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First time advice buying Mountaineering equipment

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Postby Hotoven » Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:12 pm

Here's some advice I learned the hard way. Only buy the gear you NEED for what your doing. If you have the money, save it until its time for your trip, then buy it. Don't buy boots now for a trip your going on in two years unless there's a killer deal. Wait and save. By the time your ready to go, there might be a newer shoe, or better deals on the one you have your mind on. Also A lot can change in your life. And if you all of a sudden need that money back, its not in shoe form, and you can use it.

Just my 2 cents. :D
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Postby lowlands » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:51 pm

I'm understanding what everyone is saying with waiting. And seem to be a little less eager to go buy stuff, probably a good thing.

Question though, I'm 6'3" and weigh about 170 lbs. I'm looking at shells right now and everything that I've tried on, various Patagucci, Arc'T, REI, etc. stuff has fit in a medium size over an R1 hoody. When I do the measurement stuff (e.g. neck, chest, sleeve lengths) on their websites I always end up at the low end of the Mediums, sometimes barely in that range. But, people I talk to tell me to get a large, I'm assuming to leave room for some sort of puffy underneath (e.g. down sweater). What should I do and which size should I buy? I like a snug fit that still allows me to reach up over my head and have full range of motion, but I will want to get into winter climbing later, so I'll need the space for insulating layers.

Also, I'm looking at a Marmot Exum, msrp $425, on eBay right now, brand new, buy it now for $200, insight?

Other stuff I've been looking at are a used Patagonia Stretch Element and Arc'T Theta AR for $200. Am I spending too much on a shell? I'm willing to give out $200, I think. Or am I going about this the wrong way?

Thanks again for the wisdom,
-Steve
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Postby Hotoven » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:18 pm

I would go with a large. I'm 5ft. 11 in. and 140lbs. A medium hardly fits me when I stack up with layers underneath.
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Postby Autoxfil » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:41 pm

I am 6' and 155lb, and Patagonia medium fits me well across the board. I think you'll find some of their large garments a touch baggy, but at least the large will have the length you need.

They size thier clothes as a system, so a medium DAS will fit over medium stretch element which fits over a medium R1/2, which fits over a medium wool/capilene (or two).

I have a large Patagonia shell and it's pretty big - it fits OVER my puffy without compressing the down, and the sleeves are too long even when stretching up.
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Postby lowlands » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:01 pm

Thanks for the info, but now I need a quick clarification.

If I were to get one of the aforementioned shells and then something like a DAS. Does the DAS go over or under the weather-shell?

Because if the puffy goes over the shell then I would obviously just get the medium shell that fits perfectly over my R1, thus making my cold weather system: R1 hoody > Technical Hard Shell > Puffy insulating jacket.

But, I always thought that the shell was the top layering piece because it protects the others from water, snow, etc. I know the DAS has a DWR finish, but how does that compare to a shell's waterproofing? Do puffy jackets have good waterproofing, because they don't need to breathe, right?

Thanks again,
-Steve
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Postby Autoxfil » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:16 pm

Puffy jackets do not (usually) have good waterproofing. But these days even weak DWR is impressive. It doesn't really matter, because:

If it's cold enough to wear a DAS or other serious puffy, it's not raining. Cold, dry snow will not penetrate a good puffy - usually it won't even melt on it.

So no, don't bother getting a shell that fits over your puffy jacket. The only reason I did is that I got it on Web Special and they had no mediums.
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Postby lowlands » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:11 pm

Alright, I've taken people's advice in here, and am not looking to buy a bunch of gear just yet.

But, with the weather out here getting nice, a group of friends and I have been going climbing outside quite a bit, and I'm still without a rope, just using other's. That being said, I've been looking at getting a rope that I can use now for outdoor climbing (top-roping) and later for running belay on a glacier. A rope that I've been interested in is the Mammut Matterhorn, and I've found one for sale.

I know I should never buy used ropes, and I won't, but this one is an interesting case. It's still in the plastic rap, in the ties, from the factory, and never used, but it's about 5 years old. I've asked the seller and he said it was stored in a cool, dry, shaded locker in a workshop.

