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Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby kevinsoawesome » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:49 pm

I just finished Aconcagua and I'm ready to take it to the next level, however I have concerns about some gear. Specifically snowshoes, sleds and boots.

#1: The MSR Evo Snow Shoes (22-Inch, Navy) look like they might work well for me, seeing as they are light and hold up to 180 pounds with gear (I'm only 135lbs, so I don't think I will need the tails). Will this be enough for climbing Mckinley, will it be too little (or big) or would something else work better for this expedition?
http://www.amazon.com/MSR-Snow-Shoes-22-Inch-Navy/dp/B003EFF6MA/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_4_P1S8

#2: Also, for sledding gear (ski pulk) it's hard to find anything that is light, cheap and works well with snowshoes or crampons (not skis of course). Does anyone have a good suggestion for a good lightweight sled pulk to use in Colorado and or Alaska?

#3: Lastly, I have been using Scarpa Infernos for my climb up Mt Elbrus, Acocagua as well as several 14ers here in Colorado. With the large expedition gaiters, I have never had a problem with being cold with them. Is it mandatory to use overboots if using double plastics on Mt McKinley, in addition to my gaiters? Should I just invest in triple boots like this (they end up being much lighter than all the other gear if overboots are necessary):
http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3659855


Thank you for your help!
Kevin

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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby mts4602 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:22 pm

I'm pretty sure the companies that fly you onto the glacier will let you use sleds for free.

Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby Bean » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:14 am

#0: Denali
#1-3: Skis
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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby shearmodulus » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:29 pm

All the guiding companies I researched prior to booking with Alpine Ascents recommend double plastics at a minimum or single-boot systems like the Olympus Mons. I for one went with the Spantiks as I hoped to buy a boot that might get some use here too. They were perfect on a -20 day earlier in January, so I'm guessing they will do me well for my May summit on McKinley. Considering feet, face and hands are the most susceptible parts of the body to frostbite, I err on the side of caution.
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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby kevinsoawesome » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:34 pm

Thanks for the help guys this is great information. :-D

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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby RoanMtnMan » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:45 pm

I rocked the Invernos with the high altitude liners on my first trip up Denali. Not the best boot in the world but they do work. It is a good double boot for the money.

A lot of folks use a plastic kiddy sled on the trip and I can't say that it is a bad idea, but having rigid stays and skegs on the bottom sure helps. Especially with skis. I like a zip over nylon top as well, but not completely necessary.

As I am currently wearing a 40Below t-shirt, I can't talk bad about their products. Joel Attaway is a heck of a guy and has done a lot in the name of cold feet prevention with his small biz. I carried overboots all the way up on my trips but never actually needed them. Luck for sure, however an indispensable emergency item, but the necessity is perhaps a bit overstated if your feet run warm.
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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby cheeseburglar » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:31 am

One of our team turned around at Denali pass due to cold feet. So unless you want to turn around, you should be really comfortable with your boots.
Snowshoes suck, but even if you can ski, you might have to drop some money on warm enough boots to use up there. Hopefully some people who have climbed Denali with ski boots will chime in. I don't think the pair I have now would be warm enough, and I bought them last year and they fit great.
We had a hell of a time pulling a sled around windy corner. Sidehilling with a sled is not fun.
If I go back, I'll take a ski polk set up of some sort. I'm experimenting with two 5' pieces of 1/2" pvc right now. It does a great job keeping my kids sled from drifting. Haven't actually used it with a sled loaded with more than 25 lbs.
There are some threads on this site that describe home made sled polks really well, a quick search gave me this thread.
http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=22428&p=267225&hilit=winter+sled+pull#p267225
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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby RoanMtnMan » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:03 am

cheeseburglar wrote:One of our team turned around at Denali pass due to cold feet. So unless you want to turn around, you should be really comfortable with your boots.


True, carry your overboots and hope you leave them in your pack.

