at least make sure that all stoves use the same type of fuel so that you can share. For three guys, you need a melting pot of about two quart size.

For the descent, you want to have duct tape or first aid tape handy and warm in your pocket. Sometimes somebody will get a good nick or puncture from an ice axe or from crampon points. I've seen some nasty accidents up there around Red Banks.

If you get into a cloud bank, either all three walkers need to stay very close together, or else one person can walk off-route and get into trouble. In the old days, I used to carry 100 feet of good 5mm cord to help that. That might be overkill now. Still, it would not be stupid to have 100 feet of some 3mm dyneema cord. When you get to the summit plateau (~14,000 feet), your brains may be fried. Either you get disoriented or else simply neglect to use your compass. GPS works very well.

--B.G.--

Will Elliott
(elliott.will) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA / Wasilla, AK
Thanks on 05/06/2011 17:53:54 MDT Print View

Great insights. Thanks! I'll followup after the trip with a report. Anyone else want to weigh in?

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Glissade shorts? on 05/06/2011 19:09:16 MDT Print View

Re: "When descending, the glissade often feels like you are on a ride inside a washing machine." Would it be worth the weight to bring cheap over-shorts so you don't shred expensive pants, and / or slip foam next to your butt so you don't shred that?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Glissade shorts? on 05/06/2011 19:35:49 MDT Print View

Yes, we went through that whole discussion many years ago. It is nice to be able to do a sitting glissade down Avalanche Gulch, going at warp speed. On some years, the snow is soft enough that you won't shred your trousers. On other years, shredding will occur due to hard/sharp ice mixed with volcanic particles.

We tried everything. One guy wore cheap over-shorts, but they filled up with snow and ice. Leather shorts would be better. One guy made himself a "girdle" out of an old truck tire inner tube. That wasn't much good. The only place where I actually used anything special was from Red Banks down to Helen Lake. I used some cheap rain pants. Those were cheap enough that I could sacrifice them, and they were smooth enough that they neither slowed me down nor sped me up, but they were waterproof enough to protect me. I made that 2000-foot portion of descent one time in nine minutes.

One thing I learned was to keep my heels tightly together to control speed. The only problem is that it puts up quite a spray of snow and ice, which is why you are wearing your sunglasses with a retainer strap.

--B.G.--

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Rocks ever hit anyone? on 05/06/2011 20:53:38 MDT Print View

Bob, in your 26 years, did you ever see anyone get hit with a rock, or see the after-effects? Did you ever wear a helmet?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rocks ever hit anyone? on 05/06/2011 21:26:44 MDT Print View

I never personally saw anybody get hit with a rock of any dangerous size. I never wore a helmet.

I saw lots of rocks flying down the hill, but they were much smaller than a golf ball. Most of the rocks get glued down by ice before May. I think later in the season there would be more rocks flying as they thaw out.

One year there were big ice balls about the size of a grapefruit, and they were fairly round. The snow surface just happened to be hard that year, so these frozen ice balls were just flying and bouncing down the hill, even down to timberline. My party was going up right at timberline, and there was another party carrying their wounded climber out. The wound was from getting clobbered by an ice ball. Immediately we started taking turns watching uphill. You could see the next ice ball coming for two seconds, and then it would whiz past. In two seconds, you could dodge it.

Whenever you see any falling projectile like that, yell "ROCK!"

--B.G.--

Ryan W
(mwilks) - F
Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/06/2011 23:11:51 MDT Print View

I second the need for a warmer puffy layer. Absolutely.

I've used a 32 degree bag before and a 0 degree. It can be hit or miss in May. I'd take my 0 but if a 30 is what you have then that is what you have. It looks like you are taking a sufficient pad and sounds like you can fit your clothing inside you sleeping bag. Fuel well, snuggle up to a water bottle, and you should be ok. Midnight situps are always an option. Toss the extra bag/blanket in the truck and reassess at the trailhead. Definitely squeeze 3 guys into the two man tent. It helps with warmth and cuts down on the workload of prepping another tentsite, teardown etc.

Maybe a light liner glove. My hands overheat in primaloft but are cold otherwise.

I wear softshell pants and pack a lighter weight shell for storms only and sometimes ditch them depending on the forecast.

I like having a small sit pad but that doesn't fit into your pad strategy.

I'm a fan of a bladder when climbing, but my climbing packs don't have easy access water bottle pockets. Nothing worse than having to stop on the slope to futz with gloves, packs, bottles, etc to snag a drink. A bladder keeps me moving, warm, and hydrated, all positives.

You didn't list the small repair items, knife, sunglass case, etc but I assume you have that dialed in.

Make sure you have a good way of securing your crampons for the glissade.

Most people you see will be wearing plastics but that is because plastics comprise the majority of the rental inventory. If your leathers fit well and you are good on your sock combo, then you are good to go.

