Not everyone has had the chance to meet Michael Kidder; those people are missing out. As he likes to tell people, he introduced Newton to the sport of climbing a while back and is one of The Crag’s founding members. As a preview for a series of blog posts he’s going to write about his recent trips to Washington to climb Challenger Glacier on Mount Challenger, we’re taking a peak inside Kidder’s Alpine pack.
Alpinism: You need everything for glacier travel, camping, AND rock climbing. Lightweight is the name of the game – you will hear it over and over from the pros.
Arc’Teryx Khazri 55 Pack – 55 liter alpine pack. Light, massive, versatile. Everything you could want in an alpine pack.
Scarpa Phantom Light Boots – I prefer a technical climbing boot over plastics – these have a built in neoprene gaiter.
Scarpa Thunders – Comfortable and easy to slip on or off depending on the type of climbing we’re doing.
Helmet – Brains are important, so I wear a helmet. All the writing you see is from a weekend at the Red River Gorge where I climbed 35 pitches to celebrate my 35th birthday. My climbing partners from the weekend all signed my helmet to commemorate the feat.
First Aid Kit – Like they say in scouting, Be Prepared.
Petzl Adjama Harness – Light, adjustable legs for different weather conditions, and lots of gear loops. A great harness for both sport, trad and alpine climbing.
Black Diamond Icon Headlamp – Long days sometimes turn into nights and “alpine start” means rolling out by 3am. Gotta have a headlamp. The Icon is rechargeable or use AA batteries, can run for 5 days straight and can throw light further than an NFL quarterback can throw a football.
Sterling 60 m, 9.5mm rope – Thin and light.
Black Diamond Sabertooth Crampons – These are light and abuse ready.
Sunscreen – Remember the inside of your nose or you can get sunburnt nostrils on a glacier from the reflective light.
Collapsible mug – I must have my coffee; I make my partner carry the Titanium cooking pot.
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove – I carry the Pocket Rocket if I don’t have to melt snow, otherwise a white gas version is best.
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy Sack – Tents are two or three pounds; bivys are one.
Pocket bag – I carry a mesh bag for all the little stuff, even on day climbing trips. I always know right where it is in my pack – Toothbrush, contact case, lip balm, tape, etc.
Glacier Glasses – Ask me about the time I lost mine in the mountains (*see: Bandana).
Light Alpine Rack – We carry a light alpine rack when we expect technical rock: full Black Diamond nut set, 4 Camp USA Tri Cams (never forget the pinkie), 4 Black Diamond cams that cover ½ – 2 inches (#.75 thru #2 since you ask) , a couple of hexes – all weighing in right at 3.3 pounds.
Slings – In the mountains, you can sling features instead of putting in a piece of gear. It saves time and weight. I usually carry 5 or so single length and several doubles.
Black Diamond wire gate quick draws (6-8) – Light as you can go. I have wire gates on slings too; actually on everything but my 3 locking carabineers.
Black Diamond ATC Guide – Something that can auto belay a second is imperative so you can move fast and multitask at belay changes.
6 mill cord slings (2) – Necessary for self-rescue from a crevasse and as a rappel backup. You also need a pulley and a couple other locking carabiners.
Metolius Equalizer 20’ ft. anchor sling – No bolts out there, so you’ve got to build it yourself. This one tucks into a built in bag.
Bandana – When you lose your glacier glasses and don’t want to go blind, you adapt. (*see: Glacier Glasses)
Miscellaneous gear for ascending/descending including Outdoor Products rappel rings and Petzl Tibloc Ascender.