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[pct-l] howdy!

hey everybody!
just subscribed to this list yesterday and wanted to introduce myself.
my name's jeremy loomis-norris and im planning a trhuhike next summer. i live
in austin tx and will be going to school in nacogdoches tx while i plan my
hike. i usually use the handle "naturekid" on BPing forums so if you've seen
me, hi!
i've got a few questions:
a) what do i need to look for in an ice axe? i will be traveling on a PCT
handbook itinerary, and i have *no* prior experience traversing snow,
whatsoever ( i grew up here in texas ). obviously, i'm not in a good locale to
find self-arrest lessons. so would it be possible to learn from a book and
then practice on some of the more docile snowpacks early in the trip? are
there any lessons being given in late may somewhere along the trail that i
could attend before hitting the main snowpack? does anyone know of any
instructors here in texas (though i highly doubt it)?
b) i saw some earlier discussion on using a sierra stove. why should i not use
it (to those who advised against it)? seems like it would actually be safer,
as there is unlimited fuel along the trail and carrying white gas or butane
would mean that keeping the fuel from leaking would be a concern? plus, it
would seem a lot more economical not having to buy more and more fuel.
wow. i thought i had more questions when i started writing this, but thats
about all i can think of for now. thanks for any responses and again, howdy!
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