|sunset at Cho Oyu's C3 (24,500ft), |
steep campsite, not much to do but stay inside
1. Pad / mattress/ ground insulation. Alpine climbs typically require 2 pieces, a closed-cell foam (ex. “ridgerest” brand / rubber mat) thick enough to insulate one from a cold/hard ground. A second layer (on top) is an air-filled mattress (ex. “thermarest” brand) to allow retained heat in the medium (i.e. air in mattress is ‘heated’ when one is sitting/lying on it). I’ve used these systems in the past; double closed-cell foam, single cell foam and closed-cell + air-foam, and I’m fine with any (the thicker the better). Obviously with air-mattress, there’s the extra effort in inflating/deflating the pad. In Everest BC, I have a real bed mattress, 4in in thickness. Obviously the pad should be long enough to ideally cover end-to-end of the tent floor, or mostly a bit longer than one’s body length.
2. The down-filled or heavy-polyester filled sleeping bag lies atop the pads (think -40C for the likes of Vinson’s, Denali or 8000m peaks). Where to orient the head? Depends, sometimes tent door nearer the head, sometimes the feet, or depending on the ground inclination, or if the interior is tiny, individuals sleep in alternate (head-foot) positions.
3. The immediate wall (to one’s left or right) is stuffed with one’s gears, supplies, gadgets. This is for easy access (like emergency munchies) and as side insulation especially if tent walls are either touching/near-touching icy/snowy wall or just flooded with heavy snow. Some tent sites are not that friendly, just perched in snowy wall of some steep mountain – hence the sometimes-inevitable snow/ice wall.
4. Wall/door where the foot is nearer should also have insulation. An empty backpack is a good choice. A team mate of mine in Cho Oyu almost got frostbitten when he slept comfortably resting his under-feet (though inside the sleeping bag) in a snowy wall. Our good ‘ol Sherpa guide luckily massaged his foot to life before our summit attempt.
5. Recently boiled / near-boiled water in plastic bottles (ex. Nalgene) goes inside the sleeping bag during the night sleep. For extra heat, and to keep them from freezing during the cold night. Also for occasional sip every once in a night-while to meet the 3li water intake requirement. I’d leave my pee bottle outside the interior tent, some colleagues would keep them inside their sleeping bags to keep pee from freezing (for easy disposable the next day). I thaw mine under the sun instead. Base layer gloves and balaclava / ski-mask – I’d wear them while sleeping (in extremely cold places). Not the mittens (I used them as additional side-wall/foot insulation).
6. Gadgets (camera, satphone, computers if any, videocams, etc.) are kept near/beside one's sleeping bag. Except for the batteries where one should put them inside his/her sleeping bag while sleeping. I put my small batts in my inside jacket pocket, and the rest near /between my legs (inside the sleeping bag). I have a couple extras for satphones (sometimes with solar recharger), and carry 9 or more videocam batteries. At temp below -10C (even just 0c), battery power is easily lost/ discharged. I used to put gadgets/batteries in insulated bags (ex. fleece) – it’s actually useless; the temp outside that small bag is the same as its interior (i.e. no self-heat generation like humans). Net, a gadget in thin ziplock vs. down-filled bag will have the same interior temperature.
7. I’d hang my goggles / sunglasses in one of the loops inside the tent near the door. If I’m the only tent user – I’d hang decorations near the door; I’ve used – dream catcher, chimes, rosary and small trinkets to either beautify my tent entrance, or ward off evil spirits. ;)
8. In the Philippines, my tent has a ‘sampayan’ (clothes line) for dirty clothes. In Alpine setting, I don’t use one (anything wet will freeze hard including socks). I’d hang my filthy socks somewhere in the vestibule (inside the outer flysheet but outside the interior tent), it will freeze hard if a bit wet and I’d just thaw them under the sun.
9. Boots are kept outside the interior tent, but inside the vestibule. For double plastic boots, I keep the inside boots in the tent. I got paranoid in some occasions and even kept them inside the sleeping bag (very uncomfortable having a ton of things inside one’s sleeping bag). It’s a good practise to keep all sharps (axe, trek poles, crampons) outside and not near the tent.
10. Personal snacks/food. There is mostly a kitchen-dining tent for serious eating. Many rest days inside the tent means easy snack access. I'd keep them in one corner (in 1 or 2 stuff sacks) normally near the door.
11. Not much fun inside. While it would be comfortable to stay warm inside the tent/bag, outdoor adventure means – being physically outside! Go out, take a stroll (avoid crevasse areas), take pictures and videos, mingle and visit other kitchen/dining tents, go find a wildlife, enjoy the sun, among other hundred things. “Go outside when you can, stay inside the tent if you must.”