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Putting the PipeDream 800 to the test
By Kenny Stocker | 07, May, 2010
Flights are now booked for my ‘Pipe Dream’ trip to Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor. At the end of July 3 of us will be heading by Train, Plane, Bus, Taxi, 4WD, Yak and Foot to the upper Waghjir Valley to climb something few westerners have ever seen and I’ll be taking my PipeDream 800 with me
We have been fortunate in securing generous grants from both The Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the Mount Everest Foundation which will take the sting out of the costs of the expedition and at the moment I’m wading through Visa and Permit Applications for Tajikistan and Afghanistan. I work year round as a Mountaineering Instructor- this year gave us a cracking winter and I put in 97 days with axes and crampons on. Work and play blurred as days seemed to consist of bagging classics that often don’t come into nick more than once every ten years and putting up new ice routes- even one straight off of the beach on the west coast of Scotland! Back in March I was able to put the sleeping bag to the test. Snowholing can be a pretty miserable experience with the wrong equipment and I was working on a Winter Mountain Leader Training Course for Glenmore Lodge one week and a similar program for Edinburgh University the next. On both trips we were chipping out our holes rather than digging them due to icey conditions and after 4 hours hacking at the snowpack I was really keen to get comfortable. The PipeDream was compressed into a tiny space in the foot of my rucksack and weight wise had helped keep me in the top three out of 14 people when comparing how light our loads were. When I released it from its stuff sack it sprang up lofting nicely- it even looked warm! I spent great nights in the bag both weeks even getting up to ditch my thermal top on the first trip. I’m quite broad on the shoulders and don’t have a huge amount of spare room in the bag but that’s fine- when I roll over, the bag rolls with me. All in all the PipeDream turned out to be the right bag for the job... not long until I’ll be putting it through its paces in Afghanistan now! Alan Halewood won a PipeDream 800 sleeping bag in our Sweet Dreams competition last year. Alan is a fully qualified Mountaineering Instructor and runs Climb When You're Ready.