Our second stab at a trip to Mt Washington is only two short days away.    On thursday afternoon I’ll be on the train heading towards New York where my good friend Dave will be waiting to join me as we continue on up to Boston to get our rental car.   Since our trip has changed from last year, in both the activities (we’re taking an all day ice climbing class on Friday) and the mode of transportation (not flying), I’ve had to adjust what gear I’ll be hauling up with me this time.


I’ve researched the message boards and various outfitters to see what they recommend to bring.  I broke down my clothes and gears by my needs for the weekend into three categories, though there is some crossover:

1. Ice climbing – Being outside on the ice all day, I’ll need breathable layers that’ll keep me warm, without turning into a sauna.  Also, I’ll finally get a chance to try out my crampons I bought last year.

2. Mt. Washington climb – They don’t call it the home of the world’s worst weather for nothing.  Sub zero temps and 100mph winds are commonplace as you approach the summit.  I’ll need plenty of layers I can add as we go higher, as well as goggles and other extreme cold weather gear.

3. Travel/Lounging clothes – While I’m sitting on the train and chilling out at the motel at  night, I’ll want to be comfortable.  Additionally, I may want to go out to a local pub and not look like I just got done climbing a mountain.

So with all this in mind, here’s what I finally settled on:



Luggage and bags – Here’s what I’ll be packing all my gear into

  • REI Adventure Cargo duffel bag- For hauling all my stuff from home, through the train station and to the base of the mountain
  • Black Diamond 40L Alpine bag – On the train I’ll carry my ipad, magazines and other stuff for the trip up there, on the mountain it’ll carry all of our gear.

Clothes – Outerwear and layers

  • Arc’teryx Alpha shell – I’ll pretty much wear this the entire time I’m up in New Hampshire.  With its Goretex Pro fabric, its warm enough to wear by itself around town and capable of protecting my from that ferocious wind at the summit
  • REI insulated snow pants – I’ll wear these over my base layer to keep my legs warm and dry
  • Patagonia down jacket – Unless there’s a blizzard, I’ll likely be wearing this as my outer layer around the base of the mountain.  It’s tremendously warm, breathable and lightweight
  • Patagonia – I’ll wear this under the down layer and around the lodge to keep warm and dry and add another layer of insulation
  • Patagonia Capaline 3 baselayer top – This thin base layer zips down with I need a little bit of cooling but zips all way up the neck when I need to keep out the drafty cold
  • REI base layer long undies – These aren’t just a great base layer for the legs, they’re a fashion statement around the lodge (with boots of course)
  • Patogonia fleece hat – Even if we don’t summit, I can totally look like I climb Mt Fitzroy… bro
  • Outdoor Research balaclava – Great for keeping your neck, ears and face warm and doubles as a great ninja mask!
  • Two or three pairs of REI wool socks – Probably just one pair for each day
  • Wool expedition socks – For wearing up the summit or if we get bored and decide to put on a sock play on the train
  • Liner gloves and liner socks – Socks will help prevent blisters on my feet and the liner gloves will protect my hands in case I have to take my mittens off.
  • Mountain Hardware Masherbrum Mittens – This mittens are LEGIT.  They’re almost as big as boxing gloves and stuffed full of warm insulation.  I’ll keep these on for most of the trip up the mountain
  • Marmot insulated gloves – Backups for the mittens and also for use while ice climbing
  • Vasque Mountaineering boots – I’ll finally get the chance to wear these somewhere outside of my neighborhood. It’s nice that they include built in gaiters
  • Other stuff? I’ll be packing a couple of t-shirts, a pair of hiking pants for walking around and of course some extra undies

Gear (climbing and otherwise)

  • 2 Naglene bottles – both with insulating sleeves to keep from freezing
  • Headlamp with extra batteries – Because you never know. If we get stuck out after dark I don’t want to rely on moonlight to get us back down
  • Black diamond crampons – for traction on the ice and the misc climbs we’ll be doing
  • Camp ice axe – Typical mountaineering axe
  • Ice axe leash – Don’t want to lose your ice axe right!?
  • Rope and carabiners – while we won’t be doing any technical climbing, it’s probably a good idea to carry a length of rope, just in case
  • Julbo glacier glasses – Keeps the sun/wind out of my eyes when we’re heading up the mountain
  • Ski goggles – see above


  • Snacks – nothing that needs to be cooked and stuff that won’t freeze on the mountain.  Most of our meals will be at the in town, we just need to have enough food to keep our energy up when we’re hiking
  • First aid kit – Small with just a few things
  • Compass with signal mirror – The trails are well marked, but again, you never know
  • Cameras – I’ll be hauling along my Canon t2i, the GoPro and a point and shoot for pictures/video of the trip.
  • Chapstick and sunscreen
  • Books and magazines, ipad for the train and probably my laptop

That should probably about cover it.   I’m still figuring out if I need to load the kitchen sink, but I’ll make that a game time decision.    Seriously though, this may look like a lot of stuff (ok, it IS a lot of stuff), but I want to be sure we have everything we need to ensure this adventure is successful, fun and safe.


Happy trails!