/ equipment advice

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NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
Hi I need a bit of advice on some equipment. Firstly I need a sleeping bag for Everest Base Camp trek. I do tend to get very cold. The kit list recommends Rab Ascent 900. has anyone got it? is it any good?

Also I am just starting out into winter mountaineering. I am doing a course in December and one in January which I think I will hire boots and crampons for that. But can anyone recommend a good first boot for women for crampons.

And one final thing Ive been looking for waterproof over trousers with a full length side zip, nothing too heavy do you know of any brands? I can only find ones with ankle zips and there not what I am after

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:
You really need to get yourself to a good shop to make these decisions, although you may pay a little more than buying online you need to make the right decision or you'll regret it.
Regarding sleeping bags, I wouldn't limit myself to a set Rab sleeping bag only use it as an idea of what you should be looking at, brands like marmot, Mountain equipment, Mountain hardware, Alpkit all make similarly warm down bags and in my opinion can be better value or better items.
Boots are entirely fit dependent so you need to try a few pairs on. I'd look at B2 rated boots and C2 crampons as a starting point. This rating system indicates the stiffness of the boots and the compatible crampons.
And finally waterproof trousers, I really like the Berghaus Deluge trousers, they work brilliantly and can't be beaten on value IMO.
NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to gethin_allen:

well I did go into a shop for my boots and they said they were crampon compatible and I have now found out they are not. This was the main reason I bought them. So I am 200 down now.

Great thanks for your advice. I will go and hunt some of them out and see how I get on
gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

Hmm, sorry to hear this, which boots did you get? if they really won't do the job you specified then I'd fight for a refund/replacement.
Where are you based? someone here may be able to recommend you a reliable place.
NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to gethin_allen:

I got Salomon Alp X boots. I'm going to send them an email, but I don't think I'll get a refund.
Im in Stockport. Would love to know somewhere where I can get some good advice
gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

Those boots are B1 rated would take a C1 crampon, a fairly flexible type that would be attached with straps and would be suitable for general winter walking and low grade winter routes.
Most people use B2 or B3 boots for winter mountaineering.
I can't say I know shops in stockport but there are a few in the peak district (eg. Hitch n hike or Outside) if you ever find yourself wandering in the area.
Martin W on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

> I got Salomon Alp X boots. I'm going to send them an email, but I don't think I'll get a refund.

If they sold them to you as being crampon-compatible and they're not, then you have a strong case for a refund or replacement under the Consumer Rights Act as "not fit for purpose":

The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.

Reference http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

However, according to this UKC article http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=6956 the Alp X will take a flexible crampon such as the Grivel G10 Lux or Monte Rosa. If, though, you need a more heavy-duty crampon for the type of mountaineering you want to do - and so long as you made that clear at the time you agreed to buy them - then "not fit for purpose" would seem to apply.
NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to gethin_allen

I bought the boots from Outside, thats why I am so disappointed
NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Martin W:

Ive sent them an email, Ill see what they say first. He didnt make it clear to me that it would just be a flexible crampon though. I wouldn't have minded that. I do feel quite mislead
JayPee630 - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:
I doubt Outside misled you, sounds more like there was a misunderstanding and possibly due to your level of experience you weren't clear what you needed.

Good luck sorting it all out.
Post edited at 18:11
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gethin_allen on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

> I bought the boots from Outside, thats why I am so disappointed

This is unusual, they have a good reputation. Maybe this is a communication issue.

I hope they sort things for you.
DerwentDiluted - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

One bit of advice I'd humbly offer is that if you get cold then buy a silk sleeping bag liner. It weighs nothing but adds a whole seasons warmth to your bag, also silk has the advantage of feeling warm to the skin on contact so it feels good getting into.
NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to JayPee630:

I was with my dad who has a greater experience than me and he agrees with what they told me.
NessaMay - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Thank you. Thats great ill look into one of those i do feel the cold easily
DerwentDiluted - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

If you are one of life's cold feelers, like Mrs Diluted, then wear mitts rather than gloves as much as possible, don't tie boots or strap crampons on too tight and eat lots of calories. Also worth looking at a neoprene facemask.
JayPee630 - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

You said they told you they were crampon compatible, which they are. Since you've made this thread a bit confusing I suspect that's a clue as to what happened in the shop.
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Mouflon on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

Alpenstock in Stockport, only small but well worth a visit.

Have a chat to Josie and she'll put you right.

She has a day off early in the week, not sure when so phone beforehand.

And to reiterate what others have said, B1 boots are crampon-compatible and C1 crampons are OK for loads of general stuff, so it depends what you're intending, as to whether you need C2s.
mike123 - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:
For the sleeping bag it depends very much if you are camping or tea housing and when you are going . Lobuche / gorak sheep can be brutally cold at night especially in late November /December , however there are some reasonably comfy ( relatively speaking ) lodges where a rab 900 will probably be plenty warm enough , however camping it may not . Buying a bag that will definitly keep you warm will probably mean a full on high altitude bag that you may never really need again . I have known people who have done just that rather than have a couple of cold misearable nights . Selling the bag on eBay or on here afterwards . Another option is to use two bags , a lightweight (3 or 400 g ) down or synthetic bag as a liner to something warmer . This gives you a much more flexible system. Whatever you choose it's probably worth trying out in Scotland in winter to get an idea how if works for you.
On the boots : take them into outside and talk to them , as others have said , outside along with needless sports are generally accepted as being the best places to get sound advice . It would be very surprising if this was not due to a misunderstanding that may well not be their fault. I think if you approach this / them in a reasonable way they will do their best to sort something out . An email may come across as you been unnecessarily confrontational. If they do offer to sort something you should , having been critical of them, put a post on this thread.
wbo - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay: that seems sensible - and think on your priorities - the boot you have is on my list to shop as I want something for Norwegian rocky ridges and scrambling with light ice, but I'd want something different for a winter mountaineering course.