My question for you all is, is this a safe rope to buy? Do ropes age, over time, even without usage?

Thanks again!
-Steve
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Postby Autoxfil » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:44 pm

There have been at least two recent threads on this topic - search and if you can't find them I will help look tonight.

In general, that rope is probably fine. Especially for those uses.

But, TRing and glacier travel are pretty opposite ends of the rope spectrum. Usually a TR rope is fat, sheath-heavy for durability, and 60m since you need at least 2x the climb height.

A glacier rope - and again, recent threads come to mind - should be thinner and lighter, dry treated, and short, maybe only 20-30m. A fat single will work, it'll just be clunky and heavy.
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Postby Mark Straub » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:57 am

I buy all of my gear used or on sale. Patagonia clothes fit me quite well, I am 5'10" and I don't know what I weigh, I can't find my scale. But I'm definitely light. Probably 130-135 pounds or something. Patagonia is actually the only brand that fits me right for pants, the others have too big waists and too short legs. Plus they were 50% off because nobody would buy them in the measurements I needed!

Short story long, sorry. Buy what fits best and it will save you much cursing and wasted money. Find a used gear store near you, live on Craigslist, Mountain Project, and SP for climbing gear deals. Borrow other people's gear to figure out what you want to pay for. It took me some experimenting and a couple of bad purchases to realize that Black Diamond Camalots are the cams that work best for me, I can never make tricams work, etc. Hope this rambling helps.

-Mark
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Postby gegarrenton » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:49 pm

F_Rhoderick wrote:
edit to add, I am 5'11" and 175, I wear Patagonia size L"" and everything seems to layer well from base layer (cap3), R1, Windjacket, Ready Mix and Puffball, Down Sweater or DAS
I can second that. I am same measurements, Patagucci L is perfect sized.
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Postby lowlands » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:54 pm

F_Rhoderick wrote:where outside of D.C. are you?


in Reston.

Mark Straub wrote:Find a used gear store near you, live on Craigslist, Mountain Project, and SP for climbing gear deals.


Thanks for recommending Mountain Project, looks like their classifieds section is really active.

So, looking at ropes, people tell me the Matterhorn is a bit heavy, but it is advertised as a versatile rope, which is what I'm after. Are there other ropes I should be looking at? I'm trying to find one that I can TR with outdoors, but also use for glacier travel later this summer.

The deal I've found on the Matterhorn rope seems like a good one, new in the plastic, stored in a cool, dry, shaded place (workshop locker) for, at most, the past 3 years (Mammut has only been making the Matterhorn for 3 years). Guy doesn't remember exactly when he bought it.

I've been reading up on rope shelf lives, and Mammut says theirs will last 10 years when stored at ideal conditions, UIAA gives it a bit more than that. So, now I'm just trying to make sure it's the right rope for my diverse needs.

Edit: I just got off the phone with some dude at Mammut, and learned quite a bit. He said that the rope's ability to hold a fall isn't necessarily determined by its width, more so its design. So, what makes a rope like the Matterhorn (10.2 mm) different from an Infinity (9.5mm), both have the same UIAA numbers, but the Infinity is 10g/m lighter. Is the Matterhorn more durable b/c of its thickness? What makes one better than the other?

Thanks,
-Steve
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Postby Autoxfil » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:19 pm

If you insist on using one rope for both, this is an excellent choice.

It's dry-treated, which is great for glaciers. But, it's heavy and long.

The 10.2mm is normal to thin for TR. The 60m is perfect for TRing.

To preserve the life of your rope so you don have to buy a new one next year, keep it clean (wash it per Mammuts directions after any outing where it gets dirty), and don't lower off TR routes. Rappel down instead. It's a slight pain, but makes the rope last much longer. If there are two ropes around, using one for a rappel and one for climbing will work very well.
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Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:12 pm

lowlands wrote:So, looking at ropes, people tell me the Matterhorn is a bit heavy, but it is advertised as a versatile rope, which is what I'm after. Are there other ropes I should be looking at? I'm trying to find one that I can TR with outdoors, but also use for glacier travel later this summer...So, what makes a rope like the Matterhorn (10.2 mm) different from an Infinity (9.5mm), both have the same UIAA numbers, but the Infinity is 10g/m lighter. Is the Matterhorn more durable b/c of its thickness? What makes one better than the other?


