Blue Skies Adventures
Mark’s Mountain Equipment List

Below is a rough guide of what you need to take on the mountain and why, sometimes there will be a hot springs arranged after the trip which is why you'll find swimming gear mentioned:
Remember this is a rough guide' and not all items are essential, but they may make the trip more enjoyable or comfortable if you have better or more appropriate gear.
Do not go out and spend a fortune on new high-tech gear just for one mountain trip. Try to make do with what you have, you can rent or borrow stuff from friends. If you are going to buy then put your money into your backpack and boots. Tents and insulated sleeping mats are provided, let us know what you need.


1 Large backpack: (at least 50 litres) remember you may have to carry a tent, camp food, water and a small backpack inside. If you turn up with only a small pack you'll have to carry food or a tent in your hands. Backpack cover.


2 Small backpack or waist bag for the peaks: You'll need this on summit day to carry your snacks and warm clothing or just use your large pack between 2 people.


3 Sleeping: Bag (ideally it will be good for 0 C. especially if you are going over 3,000m. Bag liner; will add extra warmth and keep your bag clean.
Thermo rest or sleeping mat. You may also want to take an inflatable pillow, good for the drive up and if you carry it with you on the mountain it might give you a better nights’ sleep.


4 Good walking shoes or boots: Waterproof or Gore-Tex, ideally you should wear something with ankle support. The rule of thumb is large pack use high boots, small pack, low tops are fine. The heavier the weight you are carrying the better ankle support you need.
If you buy new shoes or boots buy a pair about one size larger than what you normally wear and make sure you break them in well before the trip. Your feet swell up when you are walking for several hours, 2-3 pairs of socks (wear two pairs on the way down, more comfortable on the toes) If you are using an old pair of boots take them out for a dry run before the trip, they might be in a worse state than you think. You don't want to lose your sole on the mountain, just in case take a role of insulating tape for a repair job on the trail.
On a hot springs trip in the mountains or on a river walking trip do not take good boots, there could be several river crossings and they'll get destroyed. Instead take proper river walking (neoprene) shoes or an old pair of sport shoes. On all trips you should take a pair of sandals for the campsite.


5 Walking stick and knee straps: Not essential, but something I never leave home without. The walking stick will give you an extra boost uphill and balance going down. Ideally you should get one with a wrist strap so that you can let it swing on rope sections of the trail. Your knees will feel like jelly on a long downhill, the knee straps take out the shock and give you a little extra support as well as protecting your knees if you wipe out.


6 Plenty of warm clothes: 3 - 4 layers, expect temperatures below 10 C in summer and below 0 C. in winter. For every 1,000m of ascent the temperature drops 6 degrees i.e. if the temperature at sea level is 18 C. then it will be O C. at 3,000m regardless of the time of year. Several layers of clothes will give you greater warmth than one heavy layer. Use light polyester dry-flo material, never take cotton it makes you sweat more, is heavier and difficult to dry. You should take both short and long pants for hiking, if you are going through dense undergrowth your legs will get cut to shreds, the same applies to your upper body, take both long and short-sleeved shirts.


7 Two hats: One for sun with a wide brim and one for cold, ideally a balaclava-style wind stop, gloves and scarf.


8 Rain gear, jacket, pants and gaiters: The jacket should be light weight and breathable, a heavy one will make you sweat more. The pants should have zips so that you can put  them on or take them off over your boots.  A good pair of gaiters will keep the water out of your boots. You could also consider taking an umbrella, a good one will act as a walking stick, keep most of the rain off you and on a hot day use it for shade.


9 Washing gear: toilet paper, towel and any other toiletries you made need i.e. sun screen, lip chap and vaseline. Vaseline is very useful to treat or prevent chafing.


10 Eating utensils: knife, fork, spoon and/or chopsticks, bowl and a cup.


11 Torch/head lamp: and spare batteries, this is very important as you may be climbing to a summit in the dark for sunrise or going on a midnight nature walk.


12 Electronics: i-pod, camera, binoculars and cell phone. You probably won't get reception on the high mountains, but take it with you anyway.


13 Swimming gear: Hat and goggles if we are going to a hot springs on the way home or swimming gear for a mountain hot spring. Also on a mountain hot spring trip you should take a steel cup or bowl for digging out the hot spring, very important.


14 Meds': Naturally if you are taking any prescription medication make sure you have a sufficient supply with you. At altitude you may experience headaches, regular painkillers will help for mild symptoms. For more severe symptoms you must descend at least 500m. If you are having any problems let your guide know.
Before embarking on a mountain trip read up on particular conditions associated with altitude, e.g. high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) Consult your physician before starting a course of any medication for mountain sickness and be aware of the side-effects. On a trip lasting several days you can supplement your diet with multi-vitamins


15 Hydration: Either use a camelbak tube system or use bottles in the pockets on the outside of your back pack. Dehydration is a major problem on a mountain, with the wind and cool mountain air you may not realize you are sweating, but you are. You should drink systematically, either stop every half hour or kilometre to drink. Generally, you will need to drink approx' half a litre - 1 litre per hour. An early sign of dehydration is finger swelling, take off your pack, eat, drink and rest for a few minutes, the swelling will go down immediately. When you pee, check the colour of your urine, the darker it is the more likely you are dehydrated, drink more.
Hyponatremia; is an electrolyte disturbance in which the sodium concentration in the plasma is lower than normal. In other words salt deficiency. The more you sweat the more salt you lose which will result in cramping or in an extreme case death. Prevention is easy; salt your water with a juice/salt/water concoction, approx' half a tea spoon per litre, take salty food, such as peanuts or cheese for snacks on the trail or take sport drinks or sodium tablets.


16 Snacks: Always take more than you think you will need, fresh and dried fruit, trail mix, chocolate etc. You may not need it, but if you get caught on the mountain with bad weather or the trail has been destroyed by a landslide that extra food might save your life.


17 Miscellaneous; something to read (you decide if you want to carry it) full change of clothes to be left in the car, notebook and pen (you won't be able to remember the details when you get back to the city) detailed map of the area (especially if you going without a guide) compass, whistle and altimetre. ID and contact information for next of  kin on your person (to whom and where should your remains be sent?)


18 Basic first aid kit: You should have some band aids, iodine, gauze or bandage, insect repellent and mole skin (artificial skin cover for blisters)


19 Camp chair: If there is only a short walk involved, as in the hot springs trips, or if we are camping near the car, take a chair with you if you have one.


20 Here you can see a short film of a helicopter rescue from Big Ghost Lake. The purpose of showing this is not to emphasize the danger involved or to scare you off a trip, but just to let you know that if you come on our trips there's a full support team behind us. And perhaps it will make you think twice before venturing off on your own.