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#146819 - 02/22/11 09:55 AM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: lori]
gorge_medic Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Kentucky
One thing you might consider is, like an early post suggested, using your bag/quilt as an insulating layer under your rain shell (not sure how well it would work if you're using a poncho like I do). Gossamer Gear makes a decently compelling case for it on their website in their info/tips section.

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#146820 - 02/22/11 10:22 AM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: gorge_medic]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
If you get a JRB quilt with the head hole and optional sleeves, it doubles as a jacket. Can even add the hood.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#146823 - 02/22/11 11:18 AM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: lori]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
You are right lori.

Actually, I never put anything with sugar in my mouth after I brush before bed.

My bad habit is keeping a 20 oz. GatorAde bottle with sugar free drink mix on the shelf in my hammock. Would that be a problem in the Sierras?
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#146825 - 02/22/11 11:21 AM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: lori]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I was seriously considering one of the JRB wearable quilts for this coming year, but a couple of factors inclined me instead to buying a different sleeping bag --- a very personal trade-off based on personal experience and hiking + camping "style".

The key factor for me is that while I don't tend to spend a lot of time "hanging around" in camp, a lot of the time that I do so in cold weather I'm sitting "half in the bag" --- sober, in fact :-), but sitting up with my torso, legs, and feet in the sleeping bag, eating or typing up my trail journal or looking at guidebook and map pages to think a bit about the next days hike. In that context, I need something separate to keep my upper body warm, hence the JRB approach wasn't ideal for me. I also feel that an enclosed mummy bag is warmer per amount of weight carried than a quilt that doesn't enclose the head and neck. So instead I'm carrying a 6 oz down jacket "just for camp and breaks" and a warmer sleeping bag than I've ever carried before.

I definitely do NOT mean to talk down the JRB approach --- fine folks with a great product that fits some people's needs just perfectly, including some long distance hikers such as Andrew Skurka.

W.r.t. the candy bar in the sleeping bag comments, I completely agree with Lori. Outside of habituated bear areas (national parks and the like), I will sometimes sleep with my food, but never inside such areas. I personally met and talked (literally the following day) to a thru-hiker who had opted to carry more food than fit in her bear can and was sleeping on the remainder as a pillow when a bear came up to her in the night (I think she was cowboy camping) and initially let her know quite politely that it wanted her food. When she demurred, the bear put a paw on her leg, so she gave up the bag. Bottom line is that I would hydrate and eat just before sleeping but not sleep with food in the Sierras.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#146832 - 02/22/11 12:22 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: ringtail]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2912
Loc: NorCal
Geographically, problem bears are present in a very small fraction of the Sierra Nevada and there's very good information as to where it is that Yogi is causing trouble. In those areas I'd not consider snacks or flavored drinks in my shelter--everything goes into the canister or bear box--but elsewhere I do so routinely without ever having an issue (covering decades of camping up there).

Now, coastal raccoons are a whole different story!

p.s. On the original topic, like nearly everybody I've had mid-summer experiences with crappy Sierra weather. My comfort zone packing is three days--I trust the forecasts for that length of time. Any longer and I make sure I'm equipped for a surprise half-foot of snow.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By ringtail
You are right lori.

Actually, I never put anything with sugar in my mouth after I brush before bed.

My bad habit is keeping a 20 oz. GatorAde bottle with sugar free drink mix on the shelf in my hammock. Would that be a problem in the Sierras?


Edited by Rick_D (02/22/11 01:42 PM)
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--Rick

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#146838 - 02/22/11 01:19 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Barefoot Friar]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Bear,
Maybe neither - consider the environment. At altitude the air pressure is much lower as is the amount of oxygen available due to lowered pressure. I'm just trying to remember but I think the air pressure at 10,000 is 75% of sealevel. Your body is less efficient and perhaps it affects how heat is carried away from your bag.
Are all bags rated for sealevel, or at sealevel - like camp stoves? In the case of camping in my backyard and being warm - yes I was not exhausted but rather refreshed when I turned in, and in the case of the Sierras, I most probably came up from sealevel and was pretty tired. But I do live at 4,000 feet, however I am fully adapted to the altitude. When we get our blood oxyge tested up here, we still get 99 and 100%. Its a very complicated issue, but do think you require more insulation at the same temps when at higher altitude.
Jim smile
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#146841 - 02/22/11 01:40 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Jimshaw]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I strongly suspect that for those not already acclimatized, high altitude will definitely feel colder! Also, it normally is a lot colder up there!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#146848 - 02/22/11 02:50 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: OregonMouse]
Katie Offline
member

Registered: 09/11/10
Posts: 29
More and more great responses and thoughts on the matter. Thank you.
I think my bf and I (him more than me, I must admit) are in the camp of "rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it"

Oh and thank you so much for the info on the Cabela's sale...we're going to go to our local Cabela's and see if they have the same sale in stores, or at least try the jackets on to see what size we need. Great deals there. I wouldn't have even thought to look there!

