Doing Denali Light: Post-Trip Report and Gearlist

It IS possible to climb Denali using lightweight techniques! Agnes and Matt discuss their gear and provide detailed gearlists.

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by Agnes Stowe with Matt Hage | 2007-08-29 00:00:00-06

Doing Denali Light:  Post-Trip Report and Gearlist

Introduction

For most people climbing Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) is no easy task. A vertical rise of 18,000 feet makes it bigger than Everest. It is no wonder that Denali means “the high one” in the Athabascan language. With backbreaking loads of 100 pounds (45 kilograms) or more the haul to the summit is grueling for even the fittest climber, but as Matt and I proved on this trip, it’s not so miserable with a lighter load. In a mere 3 hours Matt and I trucked into the first camp at the base of the ski hill at 7800 feet (2377 meters) with half the load of a typical climber and plenty of energy to spare. We could not go any further until our bodies acclimated. We set up camp and tried to “chill” in the heat of the day when afternoon temperatures can swelter to 100 °F (38 °C on the lower glacier. Perhaps our two most unorthodox items - at least for this type of climbing - were our 20 ounce (567 gram) packs and 2.5 pound (1.1 kilogram) tent. For most climbers on Denali, these two items alone can weigh from 15 to 20 pounds (6.8 to 9.0 kilograms), while these two items weighed only 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) for us. By taking techniques from ultralight backpacking and alpine climbing, we manage to put together a 30 pound (13.6 kilogram) kit (base weight plus non-worn technical gear) not including food and gas.

The Gear

To jump directly to the gear lists and weight summaries click here.

Our Golite Gust packs, at 20 ounces (567 grams) with no bells or whistles fulfilled our volume (5000 cubic inches, 81 liters) needs - they carried a lot of goose feathers. I rigged a sternum strap to help adjust the pack under load. We pushed the pack’s 30 pound carrying capacity limit, which helped us keep our loads honest. Early in the trip when the pack was maximized and we were pulling sleds the thin unpadded waist belt made our hips tender. We were thankful to be caching the sleds at the 11,000 foot (3352 meter) basin camp, especially after the hard second day around Kahiltna Pass with high winds.

The high winds persisted at the 11,000 foot (3352 meter) camp, putting our small tent to the test. The Stephenson Warmlite tent (2.5 lbs, 1.1 kilogram) was designed over 40 years ago and today is still one of the lightest high quality mountaineering tents on the market. The tent depends on its aerodynamics to withstand high winds with no guylines attached. As is expected in such cold conditions, condensation formed on the inner walls. The condensation accumulated primarily on the single-wall end sections rather than on the double wall section over the sleeping bag area. This minimized the dampness of our bags.

Another fairly unconventional item that we included in our shelter system was an 8 x 10 foot (2.4 x 3.0 meters), 14 ounce (397 grams) Integral Design Siltarp. Part of Integral Design’s “fast and light,” line this ultralight waterproof nylon tarp was great as a vestibule or awning. During high winds, we setup the Siltarp as a huge vestibule with snow walls digging down to make a cubbyhole great for cooking or just hanging out. Most of the time we did not so much encounter wind but intense sun instead. Using our poles and snow walls, we created a front porch (awning style) that allows us to stay out of the hot tent but remain protected from the blaring sun. The tarp was probably the most admired commodity on the mountain.

When it came to choosing technical gear, we had to ask ourselves, “what can we get away without?” and “what can’t we do without?” One thing we noticed was that many climbers carried excessive amount of technical gear: miles of cordalets, numerous screws and slings, and carabiners galore. The National Park Service provides fixed ropes and permanent pickets at all the technical locations leaving you to provide basic gear in case of a self-rescue situation. We reduced our technical equipment to two pickets, one ice screw, two Mammut Specter slings, two Petzel Tiblocs, and six CAMP Nano carabiners per person (Note:

The West Buttress does not have a high avalanche danger, so we decided we could “do without” an avalanche beacon. A probe, however, is useful for finding crevasses.

