Monday, January 14, 2013

Birth of the Icefield

We spent this past weekend in Vancouver - Caroline went down midweek for a work conference, and her company was good enough to pay my way as well.  We figured we could use this as a great excuse to hang out in Vancouver and, more importantly, go to MEC.

The drive down was slower than normal.  I spent 2 hours at the Coquihalla summit looking at this:

Coquihalla Summit

Notice the people who should be on the bus are standing beside the bus.  Bad crash I guess.  It was too bad I was driving alone - someone could have skiied a run or two.

In any case, I finally got to Vancouver on the Friday night.  Saturday we spent four and a half hours at MEC learning and refining our gear selection.  Which was a part in allowing us to finally kickstart planning this Icefield trip for this winter.  First step was to assign the reading:

Icefield reading list

Then we figured out our stove setup.  This has been a long time in the refining process, but I think we have it nailed.  Our next overnight we plan on boiling two pots of water, one with the full set up and one with nothing.  Maybe another with half the setup. It should be interesting.

Winter stove

It boils down to 3 components:

1) The Base Plate.  This is critical, or the stove will melt itself into the snow and fall over, which pretty much ruins your night.  There are lots of do-it-yourself systems out there with various types of foam, aluminum foil, plywood, etc.  They all seemed pretty complicated, large, and heavy.  We found this one at MEC.  I have high hopes.

2) The whatcha-ma-call-it.  To trap a lot of the escaping hot air.  This is half the weight of the setup, but I think it is very effective.  We will test.

3)  The Muffin-Top.  Light and effective.

Winter stove
We also worked on refining our route choice.  More on that later.  However, while researching various routes I found a bit of a gem in a trip report:

"Fyles and Dalgleish went on to the final, tottering pile of rock which called itself a peak, but seemed hesitant about announcing their victory. They commenced throwing rocks at the blade like crest of the ridge and triumphant shouts finally re-echoed their success in knocking over the unattainable summit. "

I like their style.

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