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Thread: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

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    Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    This Friday I am headed to the Wind River Range in Wyoming with my brother for some backpacking and light class 3/4 climbing. This thread is meant to document my preparation, what-to-bring decisions, and ultimately my experience and a few photos. Starting this thread will at least be fun for me, and hopefully will help others considering what camera gear to take with them and how to pack it all.

    First about the Wind Rivers: From afar they are not nearly as dramatic as the Tetons to the Northwest. But it is a significantly larger range with higher peaks, much longer approach hikes, and far fewer people. It takes 10-15 miles of hiking just to get into the range. But because the trailhead elevations are higher, the elevation gain isn’t quite as much as other places like the Tetons or Sierras. The two trailheads we are starting from are at ~8000 and ~9250 feet (in comparison, Jenny Lake, the typical starting point for many Teton climbs, is under 6800 feet). The current plan is to go in twice: First in for 2 nights, back out to regroup and spend one night in a hotel, then back in for 4 nights at a different trailhead. These plans tend to change based on weather and other conditions, so we’ll see… In September the weather should be highs in the 60’s, lows in the 30’s. There is of course a high standard deviation in those figures. Could be 80, could be a foot of snow that won’t melt until next spring.

    My brother and I have been planning this for months, but not in earnest until the last several weeks. We have been many places together, including climbing most of the peaks in the Tetons, several mountains in Washington and a few in Colorado and Alaska. So although this is somewhat second nature to us, for me this one is different because it is the first time I’m taking a MF camera with me (hence this thread). I debated and waffled back and forth about bringing this gear, since I also have a Sony a7r. In the end I decided to bring both. Here is my current plan related to camera gear:
    Alpa STC
    IQ180
    40hr-w, 60xl, 90hr-sw
    Sony a7r
    Sony FE 35mm (weighs almost nothing), Leica 90 f/2

    Other Misc Camera stuff:
    Clik small chest pouch for a7r and both lenses
    Sync cord & spare
    Ground glass
    (2) hex wrenches for tripod and baseplates
    (4) 32g CF cards
    (4) 32g SD cards
    72mm polarizer w/ step rings (for the Alpa)
    72mm Hoya 64 PROND filter
    CF for 60xl
    55mm polarizer w step rings (for the Sony)
    Leica Disto E7500i
    (4) Phase One batteries
    (4) Sony batteries

    If my Galen Rowell Photoflex chest pouch wasn’t so frayed and on its last legs, I would take that because I like it better than the Clik; it is lighter and I can see my feet better with the Rowell design.

    I won’t bore you with the backpacking gear (unless someone posts that they want to know).

    It will be interesting to see how much of this drops off my list after the first 2-night trip. We should start a poll to see who thinks the Alpa will still be in my pack for the second trip! Near as I can tell, all-in I’m at about 22 lbs of camera gear, and about 50 lbs for everything. The reason for bringing both cameras is basically because I’m lazy. If I have one camera and it is stowed in the backpack, I will stop to photograph very infrequently because it is too much work, and I don’t want to hold up my brother unless there is a stellar photo opportunity. So I need an easily accessible camera, preferably in a chest pouch. The a7r is relative light, and it is so good that I consider it a back up for the MF. That leaves me with why bring the MF? It adds ~ 11 pounds to my back and marginally better photos. The answer (for now!) is I just love the way I shoot with a tech camera. Plus, the opportunity to come back with that kind of detail from a place that rarely sees a camera of this quality has me excited. However, despite my love of photography, I love the mountains more. So if the camera limits my ability to travel where I want to go, I will leave it behind without a second thought.

    BTW, I am still debating between the Arca Swiss D4 and my RRS BH-40, which is so much smaller and lighter (3/4 of a pound lighter). Because I often shift-stitch two images together, I’m bringing the ground glass for composition. I made my own masks for 54x40, 76x54 (max V-shift) and 90x40 (max H-shift) formats. I like the ground glass better than live view because I can see the whole stitched image at once, and because battery power will be precious. What does all this have to do with tripod heads? Well, with the ground glass a standard ballhead like the BH-40 won’t be as annoying as it is when doing the shoot-review-reposition-shoot-repeat dance. I can do that with a Cube or D4, but I go crazy “nudging” a ballhead around blind. The thing I will really miss on the D4 though is the very accurate bubble levels. The ones on the STC are often too high to see, and frankly not as accurate. I could use the one built into the IQ180. Hmm…

    The second big debate I can’t seem to get out of is which backpack. Here’s where I put Guy to shame: I won’t begin to tell you how many camera bags and backpacks I have. Let’s just say I have all three F-Stop bags (Loka, Tilopa BC, Satori), along with just about every brand of internal frame backpack you can think of. We’ll just leave it at that, ok? I’ve had stuff strewn all over the floor for weeks now going back and forth. At this point my wife can't wait for me to leave!

