Mt. Shasta Packing List

Yes, all this gear fits in that backpack.
Yes, all this gear fits in that backpack.

This weekend, I’m hiking up Mt. Shasta with a couple of friends.  This will be one of my friend’s first winter mountaineering ascents, so I wrote up an email with a detailed packing list. Here it is:

Hey, I’m finally getting around to sorting my gear and wanted to send you some infos just so that you’ve got another perspective on the gear required. My general philosophy is going to be “bring lots, leave some in the car.” It will allow for changing conditions before we start. Also, there’s a balance between extra layers, backups, and taking as little as possible. Just know that this list is going to err toward taking extra layers. With the conditions looking fairly mild, I’ll plan on ditching some things.

Jeff did a great job of outlining everything in his email. This is really just a bit more level of detail, and what I’m specifically bringing. Let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.

10 essentials:

  • Map – will be provided.
  • Compass (we’ll have this in triplicate, you should have your own but don’t worry about it)
  • Sun protection – sunglasses and sunscreen. Must have solid, stick style sunscreen. Chapstick!
  • Extra food – Clif bar type things.
  • Extra water.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Light – headlamp/flashlight.
  • First aid kit. Bring whatever you know how to use. Ibuprofen is handy for slight altitude headaches. Contact lens stuff, other sorts of medical incidentals. Moleskin, bandaids, etc. for blisters.
  • Fire. Lighter, striker, matches. Tinder.
  • Knife. Lightweight, small.

(I bring a lot of other “essentials”—mostly odds and ends that I’ve found I would really want in an emergency situation, like spare shoelaces, but that’s just me.)

Person clothing:

  • Socks:
    • Two pair, very heavy mountaineering socks.
    • One pair, very light liners
    • Justification — my boots fit big, but I’m going to be trying a new footbed which should take some room. If I need to fill space, I’ll wear both big mountaineering socks. The liner will be a backup, since it’s light and doesn’t take up a lot of room. If the footbed takes up a lot of room, I’ll wear the liner and one sock, using the spare as a backup for dampness.
  • Long underwear. Just one, synthetic.
  • Underwear. Just one, synthetic.
  • T-shirt. Just one, synthetic.
  • Hiking pants. This might get left in the car.
  • Ski pants. Mine have zips all the way down the side, so they can vent as much as I need when I get hot.
  • Gaiters. Full mountaineering style.
  • Light wool layer, top. My base layer for the top.
  • Medium wool layer, top. Same as above, slightly thicker, good for layering.
  • Puffy sweater. Patagonia “Nano.” Insulation layer.
  • Synthetic hoodie. Hood is great, fits under helmet. Insulation layer.
  • Softshell. Outer, wind resistant layer.
  • Rain jacket. This will probably be left in the car.
  • Gloves
    • Two pair, primary and backup. The backup might be left in the car in favor of the liners below.
    • Lightweight liners. More comfortable for mild weather hiking. (I have a spare of these if you need them.)
  • Balaclava, very thin, works with the hoodie above to seal off the neck area.
  • Neoprene hat thing. Like a condom for your head. Very warm and windproof, fits under helmet.
  • Glacier goggles — or very dark sunglasses. Mandatory. Can replace with ski goggles.
  • Handkerchief, for covering face, sealing neck. Large size.

This clothing list is probably overkill since the conditions look pretty mild. Note, I’m not bringing a parka-type heavy jacket, though that would be a viable option and would make some of my insulating layers redundant.

Personal gear:

  • Headlamp, with spare batteries (cold affects batteries).
  • Spare flashlight, for camp and backup.
  • Chemical handwarmers, optional.
  • Wide brimmed hat for warmer weather when not wearing helmet.
  • Summit pack, optional. Big enough to fit everything for the summit, lighter weight than full pack.
  • Wag bag. We’ll get these with the permits.

Hard gear:

  • Helmet
  • Crampons
  • Mountaineering boots.
  • Axe
  • Tent – we’ll share this.
  • Shovels – Jeff has two.
  • Hiking poles, optional, nice for the hike up, but won’t be used on summit day.

Camping gear:

  • Stove/pot/fuel/spork/cup. I have a spare spork. Bring a plastic cup for coffee, if you’re as addicted as I am.
  • Water carrying ability:
  • Two water bottles (I have enough for you.)
  • Water bladder. Tube will not work in cold weather, but it’s good for storing water.
  • Two sleeping pads. One must be closed cell foam.
  • Sleeping bag, rated at 0 degrees.


  • Oatmeal for Saturday morning (base camp).
  • Tortillas and single-serve peanut butter and jelly, lunch.
  • Tortillas and dehydrated fajitas, snacks (dinner, high camp).
  • Tortillas and single-serve peanut butter and jelly, breakfast, high camp.
  • Clif bars/gummies/snacks, summit.
  • Snacks, hike back down.

Snacks can be jerky, nuts, pre-packaged things, whatever you’ll want to eat when you’re not very hungry but need calories. Should be dense, fatty. Sugar is good for rapidly accessed energy, but not ideal. Clif bars freeze and get very difficult to gnaw on.

This food list is really boring. I’ll have some things to spice it up, like cheese and salami. I might swap out the PB&J for some lunch meat and cheese. Here’s a link to some more creative options.

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