I think you'll find that rope selection is a personal thing. Any 60M single, dry-treated rope would work in your situation. A fatter rope will generally be more durable which would be a good thing if you plan on doing a lot of TRing or beating it up on rough rock. Of course, it will usually be heavier as well but only you know if that's a consideration. If you're leading or have long approaches to the climbs you might want something lighter so it's easier to carry.

The longer you spend in this sport the more gear (crap) you will end up buying because some things work better in one situation than the other. You don't really need to but many of us do. You can do anything with a 60M dry single rope (TR, lead, ice, glacier, big mountain expeditions, etc.) but for some reason I seem to have a 60M 9.8mm dry, a 50M 10.5mm non-dry, two 60M 8.2mm doubles and a 30M 8mm double. For the same reason I have -40, 0 and 20F sleeping bags, 30L, 55L, 66L, 80 and 95L packs, 4 pairs of boots and 5 tents. :lol:
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Postby lowlands » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:29 pm

Autoxfil wrote:If you insist on using one rope for both, this is an excellent choice.

It's dry-treated, which is great for glaciers. But, it's heavy and long.

The 10.2mm is normal to thin for TR. The 60m is perfect for TRing.

To preserve the life of your rope so you don have to buy a new one next year, keep it clean (wash it per Mammuts directions after any outing where it gets dirty), and don't lower off TR routes. Rappel down instead. It's a slight pain, but makes the rope last much longer. If there are two ropes around, using one for a rappel and one for climbing will work very well.


Well, the Matterhorn is good for TR and heavy for glacier travel, and the dude at Mammut was saying for the glacier-ing, I'd probably want to look into a thinner (9.5ish) 30m rope, and then a rope like the Matterhorn for TR and leading.

That seems like a good idea, so I'm considering that. But I want a 60m rope for TRing because everytime we go climbing I'm using other peoples' ropes, and I just think I should get my own to be "fair". If I could also happen to use that for running belay, cool.

And Brad, you've got yourself an interesting situation!
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Postby Brad Marshall » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:48 am

lowlands wrote:
Autoxfil wrote:If you insist on using one rope for both, this is an excellent choice.

It's dry-treated, which is great for glaciers. But, it's heavy and long.

The 10.2mm is normal to thin for TR. The 60m is perfect for TRing.

To preserve the life of your rope so you don have to buy a new one next year, keep it clean (wash it per Mammuts directions after any outing where it gets dirty), and don't lower off TR routes. Rappel down instead. It's a slight pain, but makes the rope last much longer. If there are two ropes around, using one for a rappel and one for climbing will work very well.


Well, the Matterhorn is good for TR and heavy for glacier travel, and the dude at Mammut was saying for the glacier-ing, I'd probably want to look into a thinner (9.5ish) 30m rope, and then a rope like the Matterhorn for TR and leading.

That seems like a good idea, so I'm considering that. But I want a 60m rope for TRing because everytime we go climbing I'm using other peoples' ropes, and I just think I should get my own to be "fair". If I could also happen to use that for running belay, cool.

And Brad, you've got yourself an interesting situation!


Not just me, plenty of climbers have all that gear.

As for the rope I don't agree that a thin, light, short glacier rope is what you would want without first knowing what your plans are. Most of the glaciers I've been on you would want at least 40M rope if travelling in a two or three-person team. A 30M rope doesn't really give you much to work with in a crevasse rescue situation so you're really relying on your partner getting themself out. Also, during glacier travel ropes often take a beating from people stepping on them (it happens and they won't admit it) so I think I'd rather have a thicker rope that can take some punishment. For instance, we TR with a 60M Edelrid 9.8 Live Wire which we also use on Denali. Furthermore, if you want running belays a longer rope works better because each pitch is longer. Remember, you can always use less rope but it's really difficult to make a rope longer out in the mountains.
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