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A peak climbing is a bit different from the common mountaineering. Professional expeditioners believe that a summit challenge requires a special gear. Basically, because of high altitude, cold temperature, snowy areas and the level of danger.
However, there are also low and quite safe peaks, which can be conquered in a couple of hours and don’t demand serious fitness or equipment preparation. But they are not the ones you can be proud of showing their pictures to your friends and grandchildren.
Although each climber defines personally what is less or more important, any item of the list below should not be excluded from the summit climbing gear. Of course, if your life matters.
Personal summit climbing equipment
- Alpine Climbing Harness
It is important to choose lightweight and simply designed harness with foolproof and reliable locking features.
It is suggested to use steel crampons with anti-balling in order to ensure a climber to be able to toe point securely into ice surface. If the crampons are light and fit good – they are perfect.
- Ice axe
When choosing a mountaineering axe, a climber should consider his height. For example, men under 5’2 feet should use a 50 cm axe and those who are above 6’0” need to purchase a 70 cm one.
Ascender (or Jamar) is a mechanical device which is used for ascending on a rope. A climber has to work with it positively either in gloves or in mittens.
- Accessory cord
It is necessary to have a 30-feet of 6 mm accessory cord before going to the summit. Two slings (10-feet and 6-feet) are also required.
- Standard carabiners
It is recommended to have at least two locking carabiners (preferably, large and small) and four regular. D-shaped wire gate carabiners are better than the old school ones because they are more reliable and more lightweight (and easier in use).
- Belay device
Summit climbers normally choose Figure 8 or ACT rappel device. At the same time, they use Munter Hitch for an additional safety.
- Trekking/ski poles
For the peak approach, adjustable types with snow baskets are the most suitable.
- Multi-LED head-lamp
Such kind of lamp along with a couple of reserve batteries are very important in the night and snowstorm.
- Prusik loops
Professional climbers used to take a few prusik loops, which are considered to be handy and helpful in different situations.
The only recommendation here is to choose the best quality for the price.
- GPS navigator/watch
A good GPS watch with altimeter and high level of resistance provides an essential support for the mountaineers. Its battery should be fully charged.
- Climbing helmet
A climbing helmet is a vital gear, which can prevent serious injuries while crossing areas under hanging rocks and ice cliffs.
Other equipment can be optional and varies according to the topographic details, weather conditions, physical shape and, actually, wallet size. However, such great summits as Denali in Alaska or Everest in Nepal-China border, have strict requirements.
For example, oxygen. Although there are some climbers lucky to summit Everest, K2 and K3 without oxygen supplement, most of agencies and providers do not allow to begin an expedition without at least one personal bottle (in average, 5-6 bottles are used per 1 person when climbing Everest).
In addition to the small first-aid kit, it is highly recommended to have a bottle of anti-altitude sickness medication called Diamox (Acetylzolamide). Water-purification tablets, cold medicine, antibiotics for chest and stomach infections, anti-diarrhea and anti-headache pills are also often considered to be very useful.
As for the food and drink, it can be purchased in base camps, so it is not necessary to carry on.
Regarding rucksacks, sleeping bags, clothing and boots each climber decides by himself. The main features that need to be taken into account, are reliability, comfort, and lightweight.