Gear. The word is music to an adventure lover’s ears. Any excuse to bury yourself in a local REI is a reasonable one. But buying climbing gear for a mountaineering trip is no small task.
In a matter of a few weeks, I’ve been introduced to cool, rugged brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Grivel, and Black Diamond. My “to-buy” gear list has consisted of an ice axe, long underwear, crampons, windproof/waterproof gear, and no fewer than three new jackets. I’ve delved into the difference between lithium and alkaline batteries, and ordered a helmet cam so that my hands are free for grabbing onto fixed ropes.
One thing that I wish I new before is that this stuff is highly specialized. It takes research prior to being purchased, to be sure you’re getting the right size. One can’t simply go into a local outdoor retailer and try on mountaineering boots. They need to be special ordered. They need to be tested indoors. If you test them outdoors, the pricey boots cannot be returned. Or so I’ve, um, heard from other people…
What I can say is that this is the most exciting, nerve-wracking, and fulfilling shopping trip I’ve ever been on. I didn’t just buy a fitted tee, I purchased windproof, sunproof, goatproof clothing. I can see in the dark (thanks headlamp), and be seen in the dark. My new mountaineering boots alone weigh over three pounds. They’re shiny, yet refined.
My belief is that ever gal should own clothing to weather the elements. Heels have their place, and mine are going nowhere. But change up your wardrobe with some Gore-Tex, or add a little Marmot. You’ll be prepared for anything, and it may bring out your inner warrior. At the very least, it’s a fun shopping trip.