Standard Equipment List for Mountaineering

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Camping Gear

Packs

Climbing Gear
Climbing gear is only needed for technical climbs or climbs on glaciers where you'll need to clip into ropes. For beginner mountaineers, you really shouldn't need anything on this list except for the trekking poles. But after a couple of mountains, you will want to hit some bigger more technical mountains, and at that point will definately need all of these items.

Outerwear

Footwear

Clothing

Accessories

Optional Field Gear

Food

Camping Gear

Western Mountaineering Badger SDL : 15 deg Long

This bag was the Backpacker recommended bag at the time I did my first trip. It's a down bag with a dry loft shell to keep it somewhat dry.

Illiniza Notes: This bag is great for mountaineering. Paired with clothing and a hat, you can be comfy at 0 and maybe even a little under.

Mt Rainier Notes: The first time I was on a glacier, and I was warm and cozy pretty much all night. The times I did get cooler were becuase I took off my socks!

North Face VE 25 : Expedition 4 Season Tent

The VE 25 is a 3 man expedition level tent that weighs about 12 pounds. It has two vestibules and can be bought with a tarp footprint that matches it's dimensions. It's one of the most used tents in the climbing and alpine market. I've heard only good things about it. This is the classic mountaineering tent. It has been around for about 25 years and will probably be around another 25.

Iliniza Notes: This tent at one point had 4 people in it...semi comfortably!

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad

Big dudes need cushion for sleepy time. After my Thermarest Neo Air got a slow leak at the worst possible moment, on a big expedition to Orizaba, I decided to try something else.

Mount Marcy Notes: This pad certainly is a little more hefty than my Neo Air, and definately took some heffing and puffing to inflate it. Once the pad was inflated, I really liked it. It also took some time and energy to deflate it is well, but the insulation was well worth it. To be fair, I used it in conjunction with a foam core sleeping pad. But it definately did the trick.

Climbing Gear

Black Diamond Alpine Bod Harness

the A-Bod is simple, minimal, perfected and classic.It has quick-release leg loops, 4 gear loops and the entire harness is constructed from quick-dry nylon webbing to avoid ice buildup on the glacier.

Good for: Alpine mountaineering where you don't need the padding to hang around all day long and you can get wet and wouldn't want that water to soak into the padding.

Not for: Sport climbing where you will be hanging on the rope all day long.

Petzl Meteor : Lightweight helmet

I had the Ecrin, but it felt a little heavy for me, it was not well vintilated, and quite honestly extreemly ugly. The Meteor fixes all of these problems.

Good for: Climbers who climb in hot weather most of the time and don't want to wear a big Rudolph Helmet.

Not for: Cold or windy weather conditions.

El Potrero Notes: You NEED a helmet here. There is so much rock fall here, you must wear a lid. Tabitha was quite envious of mine. I double checked when it was time to leave to make sure she didn't lift it!

Black Diamond Trail Compact Trekking Poles

They say they're some of the best poles on the market. Cor-tec handles, anti shock tips and light as a pair of feathers, they seemed good enough for me. If I had one complaint it would be that they could fold in just a little bit smaller. But other than that, they perform and that's all you can ask.

Why I bought them: If you have bad knees like I do, or you are big boy like I am, you will definately want to bring along your sticks. There are some very steep descents on some of the trails and I can't imagine doing it without at least something in at least one hand. If you don't feel like lugging them on the trip, or they get broken in baggage, just pick up a good stick when you start on the hike. But my suggestion is these.

Pros: FlickLock adjusting is GREAT. I love it so much better than the twist style adjustments. Braek down to a very short size for easiy transport in your baggage. Still lightweigh even with the beefy grips.

Cons: Haven't really had any complaints yet. Although the FlickLock adjutments slook like they may need adjustment/tightening at some point and for that you need a tool. Inspect them prior to your trip if you don't carry a tool with you at all times.

Mt Rainier Notes: Love these poles. The FlickLock adjustments are so nice. I will NEVER go back to twist lock adjustment poles.

Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe

The Raven Pro is a general ice axe for general alpine use. It's a little expensive but rediculously light.

Best For: General Mountaineering. This is typically the axe you will see being rented by good gear shops such as EMS and REI.

Not For: Ice climbing.

Mt Washington Notes: Last year I used a much heavier ice axe, the Arc Light. But this year I picked up the Raven Pro, which is about as ligth as a toothbrush. I was very happy. I bought it really long (held by my side it misses the floor by about an inch) for the long slogs up glaciers.

