Everest
Kit and Equipment


Documentation
[ ] Passport (must be valid for 6 months after trip)
[ ] Copy of the information pages of your passport (pdf / scan / digital photo to be sent in advance)
[ ] 4 x passport photographs (please bring with you)
[ ] Nepalese Visa – this can be obtained on entry – 2 x passport photos and £ or US$ or €uros required (please note that there are no facilities to obtain photographs at Kathmandu airport). Alternatively contact the Nepalese Embassy to arrange for a Visa in advance
[ ] Insurance – this MUST include helicopter rescue, repatriation, be valid for Everest and the issuing company must accept we may need to instigate proceedings without first contacting them. Try the ‘Ripcord‘ Rescue Travel Insurance policy from Redpoint Resolutions.
[ ] Money (£200 to £350 personal spending for trip and £150 for Kathmandu depending on souvenir hunting ability. Do not change money at the airport as there are money changing facilities where you will get a better rate of exchange in the Thamel District of Kathmandu)
[ ] There are cash points in Kathmandu so bring your credit cards just in case


Trekking In & Base Camp & Acclimatisation

[ ] 45-55 Litre rucksack will suffice for the trek in
[ ] Approach shoes
[ ] Lightweight trekking boots (in addition to approach shoes just in case it snows during the trek and we can therefore avoid getting cold wet feet). Something that is reasonably substantial like the Trango Evo , Scarpa Rebel or a suitable alternative.
[ ] Gaiters (again just in the event that there is any snowfall during the trekking phase)
[ ] Lightweight spikes (again this is just in case we have conditions underfoot that may compromise safety). Available in KTM
[ ] Tevas / sandals (optional)
[ ] Base Camp booties (with some sort of rugged sole) (optional – available in KTM)
[ ] Waterproof jacket
[ ] Waterproof overtrousers (must go over your plastic boots for use up to Camp 2)
[ ] Duvet jacket
[ ] Windproof top (optional)
[ ] Fleece (optional)
[ ] Lined windproof (highly recommended instead of the windproof top and fleece mentioned above – Marmot’s Driclime, Mountain Hardwear Tempest, Berghaus Rage, Rab VapourRise etc)
[ ] Thermal / wicky tops x 4 or 5 (mix of short and long sleeve). Check out Icebreaker, Macpac and Smartwool
[ ] Also thermal / wicky long sleeve tops x 1 or 2 in light colours (white or light grey) for when we are on glaciers or in The Western Cwm. Again check out Icebreaker, Macpac and Smartwool
[ ] Thermal leggings. Yet again check out Icebreaker, Macpac and Smartwool
[ ] Trekking trousers / softshell pants x 2 or 3 prs (NO Tracksters by Ron Hill please!)
[ ] Underwear x 5 (absolute minimum).
[ ] Good quality trekking socks x 3 or 4 prs. You can’t beat Smartwool
[ ] Light gloves (depends on circulation as to how thick they should be) – Powerstretch suggested
[ ] Sunhat (baseball style hats not so good as they offer no ear protection from the sun).
[ ] 3 x 1L Water bottles (See Note 1). Please ensure that they are marked in some way so that you can identify them because everyone else will have bottles just like yours
[ ] Water bottle insulation covers (available in KTM)
[ ] 4 season sleeping bag. I recommend the Solar Flare Endurance by The North Face or The Wraith by Mountain Hardwear. Also worth checking out the range of bags by PHD and the Rab bags too
[ ] Sleeping bag compression sack – with your name on it
