The LA's List of Gear for Whitney, October 19-20, 2007

Once I was able to check the forecast during the ten-day window before the hike, I was able to realistically prepare my list of gear for the trek. The below list is what I actually carried on the trip, and I am happy to say that I used all the items below.

1) Backpack: I carried my dependable Bora80 Arc’Teryx Pack. It wasn’t full on the way up, but I was glad to have the extra room on the way down to carry some gear for some other people.

2) Sleeping bag. I carried my North Face 15 degree bag. While it was cold, I managed to stay warm in it, but probably just barely.

3) Bivy Sack. I own a lightweight Black Diamond Lightsabre bivy sack. I had to really stake it down because of high wind, it worked great.

4) Sleeping Pad. I’m not sure who makes my pad, but it is lightweight and packs down well. In cold weather, it’s really good to be up off the ground.

5) First Aid kit. It didn’t see major use, but I did pass out a fair amount of Motrin and Moleskin.

6) Water Filer. I always carry a Miox water filter, which is lightweight and does a great job.

7) Backpacking stove. I swear by the PocketRocket by MSR. Again, on this trip up at 12,000 feet, it worked like a charm in heavy winds, while one of my climbing partners couldn’t get his Jetboil to even start!

9) Bear Canister. Someone has to carry it for the group!

10) 4 Nalgene 1 Liter Bottles. This is where I could shed some weight, if I went with a soft plastic bladder, but since I have the bottles, I use them.

11) Matches/Lighter/Compass/Map/Emergency blanket/knife/TP/Poop bags/Sunscreen

12) Boots. I’ve been wearing a pair of Asolos for the last two years, good boots. I supplement my arches and overall foot comfort with a pair of Superfeet. Prior to the Asolos, I had some Salomon mountaineering boots, and before that some Vasques. All three brands make a quality boot, in my opinion.

13) 2 pairs socks. This is my personal luxury item for any backpacking trip. They don’t take up much room, but your feet always seem to feel better at the end of the day when you can put clean socks on them.

14) 1 pair long underwear. I brought my mid-weight Patagonia capaline underwear. Since the weekend ended up being unseasonably warm, I was fine, but there were a few windy moments where I wished I had something a little heavier.

15) 1 pair of "convertible" pants

16) Wind resistant fleece jacket.

17) Wind-Water resistant fleece jacket.

18) Wind resistant fleece hat; brimmed light weight ball-cap.

19) Pair of mid-weight gloves; pair of light-weight liner gloves. I didn’t really use my mid-weight gloves that much, but the light-weight gloves were great for cooking, filtering water, and just general up and down the trail use.

20) Camera

21) Crampons. I use a pair of Black Diamond “Sabretooth” Crampons. I’ve had them for five plus years, and they’ve never let me down in any way.

22) Ice Axe. Again, I use another Black Diamond product (With all of this product placement for them, you’d think I work for them, but alas, I do not. How about some free stuff guys?), the Raven Pro. I got mine as a gift several years ago; as it’s the third ice axe I’ve owned; and probably the fifth I’ve used extensively, I can say that like the crampons, it is a quality product and has never let me down.

23) Food.

24) Sunglasses.

The only thing I didn’t bring that would have been helpful was a book, or something to pass the time on Saturday night. As I’m sure many people will notice and will be quick to point out, I didn’t take a waterproof shell. I didn’t carry my shell with me this time because I was 99% certain that it would not rain or snow during our trip. While I do realize that nothing is ever certain on the mountain, it was a calculated risk I was willing to take on this occasion based on my in-depth study of the weather. At the weigh station at Whitney Portal, my pack was forty-five pounds! As part of the weight was group gear, and I knew that I could bear the weight, I wasn’t concerned, but for novice hikers, be aware that even when you carry the minimum, like myself, everything does add up!