    I’m stuck between two very different approaches: A Boreas Lost Coast 60 and the F-Stop Satori. The Satori is supposed to be 62L, while the Boreas is 60. But I can fit a lot more into the Boreas because it has a top skirt that is very adjustable (marvelous pack BTW). I was a bit disappointed when the Satori showed up; I thought it would be bigger, but it isn't much bigger than the Tilopa BC. I have to strap the tent to the bottom of the Satori, and even then it is very tight, to the point of me worrying a bit about the Alpa lenses as the ICU gets stressed and deformed. Either way the Alpa will go in the F-Stop Small Pro ICU. Obviously the F-Stop is designed for cameras, so would be easier to deal with in most situations since I can just drop the pack and unzip the back panel for instant access. However, with the F-Stop I have to drag the whole pack around when I’m shooting and moving 20 feet one way or the other, while with the Boreas I just pull out the ICU from the top and carry that around. Decisions, decisions…

    Anyway, more to come. I will update this as I go, then include a webpage link to the SPOT tracker so anyone really bored can see where I am going.

    Feel free to debate along with me if you like. One test I will do in the next few days is to remove everything that is not essential, then put the pack on and feel the difference. I’ll do that with and without the Alpa stuff.

    Ciao,
    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    I used to work with a world class mountaineer who would climb with a Rollei 35 in the film days...fully aware of Ed Viesturs and the iMax.

    My thought is simplify...focus on your best lens and the Alpa...only one as you can make a long a wide with enough shift...I would recommend the TC over the STC...panorama in rotation not shift...and the A7r for the climbing part...handheld while in route.

    Two packs for the ascent and the approach...kept it simple and light so that you might even enjoy the climb.

    Irregardless love to see the pictures when you return.

    Stay safe!

    Bob

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Dave:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. One marvelous sunset or sunrise at camp and you'll be happy to have the Alpa.

    Good luck,

    Tom
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    My thought is simplify...focus on your best lens and the Alpa...only one as you can make a long a wide with enough shift...I would recommend the TC over the STC...panorama in rotation not shift...and the A7r for the climbing part...handheld while in route.
    I bought the 60xl just for that reason. If I could only carry one lens...

    In regards to the TC, I gotta go with the camera I have! But personally I'm more into shift stitching vs. rotation.

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Two packs for the ascent and the approach...kept it simple and light so that you might even enjoy the climb.
    You bring up a really good point; the Boreas is much more versatile and can double as an ascent pack; it's lighter and more collapsable. The F-Stop does only one thing really well.

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Irregardless love to see the pictures when you return.

    Stay safe!

    Bob
    Thanks Bob!

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    I did not see you mention which tripod you're bringing? I would go for the D4 head though.
    Also agree with Bob - one lens for the Alpa, probably the 60XL, it's the KISS principle.

    Have a fun trip!

    Cheers, -Peter
    Alpa TC • STC | IQ140 | 24XL • 35XL • 120N-ASPH
    www.peterlomdahl.com

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Dave,

    Have a great trip. All the camera gear alone would fill a backpack, you need a porter

    Can't go wrong with either the 40mm Rod or 60XL, but out there if I had to only carry one, I would go with the 60XL.

    Should be a great time to be out there.

    Paul

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    I did not see you mention which tripod you're bringing? I would go for the D4 head though.
    Also agree with Bob - one lens for the Alpa, probably the 60XL, it's the KISS principle.

    Have a fun trip!

    Cheers, -Peter
    Peter,
    Oops forgot to list the tripod: RRS 24L

    You guys are starting to sway me on the lens. My widest lens between the two systems would be the 60 shifted, which is about a 28mm in 135 format. Maybe that's wide enough...

    But that 90 is so good!

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    My bet is you ditch the a7r and take the Alpa with either the 40mm or 60mm and stitch handheld by simply panning the camera. You can alway crop to get the a7r resolution. You just need a lumbar pack for the Alpa that has a shoulder strap and a loop where your backpack waist belt can slide through to support the weight. Get a walking stick that doubles as a monopod.

    Looking forward to the photos...
    Will

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Sounds like a great trip. Lucky guy.

    Interesting that you find the F stop bags limiting. They are a bit to use, but quite comfortable, no? I agree it is more a photog's pack and not a pure hiking pack. Are you familiar with: rotation180 Professional: Outdoor Camera Backpacks | MindShift Gear
    not that you need another pack! But I wonder if this wouldn't help with the "camera in the front, camera in the back?" dilemma.

    As to the overall pack, a few ideas offered:
    - leave one lens? The 60 will do (maybe?), if stitched. Or perhaps the 40/90 combo? Hard to choose.
    - is the Disto necessary?
    - while the geared head is great, the BH40 is lighter. For major hiking, I'd go for less weight.

