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EWG
03-08-2009, 10:29 PM
Getting all set for the guided REI summit trip 03/27. Been gathering/testing gear and been getting some hiking in as well as working out for a cpl months now. I live in NC and just climbed Mt Mitchell this past Thursday:

Difficulty: Most Difficult
Total Length: 11.4 mi
Trail Tread Condition: Very Rough
Climb: Climbs Steeply
Lowest Elevation: 2995 ft
Highest Elevation: 6684 ftTher
Total Elevation Gain: 3689 ft
Trails/Roads Used: Mount Mitchell, Higgins Bald (optional)
Hike Configuration: Out-and-back

Had my 4790cf pack filled with a total weight of 48 lbs. and wore my dbl plastics to test a new sock combination. I think I set out at too fast a pace and although it was 28^F I broke out in a sweat in the fisrt hr. There was about 2"-3" of snow but footing was not all that bad.
I did turn back about a mile and a half from the top as my right theigh was burnt out and cramping. All in all I did the up and back of about 8.5 - 9 miles in about 6 hrs... (too fast)

Learned from this trip is: it is very ez to get sweaty before you know it, my pack needed some more fitting ajustments, and 48lbs is a very heavy load for me. It made me question weather or not I am ready for the Washington trip conditioning wise.

Anyway, the trip was great. The views outstanding. And the will to make it to the top all that much more on my mind.

As always feedback, opinons, and points of view, welcomed

mk10
03-09-2009, 01:54 AM
Getting all set for the guided REI summit trip 03/27. Been gathering/testing gear and been getting some hiking in as well as working out for a cpl months now. I live in NC and just climbed Mt Mitchell this past Thursday... Had my 4790cf pack filled with a total weight of 48 lbs. and wore my dbl plastics to test a new sock combination... Learned from this trip is: it is very ez to get sweaty before you know it, my pack needed some more fitting adjustments... 48lbs is a very heavy load for me. It made me question weather or not I am ready for the Washington trip conditioning wise...

You're doing all the right things (working out, winter hiking in the mountains, testing out and tweaking your gear)--you'll be fine for your summit trip. The people who I worry about are those who all of the sudden attempt to climb MW despite not having the right gear, not having the appropriate level of fitness, and not ever having climbed anything before.

I'm assuming your 48lbs pack was for training purposes. You can prepare for a day hike with enough clothing/equipment for an emergency overnight, yet still have a pack that weighs less than 35lbs (and that INCLUDES the weight of food/water and crampons/ice ax strapped to your pack).

Brad
03-09-2009, 05:57 AM
Ewg,

Which trail did you do on Mitchell? There are some long ones there.

Bill O
03-09-2009, 06:48 AM
48 pounds is way too much gear. Something is not right there.

Brad
03-09-2009, 09:03 AM
EWG,

My guess is you did the Mitchell Trail from the Black Mt Campground on up to the summit. I have done the top part of that trail but not the whole thing. What I remember is - nothing like Mt Washington! Footing is different. Not open exposed rocks, not as steep and not above treeline. The 48 pound pack would scare me more!

That trail is 33% longer than PNVC - Lion head - MW summit, and the MW trail is 16% more elevation gain. Doing the Mt Mitchell hike for conditioning is excellent! It will really help. But, be prepared for a very different hike on MW.

Here is what I think you did.

http://images42.fotki.com/v1466/photos/8/8235/242566/MtMitchelltrail-vi.jpg

Brad
03-09-2009, 09:52 AM
For reference here is the MW trail profile using the same tools.

http://images42.fotki.com/v1466/photos/8/8235/242566/MWTrail-vi.jpg

smithtim
03-09-2009, 01:53 PM
EWG,

I have done the top part of that trail but not the whole thing. What I remember is - nothing like Mt Washington! Footing is different. Not open exposed rocks, not as steep and not above treeline.


yeah I also did a similar trail on Mitchell a while back (from Blue Ridge side road to summit was about 4 miles or so one way), and I agree that it is probably not even in the same class as Washington... I should note that when I did Mitchell it was in early winter and there was no snow / ice... obviously the ground conditions and weather are going to be the main difference here... was Mitchell snow covered if so how deep?

