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Premier Post - ASK ANDY AT UKC: Andy Kirkpatrick's Doctor Gear

In this interactive article series, gear guru and mountain funny man Andy Kirkpatrick will answer your questions on gear. From the basic to the bizarre, if you need to know something then just Ask Andy!

Andy will be regularly checking this thread and picking questions to answer in a feature article on the gear page.

To kick us off we have a question from Jas about bothy bags and bivy bags:

A bothy shelter looks great for emergencies, but would you modify or use it as a bivy bag for snow caving situations?

Andy gives us the full details: http://new.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1163

UPDATE: Dr Gear II
: Alpine Leg Wear - Question from Liz J:

Andy gives us the details: Dr Gear II

UPDATE AGAIN!

Doctor Gear part III is now live:

Read the full article:http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1259
liz j on 14 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Hia Andy, here's a question for you. Mammut basejump pants over a pair of powerstretch tights, warm enough for Mont Blanc in sept?
shark - on 14 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:


Dear Doc

Which beanie will make me look young and cool ?


Old (but keen) of Sheffield
James Gordon - on 15 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Boots for multi day alpine winter climbs?

I have used Sportiva Nepal Tops and Vegas for Scotland, Alpine icefalls and Winter Alpine day routes. But I want to explore the one stop shop solutions.

I found normal Vegas had too much heel lift, as did Spantiks. Vasque Ice 9000 didn't seem sturdy enough (the inner too flimsy?) Not convinced Sportiva Baturas or equivalent warm enough and maybe more importantly no double boot limits multi day effectiveness? Scarpa Phantoms and other new skool double boots are hellish expensive.

Never tried climbing in Ski Mtn boots and although they obviously make the ski in and out easier I wondered if a big plastic with a power strap would be better (I am a good skier) . Most of all I wonder if you can get a thermofit (or alveolite?) liner into a plastic shell to give warmth, fit, extra skiing support??

Any thoughts or advice gratefully received.

James
Jimbo MSider - on 15 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Dear Andy'll fix it.

Where can i buy a Mammut Hooded Stratus in the UK


James Aged 22
Liverpool
antwan - on 15 Jul 2008
Dear Doctor Gear

I have recently bought the lightest stove in the world and a reasonably light pan thingy.

What is the best lightwieght food to accompany my shiney new hardwear?
smithaldo - on 16 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Looking at the rubber grip tape on the petzl charlet nomic I was wondering where one could get a similar thing for the shaft on the quark ergos. Would a tennis racket grip work maybe? Suggestions appreciated.

Cheers
Tom Briggs - on 16 Jul 2008
In reply to smithaldo:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Looking at the rubber grip tape on the petzl charlet nomic I was wondering where one could get a similar thing for the shaft on the quark ergos. Would a tennis racket grip work maybe? Suggestions appreciated.

Petzl-Charlet call it griptape and Needlesports stock it. I've used it on Petzl-Charlet Aztarex and Grivel Air Tech Racing, as much for insulation. It works well if you secure the top/bottom with duct tape.
TRip - on 16 Jul 2008
In reply to James Gordon:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Boots for multi day alpine winter climbs?
>
Discalimer: I'm not Andy Kirkpatrick and I havn't done any alpine winter climbing yet.

Scarpa Omega's perhaps? I've not used them in the alps in winter, but I know a man who has without problems.

I've used them fairly extencivley in Scotland and had no problem drying the liners in my sleeping bag, whilst camped up on the ben in winter.

If they fit you feet, they're definatley worth a shot. I'll write a review up for UKC once I've used them in Alpine winter.

My only gripe is that the liner's tend to fall apart.

HTH
Richard Hall - on 16 Jul 2008
In reply to Jimbo MSider: Dear Hoodless in Liverpool,

Try asking a Mammut stockist to order one in?

