This is ridiculous

Posted by: TomD

This is ridiculous - 02/08/09 11:23 PM

I'm on my way, sort of, to Yosemite for a few days. I was going to leave tonight, but there is some bad weather brewing, so I am postponing it until tomorrow night. I just weighed by bag for my sled and it's a hefty 45 lbs. That doesn't include my bear canister with some food in it-the rest is in the bag already- my pack and a few things in it and my skis and sled itself.

I'm sure I should leave some stuff behind, but can't figure out what I really don't want to be without. I'm by myself, so I don't have anyone to split the load with which makes it even worse. How anyone does this with just a pack is beyond me. My duffle bag is the size of a footlocker and is chock full. It doesn't seem like I have any real frills, but it all adds up.

Jim-I must have as much stuff as you and I took to Yosemite together. Most of my gear is the same as before-
Different tent (old EMS Pompero mountain tent);
bag, overbag and bivy; two pads, some extra pieces of blue foam;
shovel (never leave the parking lot without it);
insulated jacket and pants (might leave big red jacket in the car and use my Nuptse); raingear (REI Jacket, Marmot pants;
Capilene base layer, couple of pair of socks/briefs;
misc. gloves;
balaclava and beanie;
single Coleman Xtreme stove-3 bottles of fuel;
Primus Micron backup stove.
cook kit and pot for Primus;
food for 5 days in case I get stranded, which is highly unlikely;
Survival kit (ten essentials type stuff);
Pack (Kelty);
skis (Atomic Rainier) with skins;
poles (Leki trekking poles with snow baskets);
Garmont Excursion plastic boots;
Down booties;
Camera (little Canon), binoculars;
Some stuff to read-work related;
Sunglasses, goggles.
I think that is about it. A ridiculous amount of stuff for 4 days.
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 12:34 AM

Looks like I just missed you Tom. Just got back from Glacier Point about an hour ago. The road was in great shape for skiing but the snow is thin in places. I felt my poles punch through to asphalt more than once. I only did a day trip but I saw tons of people returning from overnighters. Far more than I've ever seen before.

Hey, you may have a lot to haul but you're really going to enjoy camp. Have a great time!!!
Posted by: TomD

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 01:57 AM

Glad to get a first-hand report. You just missed some bad weather coming in, so it sounds like you got back in time. I was going to head up tonight, but put it off to avoid the rain and snow as much as possible-shooting for an early start Tuesday am around 3.

I wanted to go to Crane Flat, but there isn't a lot of snow, so back to Glacier Point Road somewhere. With all my stuff, I have to ski (or snowshoe, but I have skis) and pull the sled. Way too bulky and heavy.

I think a lot of people go into Ostrander and stay at the hut, but that's a bit far for me. I haven't gone too much farther than Dewey Point, but this time, I will try to get out a bit farther. I'll let you know how it went when I get back next week.
Posted by: bigfoot2

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 02:28 AM

Sounds like you know you have to lose some weight there...why not just jettison some stuff like the spare stove and be done with it, man? I don't think you'll miss much of it and besides, adversity builds character. Anyone with me on this or am i "all on my own...again?"
Now THAT'S ridiculous!!
Posted by: Rick

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 08:28 AM

Some quick thoughts, although I don't know the area, expected temps or potential weather changes:

  • No overbag - the bivy will extend the temp of your bag and you always have insulated clothing to wear or put over your bag if temps realy fall.
  • One stove with appropriate pot - I always have some food / snacks that don't require cooking in the event of a stove failure. Can you have fires where you're going?
  • One pad - not knowing your winter sleep system, but.....can the blue foam pieces be used as additional ground insulation, you're insulated clothing could be used as emergency or additional ground insulation.

That should be good for 3 -4 pounds.

I don't see snowshoes on your list.
Posted by: alanwenker

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 10:15 AM

Tom, your weight is only ridiculous if you have really nice weather and nothing goes wrong. The only redundant things I see are the few pieces of blue foam and the second stove. Those items may total one pound. You could use a tarp instead of a tent, but you will lose some warmth held in by the tent. I really hate being cold, or on the edge of being cold, by that I mean not quite feeling warm, but not yet shivering.

If you hit a cold snap you'll be really glad you have the warm clothes. I don't enjoy having to be inside my bag simply because my clothing won't keep me warm enough.
Posted by: TomD

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 04:12 PM

Rick, my regular bag is only good to -5C so I need the overbag-it doesn't weigh much. The two pads are a Thermo-rest, plus a Ridgerest that weighs almost nothing, so no real savings there. I use the blue pads outside the tent to sit on while cooking or just sitting around.

I could ditch the extra stove, but I carry it when dayhiking. I do have plenty of cold food-energy bars and whatnot, but like a hot drink.

I've got this tiny sled, not one of the big toboggans or even a Paris Expedition, so that needs to change.

If I had the money, I'd get a little BD tent that weighs about 4 lbs, but that is not feasible right now.

No snowshoes, just skis. For CA, and where I go, in particular, skis work better I think.

