Your advice is highly appreciated
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Jorge Falcon
(jorge.falcon) - F - M

Locale: CCS
Hiking Los Andes - my gear list (your advice is highly appreciated) on 05/12/2014 21:56:58 MDT Print View

Here is my gear list for a recent hike.

Duration: 3 days 2 nights.
Altitude: 12,000 to 15,000 feet.
Temps: 50 to 30F.
Climate: Dry conditions expected… but rained almost all day/night.

My experience with this gear (as well as the actual hike) was very satisfying, thus I’m planning to use a very similar configuration on an upcoming hike in about 5 months.

Duration: 5 days 4 nights.
Altitude: 8,000 to 15,700 feet.
Temps: 65 to 20F.
Climate: Dry conditions... (hopefully).

I know there are a lot of people here with far more experience than me, so what would be your advice? What could I improve?

Thanks!

Edited by jorge.falcon on 05/13/2014 12:14:46 MDT.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
bug protection? on 05/15/2014 12:41:16 MDT Print View

going to encounter bugs on this trip? might include a nettent to your shelter, and a headnet

With the warmer temps, do you need the baselayers and sleep socks? edit- misread the temp low... how high of the 15k will you be camping at?

I'd ditch the rain pants as well.

Edited by PorcupinePhobia on 05/15/2014 12:42:25 MDT.

Glenn S
(Glenn64) - M

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Minor nitpicks on 05/15/2014 19:00:56 MDT Print View

Everybody will nitpick something, so here's mine.

Button compass, wouldn't rely on electronics.
One tablet treats 1 liter? Water bottles are 20oz?
Backup fire, LMF Jr, sparker, minibic, something, anything.
Fleece or wool hat for quilt sleeping.
I guess you're a no-TP guy, or is that considered first-aid?

I might keep the rain pants. 20 degrees in Silver Ridge pants seems pretty cold, even with thermals on, especially if it's windy at altitude. But I get cold easy, so YMMV.

Jorge Falcon
(jorge.falcon) - F - M

Locale: CCS
Re: bug protection? on 05/15/2014 19:11:54 MDT Print View

Hi Ozzy! Thanks for your advice :-)

I'll always bring bug protection if needed. Thing is, I know these mountains and they are not particulary buggy above tree line where I camp. There's a lot of cold wind that keeps them away, so that's why I decided to skip that.

Regarding rain gear... well to be honest I have never used my rain pants while hiking. I do like to get wet and my hiking pants dry quickly. It's just the psychological fear of being wet on a cold and windy night what keeps me adding that ounces to my pack. Also, I have put them at camp when it's very cold and windy, my hiking pants don't block the wind very well. I'll think about it, maybe there's another way.

I don't use the baselayers of my list while hiking. And maybe I can go without them inside my sleeping bag. However, around camp I'm not very active and tend to feel cold when temps go bellow 30F, worst if it's windy. That baselayer allows me to feel more confortable. Also, I think I might need them during daytime when we reach our goal (see below). Any suggestions?

Finally, you asked about our camp's altitude,
Camp 1: 9,800 ft
Camp 2: 13,800 ft
Camp 3: same as camp2
Camp 4: 15,000 ft
Camp 5: 13,800 ft

Highest elevation expected: 16,207 ft. Our goal is this peak (no technical climb required, tough hike though, we'll go through a glacier).

And before anyone mentions crampons and axes ... yes, that will be provided by our guides. I do not own that kind of gear, maybe in the future if I start doing more high mountain stuff. I live on a tropical country, to find some ice and snow, you must be really at high altitudes.

Jorge Falcon
(jorge.falcon) - F - M

Locale: CCS
Re: Minor nitpicks on 05/15/2014 19:38:00 MDT Print View

Hi Glenn, thanks for replying,

"Button compass, wouldn’t rely on electronics."
On my previous trip, I knew the trail. On my new one for this year, I’ll be guided. But then… what if our guide have a problem? Seems like a fair advice.

"One tablet treats 1 liter? Water bottles are 20oz?"
I was thinking to go more ultralight with this one (I own a 1L nalgene), but you are right, tablets are for 1L. Maybe just a 1L plastic bottle or a platypus?

"Backup fire, LMF Jr, sparker, minibus, something, anything."
Ok! I’ll update my list.

"Fleece or wool hat for quilt sleeping."
My jacket has a down hood. I feel ok with that. However this trip is going even higher, so I might need a balaclava on our highest camp zone.

"I guess you’re a no-TP guy, or is that considered first-aid?"
Yes of course I bring some, haha! I just forgot.

"I might keep the rain pants. 20 degrees in Silver Ridge pants seems pretty cold, even with thermals on, especially if it’s windy at altitude."
Totally agree, I have used them more to block wind while stationary at camp than for blocking rain while hiking.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hiking Los Andes - my gear list (your advice is highly appreciated) on 05/15/2014 19:59:29 MDT Print View

If you like all your gear and don't have any problems with anything you should be good to go. One exception... Are you sure you will be comfortable in that quilt at 20F. Is there a chance it will get colder than that?

