This coming Monday, I am launching for my first trip of the season on the South Spur of Washington’s Mount Adams. Unfortunately for us—although summer was well underway last week—we have returned to the wet weather pattern that typifies the month of “June-uary.” Forecasts disagree about the exact amount of precipitation, but all models are calling for cool temperatures and significant rain for our first two days. With that in mind, here is what I am taking for a three-day guiding ascent of this moderate snow route on a major Cascades volcano (12,676′).

Given the relatively easy approach (on trails, 4 miles, 4000′ gain), I have tailored my equipment with the goal of simply staying dry for the first two days (approach day and a skill development day) …and having my fingers crossed that our summit day actually provides the nicer weather that is currently forecasted. The low amount of technical difficulties (read: no glaciers) of the trip have reduced my gear weight, although I am still taking a rope to provide security (and navigation help) in the early season conditions.

So what’s in there exactly?

Clothing System
The North Face short sleeve synthetic shirt
RAB windshirt
Patagonia R1 Fleece
Outdoor Research Helium II (superlight, waterproof shell)
Patagonia Triolet Gore-tex jacket (Gore-Tex shell)
The North Face synthetic puffy jacket
Outdoor Research Trailbreaker pants
Patagonia lightweight wool base layer bottoms
Patagonia synthetic boxers
Outdoor Research rain pants
Feet: 2x Smartwool Mountaineer socks / Vapor barrier socks / La Sportiva Nepal Evo boots / REI mini gaiters / flip flops
Gloves: Black Diamond Kingpin / Black Diamond Sensei
Head: Outdoor Research visor / beanie / Buff / Julbo Explorer sunglasses
Golf umbrella (seriously)


Camping System
Cilogear 60L Worksack
Feathered Friends Swallow sleeping bag 20 degrees w/compression sack
Thermarest NeoAir pad w/stuff sack
Rab Latok Mountain eVent tent (ultra-waterproof single wall tent)
2 liter Platypus bladder / 16oz wide mouth Nalgene
Orikaso folding bowl / REI titanium folding spork / Ursack Minor food bag
Mini toothbrush / trial-size toothpaste / pre-cut floss
Aquamira water purification
Refillable bottle of sunscreen / 2 chapsticks
Lighter / Light My Fire Firesteel firestarter (works when wet!)
48oz collapsible Nalgene pee bottle / Blue bags (waste management) / TP
Garbage bag backpack liner

Technical Equipment
CAMP Nanotech Corsa ice axe
Black Diamond Neve strap crampons w/ USPS Tyvek mailing bag for storage (light, poke-resistant, free!)
Black Diamond Whippet trekking pole / BD Expedition flicklock pole
Petzl Meteor III helmet
30 meter ½ rope

Guiding Equipment
Casio digital wristwatch (a loud alarm is key!) / Suunto Core altimeter watch
iPhone w/Gaia GPS app / DeLorme InReach satellite locator
Mount Adams map / beta / Suunto compass / Garmin eTrex H GPS w/spare batteries
Integral Designs 8′x10′ Guide Tarp (for the climb and as a basecamp shelter)
Black Diamond Storm headlamp
Rite-in-the-Rain notebook / Brooks Range notebook cover / mechanical pencil / Sharpie marker
First aid kit / Homeopathic remedies (Arnica, Rhus Tox, and Apis) / Epi-Pen
Repair kit (Gorilla Tape, pack waist buckle, Thermarest patch, Gore-Tex patch) / Leatherman tool
Kitchen kit (folding spatula, folding spoon, 8oz dipping cup, pot scraper, sponge)
Spare summit mittens (Outdoor Research)


Your gear pile looks small…so what’s not pictured?
Harness – I’m not taking one (bowline on a coil!)
MSR Whisperlite Stove w/33oz fuel bottle (better for cooking for guests)
Cook set (2L pot, 1.5L pot, stove board, frying pan)
Food (2x breakfast, 3x lunch, 2x dinner)
paperback book (still choosing which one)

I’ll post a few photos of the pack and it all being used when I return—once I dry out!