My first mountain tent---and why?

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Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
Thanks for posting tent photos and stories.

Hoobie: I remember the North Face Morning Glory. A big elegant tent. We took one to Deborah in 1976 as a "base camp" tent. Two feet of snow overnight took it down and did major damage to it.

The other tent we had along was a Trailwise Fitzroy. One of the strongest A-Frame tents ever made.


What looks like a snow-covered volcano in background was our igloo!
hooblie

climber
from where the anecdotes roam
Jan 16, 2010 - 01:47pm PT
ya fritz, that knife edge ridge did a fair job of cleaving the slushbombs falling from the sugarpine branches once the sun loosened the accumulated load. pretty much a full time job fighting back the encroaching snowpack as the tub walls give away your floor footage.

fine honeymoon suite though. with equipment banished to the farside, the right partner had room for a sassy pirouette under the peak

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/3102729/Experienced_Hunting_TENTS_for_

paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Jan 16, 2010 - 02:14pm PT
First tent was a blue, two person Alp Sport in 1969. Indestructible, light, Simple, set up in seconds. Used it all four seasons and lasted for close to 15 year. Only got rid of it because of too many burn wholes in the floor. By the time I got rid of it, it was filled with the absolute best memories.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2010 - 08:07pm PT
Here is my 1974 "ultra-light." The Gerry Tarp-tent had various pull-outs on it.

1. You could pitch it zipped up as a one-person tube tent.
2. Or, as a two-person A-Frame with a string between two trees. It even had mosquito-netting at either end, in that configuration.
3. Or, as a large fly-type rain shelter.

No poles.

Weighed about 2 lbs.

I don't think the public was ready for it!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 16, 2010 - 08:36pm PT
Rockermike said:
Like a lot of gear from that era they give me a deep feeling of happiness just seeing pictures of it.

'nuff said and me too.


My first tent, was my buddies tent, that's the why and how.
(I had a tube tent of course.)

The North Face Tuolumne, on our first Sierra backpacking trip, 1975:
(I am reading "Spaceship Earth", that is the iconic "Sierra Cup" to my side, & AKdog's dad on the right)



Sawtooth Peak, my first Sierra summit, from that trip (I was 14):


The Tuolumne was an A-frame front side, I-pole back side.
Didn't even have a zipper door; just that drawstring affair there, forget what that was called, a very particular term though, storm door or something.

Most tents, in the vernacular of the standard A-frame mountain tents, like the North Face Mountain Tent or the Sierra Designs Glacier, had that opposite the zipper door, at the back.

The North Face Morning Glory was essentially two of those Tuolumne tents, pattern wise, attached at the tall A frame side.

The first tent I owned, also mentioned by Fritz, was a Trailwise Fitzroy.
Just over 8 pounds; a little heavy. I always wanted the ridge pole for it though. It had a peculiar floor plan and canted vestibule style "self-supporting" ends.

(Why: because at the Mount Adams Wilderness Institute in Washington state, that's what they used, and I was sold)

I would love to have a Rivendell Bombshelter even now.
hooblie

climber
from where the anecdotes roam
Jan 16, 2010 - 09:09pm PT
"to me, a tent is a piece of sculpture that you get into" - bill moss, under sung hero in my book.
a pioneer in curvilinear tent design, and other tension membrane structures.

he's got a bunch of patents, but i'm particularly intrigued by the elegant simplicity of a fly
that conforms to a shape called a hypar (hyperbolic parabaloid) surface.
there's a story about the application he submitted being refused by the patent office the first time around, they figured it was just a flat piece of fabric. he had to go there in person and demonstrate that his design eliminated the wrinkles that a flat sheet always forms when warped into this shape.

this puts me in mind of chouinard's pick conforming to the arc of the swing.
not that fancy as breakthroughs go, but for those of us who never came up with the idea...
like jimmy buffet sang, "it was so simple that like the two-step, it plumb evaded me"
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 16, 2010 - 09:17pm PT
There's gotta be an easier and more dignified
way to set this stupid thing up by yourself.
(especially after triggering the camera timer)
(might be an Early Winter)

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 16, 2010 - 09:28pm PT
Ha!
Very nice.