[ ] Sleeping bag liner – optional but stops your bag getting too soiled and adds extra warmth depending upon type (available in KTM)
[ ] Karrimat / Thermarest / Ridgerest (repair kit required if using Thermarest) – with your name on it
[ ] Beanie style hat or silk balaclava (must be comfortable to wear when sleeping i.e. no big seams and poppers to jab you in the head)
[ ] A buff (great multifunctional piece of clothing)
[ ] LED headtorch for knocking around Base Camp (Petzl / Black Diamond)
[ ] Sunglasses (See Note 2Go to Sunglasses gear review
[ ] Nose guard (optional)
[ ] Sunglasses hard case
[ ] Sun cream – Factor 45 or above. Personally I am a great fan of the Nivea spray although it can freeze higher up (see notes below about extra gear you might want to bring)
[ ] Lip salve with sun block
[ ] Plastic insulated mug for Base Camp (optional as metal cups are available but drinks soon go cold in them)
[ ] Toiletries
[ ] Sponge or flannel (makes washing your bits a lot easier)
[ ] Towel
[ ] Small personal 1st aid kit (See Note 3)
[ ] Personal medication (See Note 4)
[ ] Foot powder (optional)
[ ] Wet wipes (available in KTM)
[ ] Antibacterial Hand gel (a couple of 50ml tubes should suffice – available in KTM)
[ ] Multi vitamins (optional)
[ ] Earplugs. You never know – the person you may be sharing with in the teahouse or on the mountain could well be a snorer! And even if they aren’t they may well have some bouts of sleep apnoea which could keep them, and you, awake.
[ ] Penknife / multitool
[ ] Watch with alarm
[ ] Trekking poles (optional / personal preference). It’s got to be Leki … or Black Diamond
[ ] Personal stereo + batteries (optional)
[ ] Camera + Lots of Film / memory + Spare camera batteries
[ ] Personal solar charging system (optional). The powermonkey eXplorer is one of the best small systems I have come across. Solar panels on their own are fine (but limited) – this one has a battery for holding power when your device is already charged so it is very versatile. Even better is the more recent powermonkey extreme (with battery) and solarmonkey adventurer (with integrated battery)
[ ] An international plug adaptor for recharging purposes when in teahouses
[ ] Waterproof rucksack liner (the Exped range are great)
[ ] Some ziplock bags usually come in handy
[ ] Reading books
[ ] Diary
[ ] Pen
[ ] An old (working) mobile phone with charger. You can buy a SIM in Kathmandu card for around Rs500 and it’s about Rs18 per minute to phone the UK (subject to signal of course) rather than £2.00 to £2.50/min. PLEASE REMEMBER your charging cable
[ ] 2 / 3 Kitbags for portering gear and storing it in your tent (90L recommended). Available in KTM. Please make sure that these are well marked and easily identifiable because you don’t want your ‘it’s a black / red / yellow 90L duffle’ to get confused with all the other similar items that are going hither and thither with other teams
[ ] A few heavy duty plastic bags to keep your packed items waterproofed in to your kitbag. Or, better, a selection of coloured drybags so you know what is packed where – all marked with your name on
[ ] A few clothes pegs will probably come in handy
[ ] Small combination padlocks (no keys to lose) that fit kitbag zippers
[ ] Tips for the crew (US$200)
[ ] Also US$1,000 (for your Summit Day Sherpa)


Personal Mountain Equipment

(this is IN ADDITION to the above equipment already listed)