I have not been to Everest so cannot recommend what I'd use for the trek, but I'm sure others can.

Dell on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to NessaMay:

I'd say those boots are fine for your Base camp trek. You will be mainly walking for long distances, whilst gaining altitude, so for this you will appreciate the lightness and flexibility of a B1 boot.

Wait until you've done your winter mountaineering course before buying a boot for that purpose, you'll be then better placed to decide what kind of boot you'll need. You might hate it and will have wasted your money on boots you'll never use again.
captain paranoia - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

The insulative effect of a silk liner is often overstated. You might get a couple of degrees from it. It will weigh betwwen 150-200g. That much extra down in a bag is likely to give more insulation.

A silk liner is more about comfort and keeping a down bag clean, IMHO.
JayPee630 - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to captain paranoia:

Agreed, a silk liner does not add a seasons rating to a bag.
PaulTclimbing - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to JayPee630:

Agreed. A better/best option is a good down bag inside lightweight gore tex or similar bivi bag. You can then use it to trap heat and keep condensation down in Scottish winter and stays dry or remove it for summer. Minimal weight increase and keeps the heat in. I use old RAB Ladakh 1000. I'm thin n scrawny and can get cold.. This keeps me ... Toastie..
tspoon1981 on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Dell:

> You might hate it and will have wasted your money on boots you'll never use again.

This...... but if you're A) a size 5.5 and B) wish to waste money. I have a pair of Nepal extremes that have been worn inside my flat only, for sale. My better half rashly bought a pair, and realised very late on that she bought 1/2 a size too small.
gethin_allen on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to captain paranoia:

I'll also agree that a silk liner doesn't add a full season rating on a bag but also say that they don't weigh anywhere near 150-200g, mine is 70g on the kitchen scales.

I use a silk liner for a few reasons, as stated above it keeps your down bag a bit cleaner and adds a little bit of warmth (mainly by draught proofing around the neck I reckon) but also, at the opposite end of the scale it's good when your bag is that bit too warm for wherever you end up sleeping and you can open up the bag a bit without getting too cold. This is good if one night you're in a tent then the next in a bothy/hut.
gethin_allen on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to PaulTclimbing:
... better/best option is a good down bag inside lightweight gore tex or similar bivi bag...

But Goretex bivy bag weighs almost 800g which is a big chunk of weight to carry if you're not relying on it for shelter or snow holing. Also, the weight of a bivy bag on top of the down can compress the down (especially V.fine high loft stuff) reducing the insulation and you'll have more condensation with a bivy bag than without it.
PaulTclimbing - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to gethin_allen:

My experience tells me your opinion is wrong on each point.
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gethin_allen on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to PaulTclimbing:

The weight penalty is undeniable so I guess your arguing the latter points.
The one regarding fine down I admit is debatable as different people/manufacturers say different things.
The note about condensation does vary depending on temperature, sleeping bag quality and the resulting dew point but if your sleeping bag is anywhere near warm enough moisture vapour will pass through the sleeping bag and condense on the inside of the bivy bag. This will then get your sleeping bag wet.
You can't argue that a bivy bag, no matter how good the material is, will allow water vapour to pass through like it doesn't exist. And a bivy bag will never be as good an insulator as a sleeping bag of a similar weight.
So, summing up, unless there's a significant chance of getting wet it's better to use a slightly heavier sleeping bag (or second bag/liner).
captain paranoia - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to gethin_allen:

> You can't argue that a bivy bag, no matter how good the material is, will allow water vapour to pass through like it doesn't exist.

Especially if the sleeping bag is doing its job of insulating, thus reducing the temperature gradient between inside and outside of the breathable membrane.

Equivalent experience comes with wearing a breathable membrane waterproof jacket over a down jacket, or a waterproof-shelled down jacket. Both cause more condensation within the insulation than a simple microfibre-shelled down jacket. It's why we don't like wearing waterproof clothing unless we really need to, preferring to wear more breathable, non-waterproof shells that allow water vapour to escape more easily.

Ye cannae break the laws o' physics, captain...

What may happen is that you get the condensation on the inside of the bivvy bag, rather than on the surface of the down bag, since the bivvy bag traps some warmer air around the sleeping bag. If your bivvy bag has a fluffy inner scrim, the condensation may be trapped in this, and not find its way back to the cover of the sleeping bag.
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PaulTclimbing - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to captain paranoia:

I can see that some of that seems plausible... But is exercise exertion overheating effects... So not really relevant. Also ya canna deny the laws of commercial retail.... Top of the range bags come with the permeable membrane built in....on the outside .. Now why would they make such a disastrous condensation mistake.. Just saying in my experience there are no issues..terra nova super light bivi . Even keeps yr sleeping bag warm all day too if you leave the bag inside it...
gethin_allen on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to PaulTclimbing:
"...Top of the range bags come with the permeable membrane built in....on the outside .. Now why would they make such a disastrous condensation mistake..."

Because these sleeping bags are designed to be used in wet conditions where the bag is likely to get wetter from moisture getting in from outside than from the effect of perspiration condensing in the bag.
Also, without the gap between the insulation and the membrane the vapour is warmer and the membrane will work more effectively due to the increased temperature/vapour pressure differential.
PaulTclimbing - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to gethin_allen:

Oh well...just putting my four pennies worth in...apart from all the other benefits of hiking in wet areas or Scotland or summer in Pembroke to climbing Himalayas..there'll be more convenience and flexibility or utility in keeping yourself dry and warm without your silk liner. Cheers

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