Above the treeline tent set up?

11:53 a.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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I've been trying to figure this out for a long time. Is there a trick that I just haven't noticed or is the only way to set up a tent above the treeline is to move all the rocks out of the way?

I was looking at the testimonials on the Hilleberg site after reading about their new tents and there was a picture of a tent set up above the tree line on a ridge. It looks great and I'd love to do that sometime but I'd rather enjoy the view and leave no trace rather than spend an hour moving all those rocks!

12:12 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Well it depends on where you go. If it is on a popular ridge or wherever above treeline there could already be places others have camped and already moved the rocks away.

This week I am going up in the San Francisco peaks and the highest point we'll camp is about 11,500 feet. I don't know but would imagine there could be rocks all around. The Peaks are a ancient volcano so the rocks will be basalt and cinders. Sometimes they are easy to move other times they are held together by erosion and time.

I camped a couple years ago on a cider cone and on its rim there was a old place where either early indians had camped or recent visitors had and the rocks were moved and piled up to create a windbreak and a smoother place to set up a tent or sleeping bag.

And in the Grand Canyon where I have camped around many, many times in 20 years I often have not found it possible to move the rocks but to just make do and sleep in between them.

12:35 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Usually there is a site already made but if you don't have that a lot of climbers just use a bivy sack in some small gap in the rocks. 

3:10 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Usually I can find a spot fairly level, but it may not be possible to find a spot where several tents can be situated in close proximity each with its own smooth base.  Sometimes the only flat place is atop a large rock.  That's ok for me it is these situation why I use a free standing tent.  But when it is impossible to find a smooth surface, I do my best to protect the tent floor from edge cuts, and attempt to minimize the ungulations using ropes and other soft gear under my mat.

Ed

6:07 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes and No,  It all depends on the terrain and the tools one has with.  If you are a UL'er and have one of those silly little light weight plastic trowels that it takes 1/2 hr to dig your latrine with then no.  If you have the metal little folding three piece screw together shovel that I have then, well yes, if of cource the excavation does not require a desial power shovel.  I was camping in the FL Key's once when we got a camp ground.  When we went to set up the tent it was on solid coral, one big reef.  There was no moving any thing.  One would have needed a jack hammer.  Every tent stake I tried to pound in bent.  That was on of the reasons I have mostly free standing dome tents.  Save my but that time as that was the worst no-seem experiance opf my life.   If you have a footprint for your tent and a good pad you only have to move the large and or sharp jagged rocks.  There are good points and bad points about going UL.  One of the bad points is that you have the least amount of lightweight gear to do what ever it is you need to do.  I belive in the proper equiptment to do the proper job.  When you have a light weight paper thin tent with a light weight paper thin pad and a plastic shovel you must work within the parameters of what you equiptment will alow.  This also leads to the leave no trace point,  if you are going to leave no trace than this means "leave no trace".  Again I often place my tents on all the existing rocks and pebbles where I am as I have the equiptment to handle these conditions.  But again all my gear is heavy duty.  I want to be safe and comfortable which means I can't go near as far and near as fast as some of you guys and gals out there.

6:47 a.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Usually there is a site already made but if you don't have that a lot of climbers just use a bivy sack in some small gap in the rocks. 

 This. 

I use a strategically rigged hammock sometimes in summer, but I camp mostly in winter so rocks aren't usually a drama unless they're falling on me.

8:29 a.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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I have yet to find a situation where walking around for 30 minutes i couldn't find a suitable location. I maybe have to move a few pebbles/fist sized rocks and sticks. Other than that, I have never had a problem. That being said, I love my hammock because I can put it up anywhere there are trees.

9:50 a.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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LOL.  Ed said "ungulations" then Ape posted with his goat pic! Yes, my degree is in agriculture!

Ok, an obscure farming pun. I'm done.

11:10 a.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

LOL.  Ed said "ungulations" then Ape posted with his goat pic! Yes, my degree is in agriculture!

Ok, an obscure farming pun. I'm done.

I must have forgotten to use my spell check. 

Hey is for houses, and god for cows two, but eye prefer falafel.

translation:
Hay is for horses, and good for cows too, but I prefer alfalfa

Ok, calling this an obscure, dyslexic, farming, pun is an understatement.

Ed

7:05 p.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the comments! Here is the picture I was referring to.


Sept2010AndyPerry.jpg

@paully & @therambler I've thought about hammocks but I'm usually in desert or thick pines and aspens.

