Monday, December 14, 2015

Couch to Colorado 14er via Subscription?

Who wants me to bring this program back for the New Year 2016?

[originally posted 2014]

Now Opening a Second Cycle.

We have the first wave or participants well on their way to achieving their dreams. Enroll now and see if you can catch up!

Tested by Guinea Pigs!

I’ve been working on “Couch to Colorado 14er” for nearly two years under different titles and with slightly different concepts. I put it up a free rough draft on my Seven Summits Body Blog HERE and got over 100 downloads. I then polled those who downloaded, read, and tested the program for suggestions and other things the rough draft was missing.
Couch to Colorado 14er Ad Copy
Couch to Colorado 14er Ad Copy

I searched for all the tools you need

Last Fall and Winter I spent several months working on updating it with all of the new changes from my Guinea Pigs. .I did an amazing amount of research into competitive programs on Google, Bing, and Amazon. I compared books, program manuals, videos and virtual training programs. I wanted this to beTHE ONE PROGRAM YOU NEED.
Couch to Colorado 14er Ad Copy
Couch to Colorado 14er Ad Copy

My biggest training manual yet!

It looks like it will easily be around 300 pages in the final print form. Based on the printing and distribution costs I would need to charge around $40 for the print edition and $12 for the Kindle version.
I would be happy to do that, but got to thinking that if I were to sell it myself I could offer even more than I could with the limited Kindle and paperback format and sell it as a subscription to a bi-weekly email with:
  • training programs
  • video instruction
  • photo illustration
  • question and answer guide
This is the best way to fully serve the needs of those who will be training this Summer 2014 to climb a mountain or take a big hike and fulfill their dreams.
What You Get for Subscribing:
  • 10+ Emails over a 20 week period
  • Chart with Training Goals for each 2 week period
  • Weight Training and Cardio Training Tasks Explained
  • Photo Illustration of Each Workout
  • Video Instruction for Hiking, Packing, and Training
  • I’ll answer the Questions You Send In
All of that for 20 weeks – nearly half a year – for only $40. The price of the paperback edition but with so much more than any paperback can give you.
If you’re subscribing to the 2nd Wave you’ll get a few of the earlier emails combined into one.
Mount Rainier Crevasse
Face Your Fears – Crevasse on Mount Rainier

Subscribe Now for Only $30 – Until June 30 Only!

  • I’m an Amazon Author with 6 5-star Books since February 2012.
  • I’ve written hundreds of blog posts on my own and other blogs.
  • I wrote, produced and edited commercials
  • I wrote for a regional health magazine
  • My remote training clients range from telecommuting moms to sports professionals
  • I’ve personally tested all of my training and nutrition programs
You can rest assured this is a quality product at a great price. My promise is to give you the training you need to achieve your hiking and trekking goals this year.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

PurifiCup Usage Recommendations

[originally posted Aug 2012]

Shortly after my last blog post, PurifiCup [website] sent a message to me with a couple of images and some further instruction regarding properly and safely storing the unit while backpacking.
One tip we like to share, when using PurfiCup from the Natural water sources to avoid any chances of contamination. Please see attached 2 images with notations, when using the Cup in between your trips, it should be pack this way to avoid untreated water to contaminate your “Sealed drinking Cup” . (see pictures) and below:
1. Design: Pease see attached Images (A & B), the smaller cup which collects the Filtered Clean water with a Seal cap to be carried. By design, the filter Housing does Not screw on the Drinking Cup; As you can see by-design the filter housing only screws into the Larger cup (the one you use to Scoop un-treated dirty water). Our engineers had already thought of such issue that’s why the design does not allow you to Screw the Filter housing to the Drinking Cup. PurifiCup is designed for user to obtain drinking water and Store water as you would as a Bottle.
2. Recommendations: For the users that may want to pack the PurifiCup back into single unit right after each use. Our suggestion is to Shake off the excess water, or rinse off the tip of the housing with clean water. Furthermore, if users are still worry about drops of water been in the cup, We recommend to Run the water thru again to be sure every drop is purified thru the Nano-Silver Membrane.
I messed with it for a bit, and it seems pretty logical and easy enough to do. I usually have a bandanna around, so wiping out the inside of the “dirty” container would be easy enough to do. I also think it makes as much sense to