Jimbo MSider - on 16 Jul 2008
In reply to Richard Hall: tried mate, no one has em!
Richard Hall - on 17 Jul 2008
In reply to Jimbo MSider: No, get someone to order one from Switzerland for you. Very few shops are going to keep stuff like that in stock.
James Gordon - on 17 Jul 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Tom,

Thanks for your thoughts. Met a bloke using them a couple of winters ago in the Argentiere hut. He said they were warm enough. I have heard about liner issues (robustness and losing their thermo-fitted shape). Heard the outers have had longevity issues aswell?

When I tried them on they seemed a good fit...and that without thermo-fitting. They look a good bet but as a minor point I doubt they would provide any ankle support if you wanted to try and ski in them cf. Vegas for example?

Look forward to the write up!

James
Ross McGibbon - on 18 Jul 2008
In reply to smithaldo:
> Looking at the rubber grip tape on the petzl charlet nomic I was wondering where one could get a similar thing for the shaft on the quark ergos. Would a tennis racket grip work maybe? Suggestions appreciated.

I covered my shaft (oo er, missus, titter ye not...) with self-amalgamating tape from Maplins, the electrical shop. It stretches and sort of bonds to itself. Seems to work well for grip though, obviously it can be scratched easier than factory fitted grip.
The only thing that would be better is a ribbed grip to help when you are rubbing snow off your Dachsteins.

Ross

HeMa on 19 Jul 2008
In reply to James Gordon:
> Never tried climbing in Ski Mtn boots and although they obviously make the ski in and out easier I wondered if a big plastic with a power strap would be better (I am a good skier) . Most of all I wonder if you can get a thermofit (or alveolite?) liner into a plastic shell to give warmth, fit, extra skiing support??

While I certainly ain't in the caliber of Andy when it comes to messing around in the mountains, this peculiar point is something I do have experience...

Ski mountaineering (ie. AT) boots work well for climbs where highly precise feet ain't needed, nor are really highstep or any other funk foot technique. So for your basic snow & ice and some mellow rock, AT boots work well.

And yes, you can fit thermofits inside the shell to get a warmer and more precise fit. In fact, most of the AT boots in the market actually come with thermofits, but naturally you could get a better one from Intuintion (sp?). Just size the shell accordingly, ie. do a good shellfit with about 1 to 1.5cm behind your heel when your toes touch the toebox of the shell.

Paul F - on 19 Jul 2008
In reply to smithaldo:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Looking at the rubber grip tape on the petzl charlet nomic I was wondering where one could get a similar thing for the shaft on the quark ergos. Would a tennis racket grip work maybe? Suggestions appreciated.
>
> Cheers

Part number U21700, Griptape.
Willmeg - on 21 Jul 2008
Best boots:

I am just getting back into climbing and in particular some alpine and ice with a view to Mont Blanc, Eiger etc. In the next year or so I want to go back to Nepal again and work up to an 8000. Last time there I led a party up Pisang 6096m, nothing technical but it was a good insight.

So...boots, things have changed since I wore some [15years] I like the look of the La Sportiva nepal extreme and really like the Millet Everest. Obviously huge price difference but I am thinking long term useage. I spent many years in Norway and have had cold feet in the past and do not want to repeat that.

Will both of these boots boots cope with basic Alpine , snow and ice, and high altitude.

Any advice would be welcome....where to but would be good as well.