Also, I agree 48 lbs is way to much! you shouldn't need all that unless your doing an overnight and even then that seems heavy... I'm planning for next week and my current pack with Crampons, ice axe, food, water, and emergency blanket etc is maybe 10 lbs

Brad
03-09-2009, 02:28 PM
And another point to think about is SmithTim is probably going up and back in the same day. EWG is only doing half the trip one day - stay over night - then the other half of the hike. The overnight trips should make it so much easier and more enjoyable - time to look around and see the sunset and sunrise.

climbabout
03-09-2009, 04:30 PM
EWG - sounds to me like you're on the right track. Your actual carry weight should be 30-35lbs max, including food and 2-3 liters of water. I've done the overnight obs trip with all the required gear with as little as 27-28lbs. If you did a round trip of 9 miles with a 3700' elevation gain in 6 hours with a 48lb pack, that's pretty good. Keep in mind that trail conditions will greatly affect the difficulty/ ease of the trip. Use your training hikes to fine tune your clothing system and get to know how your body reacts to cold and exertion level. Best to start out a bit cold and to work into warmth, than to overheat and sweat excessively. If there is no wind down low and the temps are in the 15-20 deg range, I often start in just a light base layer and maybe a light fleece over that with a hat and gloves - a bit cold when you start, but within 10-15min it's just right. Training hikes will help you fine tune your clothing system to your body. Regarding cramping - that is often a sign of dehydration. Be sure to hydrate beginning the day before and drink drink a liter or 2 the morning of the climb between the time you get up and on the way to the mountain. Every hour or so during your break, drink 1/3-1/2 liter as well as have something to eat. When hiking, remember to eat at each break. There's an old climber's saying - "lunch begins right after breakfast and continues until dinner" - you want to keep your body with a steady supply of liquid and food.
Good Luck
Tim

b1029384756
03-09-2009, 05:22 PM
Well, I think as far as carried weight goes, that depends on how big you are. 48 lbs wouldn't be a problem at all for me, but for someone half my size, it might be. My pack weighed about 30 lbs when I went, but I would bring more water next time so it will be heavier. I brought 3 quarts but used almost all of it climbing up to around tree line and back. Next time I'd bring a gallon. Larger size also means that more water and food is required.

My thighs were feeling the burn as well last time I tried to climb. I don't know a whole lot about that but someone told me that it's due to lactic acid buildup from exerting yourself far beyond what you're accustomed to, as was the case for me. It was easy to ignore it and continue on, but I'm sure it's much preferred to be in better physical condition to begin with.

krummholz
03-10-2009, 08:26 PM
B.--Just noticed your Latin signature. Here's something from Marcus Aurelius, one of my favorite philosophers. It might apply to preparing for a climb of Mt. Washington:

"Numquam te futura perturbent. Ea enim, si opus erit, adibis eadem ratione praeditus, qua nunc ad praesentia uteris."

Uncas
03-11-2009, 04:57 PM
This makes me think- What is the ideal body type for climbing from what I can tell from the guys who make a living at it, they are not much different then cyclist. Im guessing 5,7 - 5'9 140?

Brad
03-11-2009, 05:57 PM
My guess is the answer is different when one starts climbing and after one has been doing it for a while. I find it is an excellent workout. So, where ever you start out for weight, doing it a lot will bring it down or keep it low.

I wish I could get a good hike in every 2-3 weeks. That day will come.

b1029384756
03-11-2009, 10:00 PM
Well, I don't speak Latin and know very little of it, mostly scientific. I'm having enough trouble just trying to improve my Russian. I just remember that quote from a long time back and thought it'd be good for someone who climbs solo, although the original quote is referring to highest authority rather than literal height, it still fits. Yours is interesting as well, not quite as catchy, though.

Whatever the best body type is, mine is definitely not it at 6'4" 280#. I'd imagine that conditioning is much more important than size, though. If you're used to walking long distances, carrying a lot of equipment, etc, you'll be a better climber and have an easier time at it. For example, someone the same size as me who just completed military training (yeah, they do exist, few and far between though) with long marches carrying a lot of gear, would find any climb much easier than I would. I'd imagine that the differences become magnified with age, though.