Choosing snowshoes instead of skis was a no-brainer for us. It is hard to pull a sled when you’re roped together on skis going downhill. Snowshoes are also lighter. Backpacking Light supplied us with Northern Lite snowshoes that worked great for travel on the lower glacier. We cached the snowshoes along with the sleds at the 11,000 foot (3352 meter) camp. Dependable footing is critical when one slip could be fatal so steel crampons were necessary. On the other hand, self-arresting on blue ice is challenging even with the best of ice axes so we felt safe with lightweight aluminum alloy CAMP USA XLA ice axes, which also assisted with the headwall climb above 14,000 feet (4267 meters).

Multi-purpose items and simplicity were the keys to our cooking system. All our meals were of the “just add hot water” variety, which allowed us to bring one four-liter cooking pot to melt snow for the two of us. Our MSR XGK stove provided the BTUs required to melt large quantities of dry snow in a short amount of time at high elevations. Some of our favorite parts of our kit were our homemade insulated yellow buckets. We purchased 32-ounce Nalgene containers that we insulated with blue foam and duct tape. The buckets were used for both hearty meals and hot drinks. We even used them to cook our Mountain House Pro-Pak meals with an extra half cup of rice. They were easy to clean too - just add water, cover, and shake.

Our sleeping setup was nothing fancy, but it was one place we did not want to skimp. After a bit of research, we chose REI 20-below Sub Kilo sleeping bags. The Sub-Kilo’s specs were comparable to bags costing twice as much. A basic blue foam pad cut to length served as both bottom insulation and as our “blue foam couch” under the front porch. Lastly, a ¾-length ultralight Therm-a-Rest provided a little more insulation under the torso.

When worst comes to worst you want to be warm. A good sleeping bag is one thing, but great layers are equally if not more important. It is crucial that when conditions become desperate you can throw on all your layers and keep moving until you can make camp. Matt and I tested our layering system on a 30-below ski tour in late February so we were confident that our clothing would see us through the Denali attempt. Key pieces included MontBell UL Down Inner Pants (7 ounces, 198 grams), Patagonia Specter Pullovers (6.5 ounces, 184 grams), Intuition Denali Liners (8.5 ounces, 241 grams), Patagonia Micro Puff Pullovers (12 ounces, 340 grams), and MontBell Ventisca down parkas (26.5 ounces, 751 grams). The Intuition Denali Liners are half the weight of standard double boot liners and thus dry quickly. This is important because you want your sweat-soaked liners to dry and not freeze overnight. The Patagonia Specter pullover was light and worked well for protection against any precipitation or wind. Finally, a down parka with a hood that you can throw on over all your layers when things turn for the worst is crucial, and the MontBell proved to be a good choice.

The Regrets

In the end, the only item we wished we had carried was a full-size snow shovel. The Snowclaw shovels are light and useful but when we could not poach a prefabricated tent site, building snow walls and digging out a site through hard ice layers was strenuous and back-breaking.

Conclusion

Slow and light is the only way I go anymore for mountaineering expeditions; not that I know any other way. It just seems like an unnecessary burden to carry a monster load when you can do it just as well carrying half the weight. Hopefully, all of you will find some ways to lighten up on your next mountaineering expedition.

