the Clamb, anus clenching adventure

Vincentoli Blanteev
Half Ass Expedition Guide

and G. Mount Da Gomerly



Hae, we know what you're thinking after reading the title. Of course it's a trap we have set to weed out the weak types, and those of you who have stereotyping minds, because we ain't gonna be talking about stuff like packing in a buzz, or shuffling a deck of cards. That would be having too much fun, and we're not looking to be having any fun here in Chapter 3. What we are gonna be talking about here is buying stuff. You know....backpacking stuff.

Stuff to buy,
And that means lots of lists....
What should I get?

Not your luck today is it? Yes here we are going to examine in excruciating detail the all the shit we (all guys) don't wanna do, and right near the the top of that list is shopping.

One does not have to be in the backpack hiking scene for too long before one realizes that an enormous amount of time can be spent buying stuff, thinking about buying stuff, or wishing the stuff you bought was where it should be, like either in your pack, or back at home. It's the time consuming aspect of dealing all that stupid-assed equipment, clothes, and food that we just don't want to deal with.

Therefore as promised to the legions of hae fans, websurfers, and gearhead types, who always seem to be bugging HAE with dumb-assed technical recommendations on what piece of equipment to purchase, here is the lowdown on how to put together an expedition of the sort that can handle them delightful Northern New England winter weather patterns. And just like a fast approaching NNE weather front, this list of shit to buy may not be looking too pretty in a hikers eye either.

Since shopping sucks, we don't want to be doing very much of it. But one always does. Driving around to all the stores and tinkering with all that gear. Buying all this stuff, returning that other stuff cause you found other stuff, not finding more stuff forcing yet another trip somewhere else later...yuggh! Who wants to deal with that before a hike?

In order to avoid all that time wasting tinkering we are going to some fun (...sic) with lists instead. The first thing you do to prepare for a trip is review your notes from the previous trip. What? No notes from the previous trip you say?

Well then lets get just a little bit special here with a question for the unenlightened. How much time does it take to spend an hour recording thoughts from a trip right after returning home? Bingo...only an hour. Now how much time does it take driving and standing around, flipping through them catalogs, endlessly thinking about buying some stupid-assed widgit this or camping whatyacallit that? A whole lot. Or scratching the ole' noggen over all the stupid-assed equipment spewed about the garage floor and wondering what worked and what didn't back that was like a whiles ago. A whole lot more. Then you gotta think of what crap you wanted out there last trip but forgot, or maybe the wrong stuff was packed, was it working anyway, or was can't quite remember both were packed along but the backup worked half as good as expected and the primary weighed too much but worked ok...humm was that it or was..... Now all that half-assed remembering stuff that ain't quite right is gonna ending up take up a whole lot more time too ( hey it's '98, just go ask Bubba). So why bother to prepare for hiking by first doing the Macgyver for days on end to figure out stuff, when all that stuff could easily be remembered on a piece of paper?

Get the angle? It's gui time. "Go Ugly Immediately." That means here in chapter 3, immediately before starting much clambered upon tales of winter mountain climbing, some details of the list process are going to!

Given the aforementioned supposition that a winter hiker really has to write down some notes upon returning from the woods, what would these note lists look like? Here are some of mine. These notes are from the 1997-1998 Abraham and 1998-1999 Saddleback climbs, which make up the spoofy CLAMB storyline. They are typically recorded within 2 days from return. We start with the list in Table 1 from the 1996-1997 Carrigan climb, because the buy list made from those notes eventually showed up next year on the slopes of Mt. Abe.

