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Looking for some denali gear input (crampons, hard shell, water pot)

Original Post
Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 61

Hi all, I am doing the west buttress starting May 19th and wanted some input on a few gear choices I am thinking about making

Crampons: I currently own a pair of Grivel g12s.   I was thinking about buy a pair of Camp Nanotech Tours.  They are full steel crampons and weigh around 20 ounces.  The grivel's weigh around 32.  Saving 2/3rds of a lbs on my feet would be super significant given the roughly 5x multiplier involved with weight on the feet.   Anyone see a problem with using 10 point crampons on west buttress, given that they are steel?

Hard Shell-  I am planning on skipping a hard shell all together and bringing a Patagonia Houdini as a windblock.   My upper layers will consist of Ex Officio Sun Hoody-->Exped weight Capeline -->Patagonia Nano Air --> (Houdini) -->MH Abs Zero Parka.  Thoughts?  Any reason to bring a heavy gortex type hard shell?

Water Pot size, Heat exchanging pots, etc:  Team will consist of 9 total people ( #3 three man rope teams).  What size group water pot would you guys run with?  We will have individual pots in each team for cooking and water if we are separated, but not quite sure what the sweet spot should be here.  Also anyone with experience using, say, a Reactor pot with an xgk? Worthwhile?

Dave Cramer · · Greenfield, MA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

Personally I would not bother spending the extra $$ on the crampons. Most parties ski to 11k. Many ski up to 14k.

Clothing wise I think your are thin and will be wearing Zero way more than you want and be too hot whilst moving. The Houdini will not help. The other is none have pit zips. I would go a bit lighter on the down jacket and heavier on another layer. You will still need something for a shell.

For cooking get a couple of big ass pots. With nine people you are going to be melting a lot of snow. We took a 4 liter titanium pot up the Cassin for three people. 

diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

I'm not a definitive resource but I'll weigh in with a few thoughts. 

I think 10 points would be fine. On the other hand I would take them if I had them but I probably wouldn't buy them for it either. To me I don't know that the weight is that big of a deal. The question also has a bit to do with your boot system. Are you going 8k or 6k with overboots? A strap crampon that adjusts easily can be better than a full auto style.

On the upper layers I took a hard shell. If I was going again I might not. Down low you could be traveling in wet snow, fog or even rain. The likelihood of that is not necessarily high but on the other hand success on the route really depends on being able to move low camps in marginal conditions to get in position up high. It can be very windy up higher too making a hard shell potentially nice.

With all that said I wore a heavy soft shell all the time (MH Dragon) and the hard shell only for the summit (never pulled out the abs 0).

OK, if I went again I'd take the soft shell but not the hard.

Pots. I had a small team but the teams of 9 that I saw had full-on cheapo pasta pots they picked up from Walmart on the way up. The guides had custom rigs that allowed ganging up stoves under huge stock pots. For 2 people we had a 2l pot and it was adequate. For 9 people you will be spending so much time making water you need to go big and get some BTUs going in your favor.  

diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Looking at Allen's reply. I agree you look light up top. I like the soft shell jackets a lot, some people advocate strongly against. Regardless you need some better options for being active in cold weather than on/off with the abs 0.

Nate K · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 240

so for crampons it doesnt matter. If you have the cash to trow down for some new ones then thats good, the G12s are plenty light enough. 

Bring a hardshell, i got rained on on the lower glacier last year, nice to have when it gets super windy and gore pro breathes incredibly well.

Bring the biggest longest pot you can find and dont worry about how much it weighs. Get it long so you can have 2 stoves going under it. 

Dont worry about weight, get fit and go heavy to 14 then Super light above 14. Bring stuff to be comfortable and entertained. People bail on the buttress mostly because they get uncomfortable while waiting out bad weather

Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 61

Thanks for replies everyone!  

Allen-  God I wish we were skiing.  Unfortunately enough of our crew are not skiiers that we are going to have to hoof it.  I can see how moving in the ABS0 in anything but crazy cold would be an issue.  I have Nilas as well, but it is worn out and has too many cold spots for me to trust if things get real cold.   I got a great deal on the ABS0 so I picked it up. I like the idea of being stupid warm in camp, but I actually run pretty warm usually so I think it will be overkill to the point of detrimental on the move.  Might try and find a good deal on a FF icefall and sell the ABS0.

Maybe I will run something like House's setup in the above link

Sun Hoody ---> Level 3 Cap Base --> R1 Hoody -->Nano Air Hoody -->Houdini --> Hardshell --> FF Icefall Parka 

Does that seem flexible enough to you guys?  Next time temps out in glen allen get down in the -30s I am going to head out and see how all this performs.  

How did you guys run lower layers?  Looks like house was using a nano air along with a baselayer under his soft shell.  Thoughts on that vs  just using baselayer + soft Shell + puff pant?  

For our water melting stoves I plan to make a cooking board with spots to fit 3 XGKs under a pot so they wont slide.  

AS far as boot I am using G2SMs with overboots. 

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

With that large of a group if some of the folks are skiers, let them ski. They will be slightly faster which means they can take the tents and stoves and have camp setup for the rest when they roll in. As for a cook board for some 30 years now I taken an ensolite pad and glued a thin sheet of newspaper tin or copper to it. It is light weight flexible and works great in the snow.  Also take a meg-a-mid for cooking. I would also suggest taking at least 4 or even 5 tents. Because I can guarantee that between 14k and 17k you will split up. 

FWIW my layering is old by todays standards but still works fine. But I wore a one piece mid weight capline suit with a one piece stretch suit (no arms). Over that was exp. weight capline shirt and pile jacket or pants. I had a one piece hard shell suit and a down jacket. Whilst climbing I wore the down jacket and pile pants on our summit day and only then put them on at 19k (which was actually a bit of PITA cause of trying to slide the pants under my one piece hard shell). The main times I wore the down jacket was in camp. I like one piece suits because shirts tend to ride up and pants down leading to cold spots. I also like lots of zippers to ventilate something lacking in todays clothing. It alows one to unzip and shit with ease.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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