Mt Rainier Notes: This Ice axe is perfet. I absolutley love it.

Black Diamond Sabertooth Pro with ABS Ice Crampons

BD's 16 point Sabertooth Ice crampons are equipped for everything from glacier walking to climbing steep couloirs and alpine ice. They are arced enough to walk for long periods of time without getting cramped up.

Mt Washington 2009 Notes: This was my second time using crampons. These fit perfectly over my boots, but I had a little bit of trouble getting them on with the real deap snow and no place to sit.

Mt Rainier Notes: These crampons are really nice. The only little pet peev I have is that the metal front peice slides to the side so you have to be really careful to set it properly when you frist put on the crampons.

Smith Airflow Goggles

I needed a cheap pair of clear goggles for not only mountaineering as well as for night boarding.

Mount Washington Notes: The first time I climbed Mt Washington, I made the mistake of putting the goggles on the top of my head. They completely iced up and I had to take them off and squint the whole way up. The second time, I was smart enought not to put the things on top of my head. But at a certain point, I just had to go sans goggles because they were still icing up on the outside. I just squinted and looked away from the wind. Like the old time mountaineers! I'm starting to think my cro magnon brow is better than goggles. :-)

Mount Marcy Notes: Bring at least 1 pair of goggles. When we summitted, the conditions were Mt. Washington like.

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Outerwear

North Face Flash Jacket

This was one of the major items that I had still not purchased for climbing but was looking forward to adding to my gear pile because of its utility. Besides being extremely warm, it is extremely lightweight and very compact and packable.

Canadian Rockies: I will never do a hiking trip without a down jacket again. Best thing I took with me.

Grand Canyon Notes: The beauty of this jacket is its flexiblity. It stowes into a little pocket, is extremely lightweight, and can be used for many things, from a jacket to a pillow. I pretty much take this on every trip or expedition.

El Potrero Notes: This is the perfect item to bring to potrero. It is extremely lightweight. It is extremely warm. And it is extremely versatile, given that you can use it as a coat, sweater, or pillow! It doens get windy and cold depending on what time of year you are going.

Arc'Tyrex Theta SV Shell Jacket

This hardshell has a Stow Hood and drop back hem for increased protection in bleak environments. The jacket is made from Goretex material and has five pockets, water tight zippers, and articulated patterning for mobility.

Rainier Notes: I absolutel LOVE the stow hood. I like self contained items and this is the epoitome of that functionality. This will be my new go to jacket.

 

Mountain Hardwear Navigation Pant

A mid-weight, soft shell hiking pant with four-way stretch and articulated knees. Excellent abrasion resistance, breathability, and low profile comfort.

Pros: Soft shell material allows me to only were one pair of pants and no outter shell.

Cons: The only con I have for these pants is that they don't have full zips. I like the ability to completely come out of my pants if needed.

Mt Adams Notes: I used these pants on the summit hike up Mt Adams and they were supperb. They were comfortable and just warm enough. These will now be my go to pants for most climbs.

 

The North Face Class V Hat

A simple water repellant hat.

This is the hat I use when its raining to keep the hood of my shell from falling over my eyes.

North Face Ascent Beanie

Nice little fleece hat to cover my newly shaved head! I like it because there's more fleece on the ears thatn the top which is exactly how I like it. My ears are sensitive like a little girls!! lol

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought one fleece hat and only used it in camp at night and in the morning. But I was glad I brought it. it's cold enough in camp during the spring that you will definately need one.

Patagonia Stretch Balaclava

This stretch balaclava has a baggy mouth area so that you can pull it ove your face or down over your chin. It's made of a stretchy synthetic material so your sweat, spit and snot don't need to turn into and ice block after 5 hours on trail.

Iliniza Notes: I didn't end up using this thing too much. But I was happy I at least had it with me just in case. It wasn't windy or cold enough to warrant using it so I just pulled my jacket over my lip and sucked it up!

Keystone Notes: This stretch balaclava works ok for snowboarding. I bought it originally for mountaineering, for which it works wonders. For boarding however, it's not as usefull because the hole for the face tends to get in the ways of the gogles and interfere with the seal. I prefer to just use a thin skull cap under my helmet and a long neck gaiter or mask that just covers my nose, mouth and neck. That's always worked for me in the past and I'll continue to use that method until i find something signiifcantly better.

Mt Adams Notes: I brought this along purely as a backup and didn't have to pull it out.

EMS Glove Liners
A nice set of liners are a great thing to have. light enough to wear during the cool night but just engouh to keep your fingers warm.

