I have been asked what gear I am taking for this trip so I thought I would do this blog. Those items marked with an asterisk are items that I already possessed. I must say that the need to acquire additional items has given me an excuse to become a kit freak and to spend hours salivating through various websites at the multitude of choices available. Ultimately Cotswold Outdoor in Harrogate has been a major beneficiary because they are prepared to price match anything that I have found on the web at a cheaper price than that at which they sell and I can get a 15% discount with them as well. I have not listed leisure wear.
Scarpa Terra GTX* – lightweight leather goretex lined boots that I will use for approach and ascents at lower levels, for example the approach to Aconcagua base camp.
La Sportiva Spantik – one of the two major investments I have made. These are technical high altitude double mountaineering boots. They comprise a soft inner boot and a stiff outer boot that has cellular thermal insulating foam within its construction. It gets good write-ups in all the reviews I have seen and so, hopefully, will prevent frostbite in the feet.
Grivel G10 crampons* – for use with the Spantiks. They will probably only be needed for the Mexican mountains and, possibly, Aconcagua. They are 10 point steel semi-rigid step in crampons with anti-balling membranes suitable for any snow or ice terrain other than technical climbing.
Teva sandals* – thick soled sandals for river crossings and use around camp and huts.
Foot warmers* – chemical foot warmers. These will be taken “just in case” and would probably only be used for summit days.
Liner socks – 4/5 pairs of Bridgedale liner socks*.
Socks – one pair of Bridgedale Trekker socks*, one pair of Bridgedale Summit socks and one pair of Smartwool merino socks. The last are especially for high altitude. I want to come back with all my toes!
Short and long sleeved thermal base layers*. I did consider acquiring new ones with merino wool but I normally am warm enough in harsh Scottish winter conditions without them so have not bothered on this occasion. Let hope that is not a mistake. The only problem with them is that they do become a bit stinky quite quickly.
Light insulating shirts* – a couple which I have had for ages, both with have zips so that temperature can be regulated.
Soft shell – a Rab Generator jacket*. This is an amazing bit of kit which I acquired for Rainier. Its ability to keep me warm and the wind out for something so light is remarkable. I rarely wear fleeces when out on the hill now.
Hard shell – a Mountain Equipment Goretex jacket*. It has lost much of its waterproofness but I am assuming we will not see much rain. It should be good enough to keep snow and wind off.
Down jacket – a Rab Neutrino Endurance jacket*. You will tell that I rate Rab products. Again this was bought for Rainier and has a superb warmth to weight ratio. Managed to get it cheap in an end of season sale.
Liner gloves – lightweight cheap and cheerful liners*. Coming apart a bit at the seams (!) but will normally be worn under one of the following.
Fleece gloves – by Lowe Alpine*. Moderately warm but old and the disadvantage is that they hold water or sweat so can be used mainly only in more benign conditions. They are also not windproof.
Glove – Marmot Randonnee Glove*. Lined with Primaloft and Goretex. Leather palm for added durability. Used on Rainier and Killimanjaro but would probably be found lacking in extreme cold.
Mitt – Marmot Expedition Mitt*. Very warm and wind and waterproof. Lined with Primaloft. Can (just about) fit over the Randonnee Glove but would probably be worn just over the liner and fleece gloves.
Hand warmers – chemical hand warmers*. For use on summit days.
Sun hat* – what else is there to say?
Beanie – Marmot thin fleece beanie*. Given to me when I bought the Marmot gloves. Fits under a helmet.
Helmet – Black Diamond Half Dome. A basic mountaineering helmet which will be needed for glacier travel in Mexico and on some of the South American mountains where there is danger of rockfall.
Buff- an original Buff*. Flexible bit of kit for keeping neck and head protected. Used on Kilimanjaro for warmth and on Giluwe to keep the harsh sun off.
Balaclava – Mountain Hardwear with windstopper fabric*. For when it is really cold.
Sun glasses – Julbo Explorer*. These have category 4 lenses to keep the harshest UV rays out. For use at high altitude and on snow.
Goggles – some Bloc goggles previously used for skiing*. I will probably only use these when it is windy and snow or ice is flying about.
Thermal bottoms – two. One is an old polyester set of long johns.* The other (newly invested) is a pair of Rab MeCo 120 pants made with 65% Merino wool. The latter are for higher altitudes as my legs can get cold.
Pants – two pairs of Lowe Alpine Dry-lite pants* and two pairs of Rab MeCo 120 boxers*.
Light trousers – one pair of Rab Atlas trousers*. General all round walking trousers, but unlikely to be suitable for high altitude.
Softshell trousers – Paramo Cascada trousers*. Windproof and almost waterproof. Should be warm enough for summit days when worn with a base layer.
Gaiters – Rab Latok Extreme. I had to invest in these because my other gaiters are not big enough to fit around the Spantiks.
Hardshell trousers – North Face made of Hyvent fabric*. Again should help with protection against the wind and any precipitation. Side zipped to the hip to enable them to be taken on or off with crampons still on.
Sleeping bag – Rab Andes 1000. This is the second major investment. But it is rated to -27oC.
Mat – an old Thermarest blow up*. Full length. I hope it lasts the course. It no longer self-inflates.
Mat – Thermarest RidgeRest SoLite – an extra insulating layer which is ribbed and coated with something that reflects the heat back to the sleeping bag.
Bothy bag – orange 4 person Outdoor Designs group shelter bothy bag*. For emergencies. Saved me from a very uncomfortable winter’s night once in Fisherfield (see the separate blog on that one!
Back pack – Osprey Aether 70*. 70 litre pack for hauling gear.
Day pack – an old 30l Bergaus sack* which will also do for hand luggage.
Dry-liners – various sizes of dry-liners to keep kit, well, dry*.
Compression sack* – for the sleeping bag.
Ice axe – DMM Cirque ice axe*. A basic ice axe for walking and mountaineering.
Walking poles – Black Diamond trail trekking poles. FlickLocks rather than the twist lock mechanism that poles produced by the likes of Leki do. Hopefully these will be less prone to breaking and rust.
Head torch – Petzl Tikka Plus*. Not up there with the brightest LED torches but has served me well enough on night time ascents in the past.
Harness – Black Diamond Bod. Simple mountaineering harness. Will be needed for Mexico and glacier/snow travel and on Ojos del Solado where the crux is an 80ft climb to the summit.
Carabiner – a couple of locking carabiners*.
Prusik loops – these tie you on to a rope and lock when force is applied to them.
GPS – Garmin Etrex30. I am not used to using GPS (being more of a traditional map and compass sort of person)!
Camera – Panasonic TZ40*. Lightweight camera with a video function. Will fit in a pocket with ease. I decided I did not want to haul my DSLR around.
Kindle* – books downloaded. It also has wifi so I hope to be able to use it to use/check emails and to upload items on to this blog.
Medical kit – to include antibiotics, Diamox (for altitude), aspirin, anti-inflammatories and the usual.
Energy gels and other food goodies.
Bottles – 3 Nalgene water bottles*. One will be used as a pee bottle….
Cup, bowl, kfs*
Solarcharger – Power Monkey for charging up all the electrical items (being brought by Derek).
Two 100l duffels for carrying all of this*.
I will probably comment on performance of some of these items in later blogs.
And the total weight including leisurewear, toiletries and so forth? Any guesses?