    Hope this doesn't mean you aren't doing Silo City in October….
    Geoff

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    This sounds like the backpack I did in the Winds about 13-14 years ago (no climbing) with camping gear, a 645n/lenses and a Fuji G617. Should be a fun trip--hope you have a strong back! Take some bug repellant, there may still be some lingering mosquitoes.
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Geoff,
    My only real problem with the F-Stop Satori is that it is not big enough for what I'm doing. I love the packs and find them very comfortable. In fact my gear normally sits in an F-Stop Loka. I probably could have fit everything for the 2-day trip, but not the 4-day. At least not packed in a way that takes advantage of the access panel, with the ICU open facing your back. It is simply a packaging problem.

    I have seen the MindShift packs, but have never tried them. I can't imagine loosening my hip belt with 40+ pounds in the backpack for any length of time. My wimpy shoulders would cry foul in less than a minute.

    Is the Disto Necessary? Good question. I think it speeds me up since I don't have to think about distance or focus bracketing. If I ever tilt it really helps me. If I end up with just the 60xl, I probably don't need it.

    Dave


    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Sounds like a great trip. Lucky guy.

    Interesting that you find the F stop bags limiting. They are a bit to use, but quite comfortable, no? I agree it is more a photog's pack and not a pure hiking pack. Are you familiar with: rotation180 Professional: Outdoor Camera Backpacks | MindShift Gear
    not that you need another pack! But I wonder if this wouldn't help with the "camera in the front, camera in the back?" dilemma.

    As to the overall pack, a few ideas offered:
    - leave one lens? The 60 will do (maybe?), if stitched. Or perhaps the 40/90 combo? Hard to choose.
    - is the Disto necessary?
    - while the geared head is great, the BH40 is lighter. For major hiking, I'd go for less weight.

    Hope this doesn't mean you aren't doing Silo City in October….
    Geoff
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Everybody does it differently. I have faced the same dilemma many times and have always been glad to have brought my IQ180 tech camera after getting home. If it was up to me, I would bring the STC with T/S adapter, 40mm and 90mm lenses, no ground glass or Disto (bracket focus), use iPhone Artist's Viewfinder App for regular and pano lens selections / camera positioning confirmed with Live View. I have been quite happy using only a leveling head on my tripod since all image adjustments are usually done with movements on a leveled tech cam. You may want to add a 2 stop grad to your filter kit. Also, a rain cover and Lee WA filter so you can keep working when the weather gets interesting. Bring the A7r or smaller (Sony RX100ii) for "happy snaps" and climbing shots. Sounds like a great trip into a spectacular setting. Check out David Muench's work on the Wind River range for inspiration.
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    - while the geared head is great, the BH40 is lighter. For major hiking, I'd go for less weight.
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    I would go for the D4 head though.
    You two are not helping!


    Problem is I can always justify the weight of some thing on its own. It is a rigorous culling of extraneous stuff that adds up to less weight, eh? Disto, D4, ground glass, the third lens (and maybe the second too)... Now it starts to add up!

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Weight can seem inconsequential at the start of a trip but once you are committed...300 feet from the summit, pinned down by a storm or winds, running on reserves it can be significant.

    Pack light move fast shoot a bunch ... climbing and shooting out of the back of a car trunk are two extremes....

    I remember a thread in the LF forums discussing the relative merits of strollers when packing....carry all the film holders and the 8x10 camera and lenses.

    I assume that most will agree that you will always wish you had a different lens body tripod at some point on a trip.

    Bob
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Ok I'm getting somewhere...

    Pack - Boreas. It was Bob's point about an ascent pack that pushed me over.

    Tripod Head - D4. I've been using a Cube for four years, so it's been a long time since i used a ball head in the field. I went out shooting for an hour with the BH40. It's the need for two hands to adjust that killed it. I can make fine adjustments with the D4 using one hand. Much better for me.

    Lenses are still up in the air, as is the Disto. But I'm leaning toward either the 60 alone or the 60/90 combo.

    Time to clean up and print some more maps!

    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Steve,
    Thanks for the Muench lead. I did not know he had images from the Winds. Interesting that most of his images are from the Southern part of the range where we won't be. We will be up North around Gannett, New Fork, Peak Lake and Indian Basin.

    Ciao,
    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
    Everybody does it differently. I have faced the same dilemma many times and have always been glad to have brought my IQ180 tech camera after getting home. If it was up to me, I would bring the STC with T/S adapter, 40mm and 90mm lenses, no ground glass or Disto (bracket focus), use iPhone Artist's Viewfinder App for regular and pano lens selections / camera positioning confirmed with Live View. I have been quite happy using only a leveling head on my tripod since all image adjustments are usually done with movements on a leveled tech cam. You may want to add a 2 stop grad to your filter kit. Also, a rain cover and Lee WA filter so you can keep working when the weather gets interesting. Bring the A7r or smaller (Sony RX100ii) for "happy snaps" and climbing shots. Sounds like a great trip into a spectacular setting. Check out David Muench's work on the Wind River range for inspiration.
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    what i have done for my yearly (five night ) backpacking (no mountaineering anymore) trips now for the last five or six years is to focus on ultralight camping gear; you can make some major weight savings. my wife and i share the cooking gear and tent and food for five summer season nights and each carry a total weight of 20lbs or less, and i bring the Oly em1 and one or two lenses.

    have a good time!