 

Black Diamond Soloist Gloves

The Soloist has a removable liner, goat skin palm and is designed for harsh alpine environments where warmth and dexterity are crucial.

I bought these gloves because I hated my Neve gloves. hopefully these are better.

Marmot Expedition Mitts

On my Ecuador climb I used gloves (Black Diamond Neve's) and absolutley hated them. My fingers were cold the entire time and I realized theres really not that much of a need for your fingers. Mittens will do. It's just that I have always hated those things! I feel like a little kid! UGGG. But I think these things will be a lot warmer so we will see.

Oh my god. I absolutely loved these things. They were so warm on the summit day climb it was rediculous. And they were nice pillows every other day!

Mt Washington Notes: These are really nice to take on a big cold mountain like Washington because they are warm, light and packable. Oh my. They were lovely on the climb. My fingers only got cold when they weren't in the mitts!

Mt Adams Notes: I brought these along purely as backups. I didn't even need them at all.

Footwear

Saloman XA Pro 3D XCR

This is the third pair of Salomon Trail Runners I've bought and they sure won't be the last. The best part is the quick lace feature that keeps them tied tight and eliminates the need to tie your laces!

I absolutely love these things. I did all of my hikes in these. They are vented so your feet stay cool. They did well on the wet day (even better than some in boots).

Asolo Power Matic 200 GV GTX Hiking Boots

Asolo makes really good boots. These are extremely comfortable and they are the proper color...NOT BROWN!

La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX

This is considered the best leather mountaineering boot on the market. I have a few guys who swear by them.

I will never wear another mountaineering boot again. Period. End of story.

Mt Washington Notes: Used thes in 2009 as replacements for 2008 HEAVY Scarpa Vega's. They need a super gaiter for really cold conditions like Mt Washington. They were pretty good. My feet did get a little cold, but I think it was because they are just a little too tight.

Mt Adams Notes: These boots are so good. I love them. The biggest mistake I made on this trip was not putting them on on the final day coming down the last part of the glacier.

Orizaba Notes: Get boots at least one half size bigger to allow for descents to prevent jamming your toes. the bruise on my big toenail is still there 4 months later.

Crocs

Crocs are ugly, but they are the best thing ever thought of for anybody who needs easy to slip on footwear that doesn't get funky when wet. I love my crocs and I don't care how ugly they are.

The first time I saw a pair of Crocs was on the Deerfield river with the KCCNY. This dude was broncoing in a hole, and got out to portage over some rocks to do it again. He kept doing it over and over, and every time he would slide out of the yak, pull the crocs out of the hull, put them on, and pick up the yak. His crocks were and ugly orange, and all i could think was, they must be pretty functional, because they sure are ugly. And he confirmed. And from then on, I decided I needed a pair.

Madawaska Notes: I didn't own a pair of crocs when I did this trip. But I wished I did!

Canadian Rockies Notes: This trip I bought them and never will take a long trip without them again.

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought these as my camp shoes since they are light weight, and I want to get out of my shoes in camp. Well worth their weight. I need to air out my dogs at night and these help me do that.

El Potrero Notes: Do NOT leave home without them. The showers are clean enough, but I would not venture into that bathroom without my shower shoes!

Clothing

Underarmor Boxer Brief

These are the best underwear I have ever used. Because i have a problem with my legs rubbing to together as i walk, which causes my pant to ride up on me, I decided to change to biker shorts (slick material) rather than a cloth material to see if that would alleviate my problem. They worked better than I ever would have expected. I will never go back to cloth boxer briefs.

Under Armour Heat Gear Ss Tee

Under Armour's heat gear is "engineered with a microfiber blend featuring the signature moisture transport system. It is tight fitting, yet not restrictive in any way. There are no tags, so it's like there's nothing there - It becomes a part of you and it most definitely enhances your performance. I would not even think about competing without it.

For mountaineering, I wear a heat gear under shirt to wick away the sweat. Then on top, I wear a synthetic thicker shirt to absorb and quick dry. This worked really well this time. I don't think I'll go back to a thicker undershirt anymore. This combination works well in my humble opinion.

Under Armour Cold Gear 2.0 Leggings

The Cold Gear system is just like the Moisture Transport system except this takes the moisture from your body and spreads the heat to all parts of your upper body using an intricate pattern of weaving. It helps you to keep from getting too cold or too hot, leveling out your body temperature.

Mount Washington Notes: These worked well for me as well. I just wore 2 pair and was fine the whole trip up and down the mountain.

