High Altitude Gear questions

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I am begining to venture from simple winter camping to higher altitude goals (18,000 - 24,000). I obviously need to purchase some new gear to do this. What temp rating bag should I be looking at? Is a -5 adequate? Gloves, what kind of gloves are typically worn for high altitude accents?

-- Jeff Waalkes (waalkman@myrealbox.com), March 07, 2003


I'd say a -5 bag isn't enough. I'm no expert in winter camping and i don't know much about high altitude stuff, but everytime i've gone winter camping it's been in a -20 bag. When it was 0 out, i was chilly. I know i sleep colder than most people, but i'd imagine you'd want atleast a -20 bag if your doing high altitude stuff. I slept in a -20 bag when it was 15 or 20 out, and i didn't sweat. I'd say, if you can deal with the extra weight, take a warmer bag. If you know the temp will be below zero most of the time, i'd say take a -20, but it all depends how warm you sleep. Are you comfortable at 0 degree's in a 0 degree bag? It really depends how you handle the cold. If you don't sleep well, you wont climb well the next day. I wouldn't risk loosing sleep and being cold over a couple of ounces of insulation, but thats me. Hope this helps, Jim

-- jim davis (jmdavis384@aol.com), March 13, 2003.

Jeff-it depends:

- negative 5 C or F sleeping bag? There's a big difference. - how cold do you sleep? Many people can't stay warm at 25 degrees F with a 0 degree bag, many people can. This affects your decision on gear. Other factors, such as whether you plan on sleeping in all of your clothing or not, also contribute.

- where are you planning on climbing this high? Equatorial summits are signifcantly warmer, and the Himalaya are famously warmer than Alaskan summits of much lower elevation.

Gloves: once again, it depends. Hard climbers use the Black Diamond Guide Glove or equivalent under nortoriously cold conditions because they must use their fingers to constantly clip carabiners, place protection, and manage the rope. If you're planning on slogging at 20,000 feet (up to 4th class), mittens are the warmest option. There are a host of options out there, the highest-tech "high altitude" versions probably aren't neccessary.

Cheers, Tim

-- Tim Schultz (gear_monkey@yahoo.com), May 20, 2003.

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