& That looks like a Jensen Pack, except for the waist buckle's not right...
They were typically fitted with an aluminum, simple interlock jobber.

Listening to Robin Trower, Bridge of Sighs right now.
That should get your tent up.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 16, 2010 - 09:49pm PT
Tar,
That pack was a Jensen rip-off I was testing for JanSport.
Do you also like the K2 Holidays? I really liked them in
powder, not that we got much of that in the Cascades. They
did cut crud pretty well though. This was the day before
the 'lanche which put paid to my solo traverse of the Chelan
Range. Never claimed to be real bright but when you don't
have weekends off you get desparate.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2010 - 09:53pm PT
Tarbuster: Re your great tent posts:

The North Face Tuolumne, on our first Sierra backpacking trip, 1975:
(I am reading "Spaceship Earth", that is the iconic "Sierra Cup" to my side, & AKdog's dad on the right)

One of the best BITD photos, from when we went to the mountains wearing Levis!

The photo makes me feel old and cynical.

Reilly: I feel your pain. Check out my snowy entry photo below.

Let those of us who are "into" old gear note his "Silvretta" bindings on the skis. You could use them with mountain boots. If you mounted the heel hold-downs for the cables, and you took a forward fall: the binding would usually not fully "release."

Can you say "ankle-breakers?"

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 16, 2010 - 10:01pm PT
Those were called Silvretta "Grasshoppers" yes?
Sierra Designs sourced a really nice ethereal sky/french blue on those three-man & glacier tents.

I do like the look of those K2 Holidays and I was curious as well.
But what do I know; I can't earn a turn on that stuff, I just make it go out and back.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 16, 2010 - 10:16pm PT
I do like the look of those K2 Holidays and I was curious as well.

Ha! They look good until you put 'em on your back. They weighed a good
20 pounds!


Humpin' 'em up the Kautz Glacier on Mt Reindeer.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2010 - 10:32pm PT
Tarbuster: Re. your question? "Those were called Silvretta "Grasshoppers" yes?"

I don't rememberthe model name. I will plead "high altitude memory loss."

We all bought and skied them in 1971 Sun Valley. Soon friends were suffering injury from: front falls where the front binding clamp would release, but the cable would not fall off the boot heel.

In my outdoor shop career I mounted a lot of Silvrettas on skis. By 1974 I refused to mount the "heel hold-down cable clips."

I've Gotta scan my old backcountry ski slides!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 16, 2010 - 10:42pm PT
Yes well, those worked better on the boot best designed for them...
That touring specific boot had a squared off toe, not exactly a 75 mm Nordic norm, much stingier.
It also had a groove in the heel for the cable.
I think those bindings were otherwise "pressed into service" for mountaineering boot usage.

(Keep in mind I'm not really a skier; just a boot 'n gear nerd, who sometimes likes to go bouldering and mountain traveling by himself.)

Not that long ago, maybe mid-90s, I had a pair of Europa 88's with that setup and boot. The 88's had an aluminum edge.

I used a modern bail type crampon with them.
The ski bindings didn't come off, but the crampon did...

I've Gotta scan my old backcountry ski slides!

We would love to see those!
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Jan 16, 2010 - 11:12pm PT
This pic is of my Galibier Rigid Rands on a pair of 3-pin Asolos
but I ran the Rands on my Super Guides and Peutereys in
the Silvrettas (didn't know they had any other appelation)
for years. They did release on the rare occasion. I mounted
them a bit forward (an inch?) of the normal position to allow for
a pack's weight.


ps
for someone who started racing on Marker 'Longthong' Turntables that had no release mechanism Silvrettas seemed 'safe'.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2010 - 09:13pm PT
Bump for those that like older gear.

Of course, you can say: "my first mountain tent" was a bivy bag.

On our 1976 Hayes Range Alaska trip, we rented a radio-phone from our bush-pilot Cliff Hudson----just in case.

