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3 Season tent at elevation in the La Sal range?

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3 Season tent at elevation in the La Sal range?

Postby DoubleBat » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:21 am

I have my dad's old 3 season northface tent from the 70's and was planning on climbing mt. peale sometime between dec. 18-25th. I have a northface synthetic rated down to 20 degrees and am wondering if the combination of these two are ill-suited for the task at hand. I'll also be using it to camp all over the area during the week but my only real concern is when I'm up at elevation.

THanks.
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Postby DoubleBat » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:59 pm

nothing?
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Postby MoapaPk » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:11 pm

If you are talking about the 12k' mountain in Utah, I'd say the 20F synthetic bag is probably going to be pretty cold. If the bag is a newer generation, it probably has an optimistic rating.

At what elevation will you camp? Cruise NWS to find the average winter T at night at that elevation, and add subtract 10F for safety. If you can get only the average nighttime temp for a nearby city, subtract 4F for every 1000'. In winter, the lapse rate is often better than that, as cold air cascades down the mountain in the eve and warm air displaces it.

Tents really don't add a lot to the range of a bag unless the wind is blowing or weather is otherwise bad. The age of the tent itself is not a problem, except the urethane coating is probably degrading on a tent that old; if it doesn't rain, it won't matter. The NF 3-season tents were often not self-supporting, so setting them up on snow or frozen ground was more of an effort. My old 3-season NF had a lot of netting in the first layer, and that would be a problem with fine blowing snow.

For example, check out this Thursday's nighttime T for 9400' on the edge of Mt Peale
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Postby Scott » Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:39 am

As long as you camp below timberline, the tent is fine, but the bag will likely be inadequate at that time of year.

You can see an average weather chart with data from the nearby, but now defunct Blue Mountain Ski Resort (9175 feet) on the La Sal Mountains page below:

http://www.summitpost.org/area/range/19 ... tains.html

Average temperatures (and daily temps to vary quite a bit from average) are much colder than 20F at night.

If you can, take a warmer bag. If you can't, then really bundle up. Where are you planning on camping? I assume you already know that the road to the standard route on Peale is normally closed that time of year and requires a lot more walking. Coming in from Gold Basin is sometimes best.
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Postby Gafoto » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:55 am

I was up in the La Sals last Sunday snowshoeing. There is a bit of snow up there (no more than 1.5 feet) and the temperatures at elevation are pretty darn cold. I got up to the weather station at Pre-Laurel Peak before turning around due to nasty wind. The wind was really only a factor above the treeline.

There isn't quite enough snow for skis unless you've got some you don't like. I went up on some snowshoes and even with their mini-crampon attachments it was a slippery affair. I imagine it would be somewhat difficult to do the Laurel Highway in anything less than snowshoes.

Assuming they haven't gotten any more snow the conditions are pretty much golden for a 4WD vehicle (or ballsy and aggressive passenger car driver) to get up to the plowed lot just before Geyser Pass. There are quite a few camping spots on the La Sal loop road up to there that might be suitable but I really don't think your bag will cut it. I was camped at the Goose Island BLM campground right near the Colorado and my 10 degree bag was up to the task but didn't feel all that toasty.

Mount Peale could probably be done in a day hike from the Geyser pass lot and certainly in a day if you drove up from the east side of La Sal pass. I know that the La Sal pass road is plowed (or possibly just melted off!) but I don't know when or how far. Might want to get in touch with the forest service for that.

With the gear you have you're probably better off getting started early and making a day of it and retreating back to Moab.
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Thanks for the replies.

Postby DoubleBat » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 am

Bought the Marmot Col eq... it's rated down to -20 so I should be fine.

I don't have snowshoes and have spent so much on gear this year already... I'm kind of tapped out.

Is it a lost cause? I'm young and have gotten along fine without them before but I've never hiked anything bigger than Bozeman's surrounding area.

Thanks!
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Re: Thanks for the replies.

Postby peakhugger » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:47 am

DoubleBat wrote: Is it a lost cause? I'm young and have gotten along fine without them before but I've never hiked anything bigger than Bozeman's surrounding area.

Thanks!


IMO, perhaps. How much winter mountaineering have you done? Overnights on the solstice? You won't have much daylight to work with this time of year. Nights are cold...

The snow conditions in the next week will really dictate if snowshoes would be handy, esp. with this storm coming through - up to 25 inches fresh in the next 48hrs could be nasty w/o snowshoes or other flotation implements (tree boughs?). http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=38.43315243882769&lon=-109.2205810546875&site=gjt&smap=1&marine=0&unit=0&lg=en

Coming from the Bozeman area and never climbing the La Sals in winter myself, I'd say make sure you have a partner who knows exactly what they're doing down there. I wouldn't attempt it myself w/o skis, a couple experienced partners in that locale, ideal weather forecast, etc.

Good luck,

ph
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Postby DoubleBat » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:03 am

I've done no winter mountaineering.

and I'm going alone.

and I drive a civic.
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Postby MoapaPk » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:29 pm

DoubleBat wrote:I've done no winter mountaineering.

and I'm going alone.

and I drive a civic.


