Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dartmoor, the Cuben Trailstar and the big freeze!

Watch "Dartmoor, A freezing test for the Cuben Trailstar 25.3.13 (Camp 11!)." on YouTube

The going was dry until I passed Devil's Tor heading for Cut Hill.  The height up here was between 561m and 604m but the chill belied the footing!  Whilst the surface was frozen the freeze hadn't worked its way to the deeper bogs under and my feet occasionally sank through a crusting of ice and plunged into freezing water below.  This wasn't quite as dramatic as it sounds but it was here where my trail shoes and three layers of socks were put to the greatest test!  They just about passed and I'll not be swapping my shoes for boots any time soon.

I left the car park at about 8.50am and headed up Brat Tor, the sun was trying to shine past a few gaps in the clouds and it was almost warm walking.  I could see Hare Tor from here and made a direct approach to it, clouds closing in on the sun shortly after.

From Hare Tor was Ger Tor and then the car park, the only downside to this route, following the road for a few hundred metres to the foot path that leads to Coffin Woods and Bagga Tor.  Amazingly the sun was still fighting here and the chill that was to come soon after on the path to Lydford Tor was a reminder it was still wintery conditions!  My hands cooled and I donned my MLD eVent mitts, these blocked the freezing wind and my hands quickly warmed.  My feet were doing well.

My footwear consisted of Inov8 295s with a layering of Sealskinz, merino liner and next to skin Coolmax liner sock.  It was approaching Cut Hill with Lydford Tor at my back that my feet first cooled with the occasional drop into boggy water, but didn't freeze!  If I'd have been slower or with someone who stopped often or was slower I can see on this occasion I'd have had very cold feet.  But alone and doggedly heading forward I never really noticed and certainly didn't worry about the cold.  The rest of me was very warm.  I had three layers in total, a merino long sleeve top, a synthetic long sleeve top and my Paramo Vista jacket.  In temperatures down to -3c and wind chill of -8c I was never cold.  My stops were brief, consisting short filming clips and one stop to eat a roll.  My energy bars were eaten on the hoof.

I headed to Fur Tor, Little Kneeset and Great Kneeset.  Passing a scavenging badger.  Then down to a ford before heading up toward Lints Tor.  I crossed the ford with a strange sensation in my feet.  For the first few steps it felt like my feet reacted to the freezing water by warming up. Then realisation hit and I felt the coolness of the water through my Sealskinz socks!  I has about 200m up the hill and looked back to see Bess pacing back and forward on the other side of the ford.  She hadn't followed me across!

I had to head back and encourage her to cross the chilly water.  She did, reluctantly. Due to depth more than temperature.

About 20 minutes later or so I reached Sandy Ford and looked across it to see a flat area the other side.  My feet were already wet. Better soak them again now not a fresh soaking in the morning so I crossed.  The cuben Trailstar was set up best I could on the rocky subsoil.

Once the pitch was completed I set up my groundsheet and blew up my bed and set up my sleeping bag.  This time due to the chill and time I got my shoes and socks off quickly and got into bed.  My feet warmed within the hour.  Tea was put on and I was again very relaxed.  I'm certainly finding the camping side of things very relaxing and enjoyable now.  Pitching and recording my progress is marvelous.

I got Bess settled down and she warmed up with food and water.

I slept well again, I'm convinced the balaclava helps here by not falling off and potentially blocking some background noise.  Also my bag was warm and comfortable.

I slept soundly until 5am donning one layer to fight off the early morning chill.  Breakfast and tea was had and I began the process of packing up.  This still takes a good hour all in.

I got out of the sleeping bag, changed out of my leggings and put on my Paramo Cascada trousers and two pairs of socks.  This was just enough to keep me warm whilst packing sleeping mat and bag away.  The foam mat is vital here as I can stand / squat on it keeping my feet off the ground and warm.

I found the frameless pack easy to pack up and a continued joy to carry.  I was happy with the low weight and knowledge that I was covered for most eventualities.

The MLD Trailstar kept the temperature inside at least 2c warmer than outside.  Mind you, outside it was -8c!

A few facts from the SatMap Bess carried.  Day one only. Didn't record day two to the car. About 6 to 8km. About an hour and three quarters.

Distance 27 km
Total time 8 hrs
Time moving 6 hrs
Ave moving speed 4.4kph
Ave speed 3.2kph
942m Total ascent
Max speed 20kph.

Camp List December - March (25th) 2013

MLD Exodus (All options) 3500ci / 57L (None FS pack!) 677
MLD cuben X Large dry bag / liner. 45

Sub Total 722

MLD Cuben Trailstar in Cuben stuff bag 380
OookWorks OookStar Cuben Groundsheet 120
MLD Superlight Bivi in Cuben stuff bag 154
Pegs 3 Easton 9", Three 6" Ti V, Five MLD 6". 134
MSR Blizzard stake (Trowel) 1 23
Pacer Pole Bungs (2) 24

Sub Total 835

PHD Sleeping bag 600/900 MLD dry bag (XL Dry Bag?) 1186
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Regular 429
MultiMat 2' 4" cut off. 79
Exped Airpillow 79

Sub Total 1773

MLD 850ml ti pot inc string pouch 106
MLD 450ml ti pot 37
Trail Designs MLD 850 Ti Tri cone 48
Trail Designs 10-12 burner 15
J Cloth tiny piece! 1
Light My Fire / Fire steel 28
Foil (aluminium) 10
Measure pots (2) 1
LifeVenture Lexan spoon 14
Spoon - MLD 16
Trail Designs Caddy 89
Bottle (1) for meths 175ml 17