After three weeks of climbing, we were ready to come home, but we needed "line of sight" over peaks to our north for the radiophone to reach Fairbanks.

There were a couple attempts to “call out”. I think Dane & Gwain had a short conversation with Cliff during one attempt.

When a few more days went by without a sign of pickup, Chris and I hiked the valley glacier about 12 miles down-canyon, climbed a ridge to where our maps showed line of sight to Fairbanks, and waited for a civilized hour to call Cliff.

We didn’t carry tent, bivy bag, rope, or climbing gear, except for two ice-axes: for our nighttime jaunt. (we were really sorry about the lack of climbing gear when we reached a crevassed area, where two valley glaciers came together). We took sleeping bags, clothing, our faithful Optimus 111B stove, and a lot of food. We were hungry boys and were eating voraciously.

Unfortunately we got to our ridgetop about 4:00 AM in the morning and it didn’t seem like a bright idea to bother Cliff at that time of day. One of us would stay in a sleeping bag, keeping the radio and batteries warm, while the other melted snow, boiled water for freeze-dried food, and danced about to stay less cold.


Finally at about 6:00 AM we called Cliff. He explained he had been having some mechanical problems, but would come get us in a few days.


We got one more climb in before he showed up.

HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 16, 2010 - 09:25pm PT
The other tent we had along was a Trailwise Fitzroy. One of the strongest A-Frame tents ever made.
Also my first tent.
Excellent bulletproof tent. Until the urethane coating aged and started to peel off (and stank like only rank polyurethane can)

Retired my very early Chouinard Megamid (1986 vintage) two years ago when the urethane coating got mucked with sand on a hot beach party day. Try getting melted-in sand out of polyurethane, go ahead, I dare you. My new Megamid (SilNylon) is even better.

Optimus 111B stove. Yup. Heavy, bulky, bulletproof. The only thing you need to keep it running is some vegetable oil for the leather pump packing.
Howard C Runyon

Mountain climber
Lake Placid, NY
Jan 27, 2015 - 06:26pm PT
I still use a NF Tuolumne, a 1980s one with a normal double-zip triangular door in place of the original snow tunnel. Great little tent, though of course heavy by today's standards. It does for two in warm weather and is a nice size for winter soloing. I may pop for a Stephenson one day....
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jan 27, 2015 - 07:43pm PT
My first tent was a pair of Army shelter halves. They buttoned together along the ridgeline. No floor, canvas---do not touch when wet! But in those days I slept directly on the ground with no pad or air mattress.

It soon became apparent that the shelter halves weren't going to cut it in any mountain environment, so I graduated to what everyone else I knew had: a US Army Mountain Tent. (The climber in front of this one is the mathematician Frank Adams.)


The sleeve entrance created a bombproof seal and there were no zippers anywhere to malfunction. Catenary seams were not a feature. Getting in and out required an easily-learned contortion. The tent was made of coated nylon and so was totally impermeable; year-round condensation (frozen in the winter) was just a feature of camping life. I think all the early mountain "pup" tents were inspired by this design, but thank god were made breathable with a fly.
Risk

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Jan 27, 2015 - 08:29pm PT
I had several tents before buying a North Face Mountain tent in about 1970 with Fresno Bee paperboy money and a long bike trip out to Alpine Sports on Blackstone. One was this really cool 100 percent cotton muslin tent that held up amazingly in a downpour as long as you didn't touch it. In 1979, I luckily acquired a Trailwise Fitzroy from Sonora Mountaineering at their old store on the north side of town. The one I got had snow flaps that turned out really important that summer on my first accent of Shasta. We camped way up high at about 13,000' with the winds really whipping, and I stacked rocks on the snow flaps to hold the thing down. We took refuge early with the little gullies of melting ice quickly freezing; it was calm as a church (almost) inside. After the summit in the morning, we broke camp and then descended to Lake Helen (?) to find that every tent the night before had been destroyed by the winds there. The Fitzroy lived on until I needed money and I sold it.

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