Cheers

Russ
In reply to Willmeg: Its hard to suggest a boot that will be good summer alpine and for the greater ranges. Obviously you cant have the best of both worlds and the nepal extreme is great for the alps but not really what you want on an 8000m peak. The millet everests are the opposite really and total overkill for the alps (think boil in a bag for your feet).
Do you mean 'basic alpine' as in only summer alpine?
You can always have a look at some of the hybrid boots out there. I used a pair of Vasque 9000s for a long time and have never had cold feet in them (that includes long belays in proper alpine winter). They are a little big for summer use but to be honest I've used them for 4 years now year round and they are fine (and I live out in Chamonix so use them alot). I know that the Vasque Ice gets used quite a bit up at altitude.
Otherwise its pretty impossible to recommend a boot that is both good for summer alpine (pretty hot and sweaty) and good up to 8000m where its obviously incredibly cold at times. The best thing you can do is to buy a boot for both (thats what i would do). If so you can check out the Scarpa range of boots which have the Pahntom lites for all round alpine use and to the Phantom 8000 for (surprise surprise) 8000m use.
My last piece of advice is go to a specialist shop and see what type of foot you have. Different makes use different foot models and getting a boot that fits well is a real priority as not only will it avoid blisters but also let the blood flow as un-impeded as possible. Be careful though as alot of people in snow and rock and Ellis Brigham etc dont actually know what they are talking about. You can always do a bit of research first on the net and then quiz them to see if they have any clue! If you find yourself in Chamonix head over to Foot Works as they will be able to tell you everything you need to know about your foot.
Hope this has been of some help
jon


Willmeg - on 21 Jul 2008
In reply to Jon Griffith:

Jon...thanks for the sound advice. I intend to do some summer Alpine courses in and around the Chamonix region and some winter snow & ice training.Your right, there is no boot to do both Alpine and 8000's but it does look like some that will do for summer and winter alpine. So that is where I am heading. I will look at the Scarpa,s and the vasque you mentioned. Thanks again. Enjoyed the photos on the link by the way...great inspiration.

Russ
francoisecall - on 22 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I would love to know more about self belaying techniques when soloing. I was told there a US made device for that that is forbidden in Europe. Could Andy give some tips?
john howard 1 - on 22 Jul 2008
In reply to francoisecall: (sorry for the hijack)From your profile I see you're mainly a winter and alpine climber, so I thought this might be helpful - http://fcorpet.free.fr/Denis/Solo-En.html
Now i've never used this technique, but just came across the site, and thought it may be of use.
gear boy - on 24 Jul 2008
In reply to Ross McGibbon: or you can get it from diy hardware stores, about 2 quid for enough to do 4 to 5 shafts, and yes it works better than alot of manufactured grips
gear boy - on 24 Jul 2008
In reply to Jimbo MSider: i think one problem that exists,quite a few companies see these things as a winter item so dont make any in the summer, so what is available now is left overs, but come october they will be available,
its exactly the same as shorts and sandals in winter
rusty_nails - on 26 Jul 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Hi Andy.

I was wondering where you get your 7mm Perlon that you use instead of a sling/cordallete?


cheers

adam
ray - on 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
So Andy, do you tie in with a fig 8 or a bowline? This being an eternal favourite on this forum. Also the whole belay loop / abseil loop versus rope loop debate.
Geoffrey Michaels on 04 Aug 2008 - cnag4.gotadsl.co.uk
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Here is my proposal for a piece of climbing gear. It's based on the principles involved with a trangia handle.

Basically a strong spring loaded handle which will clamp on to horizontal slivers of rock and have an extender coming off it for the krab.

Where should I patent it?
In reply to Andy:

Andy,

What are the benefits of down over synthetic when it comes to sleeping bags. What are the key things to look for when buying one for alpine climbing outings?

I get the impression that down when wet can drastically reduce the effective insulation - is this true?

Grumpy.
almost sane - on 04 Aug 2008
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:
From a not-Andy:
Comparing bags when dry: in order to give the same amount of warmth, a synthetic bag will be heavier and bulkier than a down bag.

Comparing bags when very wet: a synthetic bag will dry quicker than a down bag, and a wet synthetic bag will keep you warmer than a wet down bag.

The best (so they say) bag for keeping you warm in the absolutely sopping wet, is a Buffalo sleeping bag. But I have never been so sodden as to need this. http://www.buffalosystems.co.uk/ssthumbs.htm

Synthetic bags tend to be cheaper than down bags, though Alpkit prices are keen, and the current Rock&run sale of Rab bags reduces the price difference a lot. See http://www.alpkit.com/skyehigh/ and http://www.rockrun.com/productlist.asp?CatID=509&BCat=448,509&rootcatid=448&searchstring...