EMS Superwick T

This is a lightweight polyester shirt that is highly breathable and quick drying. It wicks moisture away from the body and comes in a fe different colors. I actually picked up a long sleeve and a short sleeve. They were great as a first layer in the jungle.

Iliniza Notes: Most of the climbs will have you at some point in your t-shirt. Let it be a comfortable one.

Canadian Rockies Notes: Most of the climbs will have you at some point in your t shirt. Let it be a comfortable one.

Grand Canyon Notes: It gets hot down there in the canyon, so bring a lightweight t shirt.

Patagonia Stretch Zip Long T

I love this shirt. It has thumb holes to keep your sleeves from riding up (or keep your wrists warm), it's comfortable and it has the half zip neck which I love because you can use it like a turtleneck or you can open up to breathe. Designed to be versatile enough to use as a high-mobility base layer for winter sports or a midweight outer layer in warmer climates.

Canadian Rockies: This was my staple shirt for the entire trip. I don't go anywhere without it.

Grand Canyon Notes: I will only bring one long sleeve shirt. And since I did, this was the only one I brought. My staple shirt on all my trips. So much so, that everybody says I need to buy some new shirts!

North Face Momentum Shirt

I needed a microfleece and this one was cheap and felt softer than a baby's a$$. Plus I really wanted a fleece that was a pullover rather than a full zip for a mid layer so that I could tuck it in.

This synthetic fabric wicks moisture away from the skin, dries quickly, and resists wrinkling, tearing, and unraveling—a must for the adventure traveler. A lightweight, high performance microfiber fleece with a luxurious finish, TKA microfleece provides lightweight warmth next to the skin or in a layering system. This 100% polyester fabric is engineered to be both durable and resistant to pilling. It offers warmth when wet, launders well and packs easily.

This is now one of my more favorite shirts. First, the material is breathable. Second, the shirt is warm. Third, the shirt is quick drying. And last, the half zip is highly functional.

5 Boro Bike Tour Notes: This is usually all you'll need on the five boro because it's usually spring like conditions. I like this one because it looks good no matter what you do to it.

Snowboarding Notes: This is my number 1 favorite Shirt for boarding. I now longer go on a snowboarding trip without it. It's warm, but has a half sip for hot days in the sun. It doesn't need ironing and doesn't get wrinkled so you can go right from the slopes to the bar and be good to go. It has thumb holes that make it easy to layer and not get you're sleeves all bunched up. Perfect shirt.

Smartwool Mountaineering Socks

Smartwool's Expedition Trekking line was the winner of Backpacker Magazine's Great Sock Test. They expertly control temperature and moisture, cushion your digits and are extremely durable. Wicks and evaporates moisture to keep feet and shoes dry. Keep your feet cool in the summer, warm in the winter and not too bad for odor prevention either. I can't see myself ever buying another brand of sock

Canadian Rockies Notes: Once again, my favorites. Others say that the socks tend to slip or move on their feet, but I haven't had that problem (partly because I almost always wear a liner). No matter what brand you bring with you, make sure you have wool socks for the hike.

Wigwam Coolmax Liners

I have a tendency to get blisters but with one of these liners, it's not a factor. They move the moisture away from your feet very well and provide the extra softness beneath those wool socks.

Accessories

Wet Ones Travel

It really doesn't matter which moleskin you choose. Personally, I like the thin moleskin, especially since I start applying it as soon as i feel even a hotsot. I never wait until i develop a blister so i rarely ever develop one. But i use moleskin almost every day of a hiking trip and remove it at night to air out the hot spot.

Grand Canyon Notes: Since water will be so sparse on this trip, I'll bring a pack of these for my outback shower!

El Potrero Notes: Anytime you are in Mexico, bring wet ones. They rarely have toilet paper in any of the bathrooms, so having these hand is nice.

Packtowel Camp Towel

Bottom line, this is not ever an optional item. I have to have at least one on my trips. It's really water absorbant but rings out like a shammy and packs away dry right after you've used it on your whole body!

El Potrero Notes: Bring a camp towl because they don't have them readily available at the Posada.

Grand Canyon Notes: I'll bring my small towel just so I can wash my face, or if I want to go down to the river.

Nalgene Water Bottle

These bottles are indestructible and supposedly, they don’t promote bacteria growth or hold odor. In every picture I see of someone camping or on a mountain, I see them holding a Nalgene bottle. I’m not even sure they have any competition they’re so well entrenched. And what makes them even better is most water filtration systems are built specifically to fit Nalgene bottles!