Have fun

Edited by mwilks on 05/06/2011 23:14:10 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/06/2011 23:46:29 MDT Print View

"Make sure you have a good way of securing your crampons for the glissade."

Mark just made a good point. Some people bring a daypack to the summit, and that way they have a place to store water bottle, camera, crampons, etc. Some people use their regular backpack for that.

On the descent, if you are leaning back in your sitting glissade, it drags the pack. If you have a regular backpack there, it can protect your back a lot better, but that means that it might also take a lot of abuse (shredding).

With some crampons, you can face them point-to-point and wrap them with a bit of cord, and then throw them in your pack. Some people just decide to wear them all the way back down to Helen Lake. That's OK if you remember that most injury falls are on the descent. Whatever you do, do not attempt to glissade while wearing your crampons. That just invites bad accidents. Plus, you will have others shouting obscenities at you.

--B.G.--

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/07/2011 00:10:46 MDT Print View

Lighten your load: Get rid of the snow shovel unless you want to scout avalanche conditions assuming you know how to do this. Use your ice axe and your shoes/hands instead for making platform for tent, its 1 lousy night. Get rid of the rain pants. If its raining you ain't climbing(optimum conditions for a wet avalanche in spring). If its snowing hard you ain't climbing, you are going home. If its light snow, you MIGHT climb.

Don't glissade while wearing crampons? Why not? Just don't use your feet DUH! Unless its mush of course, then feel free, of course if its mush why the heck are you wearing pons? If there are ANY icy spots DO NOT use your feet/pons. For glisade, bring a heavy duty garbage bag, gets shredded, who cares. Actually, one can actually run down VERY steep soft snow VERY fast with no worries. One can easily descent 3000 feet in under 15 minutes this way with no glissade at all. GLissading on your rump you can easily bruise your tailbone if its icy. If its semi icy, use your sitting closed cell foam pad and keep your ice axe out. For most glissades one has to use your shovel end, not the pick end unless its actually icy though I have noted that most in semi- icy conditions where glissading is great fun most get afraid due to lack of experience and will walk down a steep section instead.

Putting Crampons point to point? that never works, now you have a porcupine on 2 fronts. I have never seen any sets of crampons work well this way. Do like everyone else in the know, points outwards, use straps to strap to back of pack with points pointing outwards. Or, if you REALLY want to put them inside your pack, you need something to cover said crampon points like the rubber covers sold in your mountaineering shop. Added weight. Useless weight if you asked me. Though if you really really want to have a rain cover(I never do nor do I know any other mountaineer that ever carries one) then you need those point covers so you can put them on the inside or outside of your pack without ripping things up.

Edited by footeab on 05/07/2011 00:32:04 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Lighten up a Shasta Load on 05/07/2011 00:50:24 MDT Print View

Brian must have been joking! Perhaps he has been up Shasta even more than I have.

"Don't glissade while wearing crampons? Why not? Just don't use your feet DUH! Unless its mush of course, then feel free. If there are ANY icy spots DO NOT use your feet/pons."

The steepest part of the standard route is just below Red Banks, and it is about a 33 degree angle slope that faces sort of southwest. As a result of the melt-freeze, it is pretty unpredictable for descent speed. It can be anywhere from solid ice to mush. Part of the problem is that you are up on the summit early in the day, perhaps 10 a.m., and then you are descending right after that when the slope may be going through transition. When doing a sitting glissade, your feet are straight out in front of you, downhill. If you can hold that position and keep your heel points elevated off the snow, then I suppose that it might be possible to keep your crampons on. However, that is a pretty unnatural position to me, and I don't think that I could hold it for long. As soon as your heel points get low, then you stand a good chance of "catching a point" and that flips you up so that now your head is going first down the hill with your feet flaying along behind. This is not a good position for initiating a self arrest. Around 1995, I was watching a guy who did exactly that. He was doing a good sitting glissade for 100 yards or so, got a little speed up, and then he caught a heel point. In an instant, it flipped him up and over, and he was sailing down the hill head first. I was probably 100 yards laterally across the hill, so there wasn't anything that I could do for him except to witness it all. Once he was flipped over, he was sailing out of control until he ran into two other descenders. That knocked out his momentum, so he stopped soon after. One of the other two descenders was knocked senseless and went sailing on down the hill. I believe that person fell for about 1,500 feet down the slope, still alive. I walked over closer to the guy who had initiated the whole accident and shouted to him, "Are you OK?" He lifted one hand up over his head, and I took that to mean that he was still alive. I shouted back to him that you Never, Ever do a sitting glissade with your crampons on. Then I walked on down the slope. The injured person was treated by a wilderness ranger who just happened to be in the right place. Later, when I reached Helen Lake, that ranger interviewed me as a witness to the entire stupid accident.