Gear Lists

Agnes’ Gear List
FunctionItemWeight
Clothing wornouncesgrams
Patagonia Tights6.6187.11
Patagonia Capilene 2 Zip Neck5.0141.75
Patagonia MW Capilene Tee3.496.39
MH Windstopper Fleece20.0567
Patagonia Spector pullover6.2175.77
Patagonia Dimension pants20.2572.67
Koflach Degres boots60.61718.01
Intuition Denali Liners7.6215.46
OR Expedition Gaiters9.6272.16
Smartwool liner socks2.673.71
Smartwool socks3.290.72
Smartwool hat2.468.04
Patagonia Liner Gloves1.234.02
BD Shell Gloves3.496.39
Smith Empire sunglasses w/ case 2.673.71
Clothing Worn Total Weight154.64382.91
Other Clothingouncesgrams
Patagonia MW Capilene Tights (2)9.0255.15
Under Armour Long Sleeve6.0170.1
Patagonia Capilene MW Long Sleeve6.0170.1
Patagonia Micro Puff pullover10.8306.18
Montbelll UL Inner Down Pants5.8164.43
Montbell Ventisca Down Parka26.8759.78
Seirus Balaclava2.673.71
Comfort Skins Neck Gaiter1.234.02
Camp Booties14.8419.58
Integral Vapor Barrier Socks2.468.04
Bolle Goggles52
MH Subzero Down Mittens11.0311.85
Patagonia Liner Gloves1.234.02
Smartwool liner socks2.673.71
Smartwool socks3.290.72
Other Clothing Total Weight103.42931.39
Sleeping Systemouncesgrams
REI -20 Sub Kilo Short57.01615.95
Thermarest 3/4 UL 15.4436.59
Blue Foam Pad7.8221.13
Sleeping System Total Weight80.22273.67
Shelterouncesgrams
Stephenson Warmlite 2RL (shared)--
Integral Design Siltarp16.0453.6
Snow Stacks (7)9.0255.15
Snowclaw6.2175.77
Mammut Probe (shared)--
Shelter Total Weight31.2884.52
Cooking Systemouncesgrams
MSR SGK w/ Kit20.0567
OR Bottle Parka (2)18.4521.64
Nalgene (2)13.6385.56
33 oz MSR Fuel Bottle15.6442.26
Open Country 4L11.4323.19
Utensils2.570.88
Cooking System Total Weight81.52310.53
Packing Systemouncesgrams
Golite Gust w/ straps (S)20.0567
Paris Expedition sled (modified)24.0680
Packing System Total Weight44.01247
Technical Gearouncesgrams
BD Whippet20.6584.01
Camp USA XLA 210 (60cm)8.8249.48
BD Sabretooth Crampons36.21026.27
BD Bod17.8504.63
Camp Nano Carabiners (6)7.2204.12
Petzel Tibloc (2)2.879.38
Mammut Spector Slings (2)1.336.86
BD Express Screw 45.6158.76
Rope48.01360.8
Snow Picket 2'14.0396.9
Northern Lites Snowshoes43.01219.05
Technical Gear Total Weight205.35820.26
Other Essentialsouncesgrams
First Aid Kit4.0113.4
Toiletries6.0170.1
Repair Kit (shared)--
Freshetta1.028.35
Reading Book2.056.7
Other Essentials Total Weight13.0368.55
Consumablesouncesgrams
Food411.911677.37
Fuel128.03628.8
Water (1 liter)32.0907.2
Consumables Total Weight571.916213.37
Matt’s Gear List
FunctionItemWeight
Clothing wornouncesgrams
Patagonia Activist Tights8.6243.81
Patagonia Capilene 1 Tee4.5127.58
Lowe Alpine Midweight Top8.4238.14
MH Windstopper Fleece23.0652.05
Patagonia Spector Pullover6.8192.78
Marmot Precip10.4294.84
Lowa Denali Plastic Boots65.21848.42
Intuition Denali Liners10.8306.18
OR Expedition Gaiters12.2345.87
Smartwool Liner Socks3.599.23
Smartwool Socks4.0113.4
Wigwam Stocking Hat2.056.7
Patagonia Liner Gloves1.234.02
BD Shell Gloves3.496.39
REI Glacier Glasses w/ case4.6130.41
Clothing Worn Total Weight168.64779.81
Other Clothingouncesgrams
Patagonia Tights8.6243.81
Under Armour Long Sleeve7.8221.13
Patagonia Capilene MW Long Sleeve7.2204.12
Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover12.0340.2
Montbelll UL Inner Down Pants7.2204.12
Sierra Design Down Parka27.0765.45
MH Balaclava1.439.69
Columbia Neck Gaiter1.542.53
OR Camp Mukluks15.2430.92
Integral Vapor Barrier Socks2.468.04
Uvex Goggles6.0170.1
OR Mittens10.2289.17
BD Liner Gloves2.262.37
Smartwool Liner Socks3.599.23
Smartwool Socks4.0113.4
Other Clothing Total Weight116.23294.27
Sleeping Systemouncesgrams
REI -20 Sub Kilo Regular60.01701
Thermarest 3/4 UL 15.4436.59
Blue Foam Pad8.4238.14
Sleeping System Total Weight83.82375.73
Shelterouncesgrams
Stephenson Warmlite 2RL44.21253.07
Integral Design Siltarp (shared)--
Snow Stacks (shared)--
Snowclaw12.0340.2
Mammut Probe7.0198.45
Shelter Total Weight63.21791.72
Cooking Systemouncesgrams
MSR SGK w/ Kit (shared)--
OR Bottle Parka (2)18.4521.64
Nalgene (2)13.6385.56
33 oz MSR Fuel Bottle15.6442.26
Open Country 4L (shared)--
Utensils2.570.88
Cooking System Total Weight50.11420.34
Packing Systemouncesgrams
Golite Gust Pack (M)20.0567
Paris Expedition sled (modified)24.0680
Packing System Total Weight44.01247
Technical Gearouncesgrams
BD Whippet20.6584.01
Camp USA XLA 210 (70cm)10.0283.5
BD Sabretooth Crampons33.8958.23
BD Alpine Bod Harness14.0396.9
Camp Nano Carabiners (6)7.2204.12
Petzel Tibloc (2)2.879.38
Mammut Spector Slings (2)1.336.86
BD Express Screw (2)5.6158.76
Rope48.01360.8
Snow Picket 2'14.0396.9
Northern Lites Snowshoes43.01219.05
Technical Gear Total Weight200.35678.51
Other Essentialsouncesgrams
First Aid Kit-0
Toiletries-0
Repair Kit6.0170.1
Pee Bottle2.262.37
Reading Book2.056.7
Other Essentials Total Weight10.2289.17
Consumablesouncesgrams
Food411.911677.37
Fuel128.03628.8
Water (1 liter)32.0907.2
Consumables Total Weight571.916213.37
Weight Summary of Matt’s Gear
Total Weightounceskilogramspounds
Total Weight (Worn/Carried)359.910.222.5
Total Base Pack Weight329.39.3420.6
Total Weight Consumables (Sled)571.916.2135.7
Total Initial Weight (Pack + Sled)901.225.5556.3
Full Skin Out Weight1261.135.7578.8
Weight Summary of Agnes’ Gear
Total WeightounceskilogramsPounds
Total Weight (Worn/Carried)368.910.4623.1
Total Base Pack Weight343.59.7421.5
Total Weight Consumables (Sled)571.916.2135.7
Total Initial Weight (Pack + Sled)915.425.9557.2
Full Skin Out Weight1284.336.4180.3