[ ] 55-65 Litre rucksack. This needs to be comfortable when loaded and should have side compression straps rather than side pockets. NOTE – If you are particularly good at packing you may well be able to use your trekking rucksack if it is versatile enough (for instance the POD Black Ice, the Crux AK47 (extendable) and the Crux AK57 all have a floating lid, side compression straps, elasticated webbing and are a reasonable volume and will do for the trek in AND on the mountain). Having said that the Mountain Hardwear South Col is a 70L sack that is incredibly lightweight and packed with great features. But if you bring it then please, please don’t overfill it with extras.
[ ] Down suit. Check out the Absolute Zero Oversuit by Mountain Hardwear, the Ulvetanna Suit by Berghaus, the Himalayan Suit by The North Face and the Expedition Suit by Rab. Or for a bespoke suit then contact PHD (in particular check out the latest in down suit design with the PHD Double Suit). Please remember that not all suits are equal and, indeed, you won’t be able to try on many suits and compare them in a like for like situation because generally they are only stocked by a minority of suppliers and, of those specialist shops, they will only hold one or two comparative brands. For a detailed comparison have a look at my comprehensive Down Suit review. Please DO NOT bring the Mountain Equipment Redline Suit.
[ ] OR a High Altitude Down Jacket and a pair of Down Salopettes or trousers. I have used the Absolute Zero Parka and the Absolute Zero Pants by Mountain Hardwear on Everest and found them to be awesome. Rab and PHD also do jacket and salopette combinations. Whatever you get you must make sure that they are compatible with each other and that there is sufficient overlap – if the jacket rides up and the wind starts getting in then you are going to have real problems
[ ] 5 season sleeping bag. Have a look at the Inferno Endurance by The North Face, the Ghost SL by Mountain Hardwear and the ultra cold range of bags by PHD who have the biggest selection
[ ] Sleeping bag compression bag (with your name on it!)
[ ] Sleeping bag liner – optional but stops your bag getting too soiled and adds extra warmth depending upon type (available in KTM)
[ ] 5 season foam sleeping mat with your name on it (don’t bring 2 Thermarests as they will slip on each other)
[ ] Double layer mountaineering boots for use up to Camp 2. Please DO NOT bring Scarpa Alphas – they are not warm enough. Scarpa Vegas (with HA liner), La Sportiva Spantik, La Sportiva G2 SMBoreal G1 Lite etc are all fit for purpose. The Scarpa 6,000ers are a little bit on the light side and possibly aren’t warm enough. What you actually need is the Scarpa 7,000er – but they don’t make one.
[ ] Gaiters (wide enough to fit over the ankle of your plastics when going up and down to C2 – the OR Expedition Crocodile is a good example)
[ ] Millet Everest boots (see my boot review) / Scarpa Phantom 8,000ers / La Sportiva Olympus Mons for beyond Camp 2 (See Note 5)

– latest update … Adventure Peaks are offering my clients 15% discount on high altitude boots, down suits and sleeping bags and other items in their shop (excluding electrical items, books and maps). They have a very good selection and are very knowledgable. Please visit their shop and mention our expedition. The same applies with Needlesports (15% discount … or 20% on orders over £2,000) except they don’t have as many brands of boots and suits to choose from.

