Forum Index » Philosophy & Technique » The "I don't get it" thread


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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 21:01:55 MDT Print View

"and a general lack of cell phone coverage."

You might not have wanted to use a screen shot when you had 5 bars.....

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 21:07:05 MDT Print View

That picture was taken in Palm Springs, which believe it or not is actually a city and has a cell tower :)

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 21:16:51 MDT Print View

Don't forget the sandblasting by high winds guys. Terrible there. Quicksand too, really.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 21:20:03 MDT Print View

Ken,

That's true, but I didn't want scare anyone.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 21:29:26 MDT Print View

We really shouldn't get out for a trip in the desert together soon Nick.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 21:42:12 MDT Print View

We shouldn't.

Unfortunately I created an awesome two day 40 mile loop for you that has reliable water at the halfway point. Scenery, terrain variation, and history is stellar. Hopefully the desert tortoises won't attack us or we won't fall into an abandoned mine shaft.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 22:04:51 MDT Print View

Yeah, give me 115 to 120 at low humidity any day over 105 at 70 to 90 % humidity--wherein the sweat just pours and pours and never dries. However, i don't think i would handle anything above 120, dry or not, particularly well.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 22:14:14 MDT Print View

My brother was in Afghanistan last year, where the daytime highs were near 140 (yes, literally). Worst part of it was he was in the river valley, so the humidity was seriously high too.

Then again, the body adjusts. He would get so chilled when the temperature dropped to 100 that he'd have to put on a jacket to keep warm.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 22:20:13 MDT Print View

Last August I was geared up to do a ~30 mile 1.5 day XC solo in the Mojave when temps were 118 and expected to top 120. There was no water on the route. I packed 4 gallons of water and 4 pounds of gear.
My wife talked me out of it the night before.
Of all the things I've done, this was the first and only time she has ever expressed serious doubt and said she thought my plans were a very bad idea.
I listened and stayed home.

We'll never know...

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 22:21:47 MDT Print View

Clayton, that is crazy... I couldn't even begin to imagine that.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: the desert on 03/14/2013 23:11:42 MDT Print View

"My brother was in Afghanistan last year, where the daytime highs were near 140 (yes, literally)."

That may not have been an accurate measurement, or maybe it was next to a hot vehicle. I think the world's record is about 134 F in open air (Death Valley). The ground temperature can get up to 200 F, but that is a different thing.

The previous record came from the Sahara Desert, but that recording has been discredited now.

--B.G.--

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
GICH on 03/14/2013 23:22:30 MDT Print View

I went in a sauna once.................. that was pretty hot GICH.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Re: the desert on 03/15/2013 00:16:39 MDT Print View

So I looked up the average yearly temps for Sangin, where he was based, and there nothing like that high. More like the Mid-Atlantic summers with Southern winters.

I'll have to follow up with him on this one--I remember some pretty astounding heat, but maybe there were other reasons for the heat. Or maybe he exaggerated or I have a terrible memory.

Ian Destroyer of Forums
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the desert on 03/15/2013 08:54:58 MDT Print View

Apples to oranges but when I was in Pakistan, temperatures hit 120* by 10am and the mercury was still rising. Unless there was a mission, the Pakistan military would hunker down during the middle of the day until the worst of it was over.

Maybe it did or didn't hit a true 140* in Afghanistan but from a general misery POV it really doesn't matter. Those temperatures just suck. I call my body armor the “Microwave Crisping Sleeve.” When it’s really hot outside, I’ll pull the armor away from my body to improve ventilation and feel a blast of heat come from the inside. Beats the alternative I suppose.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Re: the desert on 03/15/2013 09:43:28 MDT Print View

I lived in Saudi Arabia in the late '80s. The first year I was working in an isolated American-like Aramco company town in the dry desert interior. Humidity was non-existant, usually at 2-5%, and there was always a wind. After work one hot September day I crawled under the perimeter fence (which was there to keep the kids inside and the wandering camels out) to do a 3-4 mile loop-wander in the desert. I knew it was well over 120* F. I started to feel nauseated and a bit weak after a couple of miles. I checked my thermometer, and the temperature 3' above ground in my shadow was 134* F. I headed back home, and when I saw my face in the mirror, it was completely covered with a white film of evaporated salt-sweat. The wind evaporated my sweat as fast as it formed. Since I didn't feel any sweat dripping on my face out there, I thought I was doing fine. If I'd stayed out there much longer, I might have been toast.

After a year of isolated living in that desolate outpost, I was able to transfer to the oil refinery town on the Persian Gulf. The temperatures never got much above 120* F, due to the buffering effect of the 90-degree sea temperature. But was it ever humid! The worst was in September, when the usually constant north winds stopped, and the humidity hovered around 90-95% day and night. Even at midnight, when the air temps dropped to maybe 95* F, there was no way a guy could do any real physical activity outside.