Sub Total 382

20 fl oz / 590ml bottles (45g each) 2 90
Two 2L Platypus containers 36g 72
Compass Silva Ranger 3 32
Map / case (cut a bit off!) 113
Silva ADC Pro 65
Oakley Half Jacket Glasses / bullet case 119
Petzl XP Core head light 83
Aqua Mira (empty 8g) 35 drops. 10
Hand gel 23
Suncream pot 7g 22
Dyneema cord 2mm spare 5.2m one piece 16

First Aid kit in light bag. 115
Wenger Swiss Army Knife (scissors, knife, tweezers, LED) 24
MagLite Solitaire AAA 24
Lighter 17
Lipsalve 9
Whistle 9
Hirsch Talg Crème 5
Leather Needle and thread (wrapped around cuben) 2
Pod First Aid Dry Bag (For above) 25

Waterproof matches 12. 8
Shock Cord 24" 6
20' Dynema Cord 1mm Emergency only. 4
Duct tape 14
Mylar tape 18" 4
Sil-Fix kit 12
Cable Ties reusable (2) 0
2 Paper Clips, 5 Safety Pins 4
Exped Textile Glue 7
Rubber bands 4
SynMat patches 5
Ear plugs 0
Mueller Support Wrap (First Aid) 34
MLD Cuben Ditty Bag for above 2

Toothbrush 5
Dr Bonner's soap (for teeth too!) Pot 4g 8
Towel Vaude 16
Hankies 2 10
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Ear Phones for phone 7
Teck Net inc short lead / adaptor. 193
SD card for camera 4
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Surgical Gloves 12
Toilet paper (inc 1 Alco Wipe) 22
Plastic / Freezer bags for Shoes / Feet ONE bag. 5
Waste Pod stuff sack inc 6g plastic bag 66
Pee bottle 85

Sub Total 1416

Arcteryx Delta LT Zip Polartec Thermal Pro Micro S cream 204
TNF Leggings 91
ChocFish Merino gloves black 41
Smartwool Liner Socks 39
ChocFish Balaclava 73
MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9

PHD Minimus Drishell Pullover Small 355
MLD Cuben dry bag Medium 19

MLD Mitts eVent 42

Sub Total 873
BASE 1 (Hiking / Camping kit) 6001

Photo Kit in or on pack.
Tripod - Gorilla Pod (no head) 241

Sub Total 241
BASE 2 (inc. Photo kit in pack) 6242

Separate Photo Kit. (Around neck!).
Camera Sony NEX 7, paracord 342
Sony NEX E Lens 10-18mm 265
Sony Microphone ECM-ALST1 54
Cloth 6
Aquapac Medium waterproof camera bag 103

Sub Total 770
BASE 3 (inc. Camera Kit in pouch) 7012

Carrying / Holding / Pockets
Phone 147
Pacer Poles Carbon 524

Sub Total 671
BASE 4 (Total Carrying on Person - not consumable) 7683

Total carried (food + pack + camera) NOT worn 9292

ChocFish Merino T Shirt 187
Patagonia Polartec Blue Pullover S Pocket Regulator R1 284
Rohan Pants 51
Sealskinzsocks 98
Smartwool merino liner sock 41
Coolmax liner sock 42
Paramo Cascada Trousers, small 550
Lowe Alpine Polartec Thermal Pro Tibet Hat Beanie 56
TrekMates Merino Touchscreen Gloves 30
Outdoor Designs Bora gloves medium Windpro 86
ChocFish Merino beanie 26
Paramo Coat Vista 556
Watch Sunto Advizor 54
Inov8 295 with SuperFeet 685
Credit card / Driving License in MLD cuben Ditty 17
Decongestant / Lip salve 17

Sub Total 2780

BASE 5 (Total of everything not consumable!) 10463

Tea bags (5) / Marvel (35g) / sweeteners (10) 74

Actual Packed weight 74

Daytime Food
Rolls 2 (Aprox weight!) 200
Nature Valley Crunch Oats and Honey 42
Nature Valley Crunch Ginger Nut Crunch 42
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30

Actual Packed weight 400

Evening Food
LWWF Tees Valley Beef Meat Balls 270
LWWF Staff Chicken Casserole 289
Potato (2 lots) 100

Elevenses Ginger 45
Elevenses Chocolate 45
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30

Actual Packed weight 865

Breakfast (Day Time!)
Porridge (50/20/10g) 1 Portion. 80
Quaker Oat So Simple Morning Bar Fruit Muesli 35

Actual Packed weight 135

MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9 9

Bottle (1) for meths 175ml (EXCLUDING Bottle!) 126 126

Total weight of Food & Tea / Kcals 1609

Total Carrying Exc Clothing worn 9292

TOTAL On PERSON with food. NOT water . 12072 12072

Bess List

Ruffwear Pack Palisades 850
Ruffwear Day Coat / high vis / water resistant 155
Dog Bowl 30
Food 500
Schmackos 300
Trek Towel 80*60cm 105
Trek Towel 110*60cm 147
Pegs, various collection. 169
OookWorks BessBed 131
MultiMat 2' 4" cut off. 79
Bess Total. 2466


Greg said...

Great stuff Tony. Good idea to keep the shoes from freezing.

Tony Hobbs said...

Thanks Greg, working on report now, hope to add tomorrow or Friday with kit list here :-)
Learnt my lesson frozen shoes bad idea lol!

Tony Hobbs said...

The ear plugs and cable ties didn't register on scales lol hence 0g ;-)