Skip the clean bottle …

and just use the bottles you already have. The bottom of the filter cartridge will fit over just about anything I tried (except Blender Bottles) and as an added bonus, there is a threaded tube that fits over just about any regular screw-top narrow-necked bottle.
Here’s a little video I put together quick demonstrating how this works for me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Flexline Backpack Test

I got the box of goodies from Flexline Hydration and already had Dallin test out his Mountain Bike model. There is a backpack model available to fit common hydration systems. I prefer Platypus, so I got that size.
I pulled it out of the box, twisted the quick release end off my current hose, and put it on the end of the Flexline hose. I tested the joint for leaks in the sink with hot water, then fit it into my Columbia Treadlite 16 Backpack, the one I plan on using for my speed attempt on Elbrus if the weather is good.
I wiggled the flexible hose into a good position and tried drinking and blowing through the hose. Blowing because in my usage I’ll be at altitude in cold weather, so I have to be able to purge the hose of liquid to prevent it from freezing. So far so good. Also, since I normally have a couple extra bottles of miscellaneous sports drinks to support my endurance (climbing 6000′ in just a matter of a few hours is pretty intense) I tested to make sure I could still drink with the tube in position.
I got on the treadmill at 27% and 2.5 mph and managed to drink pretty easily. I also got on the Stairmaster Step Mill and that was pretty good too. It’s tough to drink on it without falling off – there’s no place to stand and it’s easier to trip while looking up with a bottle. Unlike a treadmill where you can just step to the side rails for a few seconds. I got the brilliant idea that maybe I could use it while ice and snow climbing, but I’d have to experiment with putting the tube more to the side, since it’s normal on steeper terrain to be right up against the surface.
To test that I re-positioned the tube to the side a bit, then got on the Jacob’s Ladder and got up to about 65 ft per minute, then drank, and blew. It took me a few tries to get the position right, but it worked good.
In another workout then I ran on the treadmill at a fairly slow 5.0 mph pace – about what I’d do on a ten mile trail run. The tube bounced a little bit until I got the position dialed in – about 2 minutes overall of messing around, but after that it worked out fine. The pics below are a bit blurry because I took my pics on a timer and the focus was set on the treadmill rails, but you get the idea I’m sure.
I like it so far, and might have the chance to train on Mount Rainier in the ice and snow, or on a Colorado Fourteener in the next couple weeks before my Elbrus trip. I will also do a few trail runs to test this on. Especially for steep hiking with trekking poles, especially if you use a Nordic Grip, it’s a lot easier to drink from this than to pull out a bottle with the pole in tight to your palms.
I’ll keep you in the loop with more pics and video.
Flexline Backpack Test

PurifiCup Preparation Before Use

I received my PurifiCup Portable Water Filter and actually read the instructions. First step after unpacking is to wash the parts in soap and water and rinse thoroughly. While that’s going on, soak the filter cartridge in water.
After letting the parts drip dry on a paper towel, I reassembled it for use, and as per the instructions ran two containers of water through, presumably to flush any manufacturing dust etc. out of the filter. A quick note about the assembly for using it – you fill the “dirty” water top cup to the fill line, then line it up and stick it down over the top tube of the filter somewhat quickly and strongly and it runs a lot smoother and better.

I dumped the first two containers and then tasted the third. It was pretty good, clean tasting, a lot like distilled water. Here we have some minerals in the water that leave a white stain, and I could taste the absence immediately. I made the video below for this PurifiCup Review, showing one of the first cleaning runs. It took about 1:50 for the water to run through based on watching the video. I then showed packing it back into itself, which took about :20 – I’m sure with practice that could be brought down a bit.
I’ll be taking this PurifiCup to Elbrus, one of the Seven Summits to filter the water there, as I had contracted water-borne illness that stopped me from completing my climb the last time I was there in 2010.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Water Filter Comparison

Recently, a friend asked me to do a water purifier comparison between two that I’ve used off an on over the years. Those two are
The way they operate is like night and day. The Steripen is a battery powered wand and shines UV-C light into a bottle of water. UV-C is how a lot of medical instrument sterilizers work.
The Purificup on the other hand is a silver membrane cartridge filter that kills bacteria. Way too complicated for me to understand, so here it is from the Purificup Website:
The mechanism for the antibacterial effect of silver is the following; when the positively charged silver particle collides with negatively charged bacterial cell wall, it will instantly adhere to the cell wall and effectively disrupt the growth mechanism, causing bacterial lysis. Furthermore, silver can cause bacterial protein to denature, thus effect the metabolism of the pathogens. The pathogens are no longer able to respire, multiply and metabolize, and creating a difficult environment for pathogens to survive.

