stove for mountaineering

12:28 p.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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after reading the previos posts, I want to share my experience. I was in a expedition in the karakorum, Hidden Peak. I had the idea that the msr stoves were the best for mountaineering, or they do the job... at least. But, that´s depends of what is your idea of high altitude mountaineering. I camp II, in the gasherbrum lab, 6,400 mt, it did not make it. I had many problems, 1. the fuel, you can´t find good petro or white gas in Pakistan. 2. Then, you just can´t start it because of the low oxygen. So, if your idea is mountaineering in high altitud it´s not a option. I was with other climbers and they gave mi one gas canister stove, with butane and propane. A coleman, nothing exceptional, you can find it for $19... And, It worked perfectly, boiling water. Maybe you´ll think that "there are many other options, primus, msr...." but I had just that option, and all I can say is that the stove made it, until camp 3 at 7,100 mt It works perfectly.

2:11 p.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Can you get canisters in Pakistan???

6:43 p.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I have been on 4 deployments to Afghanistan, neighbors obviously. And I was able to find petro of many types in Afghan, gas, white gas, kerosene, diesel, jet fuel. Diesel, kerosene, and regular gas being the most common. I would think if I can find them in many locations other than the military bases/camps that you can find them in the much more developed Pakistan. Now that being said, you have to know where you are going. It isn't like the US where there is a gas station every few miles. You can easily go 100+ miles without seeing one. So you have to plan appropiately and stock up. I can say without a doubt that I have never seen a canister. You can find butane bottles like to refill a lighter with, but have never seen a canister.

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I used an MSR XGK EX stove and it never once let me down, even at high altitudes there, or elsewhere back in the states. I have never had an issue getting the stove to light at high altitudes, in fact i think it is one of the easiest stoves to use at altitude

What MSR stove were you using? You didn't specify.

One 20oz bottle of diesel on my XGK gave me about 170 minutes give or take a few of burn time. And would bring a liter of water to a boil in 4-5 minutes. So one bottle would last quite a long while being used 2 or 3x a day. As long as I could find a place to fill up I could go at least 12 days on 1 bottle. If I knew I would be out for quite some time I would fill up 2 or 3 bottles.

10:27 p.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I've done some ski touring in Kashmir/Pakistan and mostly use kerosene as it's available anywhere. With local help I can get pretty much anything I'm after in Islamabad and Skardu but haven't seen any canisters as I wasn't looking. I've heard the tourism office can help with information/advice but I haven't spoken to them.

I've gone to 5500m and haven't really had any hassles with my OmniFuel, just the usual priming and jet blockage dramas with some dirty kero (rigged a basic strainer filter, presto). I've been with others at times who were using XGK's, Optimus', and the like and haven't heard any real complaints apart from sooty smoke and singed beards. Everyone uses kero so there's always some around.

Unless you're prepared to lug out spent canisters, please don't use them.

10:43 p.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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As several have posted already, there are fuels available that will work just fine with liquid fuel stoves. The XGK ("G" means the gasoline jet and "K" means the kerosene jet), Primus Omni and MFS, MSR's Whiperlite Internationale, Coleman's Peak 1 International, and Optimus versions of the same thing will burn white gas, autogas, and avgas ("G" jet) and kerosene, jet fuel, and autodiesel ("K" jet). 3rd world fuel often needs to be filtered (cotton muslin and a funnel work fine for a filter). Do NOT use 3rd world marine diesel (tends to be contaminated), and never never never use "bunker fuel" (really dirty stuff).

The butane canisters are available in some areas, but you better check ahead of time. It is true that at really high altitude (Himalayan high altitude) the butane canisters suffer less from cold problems than at lower altitudes. The problem is the supply. You can arrange to pre-ship them, but there is the usual Asian bureaucracy to deal with.

You can find a good table of international stove fuel names at this website and at this website. Specifications for fuels in different countries can be found here. These sites overlap and are derived from the original list a decade or 2 back from Australia. It all comes down to asking for what you want by the local name. For example, "benzene" and "benzine" refer to different substances, depending on the country you are in. Also, "white gas", which you might translate as "petroleo blanco", gets something other than what Americans mean by "white gas".

1:32 p.m. on September 13, 2010 (EDT)
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just to add, and i don't mean to be a nit-picker - the gas and kerosene jets that Bill S. is referring to are interchangeable small parts that fit (usually the bottom of the part is threaded and screws into the stove) at the point where the gas hose ends underneath the burner. the part made for kerosene and other dirtier fuels has a larger hold, to accommodate the soot and other small particles you get from burning a dirtier fuel. if you travel overseas or otherwise plan to burn kerosene or diesel, make sure you bring the kerosene part and a tool to change the jet.

10:18 p.m. on September 15, 2010 (EDT)
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my experience with the same stove has been limited to about 6K feet, but an acquaintance used it at 14K in sub zero temps with no problems either.

October 23, 2014
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