The Equipment You Need for Climbing Mount Everest
Climbing Mount Everest is a feat to which many aspire, but a large percentage of the world's population does not have the physical stamina, the training, the financial wherewithal, nor the opportunity to do so. For most people, ascending this great peak is a grand dream that will never be realized. Even for those individuals who are hearty enough and have tried, many have died in their pursuits of this daunting and majestic mountain top.
As the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest is situated in Nepal, close to the Chinese border, at Tibet, to be exact. Certain parts of the mountain are technically easier to climb than others, but what makes the peak so dangerous are the extreme winds, cold temperatures, frozen snow, and very little oxygen in places. Obviously, all of these obstacles are going to require that you wear and carry proper equipment if you expect to have half a chance at succeeding in both your ascent and subsequent descent. That is what NepalEquipment.com is all about. We discuss the equipment you need for climbing Mount Everest.
One of the advantages from so many others having climbed Mount Everest is that there is an actual checklist to help you gather all the equipment needed for your journey. Remember that this is not like other vacations where if you forget something, you just buy it in the hotel's gift shop. This is a serious endeavor, one with fraught with much planning and determination. And this is a scenario where "better to be safe than sorry" really counts because your life will be in danger. You do need everything that is recommended, and money cannot be an issue that hampers your decision making process. Having stated that warning, there are some items which can be bought and/or rented from the tour company or trekking agency who will provide your support during the stay. Examples of these items are emergency two-way radios, satellite phones and service, drinking water, bottles of oxygen, gas for cooking, and food.
Basically, the equipment that you will need is classified as "high altitude". If you have done this type of climbing before, which in all probability you have since it is a requirement to climb Mount Everest, you might have some of the items already. To clarify about the requirements, physically, you will not be able to endure the rigors of this mountain without high altitude training. Further, many, if not all of the companies that provide support will demand that you show certification or documentation that you have experience with high altitude climbing.
So, let's take a look at equipment you need to make your adventure a little more enjoyable and ultimately safer.
- Your feet are going to take a real beating since your stay will be lengthy. The trip is not a day excursion. On the contrary, it normally takes six to eight weeks.
- Additionally, frostbite is a serious concern, so it will be better to buy your footwear in larger sizes than your normal shoes or boots. Your toes need room to stretch and expand.
- The terrain is treacherous and you will come to rely on the good quality footwear that you own and wear. Many experienced climbers have recommended footwear made by a company called One Sport or Millet. Although many refer to One Sport as a different company, according to the Millet website, Millet bought out the company in 1998.
- Your socks will be important as well, to keep your feet warm. Several pairs will be needed for the complete journey, and the selection should include different kinds such as wool socks to wear over liner socks. Some people buy vapor barrier socks, too. Remember, that you always need to have at least one dry pair of clean socks to change into in an emergency. Again, because you are layering your socks, the extra room in your oversized boots will be necessary.
- The body's extremities are always at risk in the cold. Plus, the problem with covering the hands is you still have to be able to use them. So the gloves or mitts need to be warm and functional. Like your socks, you will take different kinds of handwear for various locations on the mountain.
- Water resistant gloves are best for areas that are ice-ridden.
- Down mittens do well in the higher up areas.
- Carry both lightweight and heavyweight gloves for varying temperatures and functions. It is a good idea to wear a lighter pair of gloves under mitts in case you have to take the mittens off to do something.
- Avoid handwear made of polypropylene, and choose instead fleece or bunting which are far warmer.
- Always have a spare pair at hand.
- Heat escapes through the top of the head, so you will need to have a hat to store your natural heat. Also, the sun will be burning and you want to prevent severe sunburn. Actually, many climbers wear a baseball type cap, for the added protection of the visor.
- The face should be protected with a balaclava at the very least, and a neoprene or wired mask. In addition to preventing frostbite, the wired mask might also be able to help you avoid getting what is known as "Khumbu- cough", a sever hacking from the high altitudes.
- A scarf or bandanna should be placed around the neck to prevent sunburn and frostbite.
- Ski goggles and glacier glasses protect against snow blindness and damage to the eyes' corneas.
- A headlamp with extra bulbs and batteries will help in the dark and when windstorms blow up. Plus, unlike a flashlight, the headlamp keeps your hand free.
- Lightweight tops and bottoms underwear is recommended because it can be worn comfortably in warmer weather, and still insulate under other layers in cold temperatures.
- Expedition weight underwear is also available.
- If you wear underpants, bring along several pairs.
- Insulated pants such as Polartec 300, Primaloft or Polargard HV fill will be best to keep out the cold.
- Be sure to choose pants with zippers on both sides. You will need to get out of your clothing quickly if you have to use the bathroom, and also, you will want to be able to get cooler and warmer in different areas by opening and closing the zippers.
- Some climbers prefer down pants.
- Just like clothing that you wear in the hot summer months, lighter colors are cooler in the sun on the mountain.
Upper Body Wear
- When choosing a jacket or coat, it is better to buy one with a zipper up the front. Pullover style is going to be very difficult to put on and remove in the elements.
- Be sure that the jacket is roomy enough for all the clothing that you might wear underneath. You want to be comfortable, plus it is warmer wearing loose fitting clothes.
- Another feature you should look for on a jacket is a hood which can protect your face, neck and head.
- Bibs are often recommended.
- You will need various Alpine tools to manage the crevices, thin ridges, snow and ice.
- Specific items are ropes, a harness, crampons, ice ax with leash, carabiners, webbing, cord, trekking poles, rappelling equipment, ascenders, and slings.
- In addition to outfitting yourself with clothing and tools, you will need practical equipment such as a gear bag, sleeping bag, backpack, sleeping pad, foam pads, water bottles, thermos bottle, Swiss army knife, eating utensils, and urine bottles or funnels.
- In the cold, you want things that are big, so your plastic mug, plate, fork and spoon should be large enough to easily grasp with mittens or gloves.
- Because packing is difficult in the cold, avoid zippers and compartments on your knapsack and gear bags.
- Take along preventative items such as sunscreen, a first-aid kit, aspirin, Imodium (in case of diarrhea), hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and personal hygiene products.
- Plastic sandwich bags with zip locks will come in handy.
Unquestionably, there are many items that you will require for your journey up and down the great mountain. While this list outlines the most basic equipment you need for climbing Mount Everest, it is wise to make your own detailed checklist from information provided by the trekking group, and also other experienced climbers.