These are some of my most essential Gear Items I am bringing to my Everest 2013 expedition . This is not to advise anyone that these are the best ever items but this is what I learned from my previous expeditions and what works best for me. I am sharing it here because it took me a while to figure out what I needed at the beginning, especially as a female climber. So, I hope this will be useful for some beginner climbers…
The main thing I have learned from my previous trips, is that I should never compromise by getting cheap gear and thinking that I will get away with it. Your gear is one of the essential elements for a safe and successful climb.
1) Mountain Hardwear Ghost SL -40 sleeping bag: I have Rab 800 fill sleeping bag for ABC. I just bought this one for higher camps. I found out it is easier to have a second sleeping bag as you don’t have to carry it back and forth.
2) Millet Everest GTX Mountaineering Boot: I got these boots for Cho Oyu and I loved them! I did not freeze my toes and used them for smaller mountains like Aconcagua.
3) Grivel G12: I used these crampons on few expeditions including Mt Blanc, Cho Oyu, Aconcagua. I saw people struggling with their crampons but I never had a problem. I had a very scary incident coming back from the Summit of Cho Oyu – I notice I was missing one! Good thing I was just several meters away from it and some one already found it! Lots of things can happen when you are tired and going down from the summit…
4) Millet Expedition 65 Rucksack: Lightweight, fit for carrying gear, easy to open… Great choice from my part! I used it to carry my loads from ABC to higher camps on Cho Oyu and Aconcagua.
5) Down Suit – no brand name , made in Nepal: I got this suite in Kathmandu from one of the shops as the Rab down suite I rented from some company was in bad shape. It worked ok although the hood is not very comfortable – it keeps falling off, flapping around. One thing I liked about the suite overalls inside and a zipper around the bottom part!
6) Thermarest Prolite Plus Womens: The thermarest is great as it keeps you warm and comfortable!
7) Thermarest Z lite Sleeping Mat: This thermarest is essential in case you have a problem with the inflatable one. I don’t want to take any chances and I usually carry both of my thermarest pads. It also helps you rest much better!
8) Petzl Ascension/ Black Diamond Carabiners: Some people use Black Diamond but I prefer Pretzl. I tried both and I decided to stick with this one. I love black diamond carabiners (locking and regular carabiners, figure 8)- you can get light weight ones! Also, I always use flexible 6mm perlon rope for prusik and safety…
9) Petzl Altios helmet
10) Outdoor Research Alti Mitts Red: These are the new mitts I bought before my Manaslu expedition. I had Black Diamond and Rab mitts before but these one seem to be nice and recommended by many climbers. I will never take any chances on keeping my hands and fingers warm during my summit night!
11) Petzl Tikka Plus 2: I usually carry at least two of them just in case one stops working.
12) Julbo EXPLORER Glacier Sunglasses White with Spectron 4 Lens. I also have Julbo Zebra Nomad Performance Sunglasses that I used a lot. I always felt I should have another pair in case I lose or break the other one. Goggles (Sinner or Julbo) are also essential, especially during your summit push or unexpected bad weather.
13) Nalegene Wide Mouth Bottle Blue: I usually carry three of these — two for drinking water and one I use as a pee bottle. Never forget to label your pee bottle!!! Also, as a female climber, I could not survive without a shee wee (pee funnel). I experienced what its like to lose one and not have a spare. I lost one in an avalanche on my last expedition! Life becomes really miserable if you don’t have it on the mountain… Lesson learnt – always bring an extra one!
14) Rab Womens Neutrino Endurance Down Jacket: although I have a down suit for summit climb and high camps, I like to use my down jacket to move between higher camps. I use it a lot, especially in the evenings, even around the base camp, as night in the mountains get very cold.
15) Black Diamond Raven – it’s a traditional ice ax, good for Himalayan climbing.
16) Trekking poles (Black Diamond Expedition) – I used them a lot in the past and each time I give them away after the expedition… It’s a nice present to a Sherpa or someone local. These are extremely useful during trekking to the base camp and acclimatization walks. I use one pole usually (not always, as I must carry an ice ax) going above base camp.
17) The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger provides a vital line of communication for family, friends followers, and it is good for getting emergency assistance if needed. Using 100% satellite technology, SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world, even where cell phones don’t – all with the push of a button. I used it on Cho Oyu and Aconcagua successfully. On Manaslu, it was great, but I lost it in the avalanche… I’ll definitely get a new one for my Everest expedition!
18) Suunto Vector Altimeter Watch – I love this watch as it also serves as my alarm clock (you don’t want to miss breakfast or summit push time…) and also as an altimeter… It is motivating for me to have it during my climbs – I get excited when I reach higher altitudes each time!
19) Sonny Wireless 3G Reader – the only reason I bought Sonny and not Kindle was that I couldn’t buy it easily in Italy… I love it and I would not exchange it now for anything. I don’t need to carry a bag of books anymore as reading is essential for me on the mountain, especially during these many days of waiting for a window of weather at the base camp.
20) Clif Energy Shot Blocks – are chewable cubes that deliver all the energy you need to fuel your efforts. This is my latest discovery they work best for me during climbs to higher camps and during summit push… I, like others, do not have much of an appetite at high altitude for any regular foods (except Italian salami for some reason :-), so I use high energy foods. I used gels before but they can get so messy…
21) Newest Items that I just bought and will test on Everest…:)
I just added few more items to my Everest gear list to make sure I am not freezing on the big E. I chose Eddie Bauer products as they seemed to be of a good quality and much more affordable than any other big brand names. Too bad non of these brands came forward to offer any support (including Eddie Bauer, Arc’Teryx, North Face, Julbo, etc…) to my campaign climb even though I sent them several letters…
Expedition Weight 1/4-Zip Baselayer
Heavyweight All-Mountain Socks
Hyalite Soft Shell Jacket
Julbo Explorer Sunglasses
These are some of my most essential items. There is a lot more to add. I will keep revising this list as I much as I can…. Also, here is detailed personal Everest gear list by Altitude Junkies.