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  1. #1

    Default Can a bivy be used for High Sierra?

    Hey guys, I am looking to leave within the next week or two to section the PCT. My initial plans had been to start at KO with the pack, but stuff happens. I had been planning to only carry a bivy through the desert and switch it out for a tent. However, now I am looking to start probably at Kennedy Meadows (sort of with the crowd) and only have my bivy to work with. Are conditions warm/dry enough to make it through the High Sierras with a bivy?

    My specific bivy can be found here: http://www.rei.com/product/731431

    Also, I have read that people have gotten through with 30* bags, true?

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    Quote Originally Posted by happycowinca View Post
    Hey guys, I am looking to leave within the next week or two to section the PCT. My initial plans had been to start at KO with the pack, but stuff happens. I had been planning to only carry a bivy through the desert and switch it out for a tent. However, now I am looking to start probably at Kennedy Meadows (sort of with the crowd) and only have my bivy to work with. Are conditions warm/dry enough to make it through the High Sierras with a bivy?

    My specific bivy can be found here: http://www.rei.com/product/731431

    Also, I have read that people have gotten through with 30* bags, true?
    Maybe. But it also might dump snow and rain on you. I froze in a 40 degree bag, with my thermals on, and an insulated top. Temps were consistently down below freezing in June. A 30 probably would have helped, but I'd take my 20 if I did it again. I bivy all the time on alpine climbing trips and really like doing it. But my bivy actually weighs more than my tarp, so I take the bivy when I might not be able to pitch, and the tarp when I can. I could tarp all across the Sierra and would take that instead.

  3. #3

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    The problem with that bivy is that you cannot completely close it up. I've probably slept 100 nights in the Sierra and I never had rain or snow at night, but it does happen.

    As for temps, it was consistently around freezing at night for the last 3 weeks in June when I went through. For some that means use a 15 degree bag. Others would be fine with a 40. Focus on getting a bag that will keep you cozy to freezing and you will be happy.

  4. #4

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    I just got word from a buddy who is on the PCT.
    There are about 30 of them holed up in Kennedy Meadows waiting out some bad weather.

    I wouldn't want to be out there with just a bivy.
    I only ever tried one once and it was too confining for me.

    I'll take my "sil shelter" anyday over one of those things.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Registered User kyhipo's Avatar
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    Default can a bivy be used for high sierra?

    I would not use a bivy period up in the sierras,I was their in may and the wind was just crazy!sure it was may,with tons of snow still up their!I also got snow burned in my eyes which was my fault,new better ,I stayed in my tent for 2days and well over13,000 ft after mt.whitney going north outside the seqouia nat park.listened to the weather ect.10 degrees it was cold.ky

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    Man, it'd be great. Just take a poncho or something for a tarp. Or take a separate tarp to get under. I have slept many a night on the PCT with no bivy AND no tarp.
    "Something hidden. Go and find it. Go, and look behind the Ranges. Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you . . . Go!" (Rudyard Kipling)
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  7. #7

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    I know if I went back through there, I'd get a minimalist tarp and a weatherbug resistant bivy. You can use the bivy and fall asleep to the stars, but stay dry from the dew, sheltered from the wind, and away from the mosquitos. On the rare occasion you expect rain, just put up the tarp.

  8. #8

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    all depends on the weather and how well you know your gear.

    http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/fo...ge/1#Post62966

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmuth.Fishmonger View Post
    all depends on the weather and how well you know your gear.

    http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/fo...ge/1#Post62966

    Here is the answer to the question. Well put HF.

  10. #10

    Default How many SAR dollars have been invested fine tuning UL techniques?

    This woman's story is important to me. Back in my day (cue old man voice), we had the The American Canoe Association's "River Safety Report" and Seakayaker Magazine's monthly safety analysis plus their publication "Deep Trouble".

    These publications were "safety articles primarily cover kayaking accidents. Their main purpose is education: to enable readers to learn from and avoid the misfortunes of others. Safety articles have two sections: a description of the incident, and an analysis underscoring the significant factors and discussing how to better handle similar situations. We encourage readers to inform us about accidents they’ve heard of or been involved in, and we make every effort to be sensitive to the needs of those involved." (http://www.seakayakermag.com/contrib...guidelines.htm)

    These incident analyses do NOT include stories of the drunk and stupid, where Jim Billy's last words before he died on the river were, "Hold my beer." The incidents in these publications describe the tragedies or near misses of experienced paddlers.

    Does the backpacking community have comparable publications?