And yes acclimation...I lived in Louisiana for the past 20 years, and Texas for the last (almost) year...so I imagine I'll be feeling miserable for the first couple of days, as well as colder than usual.

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#146863 - 02/22/11 10:02 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Katie, As far as altitude goes, there is at least one thread here on that from a couple of months ago, I think. My advice is to acclimate slowly, whether that means taking it easy for the first few days or slowly working you way up to altitude. Take along something for headaches, if you get one and drink plenty of fluids. Altitude sickness is nothing to take lightly.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#146867 - 02/22/11 10:48 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
If you are going Happy Isles to Whitney, and concerned about acclimation, take the first leg of the trip slowly. Consider spending a night at Little Yosemite, doing the side trip to whichever (Half Dome or Clouds Rest - the view from the latter is better, and considerably less crowded) and spending another night along the trail to Tuolumne Meadows (Sunrise or Cathedral Lakes) then a third at Tuolumne. TM is at 9,000 feet. If at any point along this leg you feel symptoms you could opt to lengthen the time at TM another night to see if you feel better. If you're okay, move on down the trail. If symptoms don't abate you have a decision to make and can hop on the hiker bus back to the valley if you decide to bail. Coming from Happy Isles is actually a pretty good acclimation curve. Easy to go slow when things are that scenic.

You'll probably feel it more in the first week than in the last - which will be good, by the time you get to the last leg of the trail, hitting a pass every day like clockwork will be no sweat.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#146882 - 02/23/11 11:56 AM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: lori]
Katie Offline
member

Registered: 09/11/10
Posts: 29
We are going South to North, but spending a night at 7,000 feet and then 10,000 feet before summiting Whitney. So, that's the good part. Hopefully if I take it easy (whatever "easy" is when climbing a mountain...) I won't get too sick. I'll make sure to stay hydrated. I've dealt with altitude sickness before when I went to Salt Lake City...not fun.

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#146883 - 02/23/11 12:19 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.shtml

If you click up a level there's a list of other articles on things like hypothermia and heat issues... very good reading.

Have fun!
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#146884 - 02/23/11 01:32 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Originally Posted By Katie
Hopefully if I take it easy (whatever "easy" is when climbing a mountain...)


The closest approximation to "easy" is probably establishing a steady pace with which you are comfortable, and sticking with it. Your approach scenario looks like a good one for dealing with altitude.

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#146904 - 02/24/11 10:14 AM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Katie
I've dealt with altitude sickness before when I went to Salt Lake City...not fun.


SLC is only at 4500 ft. Unless you went in the mountains, you weren't very high.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#146915 - 02/24/11 03:05 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: finallyME]
Katie Offline
member

Registered: 09/11/10
Posts: 29
lol yes it was a skiing trip. We were in the mountains the majority of the time.

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#146917 - 02/24/11 03:58 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
We'll be testing our gear this weekend. Our group of five is down to three now. Should be lots of fresh snow out here in the Sierra again this week. Expected highs in the mid 20's where we are going a little west of Lake Tahoe.

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#146922 - 02/24/11 07:24 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Please re-check the weather reports! Lake level at Tahoe this weekend will have lows 5 degrees F. There is a major storm brewing - 1-3 feet of snow, more on the west shore of Tahoe. And bitter cold. Be careful.

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#146928 - 02/24/11 08:35 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Katie]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Hey Duane, I'm thinking you are already on this, but it is supposed to get cold; snow level in San Diego is supposed to drop to 1500 ft and that doesn't happen very often.

Katie, you might want to plan a few extra days around Bishop before you go up to 14k. You could camp in the White mountains or in the east side of the Sierra for 2 to 3 days to acclimatize. If you can spend the time, White mountian is an easy summit except for the fact that it is a mere 250 ft shorter than Whitney. A good altitude shakedown hike.

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#146932 - 02/24/11 08:57 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: wandering_daisy]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Dasiy and Duane
I'm just sayin - I have been out on a weekend up around Lake Alpine above Arnold, with NO snow predicted, and been hit by a freak blizzard out of nowhere with -5 temps and 50 mph gusts. It was a good thing that we were nailed down with 4 skis or the tent would have blown off the mountain with us in it - and it was clear and nice when we turned in.

Also advice from a stormchaser - don't go more than a mile in and have a shovel with you that is adequate to dig out your vehicle, if expecting a storm.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#146938 - 02/24/11 09:50 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Jimshaw]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I hear you Nancy and Jim. I've warned the flatlanders, its gonna be cold and lots of fresh snow. I just hate the low high for Saturday. My plan and I tried to warn them, is to just snowshoe in a short ways, mostly because it may be hard going thru all the fresh snow. Eight of us have been in above Lake Winnemucca and had to snowshoe out thru 2 feet of fresh snow, then shovel the cars out of a unplowed parking lot. We could of had two women come with if we had gone in March. They are gungho, advised they take it easy coming up Saturday morning, 4X4's are in the ditches during storms. I have my WM Antelope Super, its been used below zero a few times and I have my other down clothing too. Since it will be so cold, my down jacket should stay dry, I don't own a parka. Don is around 60, Andy is 32. Don's gonna dig a coffin, I may dig down a little we'll see. I'll have the tough drive, coming up out of Carson City where I work during the week, not looking forward to hitting 50 west bound. We are meeting up around 10AM, so if I get a early start I should have lots of time. Like New Year's Eve, the traffic should be east bound, I can wave at them as I drive by. I have my shovel in my pickup. It's been used for appropriate use before. smile

Edit for trip location. Loon Lake, lower than Tahoe.