EWG
03-17-2009, 09:27 AM
As Always, thank you all for your feedback. Brad... Strong work on the trail graffics thank you. Also the TR# 190 Mt Mitchell trail from Black Mountain Camp Ground is the trail I use on Mithchell. I will be doing the REI up and back climb and not the overnight Obs trip. This includes a day in the Whites working on Ax skills, as well as other tasks and learning. They will also go over our gear with us and help make judgements on what we will be taking. Learning skills and gaining from the experience of the guides is the reason I sighned up for this trip. Just as a way of stats I am 50 yrs 5'8" and 142lbs. I am really looking forward to my MW trip and all I can learn from it. This forum, and the people on it, have been a great help and inspiration. Thank you all.

Brad
03-17-2009, 07:35 PM
That REI clinic sounds really good. It would scare my wife into thinking I would want to get into more than "hiking".

EWG
03-18-2009, 12:20 AM
I understand that. My girlfriend and friends dont really understand either. This trip was planned to not only for the experience of a beautiful place and mountain, but as a learning ground to see if I want to continue onto Ranier, Hood, and maybe Denali... Longs Peak CO looks interesting too. But I think MW should let me know if continuing is something I want to do in reality and not just in my mind.

b1029384756
03-18-2009, 03:21 PM
More or less the same thing I thought, that Washington is a good way to get your feet wet and see if you'd enjoy climbing the bigger ones. Trying a winter climb on Denali is out of the question for me for quite a long time, I know I'd have lottery odds against coming back from that one alive without a lot of experience first. But I'd definitely try my luck at the others after I manage Washington, since having been there allowed me to confirm that this is something I'd want to do more of. Best of luck.

Bill O
03-18-2009, 05:43 PM
More or less the same thing I thought, that Washington is a good way to get your feet wet and see if you'd enjoy climbing the bigger ones. Trying a winter climb on Denali is out of the question for me for quite a long time, I know I'd have lottery odds against coming back from that one alive without a lot of experience first. But I'd definitely try my luck at the others after I manage Washington, since having been there allowed me to confirm that this is something I'd want to do more of. Best of luck.

A winter climb of Denali? Only like 5 people have ever done that. But don't worry, it feels like winter in May, June and July.

b1029384756
03-18-2009, 06:43 PM
Hmm...I was sure that a lot more than that have done it, maybe not though. Or did you mean only 5 solo climbers? I wouldn't try it during any time of the year in the foreseeable future, though. I'm not in shape enough to be able to maintain that level of exertion for weeks on end and of course don't have the needed skills. I'm often willing to take questionable risks but I still know what my limits are.

climbabout
03-18-2009, 06:55 PM
B - pick yourself up a copy of the book "minus 148". It's a fascinating read about the first winter ascent of Mckinley in 1967. Makes Mount Washington in the winter look like a tropical island. Mckinley is tough enough in the "summer" climbing season for even the most seasoned climbers.
Tim

Bill O
03-18-2009, 07:37 PM
B - pick yourself up a copy of the book "minus 148". It's a fascinating read about the first winter ascent of Mckinley in 1967. Makes Mount Washington in the winter look like a tropical island. Mckinley is tough enough in the "summer" climbing season for even the most seasoned climbers.
Tim

Am I about right on that number? I know it's a very short list.

climbabout
03-18-2009, 08:56 PM
Not sure about the exact number, but it's very small indeed.
Tim

b1029384756
03-19-2009, 03:42 AM
I've heard of the book before, I'll make sure to pick it up.

Let's see, a quick google search turns up...Dave Johnston, Art Davidson, and Ray Genet in 1967, Naomi Uemura in 1970, Vern Tejas in 1988, Vladimir Ananich, Artur Testov, and Alex Nikiforov in 1998, also Masatoshi Kuriaki in 1998. Probably some others too. I know that's not all of them, so even if there's 20, I get the point that it's a short list. For some reason I was thinking it was more common and done most years. Hell, I'd still roll the dice on it if I ever thought that I was ready.

mtruman
03-19-2009, 09:40 PM
From 7summits.com here's the description of climbing seasons on Denali:



Snow and weather conditions for climbing major Alaska Range peaks are usually best from May through July. Colder minimum temperatures and strong northwest winds commonly occur in May. Late June and July are warmer but more unsettled. By late July, travel on the lower glaciers is made difficult by melting snow bridges over crevasses and by more inclement weather with heavier snowfall and increased avalanche danger. The highest success rates occur in June. April is an excellent month for many of the lower peaks with conditions often cold and clear while the winter extremes still linger on Denali and Mt. Foraker. The coldest weather on Denali is found from November through April with average temperatures ranging from -30F to -70F recorder at the 19,000 foot level. It is not uncommon to find it -50F at the 17,200 foot camp in early May.