    The reason why I ask, is that I find most UL gear lists ridiculous. That could be because my apprenticeships were designed based on best practices defined in the early 90's by NOLS. I have grown extremely weary of the empty claims of the necessary "expertise and knowledge" needed for safe, comfortable UL travel. Most UL based recommendations on whiteblaze are without reference to specific evidence, example, time of year, trip duration, anticipated weather, actual weather encountered, distance per day, terrain encountered, LOCATION OF THE WORLD, proximity to roads, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Most claims are without citation, appear boastful and nearly religious in demeanor. Most UL techniques seem designed more to reduce Mankind's overall enviromental footprint and the promotion of a dematerialistic society. What on Earth do these concerns have to do with successful and safe backcountry travel? Something else is driving the UL movement besides the joy's of a lighter pack. There are philosophical and sociological drivers in UL design that IMO carry far too much weight.

    Is UL philosophy confused as technique?

    Have UL techniques been properly and independently analyzed in the same fashion described in the publications above? What should I read that instills some scientific confidence in UL design? Besides the boorish and empty claims saturating this forum.

    How many SAR dollars have been invested fine tuning UL techniques?

    Sorry for the ****ty attitude, but I followed NOLS techniques first because my instructors told me to, then because I learned first hand that they worked.

    Hike My Own Hike. I will, and I will do so safely, comfortably and responsibly. But I find little evidence why I should modify my 'outdated' techniques on this forum.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sof View Post
    . . . But I find little evidence why I should modify my 'outdated' techniques on this forum.
    Then, um, you know, don't.
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  12. #12

    Default I won't

    Quote Originally Posted by Jester2000 View Post
    Then, um, you know, don't.
    That woman in the Sierras didn't have a chance to reject poor advice. That's the point.

    The internet is full of poor suggestions, without citation, without evidence and levied by self made experts whose resume has no independent certification. And this forum is a fountainhead.

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    Cowinca,
    If you have never tried this bivy and plan just to get out there and use it, you are in for some severe issues. This bivy requires a tarp, This bivy will have you feel like somthing like a pinyta or a chicken broiler bag. At 70 degrees and the right humidity one cannot just sleep on top and avoid mosquitos. Water collects around the rim and runs in down the sides. This bivy REQUIRES some backyard testing!
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmuth.Fishmonger View Post
    all depends on the weather and how well you know your gear.

    http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/fo...ge/1#Post62966
    Quote Originally Posted by sof View Post
    That woman in the Sierras didn't have a chance to reject poor advice. That's the point.

    The internet is full of poor suggestions, without citation, without evidence and levied by self made experts whose resume has no independent certification. And this forum is a fountainhead.
    Read this entry into her journal. Explains everything to me.

    http://postholer.com/journal/viewJou...&entry_id=6266

    Quote from the link above:
    "So 2008 comes along and I joined a group of guys to winter camp in Northern Minnesota in February. These guys introduced me to backpackinglight.com (BPL), Henry Shires tarp tents, "ultralight" (UL) backpacking- they even talked about "super ultralight" (SUL) backpacking. It was see-the-light, aha, hallelujah, give me an amen kind of moment...I was converted-"

    Teaching required training before the internet. Certifications. Best practices vetted, defined and promoted in unison by OR professionals.

    The internet and a "group of guys" is NOT equal to the training provided by a qualified OR program.

    Read this post where I am a bit less whiney/bitchy: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...986#post902986

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    Quote Originally Posted by sof View Post
    This woman's story is important to me. Back in my day (cue old man voice), we had the The American Canoe Association's "River Safety Report" and Seakayaker Magazine's monthly safety analysis plus their publication "Deep Trouble".

    These publications were "safety articles primarily cover kayaking accidents. Their main purpose is education: to enable readers to learn from and avoid the misfortunes of others. Safety articles have two sections: a description of the incident, and an analysis underscoring the significant factors and discussing how to better handle similar situations. We encourage readers to inform us about accidents they’ve heard of or been involved in, and we make every effort to be sensitive to the needs of those involved." (http://www.seakayakermag.com/contrib...guidelines.htm)

    These incident analyses do NOT include stories of the drunk and stupid, where Jim Billy's last words before he died on the river were, "Hold my beer." The incidents in these publications describe the tragedies or near misses of experienced paddlers.

    Does the backpacking community have comparable publications?

