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Pyramids above treeline in the winter?
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Zachary Arnold
(zrarnold) - F

Locale: Southern Spain
Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 10/25/2011 03:12:07 MDT Print View

I have heard some conflicting information about pyramids. I am looking for the most light weight option for above treeline in the winter. I have never used a pyramid tent before. Usually the best option is a single wall tent. Some models can get pretty light but not as light as a pyramid. And the light models are extremely expensive.

How much wind can a pyramid take? I don't know if I would trust it for mountaineering, but around 1lb I would really really like to. Plus I can use it in the summer instead of my tarp if I want.

Does anyone have experience using a pyramid in full out winter above tree line conditions? Can they handle it? Would you trust your life with a pyramid over a single wall tent? How about set up? Can you set it up by yourself with heavy winds and gloves? Simplicity is a big issue for me.

I will be using it between 10,000 to 14,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada's here in Spain. Lots of dry snow but very hard winds during the winter.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 10/25/2011 03:36:14 MDT Print View

IF the centre pole is strong enough, and IF the fabric is strong enough, then you only have 3 other things to worry about.

* The design is very dependent on *all* the stakes holding - all of them.
* The windward side can flatten down a bit, so guy lines at the mid0height are advised.
* You can get a bit of condensation in them as a top vent is tricky to do.

Me, for light-weight I would only use a double-skin tunnel tent at that altitude. A heavy geodesic dome works, but is heavy. The rest ... :-)

Cheers

Kai Larson
(KaiPL) - F

Locale: Colorado
Pyramid is great on 10/25/2011 09:24:39 MDT Print View

I use my pyramid as my main winter skiing tent, above treeline, in high winds, and have never had any issues with it. In my opinion, a pyramid is the best snow tent.

The security of a pyramid tent in really high winds relies on having adequate snow cover
If the snow is deep enough, you can bury the bottom edge of the tent in the snow, and the wind won't get under the edge and into the tent.

It's definitely true that you need to stake it out well. I typically use skis on all four corners.

The only limitation on a pyramid is that you need to make sure you have a relatively large space to pitch the tent. In order for it to work well, you need to be able to stretch it out. Because of this, pyramids work much better as skiing or climbing base camp tents, as opposed to "on route" climbing tents.

Zachary Arnold
(zrarnold) - F

Locale: Southern Spain
tents on 10/27/2011 03:34:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice. I kind of already knew the answers but with about 1lb per person with a pyramid I would love to take it to the mountains. On-route it has to large of a profile and it is probably way more of a hassle then I would want to deal with. But I don't do any winter alpine climbing just general mountaineering, it could be great.

The benefit of a good single wall is the fact that when your cold and tired you can just get inside and easily set it up, then go outside stake it out and have a sturdy reliable shelter. But they are heavy.

Really cant win with this.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Re: pyramid on 10/31/2011 22:48:27 MDT Print View

I used a MYOG 9x9 pyramid in the Crazies in Montana this past summer. We used it on a high alpine bench (~10,000ft), and it held up well in the winds. We put rocks around the edges so that wind could not get underneath very well. I use a fairly thick center pole (.625"), and there was no flexing at all. The silnylon held up to the high winds we encountered that night just fine.

Unfortunately I don't get to use my pyramid tent as much as I would like because most people I hike with prefer a floor

Zachary Arnold
(zrarnold) - F

Locale: Southern Spain
Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 12/27/2011 20:44:03 MST Print View

Any suggestions on a tunnel tent? I have been looking for some used integral designs and black diamond tents for sale.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 01/05/2012 09:38:08 MST Print View

http://warmlite.com/tents/tents-technical

http://warmlite.com/products-page/tents

Bryan Bihlmaier
(bykyrb) - M
Another option on 03/04/2015 23:42:33 MST Print View

http://brooks-range.com/Invasion-Tent.html
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/4-Season-Tent-Reviews/Brooks-Range-Invasion

James Couch
(JBC)

Locale: Cascade Mountains
Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/05/2015 08:06:22 MST Print View

Setting up a pyramid tent by yourself is never easy. In the wind, in the winter with gloves - I would want a second person.

My go to winter tent is a single wall Garuda Kusala tunnel ten. No it's not that light, but it goes up anywhere in any conditions and one person can pitch it easily.

For modern tunnel tents look at Stevenson Warmlite, Hilleberg, and the MSR dragontail.

Craig Conway
(Coacuatchoo) - M

Locale: Washington DC
Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/16/2015 15:53:38 MDT Print View

"* The design is very dependent on *all* the stakes holding - all of them."

Sorry to thread highjack but just curious here. I've seen REI selling "Snow anchors" for staking tents in deep snow. The idea seemed to be that you burry bags full of rocks in the snow rather than staking. Is that a common method? Or do you stick with traditional stakes and just try to dig it down to ground or ice? I'm thinking the big yellow plastic stakes might work better than my little titaniums for not ripping through the ice?