I could ditch some of my other stuff, but given the weather forecast, maybe not such a hot idea. Most of my trip will be on a snow covered road, so the sled actually tracks and glides fairly easily. With two people, some of the load would be split, but alone, it's all me carting it in.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 08:16 PM

Hi Tom
As I recall I made you leave out a huge pile of stuff the last time and still our stuff did not all fit into my 12,000 inch Kifaru sled.

In my own opinion, your winter kit lacks the following.

You rely on layering and spare clothes too much - just take the set you'll wear skiing in and your big big down coat and some real insulated pants not some UL stuff. If you carry and spare clothes take one pair of socks and spare long underwear for sleeping.

1) Take no more than two fuel bottles. Do not take a spare stove. Do not take a spare anything except gloves or socks. Sleep in a balaclava.

2) your sleeping bag/bag/over bag/bivy bag/pads etc sucks. Rent one bag that will do it corectly.

3) The tent is no good.

Take one pan, leave out the booties, leave out goggles, ski skins, and shovel. As I said the last time - forget the Nuptse. Take no more than 2 pairs of gloves. Is the rain gear part of your day ski gear?

Remember - pulling a sled is aerobic.

Jim - wish I could join youbut gas is too dear
Posted by: thecook

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 08:27 PM

Jim's suggestions on clothing will cut your weight some but may not be right for every condition. Here in Minnesota winter camping can mean pulling pulk over either river ice or lake ice. In those conditions, where the possibility exists of getting very wet, I wouldn't leave layering systems at home. They may be your salvation if the ice cracks and you get wet.

Similarly, a bag and overbag systems can work quite well. I believe that Phat uses such a system. Why do you need a bivy bag in addition to the bag and overbag. Can that be left at home?
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 08:58 PM

Tom D

I pulled up some old winter lists and based on what I know about you and your gear, I am going to make some suggestions. These are gonna be kinda hard for you but I know you are ready as long as you head in after the storm and watch out for avos. I hope Steve brimsf chips in his own $.02 here also. I know you are pretty good now, having gone every year for quite a while. You are not a begginer, you have spent quite a few nights camped in snow and understand the basic procedures for such things as melting snow and personal hygene in a blizzard.

You ar not heading into unfamiliar country and you will be in a national park.

I know exactly where you are going and I am VERY familiar with camping in the exact Sierra conditions that you will see. I would not make any such post to anyone else.

I think you should carry what ever clothes you think you will need during the day, and it will most likely be warm and sunny and you will most likely ski in long underwear, a fleece? jacket, and gaitors, maybe shorts. If it gets cold, windy, rains, snows, simply pull your rain over and you will be fine and also dry when you get to camp. Your big jacket is Dryloft I believe - take it, take your booties, take some insulated pants with at least 3/4 inch of loft and take rain pants that will go over them.

Next I want you to leave your tent at home and since you use a bivy anyway - take a tarp. Yes Tom D its time for you to tarp in Yosemite, but go after the storm.

Rent a zero degree sleeping bag.

Tom - survival and five days of food, spare stove and excess fuel - dump it Tom. Take the Xtreme and 2 fuel bottles, you will probably come home with a full one, if you use a proper windscreen.

First aid? Don't take over half a pound maximum.

Food - having seen you, or rather not eat, I certainly would not take more than a pound of food per day for you, maybe an extra quarter pound per day of choclate.

Finally - leave the sled - its an anchor especially in deep snow, carry a pack. Without the tent your stuff will fit in or on. The tarp goes on the outside.

You know I can take my bibler, big sleeping bag, down bibs, Down Airmattress, rain shells etc and its still 18 pounds in my big Kelty pack. And yes this happens to be $3,000 worth of gear, but it weighs less than half what yours does. Without the sled you don't need ski skins.

Do you really need the shovel? Or the spare stove? Yer not being a kid "with a new toy" are you? You can leave some of your toys at home and take them another time. They have already their reliability to you- your gear will not fail. Try some thing new - ski with pack not sled and tarp after storm.

Jim crazy
Posted by: hikerduane

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/09/09 09:22 PM

After Dec. 15, you don't need your canister, can't remember when it would be required again. Call or inquire when getting your permit.
Posted by: bmisf

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/10/09 12:09 AM

Tom - I agree with most of what's been said here, including Jim's advice, with two small exceptions:

I'd use the sled if you're staying mostly on Glacier Point road or other packed/groomed trails.

I'd take the tent but dump the bivy and bag cover, and rent (or borrow) the 0 bag.

You also still might want the skins, depending on what your skis are like. I skied in with Karhu XCD GTs to Dewey Point recently, and only needed the skins for the last "black diamond" part of the trail. Glacier Point road was a breeze with those skis (they are non-waxable, metal-edged narrow skis not unlike yours). I used a pulk and really preferred it over a pack for my skill level on skis.

You could certainly go lighter with the tarp, but there's something to be said for the security and ease of setup of the tent. Tarping is something to think about for future trips, for sure (I've slept comfortably in my ultralight bivy with a poncho tarp over the top in winter, and we even had freezing rain and light snow), but I wouldn't be happy doing that in strong winds or blowing snow.

