The average pack weight for our Rainier climbers is roughly 35-40lbs for our 3.5 day climbs via Camp Muir and the Disappointment Cleaver and roughly 50-55lbs for our Emmons or Kautz Climbers. Below are a few techniques and tips that will help you shave some weight from your pack.
- A lot of people ask if their ski jacket and ski pant will work for the required stormshell layers. The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes but you might want to consider other options: the average ski jacket and ski pants usually weigh twice (sometimes more) what the simplest Gore-tex shell layers do. Consider renting or buying lightweight Gore-tex layers. (Saves 1-2lbs)
- Leave the crampon case behind. They’re great while traveling, but should typically be left in the car while the crampons are strapped to your pack itself. (Saves 4oz.)
- Toiletries: most of this can and should be left at home. All you’ll need on the climb is a small toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste along with any other absolute must haves… You’ll live without deodorant, lotion, bug spray, facewash, nail trimmers, q-tips, etc. (Saves TBA)
- Sunscreen: You do not need an 8oz tube. For a 3 or 4 day climb a simple 1oz tube along with some chapstick will do just fine. (Saves 7oz)
- How heavy is your actual pack? Some packs weigh in at 7lbs while others come in at 3 or 4lbs. Consider upgrading your pack to save the weight. (Saves 3lbs)
- Personal Food: Don’t try to save weight here. Bring foods you like to eat! Do spend some time thinking/planning your snack consumption for the trip.
- Sleeping Bags: Again there are tons of sleeping bags that will work, but the weight:cost ratio comes back into play here. Example: Feathered Friends 10 Degree Raven bag (2lbs 5oz) vs. other comparable 10 Degree bags in the 3-4lb+ range. (Saves 1lb+)
- The insulated (puffy) jacket. There are a lot of options on the market these days that are ultralight and others that are ultraheavy… For a typical Rainier climb you don’t need the Antarctica Down Suit of jackets, a quality mid-weight puffy is what we’re looking for. A hood is strongly recommended. We rent the Outdoor Research Chaos (21-24oz.). (Possible weight savings 8oz.)
- Extra clothes: you don’t need extra underwear, extra long underwear, extra t-shirts, etc. By the end of the climb we all stink and that’s ok – it sure beats dragging unnecessary items up and down the mountain. (Saves 1lb).
- Cup, bowl, spoon. That’s it for your kitchen needs.
- Compass & GPS: Keep it simple here. Unless you like to follow along these can be left behind. (Saves 6oz)
- Camera, phone, batteries, etc.: Photos are important to everybody so definitely bring your small camera and an extra battery. Cumbersome cameras, lenses get in the way and actually result in fewer photos being taken.
So you can see there are lots of ways to save weight when packing for your next climb. A lot of these come at a financial cost but others are simple and productive. Do your research and you’ll be just fine!