I always wrap some clear and some gray duct tape around my bottles. First, it helps to tell whos they are and it also is an easy way to keep duct tape which is the most important item you can take on a mountain! It fixes everything from blisters to leaky tents. I always bring 3 liter bottles for summit day. I also sometimes bring an extra to pee in if im too lazy to get out of the tent! just be careful. Aim smart.

Petzl Tikka

Since I bought the Petzl Tikka to replace my Black Diamond Gemini head lamp, I have never looked back. The Tikka is the perfect size and wieght, and it has all the functionality you really need in a head lamp.

While there is no spotlight on it, I have found that I rarely use the spotlight, so this is perfect for my needs. And when you are trying to limit the weight in your backpack, every ounce counts. I actually have 3 of these to give to my non backpacking friends when we go out together.

Why I bought it: I had the Black Diamond Gemini before this, which was great, but big and bulky and just overkill. After actually using these things, you only need a small lamp with a few lighting settings.

Madawaska Notes: You don't really need this if you are staying in the bunk house. But if you are camping, you know the drill!

Grand Canyon Notes: You have to have a head lamp on any trips in the backcountry. And since we were in a primitive area, I brought an extra as a back up. And a good thing too, because Drill Sgt left his in the car at the trailhead!

Julbo Bivouak

I needed a second pair of glacier glasses because I gave my other back up pair to a guide/porter in Africa.

first need water filter

I went out and bought this filter because I was so impressed with it on my Ecuador trip. I had the MSR Waterworks II, which was the same micron size and filtered basically the same parasites, but the Waterworks was painfully slow. the flow rate on the first need was so much faster (it seemed to be at least 4 times as fast) that I just put my MSR in the bottom of my pack and borrowed the first need from someone else every time it was time to pump. Its a little heavier, but I think well worth it when you have to pump 12 liters of water ona 15 minute break in the trek.

Canadian Rockies Notes: At least one person in your group should definately bring a wateer filter if you are staying overnight at any of the huts. While at Stanley Mitchell, my First Need got a first rate workout, as it was the filter of choice for our entire group.

Grand Canyon Notes: We needed a filter for this trip because all of the water is from springs, and most had tadpoles in it, so there was definately a chance for parasites. I was glad to have it.

eVent Compression Dry sacks

After having my sleeping bag get wet on Mt Marcy, I decided I need to get a dry bag.

Mount Olympus Notes: In a wet area, you need to keep your clothes and sleeping bag dry, and these are awesome for this.

Optional Field Gear

Canon Powershot SD 630

Film used to be superior to digital when it comes to pictures. Recently, digital has caught up and in some cases even possibly surpassed film in terms of quality.

Why I bought it: I chose this camera for a couple of reasons. First, it is a 10 megapixel camera. Second, it shoots in RAW format so I have ultimate flexibility in manipulating the photos in Lightroom, Photoshop or any other photo software. Third, the camera is very light so I can carry it in my chest pocket on the top of a glacier.

The only drawback to this camera is that it doesn't have a hot shoe to connect a flash. However, since i bought this for small size to carry in a pocket, that's not really a requirement.

Suunto Vector Altimeter Watch

My new toy. Still don't completely know how to work it so i will review it once I finish studying.

Food

Larabar Fruit Bars

Fruit bars are my favorite food. But these are fruit bars to the next level. They are gluten free, soy free, vegan, etc, etc. I don't go anywhere without them.

Pure Protein Bars Chocolate Deluxe

This is the best tasting protein bar on the market in my opinion. I always bring protien bars on my trips because it's very difficult to keep your protein levels up on trips. Most camping geared dehydrated foods are really low in protein and high in carbs, so i always bring some protein bars to supplement my dehydrated meals.

Gatorade Packs

Gatorade is one of the best tasting electrolyte replacement drinks. I't probably not necessary when mountaineering because you are not sweating, but it can't hurt. But if you're out there in the heat, you need to replace those electrolytes.You can get them in 1 quart packages which are perfect for your nalgene liter bottles.

Mt Washington Notes: Adding gatorade to your water on a freezing cold mountain helps to keep it from freezing. It's high salt and sugar content will add at least a few degrees to your drinks max freezing temperature.

Grand Canyon Notes: You should definately bring at least one liter per day. It gets really hot in the canyon.

Sports Beans

Sports beans are candy. But they are good. Salty and sweet. Electrolytes.

Action speaks louder than words, but not as often!
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