8:07 p.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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A good pad will help your comfort. Agroundsheet or tarp under the tent floor will save lots of wear on the tent floor. tarps are easy to replace.  Holes worn in a tent floor are also easily patchable. 

12:21 a.m. on August 10, 2011 (EDT)
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C4B7 said:

Thanks for all the comments! Here is the picture I was referring to.


Sept2010AndyPerry.jpg

@paully & @therambler I've thought about hammocks but I'm usually in desert or thick pines and aspens.

  

I would be looking for a horizontal running bench either above of below your site. The terrain in the background has potential to include such a feature.  A tent with a more narrow footprint would help too. 

Ed

12:41 a.m. on August 10, 2011 (EDT)
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i've usually been able to find a place with out rocks... or at least just one or two move (which happens to be a great place to put your hips if you're a side sleeper) it may be steep! or there may only be lichen on top of a huge boulder... so those rocks will be your new stakes!

If there is nothing near, you may wanna start your next day's trek early... and along the way maybe you'll find a good site!

like many said, a good pad will do! I've seen someone with about a 3-4 inch thick pad, and when folded its about the size of a nalgene.. I don't remember the name of it, a buddy who worked at Moosejaw had it, and for and got it with a great discount! I'm sure someone on here will know what this pad is called!

Quick question that's related.. for tarp campers, if you get up that high, where only lichens exists on the ground... should i just learn to set up quickly with only rocks for stakes?

1:56 a.m. on August 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey C4B7, looks like you got the gig going there, a room with a view.  If you were to take some Tyvek and make a footprint and also an interior floor mat, both of which would only weigh as much as a stock foot print (and be much cheaper), it would most likely be enough to protect the bottom of your tent.  Add a sleeping pad (open cell) like some above mentioned and you would have the it made.  lookes to me like you made the right choice in tent placement with the tent you have going there.  Just a little tweking and you'll be set.

3:18 a.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Yo fellas its my first post! great topic too, havent used a tent when backpacking  for a couple years. I sleep out on my thermarest in my mummy with a rainfly at most. its easy for me to clear a spot big enough for a thermarest rather than a big tent. quick to pack too!...right? I like the  bivvy idea  for adventures with  weather on ridge top, but if there's no real weather why not gaze at the stars? Its a good way wait till sunrise to summit said mountain!!

4:54 p.m. on August 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Jarstin, welcome aboard!

I don't really see the point of moving too many rocks, usually can find a spot without, or if they are flat rocks just lay on top - the one's from the photo doesn't looks like the ones that will put a hole in your tent floor...

8:58 p.m. on August 24, 2011 (EDT)
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nirtem, that is very true. I've never really had the desire to lay down where there are sharp rocks.

The photo I posted isn't of my set up at all. I just have a little Marmot tent. I just consider that Hilleberg tent my dream tent.

1:40 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Is it the Allak??

8:35 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Yea Tipi, I know you're one of the biggest Hilleberg fans. Do you have any tips?

9:46 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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No real tips as I do most of my backpacking in the mountains of NC, TN and VA and always below treeline and hardly ever on rock-strewn mountains.  Here in the Southeast we have certain undeveloped ridge campsites that are level and wonderful yet full of briars but can be arranged into decent tentsites with the proper amount of bramble removal using a sharp knife to cut the briars off slightly below the ground.  I'm talking about national forest sites that rarely see other backpackers.  Too much of an impact?  Probably, but briars get tiresome fast and probably need to be culled.  Anyway, a year later when I return I know that my old campsite will be mostly ready for another bag night on level ground.

As far as rocks go, I would not hesitate moving them to set up a tent.  The real challenge is whether I can hammer in any pegs.

3:07 p.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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TheRambler said:

I have yet to find a situation where walking around for 30 minutes i couldn't find a suitable location. I maybe have to move a few pebbles/fist sized rocks and sticks. Other than that, I have never had a problem. That being said, I love my hammock because I can put it up anywhere there are trees.

 I love to camp in the alpine zone,much prefer it over the woods,and as stated in the above statement I too have never been unable to find a spot that would work.

10:05 p.m. on September 29, 2011 (EDT)
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In about 1985 I was on Shasta on the north ridge. We managed to find a nice flat that someone had cleared on the ridge, just big enough for my Bibler Impotent. Care should be taken when camping on rocks, as they can easily put holes in the tent floor. That said, you pitch where you can. Our paddling team spent two days this month camped in Cascade Canyon on the Finlay River. We all camped where we could, rolled in tarps, tucked next to a log. I found a nice level rock in the river. The log wasn't there at the beginning of the first night. :-(
IMGP1350.jpg

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