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Bivy preferences, 1/2 bag + parka vs quilt vs mummy bag
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By Danomcq
Apr 16, 2013
Canon ct

For winter mountaineering (northeast) thoughts? Experiences?


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Apr 16, 2013
At the matching crux

If you carry bivy gear, you're gonna bivy. I can't think of a single route in the Northeast that a relatively fit and competent climber can't finish in a day. The biggest routes I can think of are on Katahdin and even those don't require a bivy.


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By Danomcq
Apr 16, 2013
Canon ct

Let me elaborate, to include overnight winter hikes and camping


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By ADKMan
From Upstate New York
Apr 16, 2013

My personal preference for winter overnights in the Northeast is a lightweight tent (BD Firstlight, MH Direkt 2 or similar) and a bag rated 10-15 degrees above your anticipated coldest temperature. I supplement the bag with a puffy and additional clothing that I would be carrying anyway. This combination is far warmer and more adaptable to varied conditions than a bivy with any bag combination and the combined weight difference is minimal.

Just my $.02


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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Apr 16, 2013

for true winter you won't want much less than a firstlight, full down bag, and warm partner to cuddle.

if you're thinking more of spring/high alpine summer (i.e. not in the NE) the options vary a lot

honestly, you should just go out and get after it and not worry too much about what gear to buy. you'll know once you need it.


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Apr 16, 2013
At the matching crux

Danomcq wrote:
Let me elaborate, to include overnight winter hikes and camping


I wouldn't use the same gear for all 3 pursuits. Before I really got into climbing, I spent a good deal of time backpacking/snowshoeing/peak bagging in the Catskills and the Adirondacks. Deep in the Dacks it can get BRUTALLY cold. I carried a -20 Marmot bag for those shenanigans, but I would never dream of carrying it for a bivy. On a bivy, I plan on suffering (to a degree) because I'd be suffering even more by dragging a 5lb sleeping bag up a route.

The closest thing to a real bivy I can think of in the NE would be a winter ascent of Wallface where you make the 4 hr approach the day before, bivy at the base, then climb and retreat the next day. I would probably carry a BD Firstlight and either a 20 or 0 degree bag depending on the temp forecast.

Half-bags have their place, but only in the big ranges. Not worth the hassle here.

I don't have enough experience with quilts to say one way or the other, but I can see their appeal. Maybe one day I'll pick one up.


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By Danomcq
Apr 16, 2013
Canon ct

I have acquired a MH direct 2 and have a mammut bag which claims -17 F so I should be good most of the time. And to those who say I need to just go out more, all my deploy,nets have lined up with winter climbing, so I haven't been able to get out much. I haven't been home for winter in 4 years or so. Opn top of that my youngest is 14 months and I've been home for 2 of them if that puts it in perspective


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Apr 16, 2013
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Lightweight 4-season tent... they're espensive, but man they're worth it. Especially if you're deliberately bivying (I don't take a tent if I don't expect a bivy). The level of comfort, and therefor rest potential, gained is totally worth the extra 1-2lbs over a bivy bag. Being able to brew up some nice hot food right there in your tent while the wind is ripping stinging ice crystals all around outside... worth every penny.

Edit- Just noticed the original question has nothing to do with shelter.

I've never done the half-bag thing, but I have bivied in a parka. Warm base, fleece, salopette, Phantom jacket under shell, and Compressor pants, Phantom Guide boots, on a pad, leaning against my pack... 10,000' around 10F ambient with a light breeze. Really thought I'd be able to get a few hours sleep in relative comfort- NOPE.

I've taken to omitting layers and bringing a bag rated to 10-15 below my expected temperature range instead. I've got a 0F, 15F, and 32F, all at or below 3lbs, waterproof (or treated down), that cover all my bases.

Doesn't work as well if you've got a slow partner, though.


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By Kai Larson
From Sandy, Utah
Apr 17, 2013
Tour Ronde North Face

Get a regular sleeping bag (down) that is roomy enough inside to wear your other clothing in (including a down jacket.)

Marmot Lithium would be a good choice, as it's cut a bit roomier than many others.


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