Cooking at high altitude?

Discussion in 'Kitchen' started by Daymoth, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    Considering some time in the Andes but we have never been above 4000m.

    Any stove considerations I need to be aware off?

    What other than couscous and mash could cook in a reasonable time between 4500m and 5000m?
    We usually do pasta with cheese but that might never cook.

    Ta!
  2. benp1

    benp1 Trail Blazer

    Why would pasta not cook? Are you worried about boiling point of water or ability to get the stove going ok?
  3. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    You can still cook pasta at 5000m, boiling point of water is over 80C so it will just take longer, say 14 - 15min for normal 10 min pasta.
    One thing to be aware of is that evaporation rate is higher than at sea level so best to increase the water at the beginning or keep a close eye; not so much of an issue if you use a cosy but then you need to let the pasta sit for even longer.
  4. OwenM

    OwenM Ultralighter

    What stove are you going to be using?
  5. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    Wont it take like forever?
  6. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    Cant remember the model but its similar to the MSR whisperlite.
    What do I want in a stove for those altitudes?
  7. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    Thats why I rather take stuff that requires minimum cooking, thats 50% more fuel and time.

    Great point about evaporation thanks!
  8. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    You might find the MSR whisperlite runs a bit rich and sooty above 3500m. So far as I know, MSR don't supply high altitude jets for the stove.
  9. kiels

    kiels Hiker

    I prefer a gas stove above 4000m in the Andes. The only real difficulty with them may be obtaining cannisters. A whisperlite will do a fantastic job but you will be navigating through all the different versions of the different names for different fuels - white gas/coleman fuel might be hard to source. If you really are going to the back of beyond then the whisperlite is probably best. I've seen them sold in shops over there and I've seen people using them in the mountains. Forget about meths at that height - it can be very slow. Which counrty are you headed to? In terms of pasta, you can bring it to the boil and then put it in a caddy of some sort - it will cook just fine. You will be surprised at the crappy stoves you will see locals cooking on.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  10. lentenrose

    lentenrose Trail Blazer

    never been up high so don t know if this will help-------basis for all my meals is de cecco tagllierini----cooks in 3 minutes----i break it up----put in cold water---bring to the boil--- turn off and cover------its ready to eat when it cools down------works in scottish winter
    edh and Daymoth like this.
  11. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    My Whisperlite runs fine on unleaded petrol. Give it a good shake to clear the jet before it cools and it's not a problem.
  12. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    What is a high altitude jet?
  13. Daymoth

    Daymoth Section Hiker

    What do you mean with gas stove?
    Ive seen shops online in Peru selling the classic isobutane cannisters, you think those should be fine then?
  14. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    It's a smaller hole in the screw-in component the fuel passes through to mix with the (thinner) high altitude air before it's ignited at the burner head. If you want to know what sort of ratio of reduction in size you'd need for 4000m, study this page which deals with motorcycle carburettor jet sizes for different altitudes and temperatures.

    https://jetsrus.com/FAQs/FAQ_rejet_elevation_and_temperature.htm
    tom and Daymoth like this.
  15. OwenM

    OwenM Ultralighter

    Sorry meant to come back last night but was distracted. You probably won't find Colman fuel in Peru, ordinary petrol is available near to the roads. Kerosene is readily available in most villages, it's what the locals use for lighting. The quality of both petrol and kerosene is very variable. Killed off two whisperlites in quick succession. You can get gas if you ask around, club andino alpina was very helpful. A lot of it is second hand so weigh it before buying.

    After killing the whisperlites we brought a "Bat" stove, local copy of a two pint Primus. No good for backpacking but great for Basecamp use. At the end of our trip we traded it and some other stuff for Lama's to carry out the climbing kit. One guy went with the lamas the long way back while three of us backpacked back. We used a coke can stove which we ran on the local moonshine.

    Can't say I ever really noticed the difference in boiling temperature. Food like pasta cooked just the same as anywhere else.
    Daymoth and Balagan like this.
  16. Nick

    Nick Backpacker

    We used a Soto Amicus canister top stove in both Huayhuash and Ausangate using canisters bought in Huaraz. No problems cooking pasta, rice etc. I think the butane/propane percentages are slightly different as worked really well despite some very cold weather.
    Daymoth likes this.
  17. Franky

    Franky Summit Camper

    Been using the Speedster stove last few years at altitude
    Warm up the stove in palm of your hand if need or drop a piece of lighted paper on the stove
    In Chile and Arg can buy Solvent de Quemar which lights easier than meths
    Buy in paint dept Ferreterias
    Peru cheap meths equivalent in Huaraz
    Otherwise up to just below 5,000 mts a warmed gas canister with a remote (Kovea Spider) worked fine
    My Whisperlite gathering dust at home
  18. Bob-W

    Bob-W Trail Blazer

    I've used gas stoves and an MSR GK above 4000m. Both have their pros and cons.

    Gas stoves are convenient just as they are at lower elevations but Butane/Propane mix is essential, Butane only canisters are usable but not efficient and if it's really cold can be hard to get going.

    The MSR is designed for such conditions but not as convenient when moving around, better as a "base camp" stove really. You need to work out which of the jets to use to give you the best burn for the fuel you are using. On that note, the GK (and X-GK) will run on just about any liquid fuel that vapourises - I used mine with "dry cleaning fluid" at 4200m on Mt Kenya to deep fry chips! From memory, this was thirty years ago, I think we were told that it was the cleanest combustible fluid available in Kenya, the local petrol not being considered reliable, can't remember which jet I used.
    Rog Tallbloke likes this.

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