Cheers,

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/16/2015 16:41:03 MDT Print View

http://davidallfrey.blogspot.com/

about 4 pages down, pyramid climbing McKinley

they dug a hole in the snow for shelter, then had a pyramid above to cover it. An alternate to an igloo.

maybe a better solution would be to have 4 poles - one for each ridge, and a short pyramid?

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/16/2015 17:25:23 MDT Print View

"Setting up a pyramid tent by yourself is never easy. In the wind, in the winter with gloves - I would want a second person."

While another type of tent might be warranted if you need a floor to keep out sand blowing, or other reasons etc. a four sided pyramid is pretty simple if you stake out the four corners first. The wind will have little effect on the tarp while it is flat. Then put up the pole and the other guy outs. Make sure the corner guy outs are bomber. A deadman, skis etc. Any type of tent will need to be guyed out anyway. I've seen winds strong enough to blow a dome tent away with someone inside. We used Chouinard pyramids in eastern Oregon in the winter where poles on a Northface expedition tent broke from the wind. (This tent-http://www.oregonphotos.com/snow-camping.html#anchor165216)







You will note the pair that just did the PCT in winter used a small MLD pyramid.

Edited by bivysack.com on 03/16/2015 18:27:44 MDT.

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
McKinley on 03/16/2015 17:29:25 MDT Print View

Here is what they used in McKinley in the 70s

http://www.pbase.com/image/132246927

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/17/2015 15:07:21 MDT Print View

Sorry to thread highjack but just curious here. I've seen REI selling "Snow anchors" for staking tents in deep snow. The idea seemed to be that you burry bags full of rocks in the snow rather than staking. Is that a common method? Or do you stick with traditional stakes and just try to dig it down to ground or ice? I'm thinking the big yellow plastic stakes might work better than my little titaniums for not ripping through the ice?

Or you can just use STICKS, the ultimate UL solution.

Edited by bobmny10562 on 03/17/2015 17:33:49 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/17/2015 15:21:21 MDT Print View

It is correct that one good UL solution is to tie off to a buried stick. That means that you have to have a good tool to dig with. Trying to dig down to ground level can be problematic. Big yellow plastic stakes work good in soft or medium snow, but if it gets too hard and icy, they are difficult to drive in (since they are plastic). A good metal snow stake like the venerable SMC snow stake has centered holes in it, and I find those to be virtually foolproof, although the weight will add up.

Pyramid tents can be used above treeline, although you might want to modify the shape if you expect high wind. Lots of pyramid tents have a pretty high profile, so high wind can really tear those apart. One alternative is to lower the profile to be about two-thirds of normal. That catches less wind, but to do that, you have to have a center pole that can be reduced to two-thirds length. The geometry of some pyramids will allow this, and others won't.

--B.G.--

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/17/2015 15:25:59 MDT Print View

How are you going to find a stick above the treeline in winter?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/17/2015 15:32:38 MDT Print View

Yes, finding a stick might be difficult. If the snow is deep, you won't find any sticks under the snow. There might be sticks that dropped off trees and are visible, but they would likely be below treeline, not above treeline. In some areas, trees are not there, but some low woody bushes are there.

--B.G.--

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/17/2015 18:18:21 MDT Print View

It took me a while to dig one up, but back when I did a little above-treeline camping (very little, actually, with my Bibler eldorado), I used these deadman stakes which were made from the venerable yellow plastic stakes with the heads and points cut off and were then drilled to make them lighter. I remember some skeptics early on, but once upon a time I buried one in about 6 inches of snow, which was attached to a long piece of 550 parachute cord, let the snow consolidate for a while and had 3 fit men (all at once) pull with all their might (in the normal line of stress) to see if they could pull it up or break it. They couldn't. I understand that if you have pickets, flukes, ice axes, skis, snow stakes, etc, that those will work just fine, especially when you're pitching under duress in a screaming gale, but if you've got the luxury of time and reasonably calm conditions to pitch your shelter, these things are quite adequate. I called them "Deadfeathers".

snow stakes

Mt. Baker, Cascadesbaker

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Pyramids above treeline in the winter? on 03/17/2015 19:18:15 MDT Print View

pyramid in high wind - you want guylines on each side, like the McKinley tent

the McKinley tent has those four short poles on the corners. You can use all the floor area better. Without them, you really can't use the outer 1 foot or so all the way around, but the poles weigh more, so maybe you're better off just making the floor a little bigger

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
short pole? on 03/17/2015 19:36:54 MDT Print View

I used McKinley tents in scouts and later for two other outdoors schools and none came with corner poles. The traditional way to set them up used a cord around the circumference that all the other tie outs were pre tied to. Stake that cord out on the four corners, then reinforce with other anchors.

Small stuff sacks for deadmen are very strong. A sleeping bag size one, snow filled and clove hitched around the center buried in snow resisted pullout from six men pulling downhill on a climbing rope in one test.

The great thing about local found sticks is that if your taut line hitch around the buried stick is above the snow, you can simply untie the knot, pull the cord and leave the stick when it is time to break camp.