The Adrenalist

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Essential Mountain Climbing Gear and Tools



Nothing defines adventure more than climbing a mountain, but packing up some essential gear will make all the difference on your journey to the summit.

Few Adrenalists are able to climb a mountain without the essential equipment, unless you’re attempting a free solo climb. If you plan to climb a mountain sometime soon, you need to bring along a few pieces of essential gear.

Here’s everything you’ll need in your pack to climb a mountain.

A Compass

One thing that’s a must whenever you go into the wilderness at all is a compass. It’s very easy to lose your orientation, and when you’re climbing a mountain, that’s basically all you have keeping you going toward the top in the correct direction. (You can’t just walk straight up: following the correct path and avoiding dangerous areas is essential.) It’s important to be able to use your compass correctly, also; orienteering is a skill in and of itself, and misuses of the compass can also lead to you getting lost and taking a much longer route to the summit than you might have planned on.

Additional Clothing and Shelter

Preparing for unpredictability is an enormous aspect of any wilderness expedition. Mountain climbing involves an even higher rate of unpredictability than usual, thanks to the changing weather and the more extreme conditions that often exist at different altitudes. The best way to confront this is through two contingencies: packing extra clothes and packing an easily established, portable shelter. The shelter can either be something like a tent or a space blanket that’s waterproof, allowing you to protect yourself from a night spent in the rain or wetness. The extra clothing should be along the lines of outerwear and underwear: the material closest to the skin as well as the material that would most enable you to withstand extreme conditions like high winds and precipitation.

A Swiss Army Knife

Preparing for contingencies is the name of the game when getting together climbing gear, and a Swiss Army knife is basically a built-in failsafe. Any number of functions can come in handy when you’re out in the wild and short on tools, including the pliers, wire cutters, scissors, knife, corkscrew, and can opener — not only for preparing food and managing your other gear, but also clearing brush and obstacles, repairing and transforming your clothing, and for matters of first aid, like preparing bandages. The other virtue of Swiss Army knives is that they’re highly portable, and therefore, don’t take up a huge amount of your very valuable gear-space: packing all of the separate items that are contained by the tool would be a huge hindrance.

Sources of Fire

Fire won’t always be an option when camping or preparing meals on the mountain, but you want that choice to be available as much as possible, whether it’s for warmth or for food purposes. And to do so, you want to pack something along the lines of waterproof matches or firestarter-type material, much of which is available commercially.

First-aid Gear and Environmental Protection

A first-aid kit might seem like an obvious need when heading outside of civilization, but people tend to be reluctant when considering the worst-case scenario. That’s a mistake, and it’s also a mistake to think that a first-aid kit might only be used in the worst-case scenario; if you suffer a cut or minor scrape, you’ll want to tend to it carefully so as to minimize the chance of infection or other complications. And it’s just as important to come prepared with sunscreen and bug spray. Even if it seems cloudy or the weather is inclement, sun exposure can be a serious issue, especially when you’re spending long sustained periods without any shelter. And bugs can be surprisingly present in unlikely scenarios, particularly if pooling water or similar environments are an issue. None of these things are items that seem particularly extreme or outstanding in relation to the activity of climbing a mountain, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

Cover Photo Credit: Pete /

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