It is the icy descent where you specifically need to use crampons for walking unless it is safe for a sitting glissade.

"Putting Crampons point to point? that never works, now you have a porcupine on 2 fronts. I have never seen any sets of crampons work well this way. Do like everyone else in the know, points outwards, use straps to strap to back of pack with points pointing outwards."

It probably varies from one brand to another, but my Salewa crampons have fitted together point-to-point for over thirty years now. Note that they are 10-point crampons, and not severe front-point crampons to use on an ice wall. Perhaps people in one part of the country do it differently from California. Points outward sounds painful.

--B.G.--

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
what can happen on 05/07/2011 01:16:58 MDT Print View

One year, eight of us from California had spent the day skiing up to Helen Lake, which is the standard overnight camp on the standard route. A couple of hours later, a bunch from the Mountaineers in Seattle came up, and they set up their camp just 75 feet from ours. Everybody knew the drill, so tents were dug in and stoves were busy melting snow. Right before sunset, the salmon colors were just beginning to form up and down upper Avalanche Gulch, and everybody just kind of stood there and soaked up the view. I reminded my group that we were going to wake up at 4 a.m. and move out at 5 a.m.

Right then, something broke loose above, and a snow avalanche was tumbling down toward Helen Lake. In a second, I estimated that the avalanche was going to slowly turn off to our right, so we stood our ground. The Seattle guys were trying to decide which way to run. They were probably more used to North Cascades snow and not California snow.

The avalanche made its turn to our right and then stopped. The leader of the Seattle group said, "That's it. I'm not going up in the morning."

At about 5 a.m., we crossed the avalanche debris (carrying some shovels), did the summit, and then returned safely to camp. The Seattle group and their tents were gone.

--B.G.--

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Crampons while glissading on 05/07/2011 18:56:29 MDT Print View

Re: "Don't glissade while wearing crampons? Why not? Just don't use your feet." I WANT TO SEE VIDEOS OF THAT! Exactly how is that supposed to happen? Do you lay on your back with your thighs going straight up, and your lower legs horizontal to the snow? If so, how can you see where you are going? You're supposed to be using the spike of your axe like a side rudder to control you speed and direction, but how can you do that in that position? If you're not laying on your back, are you doing an exptreme stomach crunch with your knees against your nose, balancing on the single point of your buttocks? Good luck keeping from swiveling right to left to right to backwards to left to right, let alone maintaining the crunch.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Crampons Glissading... on 05/09/2011 12:17:46 MDT Print View

I've seen many people glissade wearing crampons effectively, and heard many argue that it is a reasonable practice. Yet every edition of Accidents in North American Mountaineering that I have ever perused had at least one case of someone dying whilst doing so. That and rappelling off the ends of your rope seem to be some of the most consistent killers of mountaineers.

I would say in soft conditions there is little chance of catching a crampon point and flipping over, it's in hard and variable conditions when that is a danger. I suppose with careful technique it would be possible to reduce that risk, but I don't know that it's worth it to save the little bit of time taking the 'pons off.Personally, I don't think it's much hassle to take crampons off for the glissade. Usually by the time you are done glissading you are down to where the snow is soft enough not to need them. Being able to use your feet for control makes glissading safer and easier.

I like to carry crampons inside my pack. I put them point-to-point to save space, than stick them in a cheap stuff-sack to protect everything else from them. I expected to have to replace the stuff-sack often when I started this practice but that has not proven to be the case.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Crampons Glissading... on 05/09/2011 14:26:08 MDT Print View

Good Grief B-G. Are you always a black and white guy? Ever heard of gray?

Like everything else there are no 100% rules regarding crampons. It all varies on condition. If its ice, you ain't glissading either. My tailbone would be thanking me.

Steering with your feet. Good Grief, what a joke. You can't steer with your feet. It never works even if in your mind you think it does. YOU CAN steer with your axe and by LEANING although Very little.

Owned several 14pt pons, none of them have ever stacked p-p worth a darn. Never seen anyone elses do so either. Seen many folks try to do so with a pon bag as Douglas wrote. I don't like the extra weight. Why wouldn't you just strap them to the back with their own webbing? Selwa pons, they nest? Sweet! Do they bend the tips?

I read ANAM every year, and can recall exactly one time some guy caught a pon and died. Lots of folks slip, catch a pon point while catching their slip and rip up their knees in ANAM every year, but this has nothing to do with glissading.

So, B-G you go up Shasta all the time? So. I go up mountains in BC, Alberta, WA, MT, WY, CO all the time with plenty of glissading. Its all the same.

LOOK AT THE CONDITIONS and apply JUDGEMENT. Like everything else in life, discernment is key.