Snowshoes suck. The only thing worse is no snowshoes.

cheeseburglar wrote:Hopefully some people who have climbed Denali with ski boots will chime in. I don't think the pair I have now would be warm enough, and I bought them last year and they fit great.


The intuition ski boot liners were great for me. I did think they were warmer than the Inverno w/high alts. For reference on the ski we had air temps of around -10F with a 20mph SE wind which isn't too bad on a summit day up there. The Scarpa ski boots with Intuition liners did me well. I still have all 10 toes anyway. On the non-ski trip we had much worse weather and those overboots were pretty close to coming out on several occasions.

cheeseburglar wrote: Sidehilling with a sled is not fun.


Additionally, the PVC idea is a good one. I will go with a PVC stay rig on a kiddy sled next time I think. Our pulk systems were a bit of overkill in my opinion, but quite better than the standard single rope rig.

Here is some reading on the topics mentioned.

http://www.wildsnow.com/3380/forty-below-overboots/

http://www.wildsnow.com/2875/sled-pulk-polk-gear-skiing/

There are many more ideas on Wildsnow if you search "Denali".

In the meantime I will rack my brain for what the heck Bean's post means. I think it was hipster but I am not sure.
Always follow the 7 P's. Proper Planning & Preparation, Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby kevinsoawesome » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:58 am

Thank you for the help everyone. I have one last question, but I'm trying to calculate weight because every ounce counts on Mt Denali!

So, my question is when I'm wearing Overboots ontop of my Double Plastics Scarpa's Invernos, I'm I also wearing the bulky gaiters? If so, do the gaiters go on before of after the Overboots!

Are the overboots with the scarpa invernos (with high altitude liners), warm enough or are gaiters also necessary to wear (on Mt Kckinly). Im basically wondering if I can just ditch the gaiters and only wear the scarpa invernos with the overboots (and high altitude liners) and if this will be warm enough.


Thanks again!

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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby pvnisher » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:27 pm

Are you going with a guided commercial trip?

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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby TomPierce » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:40 pm

Agree that Intuition liners with good socks might be the way to go, but of course we don't know how cold your feet run. An alternative to overboots is an insulated supergaiter. That combines an increase in warmth, albeit nominal iMO, and also allows you to wear clip-on crampons with no modifications (vs. some overboots). Personally I hate strap on crampons, just me. As for the sled, there are many pulks out there. We used a kiddie sled, and in hindsight I would try to have the sleds in the middle of the rope team and tying the tail of the sled(s) into the rope. That helps a bit on the sidehill issue, and is esp useful if your sled drops into a crevasse; the person behind can pull on the rope and help get it out (I speak from experience :lol: ). Having the tailgunner tow a sled could be problematic.

Just my .02.
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Re: Mt McKinley Gear (Snowshoes, sled pulk, boots)

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:57 pm

RoanMtnMan wrote:
A lot of folks use a plastic kiddy sled on the trip and I can't say that it is a bad idea, but having rigid stays and skegs on the bottom sure helps. Especially with skis. I like a zip over nylon top as well, but not completely necessary.



I'm one of them - not on Denali, but I use a kid-sled pulk in the winter. Works well.

I have a Duluth Pack rig that is basically a big fanny pack on a fat waist belt with suspenders, and it has gear loops on the side. I put a 'biner on each side, and I clip the pulk to that.

I found a nice long sled with a good deep tub for about $20 at an Ace Hardware. I bolted PVC to the, uh, bow, I guess, and ran nylon rope through it. Then, I have two long PVC sections that the rope runs through, ending in a 'biner.

On slopes I seem to have better results crossing the PCV poles, making a X behind me - seems to drift much less. I don't connect the poles at the X, though - tried it once and I got a lot of flips. I just leave it loose so I can cross and uncross them as needed.

I ran some small PVC along the sides for extra reinforcement, and then drilled holes along the rails to use for lashing.

Works very nicely, and is really light.

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