Bic Lighter

BicHear me now, believe me later: do not spend your ducats on some fancy-schmancy "stormproof" lighter for high-altitude mountaineering. They will have their way with you and leave you with nothing. No fire. No food. No love.

On Denali my partner had his Brunton stormproof lighter and I had some cheap imitation; both failed completely by 14,000 feet. We had brought about six back-ups, plastic push-button gas-station types, but they failed as well.

Luckily there was an all-woman expedition camped next to us and my partner, who is only marginally better looking and has much looser morals, went over and prostituted himself for a 99-cent purple Bic lighter with the mechanical wheel. This low-tech wonder got us to high camp. As Lenin said, quantity has a quality all its own. He was talking about tanks, but it also applies to lighters.

Bic lighters




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2 responses to “Bic Lighter”

  1. Nice thing about the bic lighter shown is you can have her give you a dance (lap dance?) when the wind is howling and its butt cold.
    But try to find the bic lighter which you can see the fluid levels in. Why carry something out when its going to fail on you? Isn’t that purpose of this blog?

  2. Hi Bob; to answer your question about why we recommend a piece of gear that’s prone to failure, well, it’s a big mountain thing. There is no good way to reliably start a fire at altitude. Believe it or not carrying half a dozen disposable lighters close to your skin is a common strategy. The problem is the fuel, which tends to separate into its components at altitude, so a more expensive lighter is no better.

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