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Yet another Rainier ...
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David McBride
(VintageGent) - F

Locale: Galveston TX
Yet another Rainier question thread on 09/08/2011 09:14:57 MDT Print View

Long-time backpacker, soon to be first-time mountain climber. Next June, I'm going with a guided group on a three-day Rainier climb. The outfitter has a pretty extensive list of required gear. Some of my backpacking equipment fits the bill. Other requirements elude my expertise, so I'm hoping to tap into your collective knowledge.

(1) Gaiters. For years, I've tromped through dirt, mud, rocks, sand and snow. And never once have I donned a pair of gaiters. The outfitter requires that they end right above the knee, so the ankle-version won't do. What should I be looking for in these? What are some of the lighter options?

(2) Backpack. Right now, my go-to pack is a ZPacks Cuben fiber Blast 2600. The outfitter suggests we should expect loads from 35 to 40 pounds, so the Blast isn't going to cut it. I was thinking of getting the ULA Catalyst. Any other options I should consider?

(3) Sleeping Bag. The warmest bag I have now keeps me warm to slightly below freezing, and a bag of 0-15 F is recommended for the trip. I was thinking about the Western Mountaineering Versalite (10F) or the Marmot Plasma (15F). Any other thoughts?

(4) Gloves. One of the pair of gloves the outfitter requires is a mid-weight glove. They state: "These do not have to be heavily insulated. It is nice is they are wind-resistant or wind-proof. A soft-shell glove works great. You will wear these gloves while climbing at higher elevations." I rarely hike when gloves are necessary, and when I do, I just put on my BPL possum down gloves. So what should I look for here? Are there reasonably light offerings?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Edited by VintageGent on 09/08/2011 09:15:33 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Yet another Rainier question thread on 09/08/2011 11:22:22 MDT Print View

I've been using some OR gaiters for 25 years now. In my opinion, a fairly heavy-duty design is a good idea. They protect the bottoms of your pant cuffs from melting snow and add a bit of warmth. Also, if you may be wearing crampons, a heavy-duty fabric will prevent most of the crampon points from puncturing.

On Rainier, you really do not want to fool around with wet socks or pant cuffs.

With gaiters in general, most users like velcro closures. A few like zippers.


Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Yet another Rainier question thread on 09/08/2011 11:42:16 MDT Print View

David McBride
(VintageGent) - F

Locale: Galveston TX
Weight questions on 09/08/2011 12:26:22 MDT Print View

Bob and Anna, thanks for your replies.

Anna, any idea how much the two gaiters you've listed weigh? I've seen them before, but haven't been able to find any weight information on them.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Weight questions on 09/08/2011 12:34:33 MDT Print View

The weight of my 25-year-old gaiters is kind of irrelevant to the market of today.

Durable gaiters generally have a neoprene instep piece. Lightweight gaiters generally have a nylon cord.


Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Weight questions on 09/08/2011 12:38:01 MDT Print View

9 oz for the rab (the weight given in the gear list I gave you a link to)
8 oz for the OR (given on the OR site I gave you a link to,click on features and it gives the weight,I own these)

David McBride
(VintageGent) - F

Locale: Galveston TX
Re: Re: Weight questions on 09/08/2011 13:12:10 MDT Print View

Thanks, Anna. I didn't see the weight on the list. For the OR gaiters, are you sure 8 oz is the total weight? It sounds, from what I read on the site, as if it's the fabric weight by meter: "Uncoated 8 oz. packcloth." In fact, on the details section for the gaiters, the average weight is left blank.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Weight questions on 09/08/2011 13:30:15 MDT Print View

I just weighed my size small and the pair weighs 5.8 oz,my scale is very accurate.
I don't know what size Ryan Jordan was wearing but on his gear list for this article his pair weighs 7.3oz.

Edited by annapurna on 09/08/2011 13:36:52 MDT.

Richard Fischel
rent gear from the guide company or from a local outfitter on 09/08/2011 15:56:03 MDT Print View

or borrower from friends. you may never venture onto a big mountain again. also, after your first trip or two you may realize that what you bought isn't what you really want. the guided trips aren't so much about going ul as they are about successfully completing your climb. most of the gear lists for the guided trips are designed so that you won't have an issue during your climb; therefore, they are heavy on the belt-and-suspender approach. most of the companies want you to have what's on the list or something comparable. they do not want to have to deal with your cobbled together substitute. june on rainier can be brutal. are you staying in tents or the shelter at muir. i was on rainier in june of '09 and '10. one of those times i was happy i had my wm antelope and the other time i wished i had my antelope. if you want to drop some coin on one item that could greatly enhance your trip i'd say spend it on boots. i only say that because i have funky feet and had to monkey around to get a pair of plastics to fit. i couldn't imagine walking in off the street and having a pair of leather boots fit from a rental shop.

if you want to buy gloves just go on ebay and search for outdoor research. there's literally a ton of liner/shell combinations that you can get on the cheap.

also - start your training regime sooner than later. you want to be in great physical shape. you do not want to be *that* guy who is last/slow. it's bad...

