Gear Picks For A Climbing Trip In The Winds
The thing about climbing in the Winds is there's no running back to the car in case you forgot something. The approaches are big—so you have to be prepared. Here's what was in Shingo Ohkawa's pack on a recent trip into the range to put up a new route in Titcomb Basin.
- Mesh Ditty Sack
This unassuming piece of gear was perfect for storing my toothbrush and toothpaste, nail clippers, band-aids and Benadryl. (I am now severely allergic to beestings).
- Durable Stuff Sack
This waterproof stuff sack was great for keeping personal electronics dry, for storing and organizing clothes and doubling as a pillow! With conditions as variable as you'll find in the Winds, it's great to know you can keep things dry.
- Bug Bucket
Wyoming's Wind River range is legendary for its mosquitoes, and on the worst days—typically the first warm, stable high pressure days—this hat/bug-net saved us all from excessive blood loss and that ever-present, annoying buzz.
- Floodlight Jacket
A big puffy—in July? Indeed. We had snow at base camp on at least four of our twelve days there, and at night, the temps would often hover around freezing. This piece saved me!
- Cathode Hooded Jacket
Synthetic fill—in this case, PrimaLoft—is valuable piece of mind in these mountains, as the range is known for afternoon thunderstorms. Light, compressible and warm even when wet, this piece saved us on our first attempt on the route, when rain, sleet, then snow brought our climb to a halt.
- Deviator Hoody
This garment wins the expedition MVP award, hands down: It's lightweight, quick-to-dry, and boasts a super-wide comfort range. I barely took mine off. Whether climbing, hiking, or even resting at base camp, this top does it all.
- Filament Jacket
A down sweater this light earns its place in my pack every time. When moving fast in the mountains with minimal gear, you'll regret not having it along when conditions get, well, interesting.
- Old-School Flex-Tex Gaiters—or their betteer, newer cousins, Flex-Tex II Gaitors
These are collector items that have been with me since my first trip to Patagonia, over a decade ago. Light, stretchy and breathable, they're ideal when paired with approach shoes.
- Helium II Jacket and Pants
The logistics of opening a big, new rock route in the Titcomb Basin can be a challenge. Conditions can change dramatically, often at a moment's notice. Light, ultra-compressible waterproof gear means there's more space left in my pack to carry other essentials like a synthetic puffy, a wool beanie and a pair fleece gloves--not to mention everything else!
- Pic of my puppy, Hazel--She didn't join us this season, but was there with us, in spirit!
- Sequence Tights
Long underwear bottoms were obligatory on our new route, which sees, on a good day, very little sun and is almost always windy and cold. I can safely say that our success would have not been possible had I not worn this thin, dry next-to-skin layer under my Ferrosi Pants. And by day four or five, the odor-resistant Merino held our partnership together.
- Lodestar Gloves
These accompany me on every alpine adventure, whether climbing, skiing or trekking, no matter what. The Most. Versatile. Alpine. Handwear. Ever. Made.
- Helium Hybrid
Changing conditions in the mountains require maximum versatility in a minimal package, and my Helium Hybrid affords me the best of both worlds: breathability when moving quickly, and moisture protection when things get ugly.
- Voodoo or Ferrosi Pants & Shorts
Stretch-woven fabrics are especially ideal for alpine rock climbing. They're flexible, water-resistant and supremely breathable. I brought along a selection this year to complement the variable conditions. The Voodoo, with its slightly more rugged construction, was the perfect choice for climbing days, especially given the rough texture of Titcomb's rock. On day hikes and on gear-caching missions, the Ferrosi pant was my go-to; a bit more air-permeable than the heavier Voodoo, these bottoms help me regulate temperature when slogging under full sun, or with a heavy load. My Ferrosi shorts came out anytime the conditions were pleasant, but before the mosquitoes emerged in earnest.
- Astroman Shirt
It's a bummer to have to choose between technical and casual. This shirt is both.
- Echo Tee
As you can see, I'm never without my favorite next-to-skin layer. Great as a stand alone, or worn under a Deviator, these tees and long sleeves are an integral part of my kit, all year round.