Citation

"Doing Denali Light: Post-Trip Report and Gearlist," by Agnes Stowe with Matt Hage. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/hage_stowe_denali_light_post_expedition.html, 2007-08-29 00:00:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Doing Denali Light: Post-Trip Report and Gearlist


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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Doing Denali Light: Post-Trip Report and Gearlist on 08/28/2007 21:34:35 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Doing Denali Light: Post-Trip Report and Gearlist

Thai Wood
(Fenrir) - F
Editors? on 08/29/2007 02:50:22 MDT Print View

I don't mean to be overly critical, but I would expect a website with membership dues to have better editing. Especially in the first paragraph.

Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Editors? on 08/29/2007 05:45:19 MDT Print View

Hi Fenrir,

Thanks for pointing out the repeated phrase - it's been fixed.

Robert Mohid
(mohid) - F
Gearlist for timeframe on 08/29/2007 09:03:12 MDT Print View

First off, THANK YOU

But I would like to point out that's it's CRITICAL that it be clearly outlined that this gear was for a late May/ early June attempt. Someone using this list as a reference for an April/early May attempt should not assume their gear will be warm enough.

Edited following Matt's comments

Edited by mohid on 08/29/2007 13:40:36 MDT.

Matt Hage
(mattagnes)

Locale: Alaska
Denali Lite on 08/29/2007 12:42:28 MDT Print View

Ben: Thanks for getting this up on the web site. Hopefully my pack raft will be spared of any further death threats.

Just a couple quick clarifications. Our excursion was during the last two weeks of May. I've been high on the mountain in early May (brutally cold) and late February (beyond cold). My experience in the Alaska Range (10 years) is that you usually have a high chance of stable weather during the last two weeks of May and first two weeks of June. We tested our clothing system during a week-long winter traverse trip where the day time temps hovered in the 30-40 below range.

