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The Mac Daddy Rainier Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while climbing is layering. To receive maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This equipment list was created to help you choose your equipment for the climb. Feel free to e-mail me should you have any questions regarding the equipment list.

The weather on Mt. Rainier is unpredictable and can deteriorate rapidly in a storm. Be prepared for weather extremes ranging from 70F to -20F, with snow and high winds. Conversely, be prepared for plenty of sun and protect yourself with sunscreen, glacier glasses, and clothing.

(List taken directly from REI's website)

Jack Squat

CLIMBING EQUIPMENT (available for rent)
*Climbing boots: Double plastic boots
*Crampons: 12-point rigid or hinged
*Ice axe: Measure to center of palm when standing w/ arms hanging at sides
*Ski poles: For hike to Camp Muir
*Backpack: minimum of 5500 cu. in. for internal and 4500 cu" for external frame
Accessory cord: 25 ft of 7mm cord to make Prussik loops. (Optional: mechanical ascenders)
Carabiners: 3, one of which is locking
Gaiters: Knee length, able fit over boots
*Sleeping bag:
May - Rated from 0 to 15F.
Sept. - Rated to 20F minimum.

PARKA * (available for rent)
Synthetic or down - A parka with hood is required in addition to the Gore-Tex shell jacket and other required upper-body layers. A heavy, ski-type, insulated jacket is minimum. The parka is worn over all other layers, primarily on rest breaks and occasionally while climbing.

Wool sweater or lightweight fleece sweater or jacket. (100 or 200 weight)
Thick fleece jacket (200-300 weight)
Wool or fleece pants: preferably with full-length zipper
Long underwear: synthetic light- or midweight top and bottoms. (No cotton!)

Waterproof, breathable jacket w/ hood. Large enough to fit over insulating layers (this is in addition to your parka).
Waterproof, breathable pants (preferably with full length zipper).

Balaclava or warm hat and neck gaiter
Baseball cap or other sun hat
Thin liner gloves
Insulated mittens or gloves: fleece or wool - 2 pair
Waterproof shell overmitts
Socks: three changes of liner and outer sock combination (no cotton!)
Camp shoes: i.e. running shoes/tennis shoes or down booties

Sunglasses: very dark lenses and side shields (glacier glasses work best)
Ski goggles
Headlamp: should have a strong beam; bring spare bulb and batteries
Sunscreen/lip balm: minimum SPF 15
Food utensils: 1 large bowl, insulated mug, spoon and pocket knife
water-bottles: two 1-quart wide-mouth bottles
Personal medical kit: aspirin, moleskin, cold/flu medication
Toiletries: keep to a small minimum
Large plastic trash bags (2) to keep gear and pack dry (optional: pack cover)

Snack food: Bring your favorite snacks - Powerbars, gorp, etc.
Hiking shorts: quick-drying
T-shirt: one or two (No cotton!)
Earplugs: for better sleep (highly recommended)
Book, cards, journal
Insulated water-bottle holder

Thoughts and ideas:
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.

  • NO COTTON! Cotton drains body heat when wet and is not an acceptable fabric when climbing. Please wear wool or synthetic clothing.

  • A very good way to minimize the risk of blisters is to wear a thin liner sock under your regular thicker hiking socks. The liner sock should be made of a non-absorbent, wicking material -- NO COTTON. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.

  • Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes and colors to differentiate the contents. Plastic bags are good for separating wet clothing and keeping dry clothing dry. Also, keep in mind there are many marmot-rat-bastards up there.

  • Earplugs might sound trivial but you will be very happy to have them if your neighbor snores (I do) or if the wind is blowing at 60 mph!

  • We'll set a quick pace immediately upon departing the guide house. Keep your pack as light and streamlined as possible. I'm using my Camelbak PeakBagger Weight of your pack is a major factor. Do not overpack because I hate carrying other people's extra shit! I do when I have to because I refuse to litter.

  • Also, a great place to find good deals on gear is I've bought gangs of stuff there, especially their wicking under garments for like $10 each!