Winter climbing in Denali borders on the ridiculous more because of its unfathomable risks than because of its mountaineering challenge. Some of the world's best climbers have either disappeared or perished form literally being flash frozen! In winter months, the jet stream, +100mph (160 km/h), will often descend over the mountain's upper flanks. Combine this wind with the naturally caused venturi effect that doubles wind velocity in such areas as Denali Pass and you will find one of the most hostile environments on this planet. The combined effect of ferocious wind and extreme cold easily and routinely send the wind chill off the charts.
Great article from the International Journal of Wilderness on Denali here: http://7summits.com/denali/daryl_miller-article-on-wilderness.pdf

Here's another article on the Russian ascent of Denali in January 1998. Echos the sentiments from Minus 148. This was the first ascent in January (although it doesn't mention other winter ascents). http://classic.mountainzone.com/news/denali.html

b1029384756
03-19-2009, 11:31 PM
Great article on the Russians. Smoking tea leaves, I got a laugh out of that. Myself being Russian (ethnicity, not nationality), that doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I get the idea that it's a very difficult climb, and unlike smaller mountains, you can't wait for good weather because you can start your climb and the weather can change suddenly for the worse when you're 15 days out, and I don't think there's any way to forecast that far ahead.

I was just looking at information on Denali in case I might ever try it years from now and it seems that the Muldrow glacier route is the best route. It's rated as "easy" as the west buttress but doesn't have a terribly long approach. I wouldn't feel right about flying halfway up to climb. Imagine on Washington if you could arrange to ride the snowcat up Tuckerman's to the base of lion's head and only climb from there. I'd consider that to be unsportsmanlike, I'm sure many would disagree but I think to be able to legitimately say that you've successfully climbed a mountain, you need to have not only reached the summit, but have done so starting from the base. I have no doubt that there's examples of specific mountains where this definition would be difficult to apply depending on what constitutes the "base", and it would become an issue of semantics, but I think it's a good rule in the general case. If anyone feels differently about that, that's fine, but that's how I feel so that's the rule I'll apply to myself.

It was actually reading information about McKinley/Denali last summer that got me wanting to climb in the first place, and I only chose to start with Washington because it's somewhat local to me, not too difficult for a beginner (in my opinion, I already know a hundred times over that this isn't shared by many here) but still a good challenge in the winter. I might or might not ever be ready to attempt Denali but if I was I'd probably want to try it in winter anyway, just seems a whole lot more interesting and unique.

Anyway, this is all hypothetical for something that won't happen for years if at all. I'm waiting for winter to come again so I can complete Washington without getting injured this time, and then see about moving on to Hood or whatever would qualify me for Rainier, likely finding a school to teach me solo glacier travel techniques before trying a glaciated peak. My apologies for derailing this thread.

Bill O
03-20-2009, 06:17 AM
If that is the case you should start all your climbs at sea level. Seems unsportsmen like to climb Mount Washington after driving a third of the way up to Pinkham.

GPB
03-20-2009, 07:17 AM
I just finished reading the book "Into Thin Air" about an Everest Climb gone bad, and the author mentions a guy who came all the way from Sweden on his bicycle because he wanted to do it all under his own power !!!

Bill O
03-20-2009, 07:44 AM
I just finished reading the book "Into Thin Air" about an Everest Climb gone bad, and the author mentions a guy who came all the way from Sweden on his bicycle because he wanted to do it all under his own power !!!