So: if you think your bag will get wet, take a synthetic bag. If money is tight, get a synthetic bag. If you want maximum comfort for minimum weight and can keep your bag dry, there's nothing like a big fluffy down bag.

As for Andy K's views, look here
http://www.psychovertical.com/?bivigear
James Oswald - on 06 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
What do you think about buying second hand cams? How should you check them?
Richard Hall - on 06 Aug 2008
In reply to Donald M: Well firstly I would come up with a better idea ;)

Then I would submit an application to the patent office. If the initial stage goes well you will probably need a patent lawyer. Make sure the idea is very good before bothering, it is a lengthly and expensive process.
Richard Hall - on 06 Aug 2008
In reply to Donald M: Oh, and when you do come up with a better idea I would keep it to yourself rather than broadcasting it to the whole world.
In reply to liz j: Hi Liz,

Andy has answered your question here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1187

Thanks for submitting it. (Good luck on Mont Blanc!)

Best,

Jack
Dear Doctor Kirkpatrick

What do you look for in a 2 man tent for alpinism?

Would this do the job?

http://tinyurl.com/5ew49m

Best Regards

GBPCG
Richard Hall - on 15 Aug 2008
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: Excellent, that did make me chuckle. Am off to the Alps in the next couple of weeks, I do hope Woolworths mail order service is prompt.
matt pigden - on 16 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Hi Gear Doctor, I froze this winter in Scotland and am determined to be a bit more comfortable this season. I need advise on base layers and shells. I have nylon base layer and quite old marmot alpinist jacket and rab advent shell sallopettes. I also have Bergaus Big Wall jacket. Also advise on gloves and keeping hands warm would be great as I nearly threw up with the hot aches on several occassions. Cheers, matt
Geoffrey Michaels on 16 Aug 2008 - host86-164-131-118.range86-164.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Richard Hall:
> (In reply to Donald M) Oh, and when you do come up with a better idea I would keep it to yourself rather than broadcasting it to the whole world.

Or possibly post a serious idea? Bait, took, the, you.
Martin Haworth on 18 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: What is the best style of karabiner for racking your wires on, how many wires per karabiner do you think is optimum and how many do you recommend carrying.
I currently use 3 old krabs and rack them, 5 large wires, 7 medium wires, 6 of the half size wires on single wire plus 2 micro wires. Additionally I have a second set of medium wires and a selection of micros/offsets if the route demands
Richard Hall - on 23 Aug 2008
In reply to Donald M: OK sorry, you did have me there.
Ken Applegate - on 26 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Andy (and anyone else with experiences of using the following),

Trawling the internet for auto-locking belay devices, there seems to be a range out there including:

Petzl Gri-gri
SUM Fader
Edelrid Eddy
and one that caught my eye, the Trango Cinch.

What are your experiences in using the above, and what would your recommendations be? Could you possibly do a thorough review on each please?

Ta,

Ken
lizzy long legs - on 26 Aug 2008
In reply to Ken Applegate:
Hi, I'm also very interested in these devices.
Currently I use a Petzl ID but it is coming to the end of it's life and will need retiring fairly soon.

I don't think they are made anymore so I have been looking for a replacement. I'm leaning towards the Edelrid Eddy, I haven't used one yet but from the company blurb it sounds the most similar(?) to the ID.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the suitability of exchanging the Petzl ID for the Edelrid Eddy?

And thoughts generally about using these devices for novices lowering off at the end of a zip wire?