Water Purifier Comparison: Pros

First in the water filter comparison is the pros, or good points of each filter.
The Steripen is small, lightweight, and faster (90 seconds for a liter). Replacement batteries are smaller than replacement cartridges. No cleaning is needed. Some models use common AA batteries that are easy to find in most countries.
The Purificup is essentially hands-free. It removes odors, taste, silt and particles. The filter fits a variety of bottles or containers.
Water Purifier Comparison - Purificup Sediment
Check out the sediment in that Purificup!

Water Purifier Comparison: Cons

Next for the water purifier comparison is the cons, or bad points of each filter.
The Steripen shows random weird error messages on a flashing LED. Usually it can only be fixed by replacing the batteries. Sometime you have to push the On Switch ten or more times before it works. If you sit on the wand it will break. If you let the wand slip out of the water at all it will shut down and you have to start over. It won’t sterilize cloudy water. Some models require a screwdriver to replace the batteries. Some models require special expensive batteries that are hard to find in foreign countries. All models work much better on Lithium batteries. Airport Security Agents in several countries have pulled my Steripen out of my bag for inspection. Several then called their supervisors for permission to let me keep it. I’ve read reports of spotty performance at altitude in the cold. I’ve experienced this myself as well.
Purificup: Cartridges must be gotten from the website and a few limited retail locations. If you try to filter out too much silt or sediment the cartridge will clog up. The filter cartridge can freeze up if the compound inside is wet.

Water Purifier Comparison: Recommendations

In this water purifier comparison I am giving you some tips on how to best use each of these two.
I can only recommend the Steripen if you will mostly be using tap water near cities. Even then you would have to rely on Alkaline or Rechargeables. Neither will give satisfactory service. You could keep NiMH charged with a Goal Zero Guide 10 kit, but you would have to have two sets to rotate. The AA Steripen is heavier, and I know from personal experience that the battery cap has very tiny fingers that will break very easy. Then you’ll have to hold the batteries in with one hand while pushing the button with the other to turn it on. Sadly, I can’t recommend the Explorer at all. It uses the CR123 batteries that you will not find anywhere outside the first world. I’ve never gotten more than 20 liters out of a set of those batteries without it locking up with the random undecipherable error codes. I never had this issue with the AA pen. If you go to the support forums, you’ll see lots of others complaining.
Steripen Explorer. Small but expensive batteries don't last long
Steripen Explorer. Small but expensive batteries don’t last long
With the Purificup, I recommend that you get two filter cartridges right away. Label them “A” and “B”. If you’re going to be out for more than three days, swap out the cartridges. They seem to work better a little “dry” every few days. If it seems slow, be sure it’s vertical. I also prefer to use a threaded bottle like a Platypus though a Pepsi bottle works as well.
Water purifier Comparison purificup on a platypus
Purificup Water Purifier with a threaded bottle
Don’t screw it all the way on. The air seal will prevent the gravity feed of the water. Another thing to do if it seems slow is to shake it. The directions mention this, but no one reads the directions, right? I usually do the steps for “before first use” from the directions. Soak and flush it a couple times. The cartridge will fit in a snack ziplock bag. If I’m going to be out for a week and the water won’t be too bad I’ll take one cartridge. For Carstensz I used two filters. Even then I stressed them to the max with the dirty river water we had to drink.
To protect from freezing I put it in a neoprene water bottle slipcover. I discarded the “clean water container” from the kit. I put the rest into a neoprene bottle sleeve. This protects it from abuse as well as cold. At night just tuck it into a corner of your sleeping bag to keep it warm.
Purificup in Neoprene Bottle Sleeve
Purificup in Neoprene Bottle Sleeve
Water Purifier Comparison: Wrapping Up
And now to wrap up the water purifier comparison with a few choice comments.
In reality this water filter comparison shouldn’t be just between these two purification systems. To be totally fair I’d have to also put in iodine, chlorine, and the pump type filters. Be that as it may, between the two in this water purifier comparison, I have grown to love the Purificup, and have taken it on all my trips since last Summer. I’ve been able to purify as much water as I need. Since I started taking two cartridges, I haven’t had any glitches having to do with the filter itself.
On Carstensz (Read the Book) I had a small issue for a couple days. I had a clogged filter after a week of thick river water. I wasn’t able to get to my bag to get the second cartridge out due largely to a broken rib. For those two days I was stuck with chlorine, and that’s why I came up with the rotation suggestion above. Learn from my experience.
If you have any suggestions or comments about this brief water purifier comparison, please leave it below.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Purificup Water Filter Surprise Package