William Cummings
(rcummings1) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Yet another Rainier question thread on 09/08/2011 16:53:16 MDT Print View

(3) Sleeping Bag. The warmest bag I have now keeps me warm to slightly below freezing, and a bag of 0-15 F is recommended for the trip. I was thinking about the Western Mountaineering Versalite (10F) or the Marmot Plasma (15F). Any other thoughts?

I prefer the WM Versalite to the Marmot Plasma. The Plasma has an EN rating of 18 degrees while the WM bags are known to be conservative in their ratings. I bought a Plasma originally from REI and and ended up returning it and getting the WM bag. If you really want a bag thats going to keep you warm, get the WM Versalite.

I might even go for the Antelope. I like to be warm.

Edited by rcummings1 on 09/08/2011 16:57:40 MDT.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Yet another Rainier question thread on 09/08/2011 18:01:01 MDT Print View

Either of those bags should be fine. Go with the one that fits best + the lighter option - consider a WM Ultralite also, if it fits you.

A few other things to consider:
- Bring Ear plugs - helps you to sleep better.

- A DAM (especially a KookaBay) is highly recommended as a sleeping pad

- I have used a Zpacks Cuben pack on Rainier and it worked great (I tend to climb with less than 20 lbs. loaded).

- For gloves, Possum Down under a lightweight shell mitt should be fine. A good glove system is VERY important. Straps are helpful - keep an eye out for an old blue OR Gore-tex mit up there near the summit from a few years ago.

Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: rent gear from the guide company or from a local outfitter on 09/11/2011 12:33:12 MDT Print View

I'd agree on renting from a outfitter/guide company pieces you don't see using outside of mountaineering - what they rent out may be heavy but it works and isn't fussy and gives you a chance to play around to see what works. First day out they give you a 65mm ice axe and after a few hours walking around and self arrest practice you'd like to shorten up to a 60mm - probably no issue to swap out. In addition, it may be the only peak you ever climb and all the mountaineering specific gear gets relegated to the closet. If buy anything I'd go with boots since it's so specific and a good fit is so crucial. After the trip if you decide on further trips this is when I would start buying - have some experience in what works for you and what you want and you know you'll use it in the future.

I scuba dive and it's a very similar situation - people rush out to buy the latest and greatest gear before certification, get certified then never dive again. Or they do continue to dive and wish they had waited a little bit to buy since they dislike the gear they bought up front prior to having any experience. Much better off if they had just rented.

David McBride
(VintageGent) - F

Locale: Galveston TX
Renting, yes on 09/16/2011 07:21:53 MDT Print View

Richard and Ryan, I agree with you on renting from the guide company. Much of the gear that I won't be able to re-purpose for backpacking--harness, helmet, double plastic boots, crampons--I plan to rent.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
boots on 09/16/2011 14:25:51 MDT Print View

figure out what are the rental boots ...

chances are they will the scarpa invernos ... if they are .. go see if yr local REI has em and try em around ... try em on with the same socks youll have on the climb, likely a wicking sock and thick fuzzy mountaineering sock

if they work, great, if not youll need to find something else rental or purchase

boots are something you DONT want to eff with on a climb ... loose fit is dangerous, tight fit leads to frostbite

if you have to buy em for a perfect fit ... do it regardless of costs (pray you dont only fit the $$$$ sportivas like me) ... save em for yr next climb or resell em afterwards

Daniel Yaris
(danielY) - F

Locale: PNW
gear on 09/28/2011 23:38:26 MDT Print View

Gaiters as others said I have OR though I have not used them all season and I was on Rainier 5 times this year. Most softshell pants have elastic cuff that works just the same.

As for backpacks check out cold cold world or cilogear for light mountaineering packs. They both have a bivy foam pad as the frame and can carry loads in the range you listed. I have a cold cold world chernobyl and a wild things spectra/dyneema andinista pack cilo gear also makes non woven Dyneema packs too but $$$$$

Sleeping bag depends on the time of the year and june you could get away with a 20deg. but 15 is a safer bet. I took a 30 deg 850 fill down bag in july and was cold and then took a 15 degree 800 fill in August and it was too much. You will camp at probably 10K at Muir or a bit higher at the flats. I would get a 900 fill 15 degree and call it the day.

For my mid weight gloves I had old winstopper fleece but replaced them with softshell as they are more water resistant

Richard Fischel
gaiters, yes or no on 09/29/2011 06:14:36 MDT Print View

i go gaiterless sometimes with my lighter alpine boots. my doubles have super gaiters and they stay on all the time. with gaiters like the or croc's you lower the chance that you will catch a crampon point on the leg of your pants. this helps to prevent holes in your expensive pants and may prevent you from a trip and fall situation. if you don't have some experience walking in crampons i would not skip wearing proper gaiters.