As promised, I continue with my gear sorting and accounting. Today's post focuses on my climbing gear for Aconcagua. I mentioned previously that the climb is fairly non-technical but I intend to solo up the Polish glacier so I include a few other climbing essentials for that effort. Here goes....
1. Footwear: Broken down by elevation
Mendoza (2,450 ft or 750m) and Trek to BC (14,300 feet or 4,360m): Flip-flops (OluKai Ohana - 8 oz./pair - are my current favorites) tend to treat me the best for approach shoes.
My feet hate closed-toed shoes. I have odd shaped feet that were designed for a bare footin' life but mountaineering requires foot covering to protect them from the elements. Many of you may recall that I used my trusty flip-flops as my sole approach shoes on the trek to Everest base camp. Unfortunately, I had an incident at the latest Annapolis Boat Show where I took my Everest approach flip-flops off, placed them by the rest of the footwear people ditched before boarding the boat, and then returned to a nicer looking pair (see photo above). Apparently some clueless soul took my nasty flip-flops that I intended to retire that week and left me with his (assuming it was a guy with size US 11 mens feet) almost new and barely broken in flops. Needless to say, I was a bit bummed to lose my trusted friends but accepted the gift without much fuss.
BC to Camp 2 (18,400 feet / 5608 meters): I intend to use my new GoLite XT90 (30 oz. per pair) approach shoes. These puppies are really comfortable and allow my feet to swell enough so they don't become too cramped. Additionally, I love the wide size and roomy toe box that gives me just that extra bit of movement just in case my feet get cold - a very rare occasion. Here is a picture of these from Amazon because the GoLite website no longer lists shoes for some reason:
Summit Day or from snow-line (possibly above 16,200 feet to summit and back down to scree or where my feet start screaming at me): I intend to use my trusty La Sportiva Baruntse (83 oz. per pair) boots and pack my crampons just in case the snow/ice require greater traction than the boots afford. The Baruntse boots are awesome; they fit my feet, allow me to move quickly in them, and offer foot swell room. In short, I love these boots. In fact, I intended to climb Everest in them with 40 Below overboots. They are a bit heavy and I might replace them with lighter full-gaiter boots for this spring's climb but for now, these boots will suffice for Aconcagua (and most other climbs). Here is a nice new picture of my beaten up boots (not pictured):
3. Harness (not required for the Normal route but necessary for the Polish Glacier Direct): I typically climb with the classic Black Diamond Alpine Bod (14 oz.)
|BD Alpine Bod|
4. Protection (generally not required for normal route but required for Polish Glacier): I intend to bring two pickets (2 x 24" with runners and non-locking 'biners - 20 oz. total for each setup for 40 oz. total), five ice screws (3 x 13 cm - 4.7 oz. each - and 2 x 22 cm - 5.9 oz. each), and one 30m x 8mm double-dry climbing rope (45 oz.). These forms of protection allow me to climb the glacier with some protection, however, I do not intend to climb with a running belay; instead, I just want to have the protection necessary to complete some of the tough parts of the climb. These pieces give me more than enough and probably too much protection. I do intend to whittle the gear down on the mountain but the extra gear should not weigh me down too much on the approach. Rather, it should not weigh down the mules. Once in BC, I will sort my gear and only take the required gear higher.
5. Standard mountaineering gear: There are two things most mountaineers take on any climb - an ice axe
|BD Raven as an example|
|BD Sabretooth Pro|
These stretch-on spikes (shown to the right; 15.7 oz. from REI) are light and can easily be packed away for quick retrieval and saves me from changing footwear constantly. Doubt they would work well with my flip-flops. Perhaps I should give it a go at home before trying them out. Lastly, I intend to bring my helmet (BD Half Dome; 12 oz.).
|BD Half Dome|
So nothing fancy for this equipment list. I use what I trust and what fits my weird body. Everything I take on a climb has been used by me many times and I can take on/off without looking - a good plan for any gear used on adventures.
Total weightHow much does all this gear weigh? Good question. I never really accounted for it until now so here is the grand total for all the gear listed above: 357.6 oz. or 22.35 lbs (10.1 kg)!!!!! Perhaps time to shed some weight here. The normal route only requires 193.7 oz. or 12.1 lbs. (5.5 kg). Adding in the Polish direct to my climbing objectives increases my load by 10 lbs (4.6 kg). Sheesh! I might need to rethink my objectives if weight is a concern.
Thanks for following along. My next post details a bit more of the mundane but essential gear to keep me warm. Stay tuned for Part 3 in the gear sort series. I intend to post Part 3 sometime either on Sunday or Monday. Now, I head toward the simulated mountain for an 8-hour climb to 21,000 feet (6,400 m). See you soon....