Do you know who that guy is? He is one of the "stars" of Everest: Beyond The Limit

He finally summitted after multiple attempts.

climbabout
03-20-2009, 08:11 AM
His name was Goran Kropp - he later died in a separate climbing accident.
Tim

climbabout
03-20-2009, 08:13 AM
If that is the case you should start all your climbs at sea level. Seems unsportsmen like to climb Mount Washington after driving a third of the way up to Pinkham.
Good point Bill - walking across miles of mushy tundra to reach the lower Kahiltna doesn't seem to serve much purpose at all.
Tim

Bill O
03-20-2009, 09:08 AM
His name was Goran Kropp - he later died in a separate climbing accident.
Tim

Hmmm, you are probably right. For some reason I thought it was Mogens Jensen.

MelNino
03-20-2009, 09:16 AM
Mogens is pretty awesome...I can't fathom hiking Everest w/ asthma and wanting to do it without oxygen! HE was one of my faveorties on "Beyond the Limit"

Bill O
03-20-2009, 10:09 AM
Mogens is pretty awesome...I can't fathom hiking Everest w/ asthma and wanting to do it without oxygen! HE was one of my faveorties on "Beyond the Limit"

On the contrary for me. I can't fathom how many times they mentioned he was an asthmatic and how over-hyped they made his "disability" sound.

I had asthma as a kid and with an inhaler it was not an issue. With today's inhalers and medications I imagine it's even less of an issue. They just needed something to play-up. It's like trying to make a big deal out of someone climbing Everest with poor eye-sight that is easily fixed with glasses or contacts.

The other guy with the plates and screws made a little more sense. But in case you forget he was in a motorcycle accident (duh, anyone who rides motorcycles has a nearly 100% chance of being in an accident) they must have shown that x-ray circle view montage 1,000 times.

MelNino
03-20-2009, 10:38 AM
Tim was cool too (the biker guy) A wee bit to bravado.....but seemed to be a cool. I'd have a few beers with him.

They hyped alot of stuff, gotta have drama!! lol

Bill O
03-20-2009, 11:00 AM
Tim was an amazing accomplishment. Most people in the industry would give him close to a 0% chance of making it. Then add a broken hand to the equation. Very impressive.

mk10
03-20-2009, 08:06 PM
Tim was an amazing accomplishment. Most people in the industry would give him close to a 0% chance of making it. Then add a broken hand to the equation. Very impressive.

Everyone in the world was rooting for Tim, so I'm sure he received extraordinary treatment from Brice, Sherpas, Discovery Channel crew, etc. Whether it was by carrying up more of his bottles of oxygen or putting him in the lead group so he wouldn't get stuck behind slower climbers at the 2nd step, they were going to do everything possible to give him the best chance for success (they raised his nearly 0% chance of making it by a few percent, which ultimately turned out to be enough). He did a great job though, and truly performed when he had to. My hats off to him.


Mogens is pretty awesome...I can't fathom hiking Everest w/ asthma and wanting to do it without oxygen! HE was one of my faveorties on "Beyond the Limit"

Mogens steadfast refusal to climb without oxygen (feeling that it was unsportsmanlike and beneath him) was idiotic and was ultimately leading him down a very dangerous path. It's a good thing that he came to his senses and eventually accepted the oxygen or else he would have to consider himself lucky to have just merely failed to summit again.


I wouldn't feel right about flying halfway up to climb. Imagine on Washington if you could arrange to ride the snowcat up Tuckerman's to the base of lion's head and only climb from there. I'd consider that to be unsportsmanlike...

I'm waiting for winter to come again so I can complete Washington...and then see about moving on to Hood...Rainier...

B102, don't be a Mogens. It's OK to start at a point above sea level. It's OK to climb after the spring equinox and before the winter solstice. It's OK to climb mountains other than Washington, Hood, Rainier, Denali, Everest. It's OK to use GPS. Your criteria are so arbitrary and capricious that you might as well start wearing only silk, wool, gabardine, and hobnail boots too. Aren't you supposed to be doing this for the scenic views, the cardio exercise, and the experience of the whole adventure anyway?

b1029384756
03-20-2009, 10:28 PM
Never said it wasn't okay to do any of those things. If I had unlimited money I'd certainly bring a GPS unit, it just ranked lower on my priorities than other things and I had to make do without it. I'd be willing to climb whatever mountain I thought would be suitable and not limiting myself to those I mentioned, but I'm not very familiar with many of them by name, so I listed the ones I've heard of that interest me. I prefer winter because I hate heat and bugs and love the cold, and ice and snow is much more fun than collapsing from heat exhaustion and having half of my blood siphoned off. I lived in Hawaii for a while and while I like the ocean and beaches, I never quite got used to the endless heat. So, it's not about that it's not okay to do those things, some of them I'd just prefer not to. The sense of accomplishment also ranks just as high as the experience of adventure, so I try to plan it in such a way that I can get both.