[ ] Foot warm up pads (air activated heat pads) – highly recommended. Better to be slightly too warm than slightly too cold
[ ] Crampons – Heel clip and ‘French’ straps or thermoplastic ‘Y’ toe piece preferred. (See Note 6)
[ ] Consider whether you need crampon extension bars for your 8,000m boots (above around size 44 depending on the boot and crampon)
[ ] Also consider whether you need long straps for your crampons (check before you come please!)
[ ] Crampon antiball plates (should come as standard nowadays)
[ ] 4 x long heavy duty plastic cable ties or a spare crampon strap (emergency crampon repair)
[ ] Headtorch. Modern LED head torches are pretty good nowadays and the Petzl Myo RXP does the job … but I’d recommend taking a fresh set of batteries to The South Col for the summit bid (I’d also probably avoid the rechargeable types unless you can swap out to regular batteries)
[ ] If using AA batteries then remember that whilst Lithium batteries come in at a whopping £6.99 a pair they are substantially lighter and last up to 5 times longer than Alkaline batteries, particularly in cold conditions. In the long run it means that for every 4 AA Lithiums (£13.98) you would need 20 Alkalines (£20) which would weigh in at half a kilo!! Check out 7dayshop.com – they usually have some very good deals going.
[ ] Softshell pants
[ ] Warm good quality mountaineering socks x 4 prs. Again it’s got be Smartwool (and save one pair, brand new and unused, for summit day)
[ ] Liner gloves
[ ] Mountain gloves
[ ] Down mitts. Have a look at the The North Face, the Marmot Expedition mitt, the Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Mitt and the OR Alti Mitt. Please note that the Rab expedition mitt is pretty bulky and some people find it difficult operating a jumar whilst wearing them
[ ] Mountain hat that covers the ears or a headband and beanie, or a beanie and a buff
[ ] Balaclava
[ ] Face mask (optional – Thin neoprene skiers mask covering nose and face to protect from cold wind). The North Face do the ‘Heat Exchange’ balaclava which I used on Everest when going up and down the higher parts of the mountain without oxygen and it was brilliant. It doesn’t appear on their web site though so you may need task specifically with your local retailer or buy online.
[ ] Category 4 Goggles. Check out these Julbo models
[ ] Light weight harness. DMM do the Super Couloir which is the biz. It packs down small, is easy to put on and is very light and has one, easy to thread buckle. Or have a look at the Black Diamond Couloir. Please note – DO NOT bring a Black Diamond Alpine Bod (Why not? (See Note 9))
[ ] Lightweight Figure of 8 (not a chunky group abseiling device) – try the Super 8 by Black Diamond
[ ] Belay plate as a back up (or just don’t drop your Fig 8 in the first place! See the ‘How to deal with fixed ropes’ article for a cunning approach to using a Fig 8 without dropping it.)
[ ] Jumar (available for hire). Beware the Black Diamond nForce – their moving parts have been known to freeze up in frosty conditions.
[ ] 5 x locking Karabiners. HMS / Pear Shaped Karabiners preferred due to ease of use with gloves on and wide gate opening (but NOT the old DMM Boa – they don’t fit through the holes in the jumar). ‘Autolocking’ style karabiners are NOT recommended.
[ ] 1 x 1.5m length of 5mm cord
[ ] 1 x 4m length of 8mm or 9mm dynamic cord (for making cows tails to use on the fixed ropes. Available off the roll from Needlesports)
[ ] 1 x 120cm sling
[ ] Helmet – light plastic helmet preferred to a polystyrene one. The ultralight helmets are very easily crushed or damaged when being portered
[ ] 1 x ice axe with leash. A classic Alpine axe will be fine -the likes of DMM CirquePetzl SummitBlack Diamond Venom and Grivel Air Tech
[ ] Plastic bowl or Tupperware box for meals above Base Camp (See Note 7)
[ ] Plastic insulated mug (See Note 8)
[ ] Plastic spoon
[ ] 2 x 1/2 litre waterbottles for inside your down suit on summit day (see Nalgene Tritan and Nalgene Polythene) (See Note 8)
[ ] Pee bottle (wide mouth Nalgene 1 litre water bottle … but please make sure that it is a different colour to your water bottles and marked accordingly to avoid any confusion!)
[ ] OR a Shewee (please practice before using on expedition)
[ ] Zinc oxide sun block stick


Extra Equipment you might want to also consider
(this is IN ADDITION to the above equipment already listed)

