Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mount Baker Gear List

Used on the Squak Glacier Route
July 23-27, 2008

To help those folks planning their trip, here is what we took, and what I thought about it. Keep in mind that this route is also done as a day ski trip by skiers much stronger than myself; this list is for climbing.


  • Backpack - Big for the hike in and yet good for stripping down and climbing with.
  • Tent - We debated between a 'mid and a "three person four season" tent. Without a ground tarp for both of us, we chose the tent. Heavy, but worth it.
  • Pad - Warm
  • Sleeping Bag - Synthetic. I used a down inner bag and synthetic overbag from MEC, a system which I've used in the past with a lot of success. Jen brought a down bag which just got flatter and flatter; Baker is pretty wet.
  • Warm Clothing - Synthetic, with a bivy option. I brought two synthetic insulated jackets, and used them. I love the Wild Things jackets. It didn't freeze on the mountain when we were there, but it came close.
  • Boots - Both Jen and I brought double plastic boots, we probably would have been fine in single waterproof mountaineering boots.
  • Waterproof Clothing - A must. However, I climbed in softshells the whole time and stayed pretty dry.
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen - It's a white, bright world out there.
  • Bivy Tent (Bothy Bag) - I use the OR Lighthaven during the winter for getting out of blowing snow during the day. It weighs about a pound and holds two.
  • Headlamp - Something bright. I used the Black Diamond Soliras, too bad they don't make it anymore, it rocks.
  • Gloves - I brought three pairs and was glad I had an extra dry pair always stowed.
  • Regular Clothing - Socks, long-sleeved light colored shirt for staying cool on the glacier, underwear, softshell pants
  • Knife - Useful for cutting cheese
  • Food - 3,000 calories a day plus two extra days for weather. We should have brought more stuff sacks for raven protection, to double the stuff sacks so there are no holes at the opening.
  • Water Container - Four liters capacity minimum. We drank 3-4 apiece on summit day and it still wasn't enough. I use my MSR Drom.
  • Stove and Fuel - The MSR Reactor simply dominates in cold, windy conditions. No contest with any other stove in terms of performance for the weight.
  • Map, Altimeter, and Compass - Should be obvious.
  • SPOT messenger - Useful for letting our emergency contact know that we're OK
  • Poop bags - I find the blue bags offered by the forest service somewhat lacking. I prefer the wag bags that you can get at REI or the like - well worth the $2 to reduce the smell and leakiness, in my opinion.
  • Shovel - Tent platform leveler, snow cave creater, snow transporter for melting into water.
  • Rope - We used a 50m 8.9 (?) mm half rope. Worked great for two people with 80-100' spacing.
  • Tools - One axe and one tool apiece. The tools were mostly used for anchoring, and I also bring mine to use in my crevasse rescue system.
  • Pickets - We brought four as a team, with a sling or cable and carabiner for each one. I wish I had brought like eight. I love the Yates pickets with the cables. I hate the MSR pickets.
  • Transceiver and probe - Just in case, though more probably we would have been swept into a crevasse with how open the glacier was. But avalanche conditions were being reported as active until early July, so we brought them.
  • Screws - Four, just in case. Probably would have needed them anywhere other than the surface snow.
  • Crampons - Used briefly for better traction. The snow was overall soft.
  • Helmet - A must.
  • Crevasse rescue equipment - I brought four lockers, three slings, a measured texas prussik setup, and two ovals. Plus about 17' of 7mm cord to chop up if needed. I would have liked two more lockers. We used prussiks on the changeover for running belays, which were fast but less ideal than a belay device.
  • Harness - light and fast.
  • Wands - Brought 50, used about two thirds. We would have used more if the route wasn't simply obvious (i.e. the only way you could go between tightly broken crevasses) for much of the climb.
  • GPS - Usually not in technical gear, but now I think it deserves to be. I am usually against GPSes, but they have admittedly saved me a lot of frustration when things are still doable with a compass but take longer.
In addition to the items above, I would have brought a weather radio. Other than that and more pickets and carabiners for them (for sure) I felt that we packed pretty well, though somewhat heavy.

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