Regarding our choice of ltwt ice axes. We needed to be prepared to self arrest on a snow slope and the Camp axes are perfect for that. Secondly, they would also work in a crevasse fall situation where the victim needed to claw their way out of a slot. There is little to no need for hard ice work on the route.

Cheers
Matt Hage

Edited by mattagnes on 08/29/2007 12:51:14 MDT.

Thomas Tait
(Islandlite) - F

Locale: Colorado
Crampns on 08/29/2007 13:09:41 MDT Print View

Matt

I am curious about your choice in crampons. Why not some of the light aluminum type? Durability? Points dull quickly?

BTW great job on getting the weight of the gear down. Looks like you got it down to the essentials.

Edited by Islandlite on 08/29/2007 13:24:56 MDT.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Denali Light on 08/29/2007 14:35:39 MDT Print View

Please arrange your next Denali climb so that you get to enjoy a 10-day blizzard at the 17,200 high camp, so I can really feel confidant in your gear set-up.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
balaclava AND neck gaiter? on 08/29/2007 20:54:31 MDT Print View

Ordinarily I would only bring a balaclava. Many of them can be pulled down around the neck. Did you find you needed-needed the neck gaiter as well?

Edit: whoa I see the REI sub-kilos as +15 or +20, not -20 bags. But they are about 1lb 13oz, not 50 or 60 oz?? Where'd you find the heavy ones?
http://www.rei.com/search?vcat=REI_SEARCH&query=subkilo&x=0&y=0

Edited by Paul_Tree on 08/29/2007 21:10:07 MDT.

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: balaclava AND neck gaiter? on 08/29/2007 22:12:37 MDT Print View

Well the other hat is hidden in the clothing worn, so if its not enough for full balaclava, you can put just the neck gaiter and hat on. Personally I think they could drop one. I am very interested in whether neck gaiter + hat is a good idea, because its not really that much of a difference between a neck gaiter hat vs a balaclava (full coverage OR versions aside)

Its a typo i think. There IS an REI bag called the Kilo expedition or something like that, that goes to -20. Also in the same vein as my other question, it seems as if (and having never lived in an area that has gone below about -5), has anyone been in weather that has been too cold for a -20 but not for a -40? smart answers aside. Because I do have my doubts of cold penetrating 8 inches of 800 fill down.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Got it on 08/29/2007 23:06:58 MDT Print View

I see, yeah that is pretty decent of a price too: REI Kilo Expedition -20 Sleeping Bag - Regular $359

I would definitely think the balaclava is needed up there. High winds so you need a face mask and they stay on your head when you sleep.

Everitt Gordon
(Everitt) - MLife

Locale: North of San Francisco
extreme cold on 08/29/2007 23:33:48 MDT Print View

Actually it depends on how tired you are not how thick your bag is. Also the thin air of high altitude depletes your ability to create metabolic warmth. vapor bariers can help keep your precious heat from ozing away but ultimatly becoming exausted to the point you can't sleep warm can be real danger at high altitude.

Robert Mohid
(mohid) - F
Extreme cold on 08/30/2007 08:40:08 MDT Print View

Exactly,

The bag rating is secondary to your physical condition. I've overnighted in the open after a snow cave collapse. I spent the night in a -7C down bag out of the wind and a partner spent it outside in a -28c (-20f) bag. Ambient temp was about -18C with a 20mph winds.

I was f'ing cold all night but made it till morning unhurt with no loss in my "combat effectiveness". We had to pull my partner out of his -20 bag because his hands couldn't operate his zipper. We had to warm his extremeites against our bare skin before we has functional enough to dress and feed himself.

Thomas Tait
(Islandlite) - F

Locale: Colorado
Extreme cold on 08/30/2007 09:14:14 MDT Print View

High altitude adds complication to the equation of keeping warm when it is cold. If you are not generating internal heat it is impossible to stay warm regardless of all the clothing you may have. After a few really bad experiences carrying everything but the kitchen sink "just in case" I finally realized that fast and light was the way to go for me. Since that Ah Ha momemt I have really enjoyed many adventures at alititude without freezing my butt off.