[ ] Extra 1 litre water bottles. Personally I have 5 x 1 litre bottles and 2 x 1/2 litre bottles so that I can constantly have cold water available. I don’t find hot water particularly refreshing, or palatable, but that is what is provided as standard by the cook crew. So I have a bottle of cold water that I am drinking, a bottle that is cooling and a bottle that I have just filled with hot water. In addition I can then leave a water bottle at Camp 2 which will be there for when I go back again on the next rotation (as well as the one that I will carry down the hill with me and another few waiting for me at Base Camp). These are available in Kathmandu if you want to buy a few before the start of the expedition.
[ ] a 2nd Pee bottle (wide mouth Nalgene 1 litre water bottle). Again this is an item that I can then leave on the mountain rather than carting up and down to use at Base Camp and at the high camps.
[ ] Small (and I mean really small) tubes of sun cream for when we’re on the mountain. 2 tubes would probably suffice in addition to the other tubes of sun cream that you’ll use for the trek. A non freezing (oil based) cream is recommended or something like a dermatone stick or small tin of zinc oxide cream
[ ] Hotronics (battery operated foot beds if you are a cold person – optional). If you have any doubts about your circulation (bearing in mind that it will be compromised by the lack of oxygen the higher you get) then these could well make the difference between summiting or not.
[ ] Overboots (must fit over plastics – optional. Depends on circulation). BUT I have to ask … if you are bringing overboots does that mean that your boots just aren’t warm enough?
[ ] A pillow! Yes you can make something with a down jacket popped in to a stuff sac (and indeed that is what I do on the hill) but at Base Camp … a pillow is the business. Thermarest do the compressible pillow or you could get one on the international flight (but don’t tell them I told you).
[ ] Down booties. You can get these in the UK or at a fraction of the price they are available in KTM. Great for knocking around in at Camp 1 and Camp 2.
[ ] A hat that will keep the sun off your neck no matter where you are. The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is an excellent choice and whilst it may not look very fashionable neither does sunburn. Another alternative is the Jack Wolfskin Supplex Hat.