[originally published 05-16-2013]
Trekking to Carstensz Base Camp last month I managed to keep clean pure water with my Purificup Water Filter. The river water was full of silt and plant pieces. It was cloudy and I was really glad to have my water filter with. I've used it now on Elbrus, Aconcagua, Orizaba, and Carstensz. I've used my Purificup Water Filter in hotels, in tents, in huts, out in the open. Alongside rivers and creeks and pipes sticking out of the ground. On Aconcagua you scoop your water out of barrels that allow the mineral sediment to settle out to a thick sludge at the bottom.
Purificup Water Filter prepared for Carstensz
Getting the Purificup Water Filter ready for Carstensz on April 16
On the trek to Carstensz, the river water was so thick and cloudy, and I was drinking five to six liters a day of purified water. I managed to go through two filter cartridges, though I think I could have gotten a few more days out of the second cartridge in my Purificup Water Filter. I've discovered that even when clogged up, if you let it dry for a couple days then shake it, like in the instructions, you can safely get another few liters out of it.

Purificup Water Filter Surprise Package Contents

Purificup Water Filter Surprise Package
Purificup Water Filter Surprise Package
After my trip to Carstensz, recovering from my torn cartilage and intercostal muscles, I was talking to my good friends at Purificup and they wanted to congratulate me for a job well done, in spite of great physical pain and adversity and setbacks. One of the toughest climbs in the Seven Summits. Finished.
"I feel the weight of all my failures fall off my shoulders. My second in the Seven Summits. One of the most difficult, technically and logistically. I'm so glad I let myself get talked into doing this now, this year, this season." -- Carstensz Stone Age to Iron Age (publishing May 2013)
A few days later a box appeared on my porch. I opened it up, and was surprised to see a brand new Purificup Water Filter. Thanks guys. I will totally need this for my next big adventure. I've come to rely on it.
Purificup Water Filter being used while hiking
Purificup Water Filter making water on the trail

Purificup Water Purifier on Aconcagua

[originally published 12-19-2012]
I recently visited Aconcagua in Argentina, which was a perfect opportunity to test out the Purificup Water Purifier in a real-world environment. Aconcagua is the tallest mountain outside the Himalaya, at almost 23,000' in elevation. The water here comes from glacial melt. So is typically very hard on water filters.
Mules Crossing a Muddy River requires a Water Purifier
Mules crossing the Rio Horcones on the route to Aconcagua
As the glacier ice descends from the mountain it grinds the rocks into silt. These minerals in the water clog a water purifier with microscopic pores. Like the ceramic filters. On Aconcagua most trekkers and climbers have their gear carried by mules. Park regulations prevent humans from leaving urine or feces, but it's hard to control the mules. The mules cross the river many times on the way to camp.
human waste control and a water purifier helps keep drinking water safe
Don't leave urine or feces along the trail to Aconcagua base camp
I carried my own water on the trek to Confluencia. This is the mid-way camp to Aconcagua base camp. I had used my Purificup Water Purifier at the lodge in Penitentes Ski Area the day before the hike. The water at Confluencia comes from snow melting up a narrow slot in the canyons. It comes into camp in a spider web of tubing that ends in spigots, hoses, and barrels.
lack of hygiene in Confluencia Camp - you'll want a water purifier
Frozen water pipe at Confluencia on Aconcagua trail
When I got to my dome hut for the night I broke out the Purificup Water Purifier to make water for the rest of that day, that night, and the next day. About 5 liters total. I purified into my Platypus bottle screwed onto the bottom of the Purificup.
Purificup Water Purifier ready to make water
Purificup Water Purifier ready to go in the dome hut at Confluencia on Aconcagua
I noticed was a lot of white particles of minerals in the water purifier "dirty" chamber. The resulting purified water was clean and clear and pure though. It apparently did a good job on getting those out of the water. I imagine they originate at the snow melt source in a gravel pit.
white mineral flakes in the water purifier
Notice the white flakes of mineral in the Purificup chamber?
I made water pretty quick. Ten minutes for the first three liters. I packed up my Purificup water purifier into a neoprene sleeve I brought to insulate it. I had been warned by the good folks at Purificup that water at 32 degrees equals ice and you can't purify ice. The water system at Confluencia did freeze up overnight. It was cold.
use a water purifier to filter out mineral deposits like these
Mineral deposits on flood plain

