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Gear for Mont Blanc?

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Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby bird » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:06 am

I'll be heading to Chamonix in August to have a go at Mont Blanc (normal route) and have two gear questions.
For boots, I have LS Trango Ice (lighter then Nepals, hike & climb great) or LS K4S (heavier/warmer than Nepals, not as comfy)
For jacket, I have an OR Chaos synthetic, kinda like a Das Parka, maybe a bit lighter, and a MH Sub Zero Hooded down (very warm, the one in my profile pic).
Which boots & jacket will be better on MB in August?
TIA
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby jdenyes » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:19 am

Heyo!
I am also doing MB in August, and I am going on a small climb this weekend to break in my new Nepals. I can tell you how the do with the temperature, which won't be directly comparable but give you an idea. I think that unless you have super hardcore cold feet, the Trango should be fine, I do have super hardcore cold feet. As to the coat, the people i know who summited and who are joining our team, for a normal standard route will be using fleeces and an outer shell. I don't think you will need to be too well insulated, this website is a fun way to procrastinate, and shows the temperature forecasts at different altitudes.

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/ ... casts/4807

So tomorrow in the middle of the night it will only be -12 with the wind chill, -7 without.

I know that wasn't as awesome as someone who has been there helping, but i hope it helped a bit!
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:55 am

I did Mont Blanc last August, and had quite good conditions.
If you do the Gouter route, you'll have a fairly long walk in (although not as long as mine since the Nid d'Aigle line was shut when I was there), so the K4S might not be your best bet there as they are pretty flat-soled. If you are doing the Trois Monts route then you'll be on snow pretty much the entire time (unless you do the Trois Traverse), so it wouldn't matter as much.

I wore Scarpa Mont Blancs up, and my feet were blocks of ice. Well past the point of being able to feel them or even tell if they were wiggling. Hands were very cold, too, wearing ski-weight gloves.
That said, once I got to the top and stopped, pulled out my puffy, and started back down, everything warmed up just fine. I was only wearing a thin shirt, fleece, and thin softshell. If I had been willing to stop earlier and put on a warmer layer on my torso I'll bet I would have been better off with regards to my hands and feet.

If I were to do it again, this is what I'd do:
Purchase a set of these small neoprene overbooties (ok, I already have these).
http://www.backpacker.com/gear-zone-gear-review-crescent-moon-over-shoe-booties/gear/15159
Wear your Trangos for the weight and walkability, then after you pass the Grand Couloir and put on your crampons, throw the neoprene booties on, as well. They will work fine with strap crampons, and might take a bit of trimming for hybrid attachment. Or stick with the lighter boots and wear thicker long underwear.
Bring both jackets with you to Chamonix, and decide the night before based on forecast. I could have gotten away with a lighter one (like the SD Gnar, instead of the Brooks Range Mojave I brought), but a few days plus or minus my summit had some very cold, windy temps.
You'll see long lines of Asian groups wearing, no-kidding, Himalayan suits.
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby bird » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:29 am

Thanks for the help
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby Flachlandtiroler » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:16 pm

IMHO warm gloves (+spare gloves) are also very if not most important.

A jacket you can pimp with pullovers etc. plus your body provides some heating ;-) during the walk.

For Shoes the Trangos should normally be sufficient, as long as the crampoons do not hinder blood circulation or something else like that.
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby jdenyes » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:33 pm

The booties look really interesting, didn't know they existed! Very cool...
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:00 pm

+1 on gloves.
I always have 3 pairs on any alpine or winter trip, and brought 4 on Mont Blanc.
Very thin running gloves.
Waxed leather work gloves(very light insulation)
Ski gloves
Big ol' mittens.
The thin runners and leathers get most of the use.
I don't always take the mittens, but if I'm in winter or going very high, there is always room for these. I ended up not wearing the mittens, but was glad to know they were there. Cold hands will shut you down faster than anything else.
I don't own these, but they are on my Christmas list. Half an ounce for the pair? Yes, please.
http://camp-usa.com/products/winter-gloves-hats/windmitn-1787.asp
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby radson » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:04 pm

I must admit, I was surprised at how cold Mt blanc was in August.
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby jmh5331 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:38 pm

I summited Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts Traverse Labor Day week last year (First week in September). I brought my Sub Zero parka to Chamonix but it never left the car. This is what I wore:

First Ascent mid weight baselayer
Patagonia R1 hoody
First Ascent Frontpoint Jacket
Mammut alpine underwear bottoms
Some kind of mammut softshell pants
Nepal Evos
First Ascent Igniter belay jacket.

I never had a problem being cold, though I hiked the summit ridge wearing my belay jacket. I'd say we had average temps, it was clear but very windy on our summit day. This combo worked for all the technical stuff we did lower down as well.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Gear for Mont Blanc?

Postby bird » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:42 pm

This sounds pretty much like my layering system. I'll bring the subzero if forecast is wicked cold. And maybe an extra vest or something.
Thanks

jmh5331 wrote:I summited Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts Traverse Labor Day week last year (First week in September). I brought my Sub Zero parka to Chamonix but it never left the car. This is what I wore:

First Ascent mid weight baselayer
Patagonia R1 hoody
First Ascent Frontpoint Jacket
Mammut alpine underwear bottoms
Some kind of mammut softshell pants
Nepal Evos
First Ascent Igniter belay jacket.

I never had a problem being cold, though I hiked the summit ridge wearing my belay jacket. I'd say we had average temps, it was clear but very windy on our summit day. This combo worked for all the technical stuff we did lower down as well.

Hope that helps.
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