MelNino
03-21-2009, 08:49 AM
Meh, I still thought Tim was foolish to climb after breaking his hand....still, I agree, it was impressive he summited. I could go on another M vs T rant, but this derailed enough, haha.

EWG
03-26-2009, 10:37 AM
back on point here for a minute... LOL... I just arrived in Maine and will be headed to Plymouth NH tomorrow. Hiking and skills in the Whites Saturday and summit attempt Sunday. Getting pumped. Weather, so far, looking promising. Will do the pic and TR as I can. Want to thank all on this thread for their help, opinions, and suggestions.

Brad
03-26-2009, 11:04 AM
Fantastic. We look forward to your report and pictures. Have a great time!

Brad
03-26-2009, 11:17 AM
Any way you can climb on Saturday instead of Sunday? The weather looks a lot better Saturday.

MelNino
03-26-2009, 11:29 AM
Have fun and be safe! :D

EWG
04-02-2009, 12:52 AM
Trail report for 3/29/09, sorry this is late. Brad, you were right. A Saturday attempt would have yeilded much better weather.
This was an REI trip and included 6 climbers and 2 guides. We started at the Amonoosuc Trailhead parking lot. The weather was cool, not cold, but a misting rain and a call for heaver rains seemed to present a hypothermic risk for the day. The trail started off on a rolling gentle climb with hard packed snow on the trail. Crampons were placed a bit sooner than expected. Our first water/snack break was at the point were the trail crosses over the river at a pool. I changed into a fresh base layer at this point as the mild temp and mist had me wet. The trail became markedly more steep at this point and legs tired out pretty fast if you didnt keep changing your step pattern, left crossover, right crossover, toeing... etc. About a mile from treeline we changed baselayer again and took out the googles and baclavas and such. The wind started up and freezing rain was sideways. When we reached the cabin the lee side was a very welcome break. Food, water, and some clothing adjustments and we were ready to get back at it. Two members of the party were showing some early signs of hypothermia and headed back down with one of our guides. The rest of us continued up. The wind was endless and made it hard to keep your feet. The wet freezing rain got in under everything. Visibility seemed to be in the 100 to 125 feet range. maybe it was more than that but did not seem it to me. I had trouble keeping pace in the wind. I stopped for a 10-20 breath break about every 20 paces. Felt warm and fine, just leg tired. We all stopped in the lee of the obs building (I think it was the obs building) and fueled up on food and drink. I quick summit pick, with the blowing ice directly in our faces, and we were heading down. With everything soaked thruogh and boots holding water we did not want to stay still for too long. Trip down was uneventful except for the mountain trying to blow us all off its face while above treeline. On the way up we could see the weather moving in, and some of the views were outstanding. On the way down we were all tired and some post holing in the weather softened snow didnt help. All in all the moutain was all I had expected and more. Beautiful, brutal, unforgiving, and a wonderful challenge and experience. You are all right when you say that this mountain captures your heart. I will be back (maybe in summer though LOL) Thank you all for your input on this board while I was prepairing for this trip. I hope the following link works for the pictures. If not I will fix it and post it again

http://picasaweb.google.com/ewgrantham/EdSMtWelchAndMtWashington#

EWG
04-02-2009, 12:56 AM
Correction; there were 8 climbers and 2 guides. 6 climbers and 1 guide made the summit

CHRIS
04-02-2009, 06:50 AM
great pictures and trip report. Looks like you had a great hike with the exception of almost being blown of M/W. Thanks for sharing.

Brad
04-02-2009, 06:53 AM
Ed,

Wonderful pictures and I hope the camera dries out. You all did well considering the weather conditions. Nice the hear that you are hooked and will be back.