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Denali May/June: DAS Parka vs. Expedition Down?

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Denali May/June: DAS Parka vs. Expedition Down?

Postby welle » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:31 pm

Hi,
Sorry this topic has probably been beaten to death, but I did some search and only found one opinion (could be subjective to weather and personal body heat variables). My burning question is whether the Marmot 8000M parka and 8000M pants would be an overkill for Denali in end of May/June. TIA!
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Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:10 pm

My wife is planning to wear her Marmot 8000M jacket along with Montbell down pants this coming May. I don't think they would be overkill but as you said it depends on your personal body temperature.

For comparison I'll be taking a down suit. It might be overkill but I like it for several reasons:

1) I only paid $200 for it.
2) I like the fact that I don't have to wear so many insulation layers underneath.
3) It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
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Postby timfoltz » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:43 pm

FWIW: I am taking my Mammut Stratus jacket for my summit jacket on Denali this summer in May/June (maybe see you there!). It does have more insulation than the DAS (about 1.5x) but i look at Steve House on the Rupal face and he used a DAS so i would imagine it would be warm enough barring any rediculous weather. Also i will have a light insulator jacket under like the MH compressor or similar.
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Postby ScottyP » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:55 pm

FWIW, I plan on using my Marmot Greenland jacket along with FA Igniter pants for the truly cold times. (In addition to some lighter layers) I will be there May/June with the other 1500 + people! Scott
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Postby eldoradolocal » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:08 pm

I has been my experience that a big coat and pants are overkill below 17k and sometimes barely enough above 17k. If you have to spend a night out unexpectedly, they probably wouldn't be enough in average conditions.
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Postby welle » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:11 pm

Tim and FortMental: I'm planning on WB expedition style slog. I'm no Steve House who's in and out Alpine style freezing his butt off in ultralight gear and sustaining on GU, hence was my question. I was pretty toasty in my DAS in negative 30 windchills up in New England in December, but I haven't been in absolute negatives in it yet. But I should probably listen to Brad and better be safe than sorry. Thanks for the input, everybody!
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:17 pm

I did Denali late May/June. I used a Wild Things Belay Parka, similar to the DAS and it worked ok. Marmot 8000 meter parka/pants maybe overkill, but most women I know need more insulation than men and having something very warm at high camp is very nice.
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Postby travelin_light » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:35 pm

Down suites are definitely not necessary on Denali especially if they do not separate which most do not. When the glacier turns into a solar oven - you are going to have to strip that thing off and stuff it somewhere. My recommendation is a heavy down jacket and hood with a pair of Primaloft zipp-off pants. I took the Mammut Ambler down jacket and First Ascent's Primaloft pants was very happy.

BTW I would definitely recommend down. Although synthetic is more athletic and yes Steve House took a DAS up the Rupal Face, he also was not standing around camp for a week in subzero weather waiting for weather conditions to improve.

Good luck!
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Postby Brad Marshall » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:38 pm

travelin_light wrote:Down suites are definitely not necessary on Denali especially if they do not separate which most do not. When the glacier turns into a solar oven - you are going to have to strip that thing off and stuff it somewhere.


I agree that down suits are not necessary on Denali but they do have their advantages. A down suit is lighter overall when you factor in the number of insulating layers many climbers wear under some less-warm jackets and pants. For me I've worn a lightweight poly top, my MHW powerstretch suit and my down suit on summits days. Of course you only wear them on summit days so there's no need to strip them off and store them.
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Postby Alpinisto » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 pm

dynamokiev98 wrote:Do you guys think First Ascent XV 850fill down parka will be good enough for Denali late May?


I sure as shit hope so...it was enough for Team EB on Everest in May. :roll:

Can't wait to try out my new XV parka in a couple weeks. Bring on da cold, yo!
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Postby travelin_light » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:18 pm

dynamokiev98 wrote:
travelin_light wrote: My recommendation is a heavy down jacket and hood with a pair of Primaloft zipp-off pants. I took the Mammut Ambler down jacket and First Ascent's Primaloft pants was very happy.

Good luck!


Are you talking about the Igniter pants?

Do you guys think First Ascent XV 850fill down parka will be good enough for Denali late May?


Yes I am referring to those Igniter Pants, a little heavy but the price was right. This brings something to mind as I just visited the EB site and found they are out of many sizes of that pant.

GET YOUR STUFF NOW!

These heavy jackets and pants are a bitch to find in late winter/spring. Everything is sold out and/or common sizes are hard to come by!
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Postby OPHIRTODD » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:10 pm

Thanks for Scotty P for getting me off my duff and onto SP.

Here's my take on outer layers for Denali, based on spending way too much time on that mountain since 1994 (17 trips):

You don't NEED an 8000m version for your parka or your pants. The longer cut on an 8000m parka is nice around camp, but they are quite heavy, and are generally overkill, even in early season. I say "generally," because you could make a poor decision and find yourself spending the night out on summit day, wishing you had more gear.

RULE OF THUMB: Don't do "night summits" or push your weather envelope on summit day. Good weather will come, so be patient. Make good decisions down low to set yourself up with a good amount of time to hang out up high and this will set you up for success.

RULE OF THUMB #2: You don't need as a burly a parka, if you have a cook tent. If, between your team, you can save 3 lbs in overall parka weight, you've justified bringing a Megamid-type cook tent. You should bring one anyway, if you're on a not-so-technical route like the W Buttress or the Muldrow.

In my opinion, a Denali parka should have baffled down construction and weigh 1.5 - 2lbs. Anything more is just extra weight. You don't need a DryLoft or waterproof shell, because it won't get wet. You definitely need a hood, but that's about all the standards you should look for. 800 and 650 fill are only indicators of the quality of the down, which will translate into a weight savings for a given warmth of garment, but they are, by themselves, not indicators of how warm a garment is.

Synthetic parkas like the Patagonia DAS will work, but are not as warm for the weight. The new DAS does not have as much loft as the older versions, so the jury's out on it's functionality on Denali.

Pants can be either down or synthetic, but must have full side zippers. Light down like the Volant Pants from Feathered Friends are great, but have them add a zippered fly (if they still don't come with one). A zippered fly allows you to pull your pants on over your harness and clip into your rope through the fly. Though this could be tricky in a rescue situation, the odds are in your favor that you'll appreciate the convenience.

Not all synthetics are equally warm. Patagonia's Puff Ball Pants, Mountain Hardwear's Compressor Pants and Integrated Designs Denali Pants are great, but Outdoor Research's entrant (name escapes me) is too light.

The layers described above will suffice for Denali, 7000m peaks in Asia, Aconcagua, and even Antarctica. You'll want a down suit for 8000m peaks, as you'll be climbing high in the dark, so save your money and get something lighter that will be sufficient and versatile.

It's been my observation that anyone can have an easy trip (or two or three) on Denali, and come away thinking that there's a lot of hype about layers and strategies. Conversely, if you get beat up badly on your one trip, you might come away thinking you need a full-on down suit and 5' pickets to keep your tent tethered to the earth. The above thought are just opinions based on having had plenty of "easy" Denali climbs and a couple of nail biters.

I hope this helps someone.
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Postby AndyJB444 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:02 pm

Thats some great insight.

I'll be taking some MH Compressor pants and a Patagonia hooded down parka for a late May summit this year. I hope/think it'll be good enough.
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