    The reason why I ask, is that I find most UL gear lists ridiculous. That could be because my apprenticeships were designed based on best practices defined in the early 90's by NOLS. I have grown extremely weary of the empty claims of the necessary "expertise and knowledge" needed for safe, comfortable UL travel. Most UL based recommendations on whiteblaze are without reference to specific evidence, example, time of year, trip duration, anticipated weather, actual weather encountered, distance per day, terrain encountered, LOCATION OF THE WORLD, proximity to roads, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Most claims are without citation, appear boastful and nearly religious in demeanor. Most UL techniques seem designed more to reduce Mankind's overall enviromental footprint and the promotion of a dematerialistic society. What on Earth do these concerns have to do with successful and safe backcountry travel? Something else is driving the UL movement besides the joy's of a lighter pack. There are philosophical and sociological drivers in UL design that IMO carry far too much weight.

    Is UL philosophy confused as technique?

    Have UL techniques been properly and independently analyzed in the same fashion described in the publications above? What should I read that instills some scientific confidence in UL design? Besides the boorish and empty claims saturating this forum.

    How many SAR dollars have been invested fine tuning UL techniques?

    Sorry for the ****ty attitude, but I followed NOLS techniques first because my instructors told me to, then because I learned first hand that they worked.

    Hike My Own Hike. I will, and I will do so safely, comfortably and responsibly. But I find little evidence why I should modify my 'outdated' techniques on this forum.
    Wow, that certainly was an angry post written with a pissy attitude condemning those who hike with less wt. or with the UL style, SOF. I agree with some of that anger but some of it is also misguided at a specific group as if that group is the only one that can hike unprepared, unsafe, irresponsibly, or uncomfortably, or disregard being educated about the misfortunes of others, etc.

    I'm an ULer who understands some of that anger when it's directed at those who go hiking unprepared and put their welfare and the welfare of others in jeopardy, but that anger should in no way just be aimed at those who hike with the UL philosophy. Hikers who carry conventional wt., heavy wt., or whatever wt. gear or hike with some other philosophy can get into trouble if they are also unprepared. In other words I'm saying that the wt. of your hiking gear is in no way THE ULTIMATE INDICATION of whether or not someone is properly prepared to backpack, can hike comfortably, or hike safely. It seems you are saying hiking using UL methods is somehow unsafe, unsuccessful, irresponsible, or uncomfortable, on some level, simply because it's labeled as UL. I also recommend that you not grow weary of anyone's claims, including that of the UL community, that "expertise and knowledge " can assist a hike and actually be essential for a successful and safe hike. Isn't it accurate to say that NOLS qualifies leaders based on a level of "expertise and knowledge", just maybe someone else's version of "expertise and knowledge?"

    I understand that you have been trained to backpack with the NOLS method of backpacking. I respect NOLS for all the young people they introduce to backpacking. I'm not NOLS certified and I don't hike following all of their "best practices", but I personally know at least 100 NOLS certified hike leaders so I know a little bit about NOLS. You said your NOLS apprenticeships were defined, taught, and followed based on "best practices." Do you understand and can you happily accept that not every hiker uses the same methods or defines "best practices" the same? Even the NOLS "best practices" have been defined differently as times have changed. Can you accept that countless individuals and groups have had successful, safe, and well prepared hikes NOT using NOLS methods? Obviously, countless folks have hiked successfully, safely, and responsibly without the need to do it the NOLS way.

    Where I most agree with you is that there are philosophical and sociological drivers in UL design and hiking using the UL philosophy, but the same holds true for other ways to design gear and hike, like in NOLS. I do see a boastfulness upon some in the UL community to see who can hike with the least wt. that almost reaches a religious fervor. I'm not a part of this and don't base my gear choices or my hiking style solely on what is the lightest gear. I also believe, like you, that a deep care for the environment and living in a less materialistic world naturally arise out of, or maybe are driving factors, in the UL movement. Where I think we disagree is that you see these principles as separate from safe and successful backcountry travel as I, and many in the UL community, believe these principles can and do go hand in hand with safe and successful backcountry travel.

    SOF, I don't know what you have read or been led to believe about following the UL philosophy, but every successful and safe ULer that I personally know would never hike totally disregarding or without carefully considering factors like: time of year, trip duration, anticipated weather, actual weather encountered, distance per day, terrain encountered, LOCATION OF THE WORLD, proximity to roads, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Considering all these factors is just what ULers are talking about when they say, "expertise and knowledge are needed for a safe and successful UL hike." I would say they are necessary for any safe and successful hike using any type of gear, hiking style, or hiking philosophy.