Milky Glacier Water in a Water Purifier

The next day I left Confluencia to finish my trek to Aconcagua base camp. This section of trail is almost 12 miles. The last 4 miles is very difficult steep trekking. I crossed a section of flood plain along the river. Here was obvious sign of the mineral salt concentration in the water. White dusty edges where the water had flooded the trail. It looked similar to the alkali stains you see in the Western USA deserts. This is the kind of water I've heard is hard on your water purifier.
you need a water purifier to filter this glacial melt mineral water
Milky glacial melt water is tough on a water purifier
Later I had to walk along the edge of the river over a rock slide bank. The milky water in the river was very obvious. More evidence of the mythical water purifier clogging Aconcagua water.
community water system at base camp requires a water purifier
Aconcagua Plaza de Mulas Base Camp Water Tubing and Barrels
Plaza de Mulas, at 14,110' of elevation, is Aconcagua base camp. Here there is another community water system to tax your water purifier. Hygiene at base camp is even more lax than at Confluencia. The water runs through tubing from the edge of the melting snow and then forks into barrels. On cold nights the barrels freeze. The hut staff normally just beats the surface with hammers or rocks to break it up. They use cans, pans, or coffee pots to scoop the water out. I've seen climbers stick their hands in to splash water over their faces and drink. You must use some type of water purifier.
Purificup water purifier in use at altitude
Purificup at the hut in Aconcagua base camp 14,110'
I used my Purificup at base camp, at altitude. I noticed a similar reduction in flow pressure as at Elbrus. If you make sure to unscrew the bottle from the bottom just enough to let the pressure equalize, it should flow fine. I kept my Purificup in the neoprene sleeve next to my cot on the floor, with the rest of my clean and dirty water containers. This worked fine for the first three days.
Purificup water purifier in an insulated sleeve
My gear by the bed, including Purificup in blue neoprene bottle wrap
On the third night the temperature dropped drastically. All my water bottles froze. Even the 48 oz Platypus flexible water bottle froze. My Nalgene froze. Apparently my Purificup water purifier froze too. I had some water in a Nalgene that wasn't frozen, as I kept it in my sleeping bag overnight. Tip: put a Nalgene of very hot water between your feet. Heaven!
obviously a frozen water purifier will not work
Frozen Nalgene ice crystals
At this point I had already decided to descend for health reasons [more info]. If I were going to stay for longer, I would have gotten some hot water from the kitchen tent to soak the cartridge and thaw it. Next time I go on a cold climb I'll keep the Purificup water purifier in the sleeve inside my sleeping bag with me. The water barrels in camp were frozen to a depth between 8 and 12 inches. Very cold night. I've slept in Alaska at 10 below zero (F) with my water in insulated Nalgene bottles. They did not freeze even outside my sleeping bag. Amazing to me.
frozen water does not work in a water purifier
Frozen water barrels at Aconcagua base camp

Purificup Water Purifier Summary

When I got down to Penitentes I was able to thaw out my Purificup water purifier. The water flowed fast and smooth, as expected at only 9,000' of elevation. It also showed no signs of being clogged up by the mineral silt in the water. I had purified several gallons of water. Approximately 6 liters per day for 6 days. I am very happy with the performance I've experienced.
hiking home after using my water purifier for nearly ten gallons
Hiking out in 100km/hr winds and blowing ice crystals