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Dave,

    David Muench has photographed extensively in the Wind River Range. He has recently done several nearly hour long slideshow video interviews with Charlie Borland at Charlie's pronaturephotographer.com website. Each video showcases a different portfolio from David Muench. I found them very compelling and had a marathon session viewing them all…..good stuff. You can find them on youtube. Here's the Wind River video. Enjoy and have a great time on your adventure.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2IBhBgZZPw

    Rick
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Ok I'm getting somewhere...

    Pack - Boreas. It was Bob's point about an ascent pack that pushed me over.

    Tripod Head - D4. I've been using a Cube for four years, so it's been a long time since i used a ball head in the field. I went out shooting for an hour with the BH40. It's the need for two hands to adjust that killed it. I can make fine adjustments with the D4 using one hand. Much better for me.

    Lenses are still up in the air, as is the Disto. But I'm leaning toward either the 60 alone or the 60/90 combo.

    Time to clean up and print some more maps!

    Dave
    Wow, sounds like an awesome trip!

    You seem to have really though it through which is extremely important on overnights in remote areas.

    It is always to go as light as possible in regards to camera gear in the high country.

    I have travelled with just one lens (the 40mm HR) with my IQ160/Arca RM3Di setup and did not regret it but I researched the EXACT spots I wanted to photograph from and even the angle of view I would need to make the compositions (using google earth and photoshop) I wanted (and factored some flexibility in there). I also carried the Arca external viewfinder in a pocket so as to have it accesible at all times to make compositions before deciding to get the gear out. Worked great. The disto is a must if you plan on making near-far shots with wide angles or use longer lenses (longer than 40mm). So the decision to bring it is dependent on that.

    4 batteries is kinda tight for the IQ180 if the weather is cold and you are staying out 3 days or more.

    I would ditch the ground glass (I never use mine) and just use live view. But you bring good points in regards to battery power and pano compositions. But generally I do not want to remove the back from the camera so as to minimise exposure to the dust and elements.

    I always use a ball head in the field and have found it more than suitable. Again, I would go as light as posible without sacrificing stability.

    Regarding the Backpack I generally bring one a tad larger than I need so as to be able to cinch it down and to not be at the limit of its carying capacity (but just below it). Fit and comfort (long distance hikes and climbs) is of upmost importance. I put my photo gear in pouches and throw them in there. It has worked great for me. I also sometimes use a light summit pack if I plan to climb to summits and leave the larger pack along with most of the gear at camp but again you can use the large pack for that and just cinch it down for summit day if you have much less stuff in it.

    Weather. I have camped and hiked in the Colorado high country in late september and have gotten a wide range of weather. Expect snow above 10,000 feet during the last week of sept. Below it you can get snow but nothing major and it is much less likely. Could be wet. Thunderstorms are less likely so late in the season but I experienced one near maroon bells one sept 24 afternoon and it was NASTY. I mostly slept at 9,000 feet and was warm in my 15F down bag inside my tent even when I woke up to a tent full of frozen dew outside. I would bring a similarly rated bag. Again if its warm, you can always use it as a quilt.

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Dave -

    There is an old British rule about packing: lay everything out that you need, and take half.

    Talk about not helping!

    Hope you are still coming to Silo City in October tho….
    www.gigi-photos.com
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Dave -

    There is an old British rule about packing: lay everything out that you need, and take half.

    Talk about not helping!

    Hope you are still coming to Silo City in October tho….
    Then repeat!

    Seriously everyone has helped. It is nice to hear different opinions other than my own little gnomes on each shoulder: "Take it!" "Leave it!"

    Regarding Silo City, I may have to go Friday night. Not sure if I can get out of a meeting on Thursday in FL.

    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    some info on ultralight backpacking. i use a lot of golite gear

    my big agnes tent (3 season) for two, for example weighs about 3 lbs, my pack about 2, sleeping bag (20degree) less than 2.

    some of these enthusiasts get really crazy, but i was comfortably able to reduce my typical 5 night total load from 45 lbs to 20lbs, a huge difference. hiking at 8,000 ft, summer weather, prepared for rain and lows reaching 30 degrees, no climbing gear

    Ultralight Backpacking

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    some info on ultralight backpacking. i use a lot of golite gear

    my big agnes tent (3 season) for two, for example weighs about 3 lbs, my pack about 2, sleeping bag (20degree) less than 2.

    some of these enthusiasts get really crazy, but i was comfortably able to reduce my typical 5 night total load from 45 lbs to 20lbs, a huge difference. hiking at 8,000 ft, summer weather, prepared for rain and lows reaching 30 degrees, no climbing gear

    Ultralight Backpacking
    John,
    Love Big Agnes. I'm bringing the BA Fly Creek UL3 (I'm too big for the 2). 3.5 lbs. The Boreas pack is 3 lbs. I've had my sleeping bag for so long I don't know what it weighs, but it is 700 fill down so not bad, but not the latest light-weight technology.