    I actually stumbled upon this old thread thinking it was more recent, like today. I didn't know it included your post from today about NOLS and the UL philosophy. As an ULer I wanted to inform the OP that I just came from the high Sierras, they were having colder weather below freezing with light snow above 9500 ft. when I left there Sept 30, and no the REI bivy sack the OP was solely using as shelter and the 30 *sleeping bag were not adequate enough for the current conditions to begin a hike starting in early Oct at Kennedy Meadows going into the High Sierras. So, it would seem that as an ULer I was certainly considering, maybe for the incorrect time of the yr., but still considering, time of yr., trip duration, anticipated weather, actual weather encountered, terrain encountered, location of the world, proximity to roads, distance per day, etc, etc, etc.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyhipo View Post
    I would not use a bivy period up in the sierras,I was their in may and the wind was just crazy!sure it was may,with tons of snow still up their!I also got snow burned in my eyes which was my fault,new better ,I stayed in my tent for 2days and well over13,000 ft after mt.whitney going north outside the seqouia nat park.listened to the weather ect.10 degrees it was cold.ky

    i have zero experience with bivys but wouldnt the high wind make it more friendly for bivys versus tarps or tents? would figure the low profile wouldn't catch the wind a quarter as much as a high and tight tarp..
    " YOU'RE MAD!" "... Thank goodness for that, Because if I wasn't this would probably never work." AT thru hiker advice from CAPN jack sparrow

  17. #17

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    I wouldn't hike in the Sierras with just a bivy. I need a tent. I need space away from bugs and safety from rain. I understand the benefits of the tarp/bivy set-up and enjoy that in my own southern California backcountry, but it actually isn't lighter than my Gossamer Gear tent and my tent provides better shelter from bugs and weather.

    As for taking a 30* or 40* sleeping bag, you can do that, but have a down jacket and maybe some down pants to extend its range to the 20s.

    As for NOLS, I believe they are in the process of designing a lightweight backpacking NOLS course.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  18. #18

    Default

    I thought NOLS certifications have been an attempt to bring "certified guides" to North America, you know, just like Europe.

    No thank you.

    I would rather "empower" people with knowledge.

    My dot info website is about that.

    As for SAR, I have first hand experience. Out at Point Reyes National Seashore, six counties SAR could not find a woman.

    I heard about it, arriving in time to have the person in charge not change entirely over to dead body recovery search. There is an all important difference in utilization of assets and personnel.

    After much idiocy, and mayhem, I spotted an older and retired Sheriff, who looked about as disgusted as me. I asked him if he had anyone trained in hypothermia, not to drop or suddenly jar the person, get the warmest clothing off volunteers and on the victim, and so forth. He did. He had a ER triage nurse. I asked him, if he had some strong young people who were not weary and worn out from dead body recovery grid search. He did.

    I asked him, if he could liberate one of those cute little brand new 4x4 "rescue cars" painted official search and rescue cars. He did.

    I said, have them drive out a specified trail, windows rolled down, no talking, and no more than 3-5 mph. If they see hikers (allowed because the national park could not, as a practical matter, close the national park - the SAR had been handling the search on a law enforcement model) tell the hikers you are searching for a woman, providing a description and, if allowed by the law, her first name and the woman may be disoriented, semi-conscious or found unconscious.

    The first "pass" the first two hikers "found" the woman.

    Why?

    One, there are only so many reasons people become "lost".
    Two, there are only so many places people can't get out of, if weak or injured.
    Three, the hikers were not: riding in a car, not chatting, not riding their "horsies" and their "doggies" were not smelling each other's rear ends.

    Most important, the hikers did search their designated area: their did not have a six-pack of beer in their on their atv or stop for a "smoke break" and then, return with not a bit of dirt on their shoes and their trousers were dry because they had not searched, in fact, they had never left the road.

    This "critique" is NOT limited to one successful live rescue, because I was on it.

    It is my considerable experience SAR chiefly does dead body recovery and soaks up money and priviledges from county government.

    If a SAR group has better statistics, than a 50-50 chance of live rescue, I would like to know about it.

    In the county near me, SAR are drunkards and braggarts.

    Whenever I see a "braggart" in a forum, my initial "take" is either there is no-experience there, e.g. armchair hikers, or the person has an axe to grind, e.g. NOLS wants guide certification and guides required.

    I like this forum.

    At this forum, people can find good information here.

    Maybe they have to read down the thread for "best" responses.

    Nevertheless, first class information can be found right here.

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