Tag Archives: survival gear

Gear for Non-Technical Mountaineering and Hiking in the Rocky Mountains

There has been an increase in the number of alpine rescues for people venturing into the Colorado high country without the appropriate clothing and equipment. Many high-country emergencies can be avoided by preparing yourself with some essential items. The list of equipment that I’m sharing with you is the one I use for a one-day (3-12 hours) summer hike or climb in Colorado. Use it as an example, but tailor your own list to meet your needs and the site conditions for your hike. Always make your own list and double check that you have everything before departing on your adventure.

You should tailor your list for a number of factors, including weather, personal needs, season, predicted temperatures, site-specific conditions, on-trail or off-trail hiking, technical or non-technical, and the difficulty level. For example, if I am climbing in the Elk Range I know there is an increased risk of encountering rock fall due to the geology there. So, I would take a climbing helmet with me. If I’m climbing in May or June, there is a good chance I’ll have to cross snowfields, so I take my ice ax and possibly crampons. If you are going to be climbing on icy rocks, you need an ice ax and crampons. You can encounter icy conditions in any month of the year, but not as likely in July and August. Spend some extra time planning what you will need to make sure you are prepared.

Adjust your quantities based on your personal needs and the distance you plan to hike. Don’t skimp on water. Half of the weight that I typically start out carrying is water. Water is heavy, but it will lighten as you hydrate yourself during the day. Most people can survive for 2-3 weeks without food, so I seldom pack a lot of food. You want to pack enough to give you plenty of energy for your hike. If you get cold easily, pack extra clothing or warmer clothing.

When I see people climbing above 11,000 feet wearing shorts and running shoes without a pack for extra gear, I think it is foolhardy. One time I saw a person climbing a Fourteener with a light jacket, no water, and a plastic shopping bag that they intended to use if it rained. You don’t have to go very far into the backcountry to become disoriented, wander off of the trail, and become lost. Low clouds and unexpected snow squalls can cut your visibility down to a few yards.

Make sure your light sources have good batteries. I recommend having at least two light sources and some extra batteries. It is common for people to misjudge time and end up hiking back in the dark. Hiking in the dark affects your balance and makes it harder to see tripping hazards.        

Another consideration is to think about being 3+ miles into the wilderness and being injured, possibly unable to walk. You could be out for at least one night before help arrives. If you are alone (not recommended), it could be much longer. Always let someone know where you are going and your intended return time.

Day Climb Gear Image

Author Information:    www.amazon.com/author/tjburr

Book Information:      http://amzn.com/B004LX0D1I

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Link for PDF version of this blog:

Gear for Day Climb – Blog

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Four Essentials for Climbing Fourteeners

I stopped by REI to get some new gear for mountaineering, mostly climbing 12ers, 13ers, and 14ers in Colorado. It was time to update some of my standard gear for one-day climbs, so I thought I would share my purchases with my readers. I bought $250 worth of gear that all fit into one small paper bag. As I can afford to, I update and modernize my climbing gear. Mostly, I look for lighter, more efficient gear. Things cost more and weigh less. Everything that I bought today, combined, weighs less than my jeans did when I first started climbing. The linked PDF only shows the four items I purchased with information on the gear and prices. I’m not pushing this specific gear or a particular brand. This is what I thought was best for me and my budget. The generic descriptions of what I bought are 1) base layer top, 2) wind protection shell, 3) multifunctional headwear, and 4) carabiners.

New Gear for Mountaineering in 2017

Checklist of Essential Wilderness Gear

Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’m just going on a short hike so I don’t need to worry about taking anything with me. I’ll just do that 5-mile loop up and around the alpine lake. I’ll be back in two hours. Maybe I’ll take a bottle of water with me just in case I get thirsty.”

When preparing for a hike into the wilderness, thoughts like that are potentially fatal. People have died on shorter hikes than 5-miles because they entered the wild without the proper knowledge and equipment. I have attached a checklist that I use nearly every time I leave a trailhead to enter the wild. You should make your own checklist of essential gear commensurate with your abilities, needs, the environment, and the type of adventure you are embarking on. You can use my checklist as a starting point.

When packing for your hike, consider the following possibilities. Are you prepared to return in the dark if your hike takes longer than anticipated, or you just stay a little too long at that beautiful alpine lake with the crystal clear water. What if you break your ankle three miles into a moderately difficult route. What if you get lost, and have to stay overnight in the woods. If things don’t go as planned, you’ll be thankful you carried the extra 15-20 pounds of essential gear.

Survival Gear Checklist

Plan to have a great time in the backcountry, but prepare yourself for potential mishaps.

Happy Trails . . . Best wishes on your adventures.