Then this doesn't sound like a good time or place to start. Travel through snow can be exhausting, even if you have snowshoes. I don't know how fast weather moves in up there; but being in a whiteout above timberline, alone, is just about the scariest most dangerous thing you could do for the holidays.

Try a less aggressive shake-down trip first.
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Postby DoubleBat » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:33 pm

I may have confused what he meant by winter mountaineering... Have I ever climbed a 12,000 foot peak in the dead of winter near the solstice? no.

I have done climbing in the Bridger and Gallatin ranges right next to Bozeman in the winter. I know how arduous a task climbing in deep snow without snowshoes can be. I guess I'm just hoping to ridge out and have some crust to walk on.

I mentioned the Civic part because I won't have the benefits of a 4WD machine to get me there.

I will say I'm pound for pound in the best shape of my life and as I said, my only worries are really wildlife, (which I don't even know if I should feel threatened... I'm just used to bear paranoia here in Bozeman) and avalanches, which I feel can be bypassed if I take the standard route's chute up to the ridge then on to the summit.

In the mountains I have climbed I've never gotten summit fever, I usually adhere to a given turn around...

It comes down to this: I'm a motivated, dumb, young, strong guy that doesn't have a deathwish and would like to see his family on christmas.

I also plan on backpacking in canyonlands, with the culmination of the trip being a winter ascent of Mt. Peale.

Let me know. I leave Saturday.
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Postby MoapaPk » Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:07 pm

If you know when to stop, that's great. Good luck and be safe.

I've never been up there, but when you first proposed this trip, I looked at SP's page on Peale and read:

"Late spring and early summer will require an ice axe and crampons for ascent and safety. The main route ascends a couloir for 1300 ft that retains snow into summer months. The conditions of this couloir vary from year-to-year and day-to-day during early late spring and early summer."

Perhaps that is just a throw-away statement. Maybe the couloir route isn't necessary; but I got the impression that this wasn't a "gimme" summit in snow.

But then I think of my 2nd snow climb when I was 16. The route was supposed to require axe and crampons, and I had a ski pole and wore blue jeans. I passed a roped group on descent. I had a $25 sewn-through down bag, put my down jacket over me when I went to bed, and still froze at night. And I was very, very, very, very lucky.

Consider this picture:
http://www.summitpost.org/image/117272/ ... cts-a.html

and what is happening on Hood right now.
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Postby DoubleBat » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:50 am

MoapaPk wrote:If you know when to stop, that's great. Good luck and be safe.

I've never been up there, but when you first proposed this trip, I looked at SP's page on Peale and read:

"Late spring and early summer will require an ice axe and crampons for ascent and safety. The main route ascends a couloir for 1300 ft that retains snow into summer months. The conditions of this couloir vary from year-to-year and day-to-day during early late spring and early summer."

Perhaps that is just a throw-away statement. Maybe the couloir route isn't necessary; but I got the impression that this wasn't a "gimme" summit in snow.

But then I think of my 2nd snow climb when I was 16. The route was supposed to require axe and crampons, and I had a ski pole and wore blue jeans. I passed a roped group on descent. I had a $25 sewn-through down bag, put my down jacket over me when I went to bed, and still froze at night. And I was very, very, very, very lucky.

Consider this picture:
http://www.summitpost.org/image/117272/ ... cts-a.html

and what is happening on Hood right now.



Oh believe me Moapapk, my mom hasn't quit talking about it since the story broke. And I was that guy on Mt. Hood (the yahoo in the picture not anyone from that party of three) earlier this year trying to climb a steep couloir with my ecco work boots....

Needless to say I've since picked up crappy crampons, a cheap ice axe, and now, since I was told my TNF 20F wouldn't suffice, I bought a damn good sleeping bag to take with me up to 10,000 feet.

Thanks for the replies, I think I'm going to go through with it, unless the La Sals get dumped on hard right before I get there.

Does anyone else camping in Utah ever fear being mauled zestfully by a cat?

Just wondering!!
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Postby MoapaPk » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:45 am

R.e. mountain lions, keep an eye on your shoes:
http://www.cougarinfo.org/attackex.htm#Stephens
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Postby byates » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:00 pm

Unless your avalanche safety skills are on the high end I would advise against any peak bagging in the la Sal's for a while, this mornings avalanche forecast is considerable meaning human triggered avalanches are probable, go the Utah avalanche center web page for current conditions. THERE ARE NO ROUTES UP PEALE, TUK OR MELLENTHIN THAT DO NOT HAVE HIGH AVALANCHE EXPOSURE!!!
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Postby DoubleBat » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:37 pm

byates wrote:Unless your avalanche safety skills are on the high end I would advise against any peak bagging in the la Sal's for a while, this mornings avalanche forecast is considerable meaning human triggered avalanches are probable, go the Utah avalanche center web page for current conditions. THERE ARE NO ROUTES UP PEALE, TUK OR MELLENTHIN THAT DO NOT HAVE HIGH AVALANCHE EXPOSURE!!!



...Well shit on my luck then. Dammit
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