Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back to the Top of the World

Tomorrow I am headed out to climb my fifth 14er.  I continue to try to knock out at least one per year, so considering there are 54 across the state, I will be finished in 48 years at this pace. This year I am headed to La Plata Peak with my friends from Hiking for Hearts ( who are a wonderful charity group.  My daughter will be climbing her first 14er so I pulled out my checklist from last year ( with some updates from the feedback ( I received to include the “10 Essentials” for any outdoor adventure.  The items on this list come from several places, but when in doubt and you are looking for the right info, go to

  1. Hiking Shoes: It starts with the shoes and I think Merrell makes the best for hiking.
  2. Hiking Socks:  Cotton sweat socks won’t do and nothing worse than getting a blister on a hike.
  3. Ball Cap:  Good for the sun and the sweat when the temperature is warmer.  I wear my First Ascent hat every time I climb a mountain for the first time.
  4. Beanie: When it gets colder, which it usually does at some point in your hike.
  5. Gloves:  I like polar fleece mittens where the fingers can be exposed with Outdoor Research shells.  These serve me well skiing and they do the same climbing.
  6. Synthetic shirt:  Avoid cotton and go with one of the popular breathable shirts.
  7. Synthetic Long Underwear: Again these are good when it gets colder.
  8. Wind Block Jacket:  I love my Eddie Bauer Downlight sweater.  If you want you can pay twice the price for a similar one from Patagonia.
  9. Waterproof Shell: I am happy with my North Face Venture jacket, but several options are available.
  10. Convertible Hiking Pants:  Get the ones with the zip off legs as you may want shorts when it gets hot.  I picked up a pair at REI I like.
  11. Pack:  I like Go Lite’s packs best, but I may try my new Adventurer pack from Eddie Bauer this year.
  12. Water Bottles:  You will need a lot of water so fortunately both my Go Lite and Eddie Bauer backpacks have sleeves on the side and I can put more inside.
  13. Snacks:  Hiking for Hearts will give us lunch, but you will want munchies along the way.  I love the S’Mores Trail Mix at Target.  Also Peanut Butter, Honey and Bananas on a Bagel is my favorite pre-hike breakfast and shows I have a little of the King in me.
  14. iphone:  I have discovered that my iphone camera is about as good as any handheld and it gives me a lot more like GPS and a cell phone.
  15. Navigation (map and compass):  Of course batteries can die and technology can let us down so old fashioned navigation should be carried by someone in your group and it is at the top of the list of the 10 Essentials.
  16. Watch
  17. Knife or Multi-Tool
  18. Sunscreen and Sunglasses:  You really are a lot closer to the sun and you know it.
  19. TP (in Ziploc Bag): No one stocks this on the mountain.
  20. Space blanket and First Aid Kit:  Just in case…
  21. Fire (waterproof matches or lighter): Again just in case…
  22. Headlamp: In case you get caught on the mountain after dark.
  23. Trekking poles:  These are a huge difference maker.
  24. Ibuprofen: You will want these before and after the hike.

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