View Full Version : sst pin ice core removal

02-24-2003, 11:19 AM
we got our first deep snow sst pin experience two weekends ago up in stowe, vt where it dropped to -15F overnight (shots at http://groups.msn.com/kifaru ).

first, those sst pins sure do set well! i got a heck of a workout digging them out as they were set in the compacted snow as though they were in solid concrete.

second, what is the best way to disloge the ice core within the sst pins when breaking camp? don't particularly want to carry all that ice but i also don't want to spend a short eternity trying to disloge it. thoughts?



02-24-2003, 04:38 PM

First let me say the photos were terrific. So were the "names" of the campers. It is obvious your whole family is now on board for winter camping--so long as it's done in that heated tipi! Life is grand! I applaud the skis and the sled--all of it. I've done exactly that many, many times. What a hoot to see you folks "out there". Throw in some snowshoe rabbit hunting sometime. It doesn't get any better than that, especially on skis. And rabbit stew for the whole family is loverly. Dogs too.

Even on the southern shores of lake Superior I've not encountered snow in the pins that wouldn't shake or tap out. Vermont has some WET snow, it seems. Unto the point it's ice! (At least on that particular outing. I'll bet snowcaving would have been very tough!) Anyway, I've no actual experience from which to advise you. But would a gun cleaning rod have done the job? I just thought of something! Hose those pins down inside and out with WD-40 before you head out again! And let me know if that slicks things up. OK? I used to do that with my sled, and it worked great.


Ken C
02-24-2003, 05:13 PM
Cool!! What size tipi are you using? I am thinking of getting a tipi, and have 2 small children. Do they have plenty of play room?

This is also a problem with ice screws. You might want to try the following. I do not know if they will work on the stakes, it should. For ice screws I have sprayed wd-40 or silicone in them prior to the trip. I like silicone better. It seems to last longer. For ice screws it only lasts 1 to 2 times but it helps. The next option is to warm them in you jacket for just a little bit to get the ice soft enough to push out. Good luck.

Ken C.

Bruce in Spokane
02-24-2003, 06:40 PM
Oliver and Patrick -

The sst pins can be kept clog free by simply closing up the tube on the end you stick into the ground. With an anvil (or a chunk of old railroad tie) and a hammer (2-4#) you can flatten the end, closing it up tight - no more clogging. Wish I knew how to send a picture of one, but you get the idea. Cheers. Bruce.

Nevada Dan
02-24-2003, 09:01 PM

Those are great pictures! I enjoyed looking at them. What an experience for Wook (and Megan). It certainly brought back some old, pleasant memories for me.

Thanks for sharing, Dan

02-24-2003, 10:21 PM
How about heat? I have spent plenty of time cleaning out well packed gravel, mud and rock from the SST's with a clothes hanger. The crud sure adds a lot of weight till you get it out. I had to use a pipe cutter to cut of the crimped and badly bent ends. Now they are all different lengths. My solution was to call Kifaru and buy more! I can't live without them! Patrick, how about selling a set of pointy tips that we can retrofit these things with. Nothing to extravegant, perhaps zirconium tipped so I can pound them through rocks!

02-25-2003, 06:37 AM
thanks for all the terrific suggestions!

the wd-40 sounds as though it would definitely help although i think the thought of crimping the business end of the sst pin (as suggested by Bruce) might be the best thought (or would it sufficiently weaken the pin and lead to bending? perhaps a solid tip (similar to an old fashion pointed ski pole tip) as Joe M suggests might be best?

as to the tipi and the little ones, we’ve the 8-man ultralight with the large stove and it is just fantastic. not having the floor is perfect (particularly with our dog teaker) and significantly reduces the trials and tribulations of having everyone take their boots off and not get snow ‘n such inside the hermetically sealed mountaineering tent (our old and now increasingly dusty moss olympic). i think the size is great with lots of play room. also enough room for the kids to be rough ‘n tumble without too much concern about quick evacs to the nearest burn center when they inevitably fall into the stove (of course, dad is the one who burned himself when awaking in the middle of the -15F night he blurrily stared at the stove and thinking it had gone cold very smartly put his hand on it to check; wasn’t cold <g>). another great feature is the lack of things to trip over and break (ie: tent poles and stake out lines). the shape of the tipi makes it very difficult for the kids to hurt it (plus the material is very tough). i also really like the whole concept of being more in touch (literally) with nature and having the ground right there ‘ll automatically teach the kids that it’s all okay and normal. when folks have that gut reaction of incredulity to the concept of no floor in the tipi i just ask them if they enjoy picnics on a blanket. seems to turn them ‘round right quick.

all that said, it’s a friggin’ tipi! how cool is that?


02-25-2003, 07:35 AM
Oliver, et al--

As you know by now there is no better anchor than the SST pins for non-"normal" pitching surfaces. They are the lightest (and least expensive coincidentally) and most tenacious devices around. We tried flattening the ends for use in tundra, where you can get muck in the tube, but then the ends were subject to bending if you hit the odd rock. Same thing in rocky sand. The "best" configuration turned out to be leaving them open.

A pointy end cap, eh? Might work. I wonder if the thing would wind up weighing as much, permanently, as the occassional "core" of mud or ice? And, what would it do to the cost? While less costly than the alternatives SST pins are expensive for us to build, as those of you who own them probably realize. There's a lot of hand work in them. We frankly build them to make our tipis year-round bullet-proof and not for profit. Gotta at least break even though!

So, Joe, what in hell is zirconium? We'll look around for a removable, retro pointy thingy. But it won't be 'til we return from the Elk Convention. We start heading there in about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, if y'all discover a candidate please pass it on!!


02-25-2003, 08:54 AM
What great pictures!! It really gives a good indication on just how big the 8 man tipi really is. Sorry I don't have any suggestions on pins but I had to comment on your tent and pictures.

02-25-2003, 10:19 AM
zirconium: a type of rock we hunters buy our wives rather than real diamonds, so that we have more money for more important things. If you really are thinking of the pointy end thing, you might want to consider a target arrow tip with a cheap adaptor piece. I really meant the comment as a joke, but with your "no problems, only solutions" attitude, I guess I really ended up making you think and possibly work. Sorry! I personally don't mind thinking about the SST's as being disposable. They are cheap and they save my comfort in the bush from being disposable.