    Without cameras I'm at 28lbs including ice axe, light short rope for simple belays, minimalist crampons, food and water - all in. BTW, I'm convinced there is no better basic mountain axe than the Black Diamond Raven Pro. A full-on ice axe, less than a pound and less than $100. I've had mine for 10 years, still going strong.

    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Here's the pile, minus the Clik chest pouch.

    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Dave, I have the F-Stop Satori as well and have purchased three of their multi-purpose Tripod Bag which can be mounted to the sides/top/bottom of the pack using the Gatekeeper straps

    https://shop.fstopgear.com/us/produc...ripod-bag.html
    https://shop.fstopgear.com/us/produc...er-straps.html

    I haven't had a chance to test it yet though and probably won't until the spring.

    Peter
    Peter
    My website

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    i stopped using nalgene water bottle and instead use garden variety bottle from the grocery store, saves several ounces!

    also lose those super heavy stuff sacks, he-he. i carry a super light down sweater and superlight shell and pack from Golite, makes my North face parka and down jacket and Mountain smith pack seem like a joke. that swap out alone saved about 6-8 lbs! i use freeze dried meals and now a MSR combo stove windscreen pot unit that is a huge fuel saver. boils in a nanosecond.

    i have the same ice axe!

    and my tent us the U-2 fly creek, big enough for two!


    me on the left, my son on the right, at near 22,000 near Makkalu at Sherpani Col or West col, not sure, in Nepal a few years back during a 6 week trek. with the black diamond and northface mountainsmith gear. we were privileged to have had sherpas to do the real work!
    Last edited by jlm; 28th August 2014 at 16:04.

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Thanks Peter! When I first figured the Satori was going to be too small I went on-line and found the straps, but not the bag. Probably would have made the pack workable for me, but they are out of stock, and out of the straps as well. Obviously I could get other straps or use cord, and use any sack strapped to the bag for that matter. But after all that the Boreas just makes more sense for this trip.

    Still love the F-Stop bags though.

    Dave
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i stopped using nalgene water bottle and instead use garden variety bottle from the grocery store, saves several ounces!

    also lose those super heavy stuff sacks, he-he. i carry a super light down sweater and superlight shell and pack from Golite, makes my North face parka and down jacket and Mountain smith pack seem like a joke. that swap out alone saved about 6-8 lbs! i use freeze dried meals and now a MSR combo stove windscreen pot unit that is a huge fuel saver. boils in a nanosecond.

    i have the same ice axe!

    and my tent us the U-2 fly creek, big enough for two!


    me on the left at 22,000 near Makkalu at Sherpani Col in Nepal a few years back during a 6 week trek. with the black diamond and northface mountainsmith gear. we were privileged to have had sherpas to do the real work!
    That's awesome John, must have been a lifetime experience. I've thought about going to the Himalaya, but trekking around K2 is actually higher on my bucket list. Someday!

    I almost got the UL2, but my brother convinced me to get the 3; I guess he and I don't like each other that much! At least in trade he agreed to carry more of the other stuff.

    Some of those stuff sacks will get removed, like the tent, thermarest and a few others. but I hate struggling with a puffy sleeping bag in the backpack, so that one will stay. It's smaller than the sack that came with the bag, but I cram it in there. We are bringing a similar stove, but my brother has that - I forget which one. I have the Patagonia Nanopuff pullover that I like very much, and a shell over that so you and I are similar there too.

    The Nalgene is interesting. More nostalgic than anything else. It is from Teton Mountaineering back in the 1970's. Been everywhere with me, along with its BPA no doubt! My Linus Blanket, if you will. Ask Don Libby; I even sent him a picture of it months ago. I also now use a Steripen, which is much easier paired with a wide-mouth. I know chlorine tabs are lighter, but I grew up on well water w/o chlorine. Hey, we all have our limits! Plus, chlorine isn't so great on giardia and especially not on crypto.

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    o yeah; last season i tried out one of those gravity water filters; amazing. won't use anything else. fill the bag, hang it on a tree and let it drain into your bottle, fast and no pumping and light weight, no giardia. all my Pur stuff is obsolete. never could stomach tablets. in Nepal, we pumped some nasty stuff through that PUR and it worked perfectly, but now I'm all gravity fed.
    i sleep pretty warm, so for 30-40 degree minimum, i use one of those top only down quilts (on an air pad) weighs less than 1 lb, stuffs into your fist practically.

    the himalayan trek was the trip of a lifetime; took my first autofocus camera (a film Nikon) and one zoom lens!, shot about 20 rolls

    a lunch stop at about 17,000 ft, Ama Dablam in the background, i think Everest is to the left in the distance and seems lower. a two day stayover for acclimatizing,. this was our noon day hike before going to 19,500 everest base camp and kala patar, our high altitude "test" about 10 days in
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    How far we've come. I remember when you could drink the water in the high Sierras in California.

