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Mt Whitney Preparation

Two more days until I head up to Lone Pine in my attempt to summit Mt. Whitney! Needless to say, I am excited! The last couple nights I've woken up in the middle of the night looking at the clock and asking myself, "Is it time to go yet?" only to realize I have days to wait. So, until my actual departure, I plan and pack!

We have a pretty big group that will be reaching the summit with us. Out of the group, I am probably one of the more well versed hikers and have been fielding the majority of the questions for the group. "What kind of questions?" you ask? Well they are everything from "Besides a tent and sleeping bag; what else should I bring?" to "What type of water filter should I bring? Gravity or bottle filter?"

Today's post is about my gear. My heavy gear ;) I tend to pack heavy and yes "Every ounce counts" but I pack heavy for comfort especially since this hike will be relatively short on distance on the grand scheme of things.

So first... My big three! I am currently using a Osprey Atmos 65 pack, with a MSR Hubba Hubba tent, and an REI Igneo sleeping bag. And now for the why on each of these...

My Pack! I like my pack... yes, "Like". What do I like about it? Well, it is a comfortable pack! I like the way it sits on my back and hips, and love the compartments. I like that the back has a web for flip flops and this thing can hold a ton and is still pretty comfortable. (I am sure I am going to screw this up) I like the breeze way they have built in between the backpack and your back that allows for breathing, but this can also make the pack feel distant from the body from time to time (at least for me). I like my pack to be snug to my back to limit the "swaying" feeling of your pack not being right on your back... maybe that's just me. My only other gripe about my pack are the side pockets. The can be tough to get to, hold very little, and don't seem to close properly all of the time. If you have a map in this pockets, it an be cumbersome to have to pull them out, then put them back. All in all, I like my pack and will keep it until it no longer serves me well (Or until Santa brings me something new)

My Tent! MSR Hubba Hubba! Love this damn thing! Yes, it is a two person tent and I could be lighter without the added weight, but I have also been caught in a pretty heavy rain storm in my tent and it served me (and my pack) really well. I like the added space to stretch out, or potentially have my pack in the tent with me, and I like that I can sit up fully and do what I need. And lets face it, you see the MSR Hubba Hubba all setup at camp and it just looks cool! Right?

My sleeping bag! I've got the REI Igneo, and "Yes" it is a mummy bag. Do I like it? I like the overall warmth of the backpack, and I like that the whole thing compresses down to the size of a Chipotle burrito in a stuff sack. I'm usually sprawled out in bed when I sleep, so I find the confinement of a mummy sleeping bag rough, but all in all it works for me.

My other stuff..

Sleeping pad. I used an Exped xlite inflatable sleeping pad. It is a full sized sleeping pad because I am full sized man. I don't do the 3/4 or 1.2 size pad. I've done it in the past and it has always bothered me.

For water filter I like the Platypus Gravity feed filter. There is a little more going on with this filter than something like the Sawyer, but after you get a couple of hoses connected, it filters a lot of water fast, which makes for a great time showing off when your friend are sucking from a filter attached to their bottle.

Cooking! For the most part I carry a JetBoil and re-heat my favorite, and not so favorite, re-hydrated meals (If you are looking for a tasty meal, try the Backpacker's Pantry Chana Masala. It's a bit spicy, but really good!)

First Aid. Yes, I always carry a first aid kit. I haven't had to use it on myself, but it always comes in handy for others. Most used items in my kit... Mole Skin, Asprin, and Athletic Tape. Least used... Mount to mouth cover and instant ice pack.

Clothes. Now... I tend to go light on the clothes because I run hot. I typically get away with a pair of synthetic shorts, a t-shirt, a thin Merino wool layer (When it's chilly out), and wind breaker (For breaking wind). I have heard Whitney can be really cold in the morning, so I preparing for that.

My final bit of gear... a flask of Maker's Mark! Might not be the best idea to take whiskey up there with me, but there is no chance in hell I am going up there without a flask!!

That's about it! Wish me luck as I make my way to the summit! I am looking forward to the climb, but more importantly, looking forward to spending some time outside with my good friends.

Now get out and hike!

::UPDATE::

Couple of quick updates.

1.) The mornings were far colder than I expected!! As we left trail camp and started climbing, the temp dropped rapidly!! I did not have gloves, and had to stop taking pictures at one point because my hands were fucking frozen! I couldn't feel the button on the side of the phone to swipe to get the camera.

2.) Bring micro-spikes! We were able to find a way around the snow at the top of the mountain, but micro-spikes would have made the climb easier at the top.

3.) Get ready for altitude sickness! They says carbs and Aspirin help with AMS. I took both and was fine. If you start to feel it, slow your pace and wait for a bit. ::They say Viagra helps for it too. No shit!!::

GOOD LUCK!!

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