Cheers.
Ken Applegate - on 27 Aug 2008
In reply to lizzy long legs: I have used both the Kong Indy and Gri-gri for lowering off a zip line, and favour the gri-gri. Its pretty safe so long as you have someone holding the end of the rope at the bottom.
matthewtraver - on 27 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Question for Andy:

"I enjoy misery and suffer from gearorexia. What can you recommend for a very lightweight cold weather (-20C beyond) sleeping system? I am interested in a top bag of some sort but cannot find any commercially made down to that temperature. I have been satisfied using a homemade 300g synthetic blanket and bivvy jacket for summer alpine use, but I need to find something more suitable/warmer for harsh winter conditions in the Alps and beyond. Any advice appreciated!"
Mr Lopez - on 31 Aug 2008
In reply to john howard and Francoiscall1:

DON'T USE THIS METHOD FOR SELF-BELAYING!!!,

If you happen to have an upside down fall, very common in alpine climbing due to crampons and/or the less steep ground IT WON'T BLOCK.

A soloist or silent partner (heavy and expensive) or a modified grigri (Not that good at self feeding and a bit dodgy) are the only sensible options.


danny 7a+ on 31 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
hi there just looking at adding a set off three sliders to my rack i am curently tradding up to E4 mainly on limestone, do you think these will come in much use.

i do also climb other rock off course just after a few oppinions and if there worth the money??

cheers danny
Traveller - on 02 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Hello

I'm trying to find a pair of boots I can use in the Himalayas up to about 7500m, but which I can also use in Scottish winter and in Alpine summer and winter.

At the moment I'm thinking either La Sportiva Spantiks (though a bit big for Scotland) or a pair of Scarpa Omegas, used with a high altitude overboot in the Himalaya.

I get cold feet. Hot aches in my heels this summer in the alps! Not sure of the Spantiks would freeze up after a day i the wet snow?

Any advice gratefully recieved.

Cheers
Listy - on 08 Sep 2008
Andy

I like many climbers suffer from odd sized feet!

Not a problem in the flat world but it's crippling my climbing as my left foot is a full size smaller than my right, I've tried half sizes, padding etc etc etc but it's never quite right when you're pushing your grades...

I noted on the Evolve web site for the US that they can supply odd sizes but accept no orders out of the USA....

Do you know of any UK suppliers or distributors that may help, or have any great ideas I haven't thought of as I am loath to by 2 pairs of shoes to make 1 good one!!!

Cheers

Dave L
Stuzz - on 08 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Evening Andy.

Im in the market for a new hard shell for year round mountain use and am rather confused by the selection of different fabrics, technologies and manufacturers! any chance of a review of the ins and outs of different membranes (particularly goretex pro shell, eVent and H2NO) and jackets, etc?

Cheers,
Stuzz
gingerdave13 - on 11 Sep 2008
In reply to Stuzz: i too would be interested in this. As my current jacket seems to be giving up on being waterproof and i have really enjoyed the techincal aspects of it (single skin, cut etc)
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Hi everyone,

Doctor Gear part III is now live:

Read the full article: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1259

Ask Andy a question on this Premier Post: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=311300
Ken Applegate - on 02 Oct 2008
In reply to Ken Applegate: Add to my list the Edelrid Zap-o-mat!
Merlin - on 20 Oct 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Hi Andy

In some of your previous articles you've mentioned 'home made bothy shetres/bags' being ideal as there are none suitable on the market , I quite fancy giving this a go.

Could you please point me in the right direction as to the design, materials etc?
nikinko - on 06 Nov 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Gloves!

Please can you give some pointers on winter gloves for climbing? materials, styles, what works well?

Many thanks

N
lhs - on 12 Dec 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Dear Andy,

I will be spending much of the upcoming winter season in Chamonix, and am looking to buy a new sleeping system for winter climbing in the alps (don't think my current Rab Summit 300 and Survival zone bivi will be up to job for sleeping in the open in a Winter storm there).

I want something that will give a good compromise between weight and survivability, and don't mind spending a bit. I have been looking at the new Crux Torpedo eVent sleeping bags as a possibility (700 or 900). With a down bag, what fill weight would you use in the Alps in winter assuming all clothing being worn and potneitally going to be out over several days.
With all your research (i.e. suffering), if you were going out to buy one sleeping system (bag and bivi bag, or waterproof coated bag) to use in the Alps in winter what would be your current recommendation.

Many Thanks for any advice and recomendations
Lewis

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