    That must have been before the invention of giardia. :-)
    Last edited by stephengilbert; 28th August 2014 at 15:08.
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i carry a super light down sweater and superlight shell and pack from Golite, makes my North face parka and down jacket and Mountain smith pack seem like a joke.
    Not sure this is the place, but I don't think I would be bringing Golite gear on a trip like this. Sure it is very light, but I think cheap and fragile is the best way to describe the materials and construction. It used to be great stuff, but that seems to have passed and they don't really stand behind their products like they used to. As is the case in life, you get what you pay for and Golite is typical Chinese disposable gear. Makes me sad to write this.

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    i have gone through 3 Mountain smith packs and one Osprey, all failed one way or another. my very old sierra design frame with customized jansport bag is still kicking around now after 40 years; now on my second Golite pack as wife and i each have one with no problems. one advantage of ultralite packing is less load wear on the gear, including your feet; literally carrying 20 to 30 lbs less than the old days. i've not had any problems with golite, but i'm a one-trip per season guy now and usually out about 5 nights, typically pacific crest trail kind of thing, no more mountaineering

    my current pack:
    http://www.golite.com/Jam-50L-Pack-Unisex-P46812.aspx

    and sleeping bag:
    http://www.nunatakusa.com/site07/arc.../arc_ghost.htm

    big agnes fly creek; has held up extremely well in a monster lighting rain windstorm near Middle sister:
    http://www.backcountryedge.com/big_a...FZTm7AodGzwAQw

    and stove:
    http://www.backcountryedge.com/msr-r...ve-system.aspx

    and water filter:
    http://www.rei.com/product/849794/pl...ir-kit-2-liter.

    when two people share the filter, tent and stove, the load gets way down there
    Last edited by jlm; 28th August 2014 at 15:44.

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    I agree with the guy(s) above who discussed the F-Stopper bags. Their bags are great and well made. IMHO they are volume limited. The bag at the link below is what I would be looking at, and have used if I was looking at camping, climbing and camera gear. Made for a big load with a great suspension system. I have used the f-stopper bags as well as the bag below there is no bag in the marketplace that has as large a payload ability and yet have camera specific features.

    The build could be a bit more robust in a couple of places (I blew-out a zipper) but the price is right when compared to the price of other (smaller) bags. Why a real pack maker like: LowePro, Gregory, Mountainsmith or Osprey doesn't make a real hardcore (large) expedition quality bag like the one below is beyond me.

    I have been carrying rucksacks into the back country for 40 years. The one below is as comfortable as nearly any under a big load. Let's face it, none are fun under a big load.

    Adventure K5 v2 80L Hiking Camera Pack

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    well, the title does say musings...

    i think this is sherapni col:


    panch pokari; an isolated glacier moraine area of 5 lakes, elevation over 20,000.

    the earlier group shot was at the far end, two days later; sherpani col and west col at the far end in the distance


    taken on a trek much like this one, back in '93 or so, but we did the other direction; without a doubt one of the best trips of my life; went with my 25 yr old son and four friends and an entourage of sherpas. a lot of consecutive nights in a tent!
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/to...ol-simon-yates
    Last edited by jlm; 28th August 2014 at 16:22.
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Well, all packed, heading for the airport. Here is a link to my SPOT device page. I will turn it on tomorrow.

    Wind Rivers Tracking page

    My plan at this point is to keep it simple on the first trip in, then if I'm desperately missing something bring it on the second if my back can justify it.

    Ciao,
    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    A quick check in. Got back from the first trip yesterday afternoon. Marvelous time, but the weather was unpredictable. Snow/rain/ice from the first evening through the second. Got a few shots, but we were socked in most of the time with solid low clouds and wind. Still hiked every day, total of about 35 miles. Had a few breaks where the light was ok, so it was a great time.

    In regards to gear choices, I brought both the 60 and 90. Glad I did, seemed like the right combo for what I was shooting. At the last minute I took the BH40 instead of the A/S D4 because of the weight savings. Let's just say tomorrow when I go back in the D4 will be with me not the ball head. And yes, the Alpa will be with me tomorrow too!

    Anyway, I will try to post an image later.

    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Here is a quick rendering of an image from above Island Lake. The storm finally broke up Sunday night. We left Island Lake and camped above at the pass. In the morning I scrambled up a knob above the lake for the sunrise. It was chilly!

    This one is a single image 90hr @ ~f/8.

    Still needs a lot of work. Color isn't right and need to bring out some things. But I'm out of time...

    Dave

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    beautiful spot, (nice shot); I'm envious!