I'll take dry heat over high humidity any day...even if it kills me.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: the desert on 03/15/2013 10:31:54 MDT Print View

Bob is correct on the highest recorded temperature, at least from the last time I checked. People do tend to exaggerate temperatures.

Craig, good call by your wife. Remember our 105F hike? 105 vs 120 is another universe.

I have lived and hiked in the lower desert for over 30 years, and like to say I am acclimated -- meaning the heat affects me less than others -- but we cannot truly acclimate to this kind of heat, but we can adapt or strategies for survival. Our bodies are going to work very hard to keep our core at 98.6 F; which means we are going to sweat a lot as the temperature goes up.

And as our sweating increases (evaporation in an effort to keep the core temperature at specs), we are going to lose precious body minerals, as Gary shared earlier. Lose too much in the way of body salts/minerals you will get sick and often irrational -- I know, it has happened to me a couple times. Many people take salt tablets, (which upset my stomach). I like to eat Pringles, which have gotten me through some difficult situations, but salt alone is not going to replenish everything you need; not to mention your thirst increases when you eat salty foods.

I usually avoid hiking in really hot weather, but do hike in triple digits. When it gets to 108 or above, then I am hiking at night and resting under a tarp during the heat of the day... but even under a tarp I am not truly comfortable and it is difficult too sleep. Also don't assume low deserts have low humidity. Some years it is not unusual for tropical storms to come up from Mexico and 117F with a 90% chance of afternoon thunderstorms happens. You do not know what "crotch rot" is unless you have spent a week in 117F and 90% humidity. Another thing, when daytime temps hit highs of 120+ you can normally plan on the temperature at midnight to be 100+.

Here is a table from The Complete Walker, by Colin Fletcher that shows how much water is needed to survive; and survive in this table means how many days until you die.

water needed to survive

Marty Cochran
(mcochran77) - F - M

Locale: Southern Oregon
Santa Barbara's record temperature on 03/15/2013 18:36:57 MDT Print View

What I find surprising is that Santa Barbara held the record temperature (133 degrees) for 75 years before Death Valley claimed the title.

Santa Barbara's Great Simoon of 1859:
http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/events/department-news/771/goleta-s-great-simoon-of-1859/

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: the desert on 03/16/2013 18:01:09 MDT Print View

Bob is correct on the highest recorded temperature, at least from the last time I checked. People do tend to exaggerate temperatures.

Well, it's a bit unfair to quote statistics that for the most part only come from places where people have the money to put into these surveys. Many parts of the world are probably just as hot as Death Valley, but no one has ever recorded the temperatures. It is impossible for those who do these recordings to be everywhere, especially in very remote, very poor countries that no one has an interest in going to. And how many temperatures, even in Death Valley, have turned up, but gone unrecorded because no one was there to record them?

Take a look at Dallol, Ethiopia, which has the record for the average highest temperature on Earth. Who knows what the highest temperature in this region, which is extremely remote and virtually unknown to most westerners until recently, might at one time have been?

Humidity makes a huge difference in how well one can stand the heat. At least with dry heat you can find shade and get relief that way. Even with lower temperatures, humid heat is unrelenting. You can't get away from it unless you have an enclosed, air conditioned place. The air doesn't cool at night. And because of the humidity your perspiration doesn't cool you. So drinking doesn't much help either. A fan only barely. Top that with a far greater number of insects that love the humidity, and you've got really miserable conditions. Getting in a sleeping bag can be awful, even a thin one. Even just a mesh canopy, which stills the air, can exacerbate the misery of the heat. Your clothes are constantly wet from perspiration, but synthetics don't breathe well, so that makes them feel hotter, and they stick to you. Cotton, silk, linen, hemp, pineapple, and bamboo cloth are the only materials that work in these conditions. Wool just feels very hot and holds all your moisture. The danger here is not hypothermia, but hyperthermia, over-heating. You can get very sick and die from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If the temperature gets high enough, there is a point where just walking takes too much energy. That's why most Southeast Asians get up at dawn, when it is slightly cooler, take a break during mid-day, and are again active in the evening. They think a lot of sun-burned, red-skinned, rolling-with-sweat western tourists have lost their minds.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: the desert on 03/16/2013 18:24:09 MDT Print View

"Well, it's a bit unfair to quote statistics that for the most part only come from places where people have the money to put into these surveys. Many parts of the world are probably just as hot as Death Valley, but no one has ever recorded the temperatures."

True.

But for most of us anything over 120F is going to mean death if we go hiking for a few days. So... 134, 137, 139 really doesn't mean a lot.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"The "I don't get it" thread" : Merino socks in summer. on 03/16/2013 19:55:20 MDT Print View

Hope this isn't a drift, sand or otherwise, but I don't get Merino wool socks in summer.
Not only in the desert, but anywhere. Merino socks, even in a blend, make my feet sweat, which results in blisters. Moisture management, my...!

A lot of peoples' mileage varies on this one.

For me, the problem is that you can't find non-merino blends anywhere anymore, except online. I sense a marketing trend.