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Doing Denali Light: Post-Trip Report and Gearlist
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Matt Hage

Locale: Alaska
Re: Overboots on 09/04/2007 17:44:34 MDT Print View

Hey Robert

That’s the great challenge of the alpine game; there is no right or wrong answers. Only decisions. And every alpinist must solely live or die by their own decision. Everyone must know their own capabilities and limits; both physical and mental. And every team is responsible for their own exit strategy. Our trip on the West Buttress this season was about finding areas where we could go without. Overboots were actually an easy choice to cut for us. Our feet stay warm in our chosen boots in some pretty brutal conditions. It may be having a lifetime of Fairbanks winters in my blood. Agnes and I are pretty used to BC skiing, mountaineering and ice climbing in below zero conditions. My feet are usually too warm in my current boot system and I’m not looking for anything warmer for spring/summer/fall trips in the Alaska Range. I do take overboots (40 below neoprene) on winter trips. The VB liners are our extra bit of foot insurance.

Others take overboots for summit day and some wear them everyday on the route. Frostbite happens with or without them. A boot tied too tight in the morning. A bonked or dehydrated climber above 18K can start to feel cold even in a down suit. Know your body and how it performs in harsh environments. Then make your equipment/clothing decisions. First time to Denali? You probably want to pack overboots as it can be a very cold mountain. I would certainly pack overboots on my first trip to some of the other great ranges.

But c’mon people, ditching overboots wasn’t that big a deal when you consider we took a 2.5 lb tent that doesn’t have a single guy line. That was spooky!

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re:Re: Overboots on 09/04/2007 20:02:45 MDT Print View

Matt: You have more experience than I on Denali, and I'm not putting you down, just asking questions. Regarding that Stephenson Warmlite tent, since it has been around for decades, why is it not more popular on the big mountains. In videos of the South Col of Everest I see VE-25s and MH tents, but never a Stephenson Warmlite tent. Is it limited to places with lots of tie-out possibilites? Does it handle heavy snow loads?

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Nosce te ipsum on 01/24/2008 11:36:03 MST Print View

I've always found foot warmth to be as subjective as diet: one person's requirements can be wildly different from another's in the same conditions.

I know this because I am probably among the luckiest humans alive for foot warmth. My feet are hot in almost anything, and I have to work hard to manage heat and sweat. In the summer, I delight in the day's first tramp through an icy creek -- because I know my feet will be pleasantly cooled for the rest of the day.

I once misguidedly applied what works for *me* to my girlfriend: I suggested that gore-tex shoes would repel occasional splashes of water but create and then trap torrents of sweat, leading to wet and miserable feet. As most women reading this have guessed, she wound up with permanently-chilled feet and ultimately a bladder infection. We quickly exchanged her breathable trail runners for sealed-up gore-tex light hikers, and she's been comfortable ever since.

I feel that winter and high-altitude pursuits are where it's most critical to "know thyself". You need to know when and how *you* need to be fed, when *you* are ready to really giv'er, (or when *you* are spent,) and very importantly how each part of *you* needs to be insulated or ventilated.

Another climber looks at this list and says "yikes cold feet!", whereas the author might look at that climber's list and say "I would starve eating all that starch and candy" or "how are you going to stay warm at night in that bag?"

Nosce te ipsum.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
Micropuff AND Parka on 03/13/2009 22:25:29 MDT Print View

Not sure if anyone is still reading/replying to this gearlist, but I was wondering about the decision to bring a 25oz parka and micropuff pullovers. In your experice are both nessecery?
Were starting to put together our gear for the West Butress and are trying to decide on parkas...

Matt Hage

Locale: Alaska
Re: Micropuff AND Parka on 04/08/2009 13:00:33 MDT Print View

Hey Robert

You might be able to get away with just the MontBell parka (or similar). The micropuff pullover is to be used under the spectre jacket on days climbing. Added insulation for up high and on cold, windy days. Need synthetic layer there or else just gets soaked.

Good luck and have fun up there!