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Thank's John. Here is a recap of the trip:

    Day 1: Elkhart Park to Island Lake
    We habitually plan to underestimate how far we can go, so we planned on stopping somewhere around Seneca Lake. But we felt pretty good, and it was cooling off as the day went on, which helped – to a point; more on that later. It was nice to see a few flowers still in bloom:




    We got to Photographer’s Point by 10am, which is the first good view of the range. The light was pretty harsh, but set up for a two-shot stitch anyway.




    Then about an hour later the sun went behind a hazy cloud and I got a shot I like better handheld with the Sony. This also shows the many ~500 foot vertical rises and falls along the trail that make the hike so tiring even though the overall difference in elevation between the trailhead and the destination is only about 1500 feet.




    After another two hours we were getting closer to Seneca Lake. Stopped to break and eat, found this small alcove of trees. Not long after we reached Seneca Lake. Note the difference in the cloud cover.






    This shows the terrain around Island Lake pretty well. It is the last down/up before the lake, which is just beyond the closest pass left-center.




    We had just enough time to make dinner before it rained and hailed hard. After that wave went through we had a fleeting rainbow.




    Day 2: Titcomb Basin
    That night we were buffeted by many storms. Ice/snow on the tent in the morning. We decided to head out to Titcomb Basin in the hopes things would clear up. It was way too windy to take advantage of the cloud cover for flowers or other close subjects. Most of the day looked like this:




    But we did get a few quick breaks long enough to pull out the Alpa. Both of these are two-image vertical stitches with the 90hr. From then on it snowed with little visibility.






    Day 3: Back to Elhart Lake
    At night things started to break up, and the next morning it was a fine sunrise. This is from a small peak just SW of Island Lake with the 90hr:




    And with the Leica 90:




    I have only a few photos from the hike back. Must have been tired. There was a small lake with some soft light:




    Day 4: Green River Lakes
    We decided to take a rest day, so we drove over to the Green River Lakes Trailhead and hiked a few miles. Standard shot of Squaretop in bad light from the lake:




    On the drive there is a small stream that is actually a warm spring. The plaque highlights a small fish that was separated by a waterfall from any connection with other species of fish. Now endangered since this is the only stream where it lives. The stream is less than ¼ mile long. I tried the ND64 on the falls:








    Day 5: New Fork Lakes to Lozier Lakes
    This was the high point of the trip. The day was one of the best days backpacking I’ve ever had. There was a bit of everything on this trail: Meadow, forest, deep canyon, scree, switchbacks, talus, wind, river crossing… Marvelous day.

    Yours truly, looking not-so-dapper in my Patagonia Baggies and wool socks.




    New Fork Canyon has almost a Yosemite feel:






    Camping at Lozier Lakes




    Day 6: Lozier Lakes to Lake 11,360
    We planned to hike off trail from the pass between Lozier Lakes and Clark Lake over to Thompson and Hidden Lakes. While we were exploring that whole area, we found what seemed to be a great place to spend the night, on a col above Lake 11,360 just NW of Glover Peak. Here is the view we had and the site.




    As the sun got low, clouds came in. It was iffy whether we would see any sunset, but in the end the clouds opened and I got lucky.




    Day 7: All the way back
    The next day we woke up to another light show.



    Then decided to hoof it all the way back. Near the end of the trip the trail went through a recent forest fire.




    I ended up taking 1100+ photos. I used only two Phase batteries and one Sony. However I came back and recharged everything in between the trips. So I probably really went through 3 phase and 2 Sony. The batteries lasted longer than I thought, and it was cold in the mornings and nights. As long as I slept with the batteries they were fine. I would put 2 P1 and 1 Sony in my shirt pocket in the sleeping bag.

    As predicted by many, I didn't use the ground glass much, so I left that in the car for the second trip. Also as previously mentioned I swapped the BH40 for the D4. I wasn’t using live view for battery savings, so making small adjustments with the BH40 was driving me crazy.

    We hiked 70 miles in 6 days, which was more than we thought we would do. All in all a great time, some good photos, and wonderful experience. I strongly recommend the Wind Rivers. They are one of the best locations for pure backpacking and/or climbing.

    Thanks for everyone's help, wisdom and patience.

    Dave


    PS: After refining my equipment from the first trip, I brought with me:
    RRS 24L
    Arca Swiss D4
    Sony a7r
    35mm Sony FE f/2.8
    90mm Leica 90 f/2
    Alpa STC / IQ180
    SK 60xl
    Rodi 90hr
    4 Phase batteries
    3 Sony batteries
    ProND 64
    55mm polarizer for the Sony
    49-55 step up ring
    72mm polarizer for the Alpa
    (2) Alpa sync release switches – 1 for each lens
    Alpa sync cord
    Spare Phase sync cord (no wake up feature)
    Hex wrenches for tripod and camera plates
    Leica Disto 7500i
    The usual cloths & LCC card
    (2) 32 gb CF cards
    (1) 8 gb CF card w/ firmware
    (2) 16 gb SD cards
    Last edited by dchew; 12th September 2014 at 03:01.
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Hey Dave,

    thanks for showing your pictures here. I hadn't seen such a big collection of really great pictures for a long time. I nearly loved them all - but my favorite would be "Sunset over the Wind River" (stiched or cropped...?)