TABLE 1: 1996-1997 Mt Carrigain, NH - HAE Boots on Carrigan
JVB NOTES 1-2-97 (Mt. Carrigan 6day/5night ):

1) new backpack works good. Needs a better way to attach sleeping bag, some type of shock cord maybe or straps more adjustable than current setup.
2) down boots need to pack smaller- get new ones.
3) need stuff sack for the 13 oz kettle and a mesh bag for the stove-pot-serria cup combo.
4) black bag for liter container sucks- get a new one.
5) boots worked good with wool insert. Right boot cut into heal - bring pieces of moleskin shaped for that heal and use right from the beginning of the hike at that spot only.
6) T.P. in front pack must be waterproof.
8) Flashlights next year: go with two single cell flashlights two different colors and carry with one extra battery.
9) new saw blade needed.
10) socks: Delete the inner silk socks. Just use one pair medium thickness syntho-wooly style.
11) gloves: A: Gortex outer, B: black fleese-gortex, C: poly pro
12) liter water bottles: switch to type with attached lids.
13) 500 mL water bottle attach it to pack.


-11 0Z MSR bottle and pump--left it at Tim's
-2 mountain smith side pockets-clipped to pack
-2 pair socks
-bivey sack and vapor barrier- carried both but did not use either
-lots of new pack hardware like clip-cats and tri-glides
-new stuff sack for foam-thermarest roll
-made clip-cat bungees for snowshoes
-new SAWVIVOR blades
-pack cover-did not carry
-black zippered bag for food
-mountain smith web pocket for serria cup

Items on this list are just the type of stuff that one forgets about while packing for the next trip. From these notes I constructed a buy list, Table 2, generated 12 months later from the above notes. The simple nature of this list is impressive in it's time saving utility.

JB's crap on foam

TABLE 2: JVB buy list, 12/23/97
  • Better strapping for sleeping bag - 3/4 webbing stuff and snaps
  • Bags for foam
  • Re-rig the tent - get rope
  • Moleskin
  • Clipcats Snaps with Rings
  • Good mesh bags
  • Down Boots maybe if cheap $$... otherwise just use the same shit
  • Ridgerest bag needs to be 12"X 26".
  • Saw blades
  • Liter water bottles integral lids
  • New pair poly pro gloves

  • That table 2 stuff purchased around 12-23-97 went up to Mt. Abe. Table 3 contains my notes
    recorded a day after return.

    TABLE 3: 1997-1998 Mt Abraham, Maine / the Clamb.
    JVB NOTES 1-8-98 (Mt. Abraham 6 day/ 5 night):

    1) Terr weight was 161 lbs using bathroom scale
    2) With food bag was 171 lbs. .. total food bag weight 11 lbs
    3) Entire pack -no snowshoes but with food was 207 lbs,
    207-161= 46 lb pack
    4) Reverse orange foam clip-cat, use a new one too
    5) Bivey & vapor barrier OR tent, don't carry both
    6) Never...ever...again remove rain parka from pack
    8) Delete brush axe from pack, put it in with the bigtop kit, get something lighter
    9) Single cell AAA flashlight worked fine, ditch the double AA one.
    10) Add mushroom to Hamburger Helper dinner:
    HB, pepper, mush, onion, garlic, butter
    11) White mesh food bag sucks, get a better quality one
    12) Yellow mesh bag for 13 oz pot useless, delete it
    13) Replace leather belt with lightweight web belt with triglide buckle
    14) Expedition weight undershirt sleeves keep sliding up to armpits when wearing wool shirt. This needs to be fixed. Some combination of lighter-weight wool shirt, larger undershirt, etc.
    15) One pair medium weight socks worked well with sorrel boots
    16) Front straps of snowshoe needs tri-glides to hold properly

    There you have it, the perfect answer anytime HAE is asked about some recommended equipment purchase. What is that official hae answer? " hae, go check yer know...from last year you half-assed trailhound!" Armed with a buy list such as shown above, and a quick stop at a favorite retailer or two in the area, the trail bound hiker is clean out of the equipment shopping business with a minimum of hassle and time. Now that's doing the deals...hae style!!

    Chapter 4, The Client (known as the Hiker)... CLICK

    Copyright 2000 John Bellantoni