I am attacking my ice climbing gear rack this winter to shave off some weight. Unfortunatley physics rules and things can only get so light and still function. I liked Matts approach - knowing there were fixed lines only take the gear absolutely necessary. Wait - I could free solo everything! There's 30 lbs lost right there.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Extreme Cold on 08/30/2007 10:44:14 MDT Print View

I think the previous postings are pointing out a very important aspect of winter camping. That is, “Sleeping bags and thick clothing do not MAKE heat, they PRESERVE heat.” Only your body can MAKE heat.

It does this by minor flexing of the muscles or, in the case of the shivers, major flexing of the muscles. Anything that involves the use of muscles is work and work requires energy. Where does energy come from for the body? …. Food. So, it is critically important to take enough of (and the right kind of) food to provide the needed energy. I for one would love to read more articles at BPL about nutrition/energy foods for cold trips.

The second part of the equation is “energy used.” In the summer, we can hike until we are panting like a dog and then sleep like a baby all night. However, if we don’t plan our winter trips considering the amount of exertion required, there may not be enough energy left over for heat production at night!

So, it seems to me that gear list planning for winter excursions needs to consider the choice of food just as importantly as the choice of a sleeping bag and, trip planning needs to strive to keep enough energy reserves for a good night’s sleep.

Edited by mad777 on 08/30/2007 10:45:28 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Extreme Cold on 08/30/2007 16:32:38 MDT Print View

Michael wrote:

> I think the previous postings are pointing out a very important aspect of winter camping. That is, “Sleeping bags and thick clothing do not MAKE heat, they PRESERVE heat.” Only your body can MAKE heat.

> gear list planning for winter excursions needs to consider the choice of food just as importantly as the choice of a sleeping bag and, trip planning needs to strive to keep enough energy reserves for a good night’s sleep.

ABSOLUTELY, for BOTH.
You read about climbers getting into their tent so tired they can't melt water or eat any food. Then they get high altitude sickness, collapse and wonder why.

More articles on nutrition - hum, a good thought. The problem is that people prefer/eat such a huge range of foods, and what suits one person does not suit another. I've seen menus featuring turkey stuffing, gravy and mashed potato - frankly I couldn't!

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: Denali Lite on 08/30/2007 18:42:15 MDT Print View

I have a question regarding all the base layers that you brought. Do you intend to use them as a change of clothes for a 2 week expedition, or as in the Light and Fast with Gary Scott article, as multiple layers instead of just one?

Henry Liu
(henryliu) - F
fixed lines and tiblocs on 08/30/2007 23:21:36 MDT Print View

I heard the fixed lines were too thick for the tiblocs to act like jumars which only handle up to 10mm rope. Is this true? Don't you need a full size ascender then? Thanks.

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: fixed lines and tiblocs on 08/31/2007 12:02:43 MDT Print View

Petzl shows on the side of a tibloc the diameter range they are designed for is 8,5mm to 11mm. They are reported not to work well on frozen ropes (no eprsonal experience). An iced up 11mm would have the problem of maybe getting too big to squeeze into the tibloc, and also ice plugging the gripper teeth. Full size ascenders are much easier to deal with when wearing gloves.

Matt Hage
(mattagnes)

Locale: Alaska
Re: crampons on 09/02/2007 17:35:19 MDT Print View

Crampons: Ltwt aluminum spikes could be a fine choice for the West Buttress, but since we made the choice to go very light on the ice axe, we wanted to make sure that we had excellent footing when presented with blue ice. There was a very exposed section of blue ice above Lunch Rocks this season. A one-foot wide trail of packed snow switched-backed up the slope, but we did crunch up a lot of bullet proof ice on that section. Four times actually with our carry of supplies to Windy Corner. On that type of ice, which is common on this route, a full strength ice axe is not going to help after you get sliding, but full strength crampons will bite perfectly as long as you don’t hedge or catch a gaiter.

Matt Hage
(mattagnes)

Locale: Alaska
Re: balaclava AND neck gaiter? on 09/02/2007 17:41:23 MDT Print View

Packing a balaclava, hat and neck gaiter may seem redundant, but this system covers three levels of cold on Denali’s West Buttress. You can wear just the hat on most days or combine with a cozy neck gaiter on colder/windier days. And then you wear the balaclava under the hat and neck gaiter before tucking back into your parka hood on those stretches of brutal cold/high winds. It’s layering for your head/neck.