I've been taking my 6+ pound Hilleberg Jannu on my trips this time of the year; I like the insurance and comfort. At Dewey Point last month we had conditions switching between snow and rain, and it was really nice to have the extra shelter:

Lighter winter tents like the Biblers or Integral Designs mountaineering tents, and possibly even the Black Diamond Firstlight, would have done equally well. A really experienced person on this trip used a Kiva (teepee tent, no floor, more coverage than a tarp but similar idea) for him and his wife, and they weren't happy. It took a long time to set up, and it was soggy inside because of the conditions and temperature.

Have fun out there - wish I could join you! I pulled my MCL taking tele lessons this weekend, so I'll be taking it easy for a bit...
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/11/09 08:13 PM

I called Tom Tuesday evening and he was going to head up around midnight I guess. Its a long drive to Yosemite. He said he was taking the whole shebang and pulling the sled and he wanted to get to Glacier point. I think I talked him out of the spare stove and the third fuel bottle.
Posted by: bigfoot2

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/12/09 02:36 PM

Let's pray he doesn't have a heart attack enroute to his campsite smile We tried.......

Posted by: 300winmag

Re: This is ridiculous (but not hopless) - 02/12/09 02:44 PM


For a spare stove you could take a small Vargo Triad-type stove with ESBIT tabs & a good windscreen. OR... just carry a repair kit for your main stove. Wood fires are always the main fallback option. ESBIT tabs light wood very well.

Posted by: Rick

Re: This is ridiculous (but not hopless) - 02/12/09 05:32 PM

Originally Posted By 300winmag

For a spare stove you could take a small Vargo Triad-type stove with ESBIT tabs & a good windscreen. OR... just carry a repair kit for your main stove. Wood fires are always the main fallback option. ESBIT tabs light wood very well.


Good light weight alternative.

How about being able to convert the windscreen into a twig type stove - using a couple of tent stakes to support the pot.

Just thinking out loud. This is not something I`ve tried.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: This is ridiculous (but not hopless) - 02/12/09 10:25 PM


Hiya dude crazy

Tom Has a Colman Xtreme - its a compressed gas liquid feed. Its hard to imagine what would be in a repair kit, except maybe a jet cleaner or an O-ring. Its extremely reliable unlike white gas stoves which require cleaning.

I don't think wood fires are allowed up where hes going in Yosemite, but even if they are, I don't think Toms winter prowess includes lighting wood fires on top of snow. Its not an easy thing to do, without a saw, because you need large green limbs under it all and you know how they feel about cutting down trees in the national park. He'll watch his use. He has two bottles. If hes smart he'll change to number two before number one is gone, so if two dies - he has a backup and he'll know how to ration its use. He has about 3 hours worth of fuel at medium high. Tom drinks less coffee than me so he won't need to melt 7 gallons of snow.
Jim wink
Posted by: hikerduane

Re: This is ridiculous (but not hopless) - 02/14/09 01:12 AM

We had a fire on our New Year's Eve trip at Dewey Point. Steve brought his multi function grill in on his sled, using the bottom of the grill as a fire pan, holding a Duraflame log. We forgot our marshmallows though.:) What was really amazing, Jason was using a 4100 cubic inch pack, the size I picked up for my new summer pack, carried the Duraflame log and his tent, canister, winter gear. I barely got my summer gear in my pack that size at home, testing the new pack for summer use.
Posted by: bmisf

Re: This is ridiculous (but not hopless) - 02/14/09 03:13 AM

Yeah - I checked with the ranger and she said as long as it was in a fire pan and we brought our own wood, they were OK with it. They don't want uncontained fires, and they especially don't want people using wood from within the National Park, whether downed or on trees.

In an emergency you might talk them out of fining you...but those campsites are only a few miles from the parking at Badger Pass, so putting yourself in a "survival" situation there seems like a bit of a stretch.

(As an aside, I'd never bring a Duraflame log again either; it created stinky chemical residue I felt should be packed out. There are some "all-natural" manufactured logs that would probably be better, and kindling wood would work equally well for something the size of the SnowPeak portable fireplace/grill. All that said, it sure added some nice atmosphere to our snow kitchen.)
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/16/09 10:22 PM

Trip Report? Photos?

Enquiring minds want to know. goodjob
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/21/09 05:39 PM

we are waiting for your report...
Jim crazy
Posted by: TomD

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/21/09 06:39 PM

Yeah, I know. I'll get to it next week. Trying to catch up on work. You know the story already anyway, so stop whining. Hehehe.
Posted by: chaz

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/22/09 08:29 PM

I hope you have some good dogs to pull that sled.
Posted by: TomD

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/22/09 11:10 PM

I wish. Even if I did, they aren't allowed in Yosemite. But if they were, the road to Glacier Point would be a snap.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: This is ridiculous - 02/23/09 08:53 PM

I keep telling you, come up here to winter camp. We can even rent dog sleds with teams at Mt Bachelor. There used to be dog races here, but the sponsors (attaboy) seem to be gone...

We have dog parks, ski parks, and snowmobile parks up the road between us and Mt Bachelor.

See my tree skirt post Tom.
Jim crazy