Edited by hikerduane (02/24/11 09:52 PM)

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#146962 - 02/25/11 02:13 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: hikerduane]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2912
Loc: NorCal
I know the area well--lovely spot and reasonably open so it's relatively easy to navigate and not get lost (except in a full-on blizzard). Your first challenge may be whether the road is plowed all the way from 50, as it's about 30 miles from the highway to Loon. As a bailout I sometimes park at Ice House and just walk into the woods from there.

Based on what's been blowing through since last night, you'll have MANY feet of new snow (atop many more from last weekend) and it won't be Sierra cement. Take the biggest snowshoes you can, and the tall gaiters.

We spent last weekend in Arnold (4k feet) where there was 2-3 feet of fluff. Up at about 6,500 feet the new snow ranged from 4-6 feet. I had small snowshoes and kept sinking up to my waist with just a daypack.

After the very dry January and the first half of February, we now have basically a full year's snowpack (first time since '06). A nice change!

Cheers,


Originally Posted By hikerduane
I hear you Nancy and Jim. I've warned the flatlanders, its gonna be cold and lots of fresh snow. I just hate the low high for Saturday. My plan and I tried to warn them, is to just snowshoe in a short ways, mostly because it may be hard going thru all the fresh snow. Eight of us have been in above Lake Winnemucca and had to snowshoe out thru 2 feet of fresh snow, then shovel the cars out of a unplowed parking lot. We could of had two women come with if we had gone in March. They are gungho, advised they take it easy coming up Saturday morning, 4X4's are in the ditches during storms. I have my WM Antelope Super, its been used below zero a few times and I have my other down clothing too. Since it will be so cold, my down jacket should stay dry, I don't own a parka. Don is around 60, Andy is 32. Don's gonna dig a coffin, I may dig down a little we'll see. I'll have the tough drive, coming up out of Carson City where I work during the week, not looking forward to hitting 50 west bound. We are meeting up around 10AM, so if I get a early start I should have lots of time. Like New Year's Eve, the traffic should be east bound, I can wave at them as I drive by. I have my shovel in my pickup. It's been used for appropriate use before. smile

Edit for trip location. Loon Lake, lower than Tahoe.
_________________________
--Rick

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#146970 - 02/25/11 03:07 PM Acclimatization to altitude [Re: Katie]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Katie, if you had altitude problems as low as Salt Lake City, you definitely need to go out several days in advance of your trip. Camp or motel at a lower altitude (one at which you're comfortable) but hike progressively higher each day. This is the "climb high, sleep low" method that is the preferred method of acclimatization. From the link in Lori's post:

Quote:
"Climb High and sleep low." This is the maxim used by climbers. You can climb more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) in a day as long as you come back down and sleep at a lower altitude.

If you begin to show symptoms of moderate altitude illness, don't go higher until symptoms decrease ("Don't go up until symptoms go down")....

Stay properly hydrated. Acclimatization is often accompanied by fluid loss, so you need to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated (at least 3-4 quarts per day). Urine output should be copious and clear....

Eat a high carbohydrate diet (more than 70% of your calories from carbohydrates) while at altitude.

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#146975 - 02/25/11 04:00 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Rick_D]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Thanks Rick, good backup plan. I only had two feet of fresh snow at my place last Friday when I got home for the week. If the snow is that hard to go thru, all we are looking for is the experience and to practice shelters if the snow density is good.

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#146999 - 02/25/11 10:34 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: hikerduane]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
If there is a good dump you may spend the rest of the winter at Loon Lake. I hope your group has some vehicles with winches. Have fun and be prepared to travel 30 miles out to the hiway. Is there a snow park around there? They WILL plow them out.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#147096 - 02/27/11 07:34 PM Re: Staying Warm in the High Sierras [Re: Jimshaw]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
All went sorta well Jim. Yes, they keep the 30 miles of road plowed due to the water department needs access. I was running late due to issues with getting my chains on my studded tires which I had sized for my regular tires, but I had left an extra link on each side, so just had to readjust the chains, then when I took them off, I had to lay in the snow and unhook one chain as it hung up a little when I unhooked it and drug it in the snow a few feet so they could be thrown back in the box. The other two guys came together, they took the wrong road, which I thought maybe I needed to take and we all hooked up 30 minutes late, but it worked out. Beautiful day, 24 degrees, 6 at night, beautiful morning, lovely sunset.

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