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3 man team bivy options
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Apr 1, 2016
Wondering what people use for a bivi system when climbing in a team of 3, specifically in the central Alaska range?
Needs to have a fairly small footprint to prevent hours upon hours of chopping ledges, weigh under 4lbs and I don't mind snuggling.

From experience I know that the BD lighthouse is the best for this, however it is out of production and I've had difficulty tracking one down. Has anyone tried sleeping 3 in a first light? How about a tarp shelter?

Thanks for the input!
Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 1, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
been going up there the past few years,

the general style that people are using is take no bivy gear other than a pad, climb as fast as possible, sleep/nap/rest in the open as the sun shines on you, climb when the sun goes away/at night. 50-60 hour pushes are the norm on the big routes.

other than that people have used tarps/bothy bags, with varying degrees of comfort/success.

usually the weather up there will be high pressure for 3-4 days at a time followed by 3-4 days of storm. Push it until it storms, then rappel for hours through spindrift avalanches to bail.

in all reality though most climbs should be no longer than a 24 hour push unless you're going for the moonflower/south face of denali/infinite spur, which if you are going for that, you should already know the answer to this question.

where it gets real bold is on routes where the only escape is up and over (think cassin ridge or infinite spur)

what routes are you thinking?
christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Apr 1, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: k
When in doubt, spoon it out. Turner
Joined Dec 6, 2011
295 points
Apr 1, 2016
been going up there the past few years, the general style that people are using is take no bivy gear other than a pad, climb as fast as possible, sleep/nap/rest in the open as the sun shines on you, climb when the sun goes away/at night. 50-60 hour pushes are the norm on the big routes. other than that people have used tarps/bothy bags, with varying degrees of comfort/success. usually the weather up there will be high pressure for 3-4 days at a time followed by 3-4 days of storm. Push it until it storms, then rappel for hours through spindrift avalanches to bail. in all reality though most climbs should be no longer than a 24 hour push unless you're going for the moonflower/south face of denali/infinite spur, which if you are going for that, you should already know the answer to this question. where it gets real bold is on routes where the only escape is up and over (think cassin ridge or infinite spur) what routes are you thinking?</quote

Shaken not stirred, SW ridge of 11,300 and Harvard route on Huntington......the only one id think about bivying on would be Huntington, and that decision will really come down to conditions on the upper part of the mountain, i.e. not consolidated up top=slow moving. But in most cases I do prefer to do routes in a push, heavy packs suck.
Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 1, 2016
I definitely have come to appreciate the merits of man spooning. Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 1, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
i would take a just pads for Huntington. easy to rap if weather turns sour. christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Apr 1, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
11,300 seems more bivy inducing than huntington to me, no easy way down you know, up and over type climb. christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Apr 1, 2016
True. However the terrain lends itself to being simuclimbed and soloed quite quickly in good conditions ( and i wouldn't fuck with that climb in bad conditions, a good friend spent several days tunneling through 5 ft of snow on it). Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Competing in the 2015 Ouray Elite Mixed Competitio...
Yer gunna die. CCChanceR
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Aug 20, 2012
56 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Competing in the 2015 Ouray Elite Mixed Competitio...
  • We're gunna die. :)
CCChanceR
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Aug 20, 2012
56 points
Apr 2, 2016
No tent in the Alaska Range sounds crazy. FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
284 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
you have a tent, actually usually a few, big solid bombproof ones.

you just dont take them on route.

up on those mountains you dont want to be up there in a storm, tent or no tent.

it brings up logistical conundrums,

you cant climb with much shelter, food or fuel in your pack and make it up those climbs in a reasonable time frame.

so its either go heavy>get trapped in a storm with dwindling rations and a tent thats getting shredded by the storm

or

go light and fast> and rappel if things start turning sour.

Luckily, the weather is pretty easy to predict up there. High clouds= storm in about 24 hours.

and yes, sometimes thing don't work out as planned (i.e our 40+ hour ascent of mt. frances via the sw ridge, normally around 18 hrs, balls deep postholing every step)


Rock Climbing Photo: sun's gone, time to climb.
sun's gone, time to climb.
christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Apr 2, 2016
What kinda temps should we expect in mid May? Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 2, 2016
CCChanceR wrote:
*We're gunna die. :)

Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
mid may...

you dont think you want to go a bit earlier for those routes?

a lot of the "ice" routes like shaken not stirred may be out of condition by then,

and the rock routes, cobra pillar, goldfinger, may still be wet and snowy...and south facing routes like 11,300 can be totally isothermic...

conditions can be different every year, but be flexible with your plans if you are set on those dates. If conditions in the ruth are bad, and you're set on doing some ice climbing, go to the kahiltna instead. Routes like mini moonflower and bacon and eggs are due north and a couple thousand feet higher, and dont melt out or get affected by the sun too much. There is still awesome rock all over annies ridge and the base of mt. frances.

If you want rock and the ruth has fallen apart but the rock routes arent in yet there, go to the Pika glacier.

The last few years it seems as though May is a transition season in the ruth, ice in april, rock in June, and danger in may...

but once again, you never know.

As far as temps, around 0 at night, to short sleeves in the heat of the day with the sun on you. During storms its usually around 20-30 degrees, unless the storm comes from the north in which case it can get really cold.

Never been to the tokositna glacier or mt. Huntington but I hear the camp there gets little sun, so it should be pretty cold at camp. That route i believe faces west, and with what i've experienced at the Kahiltna is that anything south to west facing turns isothermic by mid may, with lots of natural avalanches on a daily if not hourly basis.

Dont take any of this as absolute, if you are motivated and strong you will have a great trip and do lots of great climbing in whatever venue has the best conditions.

Bring rock shoes just in case!
christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Apr 2, 2016
Yes. We would absolutely prefer to be there earlier in the season, however school holds me and one of my partners back until early may. Some of our friends climbed Ham and Eggs, wake up and the harvard route the same time we will be there in a low snow year......and from what i saw on the Tokositna and flying around the rest of the ruth a couple weeks ago it will likely be another low snow year. So that gives us hope.

Thanks for the beta on the Kahiltna, we'll definitely keep that in mind if conditions are shit.

From my experience the west face of Huntington gets less sun than expected, however the problem with Huntington is sometimes the upper mountain will be so cold that avy danger is still real, while the lower half of the mountain is warm enough that the ice cones on the WFC and Harvard will melt out while you wait for the upper mountain to stabilize.

Like all the big ranges, its hard to make a judgment call until you're standing underneath the route....and even then its hard to be 100%
Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
haha,

i know your friends,

well kind of, met them briefly at kahiltna basecamp last year, and through various internet conversations... if you climb anything like those guys you're going to crush it.

Good luck!

post up some pics when you're done!
christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Apr 2, 2016
Thanks! Hopefully conditions line up and ill get some good pictures up afterwords Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Competing in the 2015 Ouray Elite Mixed Competitio...
Alpine Style AF christoph

Nate - never thought to hard on dying before...

CCChanceR
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Aug 20, 2012
56 points
Apr 2, 2016
Never sucked on the dying..... Nate Goodwin
Joined Apr 3, 2015
55 points
Apr 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
i like you guys,

I used to be in a fugazi cover band! played that album front to back for a while with the band.

Ian Mackaye wouldn't take a tent, neither would Guy.

123 repeater!
christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points


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