Jorge Falcon
(jorge.falcon) - F - M

Locale: CCS
Re: Re: Hiking Los Andes - my gear list (your advice is highly appreciated) on 05/15/2014 22:08:37 MDT Print View

Hi Nick, thanks for your reply,

Yes I have experienced that quilt in about 25F. However I wasn't exactly naked, I used: baselayer (top & bottoms), wool socks, trekking pants, rain pants, down hooded jacket and gloves, over a 2.8 R-value CCF sleeping pad. Having said that... yes, I slept like a baby.

I've been on that mountains, but I don't leave there, also it will be my first time on this particular trail. So I asked the local guides, and they told me that I should be fine using a good quality insulated jacked with a 0 degree (celsius) sleeping bag. So I think (hope) I'm gonna survive...

I've been thinking on a couple of improvements regarding my quilt:

1) Add a light balaclava (which I already own) to improve the warmth of my hooded jacket and prevent an extremely cold nose.

2) Take my XTherm (14 oz) instead of my SOLite S (9 oz). That would be some added warmth on my back (where the quilt opens), a full length pad and some extra comfort for just 5 ounces. Thing is... there is some crazy sharp grass that grows there which might puncture an inflatable. Of course, that could be fixed with smart camp selection and maybe a better (heavier) tyvek ground sheet.

Edited by jorge.falcon on 05/15/2014 22:22:20 MDT.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hiking Los Andes - my gear list (your advice is highly appreciated) on 05/16/2014 08:02:42 MDT Print View

+1 on the balaclava or hat. I realize that the current wisdom is that heat loss through the head has been greatly exaggerated over the years but I'd still bring one.

+1 on the button compass. I see that you have the ProTrek so maybe a Suunto clip compass as a backup. Much of it has to do on the level of precision you'd require but if you're not hiking in the trees, are on well-defined trails, have a good map, are proficient at identifying prominent terrain features, and are skilled at staying found, Suunto clip is perfectly fine. It'd be nice to have that to shoot a back-azimuth with if you're peak bagging and lose visibility.

I don't use rain pants but can see why you would in those conditions (above the tree line/sideways rain)

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
15k camping on 05/16/2014 10:08:54 MDT Print View

I'd consider bringing both pads, or a thin (1/8") ccf for under your xtherm.

Yeah, maybe keep the rain pants for double rain duty.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
$.02 worth on 05/16/2014 13:38:25 MDT Print View

you certainly have everything covered, barely. No margin for error or disaster. My pack would be a bit heavier than yours, because I would have:

a wool hat to cover the ears, for sleeping if nothing else.
rain pants for sure
pack cover
more than one pair of socks
compass with mirror (I didn't see yours listed)
nylon long sleeve shirt
heavier duty down coat (mine is more like the MH Kelvinator)
heavier duty gloves
first aid kit
small repair kit
more than one way to start a fire, plus a fire kit with tinder and accelerants
sleeping pad with 3" between me and the ground (NeoAir)
down sleeping bag (WM Megalite), doesn't weigh much more than your quilt)

For ultralight, you definitely have me beat.
When I think of 15,000 feet, I think of severe weather, snow in summer, rain anytime, possible mishaps on rock and snow. Maybe where you are going is a bit less risky than mountaineering in the western U.S.

William F
(wkf) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: 15k camping on 05/17/2014 10:59:44 MDT Print View

The pic in my avatar is from the Parque Nacional El Cocuy in Colombia at about 14k feet. Our highest pass was about 16k if I'm not mistaken. During the day, temps were in the 60s (cloudy) to 70s (sunny), and night time just below freezing. So in my experience high altitude trekking and camping in the Andes is very different than mountaineering in the upper or lower latitudes. Much less extreme conditions. Storms can move through though and bring high winds and visibility can be dangerously low. Regarding bugs I don't remember seeing any really, just a few flies that really liked the bright blue color of my baseball cap. Maybe saw one mosquito and nothing at night. Bug protection above 9k is not really necessary in my experience. Sun/ UV protection is very important though. This description I think would be relevant to any travel in the tropical Andes (ie. Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, northern Peru)

Jorge Falcon
(jorge.falcon) - F - M

Locale: CCS
Thanks people (15K camp) on 05/24/2014 12:05:28 MDT Print View

Thanks Ian, agreed.

Ozzy I don't feel ok bringing two pads, seems like and overkill to me. I won't be sleeping on ice. I think I'll just take my xtherm.

Bob, I know I'm being lazy with my med&repair kits, thanks for pointing it out. I've been ok in previous hikes just because anything went wrong... I'll also add some backup method to start fire.

Based on other comments, I'll be adding a balaclava, compass and air pad. I always bring rain pants when it's cold. I do have more than one pair of socks and sleeping thermal tops&bottoms. Maybe better gloves would be an improvement.

I don't use pack cover, my pack makes a good job keeping rain out + I use cuben fiber stuff sacks (roll top mode for sleeping bag and cloth). I've went through a lot of rain (like 4 continous hours with some snow) and everything was perfectly dry.

I think my sleeping bag + down hooded jacket (+ sleep cloth) will do fine based on previous experinces, as pointed by William weather in tropical contries is a bit more kind.

Finally William, yes, I agree with you. However it's wise to be prepared for an unexpected storm with some hail or snow.

Edited by jorge.falcon on 05/24/2014 12:07:42 MDT.