    Very intersting to see all the different kinds of landscapes there. So I'm a little bit sad that I'm not in your area - here nearly everythings looks the same.
    But my wife said for me the last time "let us have a bigger walk through our national park (only a bigger wooded area, but a national park). Perhaps your pictures are the necessary occurs in my ***...

    Really really great pictures! Thanks for showing!
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Thank Christian! The sunset image is a 2-image stitch. 90hr shifted 18mm each way, with slight post crops on each edge. Boy am I glad I brought the 90! I used it more than the 60xl.

    This type of trip is great fun, but it can be a little frustrating at times for photography since we were always moving from place to place. There was little opportunity to 'go back when the light is right'. Except for the sunrises and sunsets, it really is a snapshot type of environment.

    Because of that, I don't know if I would take both camera systems on a trip like this again. I would if I was hiking to a central place, then roaming around from a "base camp." 7/25 of the images above were taken with the Alpa (the sunrise image should have been taken with the Alpa, but the Sony was on the tripod and the light was changing fast while cooking breakfast). I brought the Sony basically because I could not figure out how to use the Alpa without taking off my pack. Although I do have a bigger Clik chest pouch, it was the thought of changing lenses with my pack on that stumped me, as well as losing the versatile ISO shooting that comes with the Sony. As it turned out, none of the above "snapshots" while hiking were taken with the Leica 90mm on the Sony; they were all with the 35mm. And most of the Sony images were shot at either 100 or 200 ISO - I think only three were above 200. So really I could have put the Alpa in the larger chest pouch with the 60xl attached and not brought the Sony. I would have added the sk150 though, because I really like that focal length.

    Or, I could have just brought the Sony and a few more lenses. That probably makes the most logical sense. But as Tom predicted earlier in this thread, "One marvelous sunset or sunrise at camp and you'll be happy to have the Alpa."

    Funny you say that about the area you live in. I live in Ohio; this was two plane flights away to Wyoming. I think you can hop on a train and get to the Alps faster! BTW, I will be in Vevey, Switzerland in early October if anyone wants to play in those hills

    [Geoff - Sorry, my wife has to go on a business trip, and Switzerland trumped Silo City ]

    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    great stuff dave; i empathize completely. love the island lake shots and the dramatic weather shots

    will get out next season myself in the Cascades of Oregon with the humble m4/3 oly.
    What non-backpackers probably don't realize is how remote and self reliant these trips can get in just a day or two.
    i've been hiking in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness since i was 17yrs old, not only is it a stunning place, but i still go back there some 53 yrs later and it has change hardly at all! where else can you find that sort of permanence? gives one some perspective, as does the backpacking experience

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    [Geoff - Sorry, my wife has to go on a business trip, and Switzerland trumped Silo City ]

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Awesome pics thx for posting! Even in the web size versions one can see the superiority of the IQ180 file! Some stunning shots in there. The area seems amazing and genuine natural treasure.

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    BTW, I will be in Vevey, Switzerland in early October if anyone wants to play in those hills

    [Geoff - Sorry, my wife has to go on a business trip, and Switzerland trumped Silo City ]

    Dave
    Don't want to start a second theme in your thread.. But you know, that there are no Alps in Vevey...? But I think it's a nice place to have a trip while your wife is sitting in meetings... I had a wedding-shoot nearly 8 or 9 years ago in Montreux.

    But to come back to your theme:
    It was very interesting for me to see, that there are so much different kinds of rocks in a relative small area (grey, white, a little bit red, a little bit yellow, different forms, and so on... don't know the names, so I'm sorry only to describe...). This is different to here; here are mostly bigger areas of the same.
    So nice to see. And thanks for your explanation of your picture.
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Vevey to Chamonix is 1 hr, 23 min. For us here in drive-everywhere U.S., that's a trip to the grocery

    You are very observant about the rocks. The granite there (and other types of rock) is amazing. This range is a geologist's playground! I will search my images for some rock detail.

    Dave
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post


    .....But as Tom predicted earlier in this thread, "One marvelous sunset or sunrise at camp and you'll be happy to have the Alpa." ...........


    As the sun got low, clouds came in. It was iffy whether we would see any sunset, but in the end the clouds opened and I got lucky.




    Day 7: All the way back
    The next day we woke up to another light show.



    .................Dave
    I'll bet the evening shot, but I really like the am version too, there's a great sense of depth or dimensionality in the peaks. Thanks for posting these.

    Tom
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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Wow.

    That must have been a great trip. Certainly amazing country. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.
    Will

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    Re: Backpacking in the Wind Rivers: Planning, Decisions and Other Musings

    Incredible thread, thanks so much for the effort to post this. Images look fantastic as well.


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