In my opinion, the largest challenge of the Shorty’s Well route is determining the right gear to take for the climb. If you are considering the route, you should be aware that you will need a variety of gear to deal with the various conditions and temperatures from -262 feet of elevation to 11,043 feet of elevation. Moreover, if you are attempting the route from late fall through early spring (the optimal time), you will likely need specialized gear to deal with the snow or ice present on or near the summit of Telescope Peak. After having been on the route two times – both on a two-day attempt in 2014, and a one-day attempt in 2015, I strongly recommend that you carry as little weight as possible, while having enough gear to address any problems that arise. Personally, I feel that the route, while long, is better suited to a one-day attempt, but there are some advantages to a multi-day approach as well. Whichever you choose, remember to be prepared, and best of luck!
One Day Gear List (from 2015)
1. Backpack. On my 2015 attempt, I used the Salomon Alp 20. It is a small, lightweight compact bag that provided me just enough room for the essentials and was comfortable for the entirety of the climb.
2. Clothes. I tried to keep my clothes for the climb as simple and as multipurpose as I could. For the most part, I wanted to be warm, but not overly hot; and I wanted to protect myself from the sun exposure which is constant on this climb. To this end, I had/wore: a) a pair of Arc’teryx hiking/climbing pants; b) a mid-weight Patagonia long sleeve shirt; c) a mid-weight Arc’teryx fleece; d) Salomon Fast Wing Hoody for a shell layer; e) OR Contact Gloves; f) Columbia Omnicool Neck Gaiter; g) a baseball cap; h) beanie.
3. Water. I had 3L of water capacity in two 1.5L plastic Nalgene bottles. I also downed 1.5L before we set out on the trail. I refilled one at Shorty’s Well on the way up; melted some snow in both on the way up; and completely refilled both before heading back to the car. I cannot understate enough the importance of water on this climb!
4. Food. I had a variety of meal replacement bars, but other than my Greenbelly bars, nothing really stood out. I was afraid that I had too much food, but despite a long day, I was actually fairly close on my food requirements as I had a little extra.
5. 10 essentials. I modified my 10 Essential kit slightly, to remove some of the first aid materials, and focused more on survival items – emergency blanket; extra batteries; fire starting materials, but overall, had a fairly standard emergency kit (which I did not have to use, except for my headlamp).
6. Ice Axe/Crampons. I had my Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice; as well as my Black Diamond Sabertooth crampons.
7. Shoes. I went with the new Salomon S-Lab X-Alp Carbon GTX shoes, and was very impressed at how they held up. My feet felt great until the end of the day, which at around 35 miles, was reasonable.
That was it. While I didn’t weigh my gear, I’d be surprised if that was over 20 pounds, and overall, this amount of gear seemed to be right in the area of maximum efficiency. The only thing I would have considered taking extra would be a set of trekking poles, given the rough terrain and the amount of ascending and descending required.
Two Day Gear List (from 2014)
1. Sleeping Bag. I went with my Marmot Lithium Sleeping Bag.
2. Sleeping Pad. This was my 2014 luxury item, and I went with my Mountain Hardwear Backcountry Camp Pad.
3. Tent. I took my old Sierra Designs three-season expedition style tent.
4. Backpack. I used my old Arc’teryx Bora 80.
5. Water. I had 5L of water capacity in a variety of plastic bottles, mostly Nalgene.
6. Food. I had two freeze dried meals for each night on the trail; and a variety of energy bars and other performance type products.
7. Clothes. I split my clothes into two categories: a) clothes for below 5,000 feet and b) clothes for above 5,000 feet.
a) From -262 feet to 5,000 feet, I assumed the weather would be fairly temperate, and I was concerned about not overheating and sun protection. As such, I brought the following:
1) Standard athletic shorts; 2) lightweight long underwear Arc’teryx top; 3) t-shirt; 4) Sun hat; 5) Columbia Omnicool Neck Gaiter; 6) North Face glove liners; 7) Socks.
b) For the second category, from 5,000 feet on up, I was more concerned about cold and wet conditions, so I brought the following:
1) OR Men’s Valhalla Pants; 2) Patagonia capilene mid-weight long underwear bottoms; 3) Patagonia mid-weight capilene long underwear top; 4) OR Men’s Lodestar Jacket; 5) OR Men’s Contact Gloves; 6) OR Men’s Valhalla Jacket; 7) Patagonia Beanie; 8) Socks.
7) Shoes. I brought my Asolo Mountaineering boots.
8) Mountaineering Gear. I brought my Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe and my Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons.
9) Miscellaneous. I had some extra space/weight to spare, so I also brought the following: a) 10 essentials; b) my iPhone; and c) Teton Sports Comfortlite inflatable pillow.
Obviously, this was a much heavier amount of gear. While I did not weigh my pack before I left, I would say that with water, it was around 45-50 pounds. While that was a fair amount of weight, I did use everything I that I took with me.