Notes

1. Nalgene Lexan wide neck preferred – won’t burn your hands when it’s hot, easy to fill with hot water and won’t stick to your lips when cold. Platypusses (Platypae?) / Camelbacks are ok for trekking (beware the tip dropping on the floor in the teahouse) but are absolutely NO good for early starts or on the mountain – the tubes freeze even with insulators. NOTE – Please DO NOT bring Sigg bottles. They are a nightmare to fill with hot water, they will invariably burn you if you use them as hotties in your sleeping bag, you’ll spill water everywhere when you try and fill from a pan of water when cooking on the mountain, they are prone to leaking if dropped or damaged and will stick to your lips when they are cold. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!
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2. Glasses MUST provide 100% UVA/UVB block. Category 4 are required on the mountain. If you are wanting to look chic then sunglasses are fine for knocking around Base Camp but must hug the cheeks reasonably well so that light doesn’t bounce up from the rocks and ground around you (minimum Cat 3 for the trek and at Base Camp). Alternatively glacier glasses with detachable side pieces may be the answer. For the mountain Category 4 glacier glasses are a must.
Go to Sunglasses gear review
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3. Plasters, blister kit, paracetamol, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts, immodium, dextrose tablets – all these items are available in Kathmandu. Please note that Diamox and antibiotics such as Amoxycillin and Ciprofloxacin are also readily available in KTM at a fraction of the cost of a prescription. There will also be a comprehensive expedition 1st aid kit but it is handy if you have a few bits and pieces to be able to deal with minor injuries and ailments yourself whilst on the mountain. For more information please read Health and Hygiene and Altitude issues which will expand on this in more detail.
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4. I need to be notified of any personal medication that people may be bringing so that I can prepare the group 1st aid kit accordingly. I will also need to know of any allergies to food or drugs that members may have. This will all be in confidence unless it is deemed important enough for other members to know about – in which case this will only be done with your consent.
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5. Make sure that your boots are oversized for you so that you can comfortably wear 2 pairs of good quality mountaineering socks in them. To that end make sure that you buy a couple of pairs of socks that are plenty big enough to fit over your regular socks without constricting your circulation. It’s also worth making your own insole from a section of sleeping mat if there is enough volume in the boot to allow for this. If in doubt err on the side of caution as it would be a shame to have to turn back because you have cold feet. Half a size too big is far better than half a size too small.
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6. Your crampons must be totally compatible with both pairs of your boots. This is not only in terms of the rigidity of the boot and the crampon but also you need to pay attention to the curvature of the boot and crampon. If the boot has an asymmetric shape from heel to toe then the crampon will need to have an asymmetric shape or you can often buy asymmetric bars to cater for this. Also the curve of the crampon should match the curve of the sole – don’t try and force a boot with a turned up toe on to a crampon with a totally flat profile or vice versa. You will possibly need an extension bar if your boots are of a larger size. The best bet is to take your boots to a reputable outdoor shop with staff who are knowledgeable in these matters. Please DO NOT bring metal toe bail crampons unless they are a VERY good fit and there is a very deep recess for the bail at the front of your boots. Please bear in mind that if you buy metal toe bail crampons that you may be very limited to the next pair of boots that you buy as the fit has to be very precise. With crampons that have a heel clip and ‘French’ straps or thermoplastic ‘Y’ toe piece at the front you will have much more flexibility with the boot / crampon fit in the future.
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7. A 1 to 2 litre round (no corners for food to hide in) tupperware box works well for cooking and eating on the mountain. For instance, when we have couscous you can add the water, seal the lid and place it in your down sleeping bag. 7 minutes later ‘Hey presto!’ – you have a meal and you haven’t spilt a drop. We will have a cook crew at C2 but will be cooking for ourselves at C1, C3 and The South Col. Having said that most of the meals that you will be cooking up are boil in the bag type meals so, for Everest, a tupperware box is an optional extra.
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8. Again this is very much a personal preference. A mug works really well at Base Camp for keeping drinks warm – but on the mountain a 1/2 litre wide mouth Nalgene bottle will do a better job, there is less likelihood of spillage and it is very versatile. The other beauty of the 1/2 litre wide mouth bottle is that it then duplicates for your summit day water supply. Personally, on summit day, I start out with a 1 litre bottle of hot water in an insulated carrier attached to the outside of my rucksack and use this one first. Once this is finished I stash it at The Balcony and then use the 2 x 1/2 litre bottles of hot water that are inside my down suit top to keep me hydrated to the summit and back. The pockets on some brands are a little snug and a 1 litre bottle won’t sit so well inside your suit but 2 x 1/2 litres are just the ticket.
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9. It’s not often that I get really opinionated about kit because there is so much good stuff out there nowadays. But I am afraid that I find the Black Diamond Alpine Bod to be an unacceptable piece of gear. Yes it’s light and packs down small and is reasonably easy to put on but it has some MAJOR drawbacks. It doesn’t have a belay loop which means that you have that funny dangly bit at the front of the harness. ‘So what?’ I hear you say. Well there are 2 downsides to this. Firstly they recommend that for abseiling you clip a locking karabiner vertically in to the leg loop and waist belt, which means that it is captive, which means that you could quite easily get a 3 way load (BAD). There have been a number of instances in the past where Fig of 8s have broken locking karabiners open (VERY BAD) and people have become detached from their abseil rope (EXTREMELY BAD). I hasten to add that this has not happened with any of my clients. I would also add that I don’t know what harnesses these people were wearing at the time – but it would appear that they did have their locking karabiner in the manner described rather than in their belay loop. The second drawback of this dangly bit is that it is quite possible for you to only connect yourself to the dangly bit and to ‘miss’ threading your rope or cowstail in to the waist belt by accident. Hard as it may seem to you in the comfort of your sitting room or office when you read this, but there have been occasions where people have inadvertently clipped in to their rucksack waist belt rather than their harness waist belt. You are tired, you have big gloves on, you have a big down jacket on that obscures your vision, a pair of big goggles, it’s windy and you clip in to the leg loop dangly bit but not the waist belt of your harness, you have a big rucksack on and before you know it you are upside down. Why take the risk? Just DO NOT come along with an Alpine Bod.
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Discount

You get a discount with Needlesports on clothing and equipment of 15% for orders over £1,000 and up to 20% if over £2,000 (depending upon what items are being ordered). Please contact Needlesports directly on info@needlesports.com and mention that you are on this expedition. If you are only needing a few items and won’t qualify for extra discount then contact me and I can put you in touch with a fellow client and you can put in an order together.

Whilst this is a comprehensive list you will know what items of clothing and equipment you regularly use and what works well for you. If you have any questions about what is required, or what can be hired, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Tim Mosedale