As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have?

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kyri0923

 
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As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have?

by kyri0923 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:25 pm

Which could be satisfied with a mechanical device?

The second part of the question is less important since you may not know what the solution to your unmet need is.

This is for an advanced product design class at the University of Colorado. We are engineers working toward advanced degrees in mechanical engineering design. We are trying to determine whether we will be able communicate with enough climbers and guides to gauge their needs. Then we will design a product that they need.

One idea that we currently have a prototype of is a backpacking stove that burns hotter in low oxygen/cold environments than what is currently available. Is cooking at altitude an area that could be improved for you as a high-altitude climber?

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phydeux

 
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Re: As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have

by phydeux » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:51 pm

I just need more oxygen. The more I can get without carrying a tank, the better. :wink:

More seriously, I think you're just trying to polish a chrome bumper that was polished yesterday. There are a wide variety of stoves out there, all pretty efficient, and I can't see the need for yet another unless you're working with a current manufacturer and making minor improvements to their products that won't cost a lot.

What about the different fuels? White gas, gasoline, Kerosene, diesel, that are used? Lots of the very high altitude areas in the world have some pretty inefficient fuels sources (kerosene and diesel), so you could try making improvements on a stove that uses those. the only issue is those types of stoves would have a very limited audience.

Short of that, if you don't have any experience at high altitude, you'd probably be better off finding something else to work on that you are familiar with.

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Re: As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have

by freakyclimber » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:25 pm

Cannabis vape cartridge which does not leak at high altitude.

^This is a legit engineering problem.

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LincolnB

 
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Re: As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have

by LincolnB » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:42 pm

Why not get serious about oxygen? I do a lot of weekend hikes in the Sierras - when you go from sea level to 14,000' in less than 24 hours, your body forces you to climb much slower than when acclimated. Very frustrating. Once I borrowed a compressed O2 tank from a hospital friend - I felt the effect, but the 10 lb tank wasn't worth the weight. However - there are now systems that use cryogenic O2 and are much lighter. For example, from Helios: "The H300 portable unit weighs a mere 3.6 pounds filled and has duration of use of 8-10 hours at a setting of 2" - available at Walmart for $245! I actually bought one of these on eBay - figured I'd get a dewar and fill it with O2 from a welding supply place, then transfer to the Helios at the trailhead- but the Helios turns out to have a complex interlock system and to fill it you have to buy a much more expensive supply system (also from Helios, of course).

Back in grad school I used to handle liquid N2 and O2 all the time. Yeah, you have be be careful to avoid ice plugs - also asphyxiation from N2 and accelerated combustion from O2 - but it doesn't have to be all that complicated.

So here's a design challenge: a lightweight cryogenic O2 pack, with simple refill capability. For us weekend mountaineers.

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Re: As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have

by phydeux » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:56 pm

LincolnB wrote:Why not get serious about oxygen? I do a lot of weekend hikes in the Sierras - when you go from sea level to 14,000' in less than 24 hours, your body forces you to climb much slower than when acclimated. Very frustrating. Once I borrowed a compressed O2 tank from a hospital friend - I felt the effect, but the 10 lb tank wasn't worth the weight. However - there are now systems that use cryogenic O2 and are much lighter. For example, from Helios: "The H300 portable unit weighs a mere 3.6 pounds filled and has duration of use of 8-10 hours at a setting of 2" - available at Walmart for $245! I actually bought one of these on eBay - figured I'd get a dewar and fill it with O2 from a welding supply place, then transfer to the Helios at the trailhead- but the Helios turns out to have a complex interlock system and to fill it you have to buy a much more expensive supply system (also from Helios, of course).

Back in grad school I used to handle liquid N2 and O2 all the time. Yeah, you have be be careful to avoid ice plugs - also asphyxiation from N2 and accelerated combustion from O2 - but it doesn't have to be all that complicated.

So here's a design challenge: a lightweight cryogenic O2 pack, with simple refill capability. For us weekend mountaineers.


Its also possible to use those oxygen extractors that separate the O2 in the air. They need electricity to run, so not sure how long a battery would last on those.

Leaky vape cartridges should be an easy fix. Most are probably not designed to be used at higher altitudes, so its a simple redesign problem using a better sealing mechanism.

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Scott
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Re: As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have

by Scott » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:59 am

One idea that we currently have a prototype of is a backpacking stove that burns hotter in low oxygen/cold environments than what is currently available. Is cooking at altitude an area that could be improved for you as a high-altitude climber?


Yes.

Personally, I find it difficult to prime a stove in extremely cold temperatures. Coleman (of all companies-they aren't known for mountaineering gear) came out with a canister stove that actually worked in cold weather using Powermax fuel. They discontinued it though. It worked really great in cold weather. When it was going to be discontinued, I bought a 10 year supply and still use it in extreme temperatures, but my supply will be out soon.

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Re: As a high-altitude climber, what unmet needs do you have

by ExcitableBoy » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:05 pm

A lightweight closed circuit oxygen system would be the ultimate piece of gear for high altitude climbing, but then what's the point?

How about a self drilling ice screw? I think there are drill motors that are built to drive screws, but I am thinking of nothing heavier or more bulky than a conventional ice screw with a tiny motor in the hanger that spins the screw when a button is pushed. Or perhaps some kind of spring loaded winding system that the user tightens by turning the screw in the reverse direction. When the screw is placed a catch releases the coil spring thereby spinning the screw at least enough revolutions to securely seat the screw, if not completely drive it.

Cooking is a challenge at altitude, not because stoves or fuel are inefficient, but because of Boyle's law. How about an ultra light weight (titanium?) pressure cooker that mates with the MSR Reactor/Wind Burner or Jet Boil stoves?

The stove systems, particularly the MSR stoves, are heavily engineered, very advanced, very efficient stoves that use special pots that mate to the stove. The stove and the pot are engineered to fit together to achieve maximum efficiency.

I think a titanium pressure cooker that mates with the MSR Reactor would be fairly genius.


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