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Countdown to Mount Rainier: Packing Day One

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
3 min read

Or, in other words:

I just practiced peeing standing up.

And then, I almost forgot to put the seat down.

It’s Monday of Rainier week.  I’m not officially on the move until our gear check at 3pm on Wednesday down in Ashford at Whittaker Mountaineering.  For those of you following along, we’re doing the 4-day Mt. Rainier Summit Climb with RMI to benefit Big City Mountaineers.  I’m climbing with an amazing group of women, and can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated the support of those of you who have sent in well wishes, pep talks, and financial contributions to our climb.  Thank you, sincerely!

The nitty gritty of today… I am going over my gear list, in a get-it-all-together-and-start-actually-packing-instead-of-just-inventorying-way, and figuring out what’s still to figure out.  I have the unusual, lucky, problem of having gear items to choose between rather than the more typical problem of having a long list of items to acquire.  With thanks to the brands I work withExpedition Hanesbrands, local retailers including Feathered Friends and Mountain Gear, my kick ass roommate and her gear stash, a few review items from Adventure World magazine, and my vast bins of gear, I’m well equipped.  Mostly.

Some gear decisions are set in stone.  The gummy worms are packed.  I’m taking my beloved Mountain Hardwear Clouds Rest sleeping bag, because it weighs in over a pound lighter than my synthetic bag.  I’m also trusting that I’m packing small enough to use my Arc’teryx Altra 62 pack.  I know that’s small for a Rainier pack, but our gear list is a little smaller than what I’ve carried in my 65 liter for mountaineering trips before (no tent, no stove, no sleeping pad) so even with a ton of food (and I do mean a ton… I’m not yet finished packing, and my food bag is already HEAVY) and all of my necessary layers, I’m optimistic that I’ll just barely squeeze into the 62.  There’s no question on helmet… my beloved Petzl Elia is coming with.

Said standing-up-while-peeing is thanks to my shiny new Freshette with great thanks to all of the brave female bloggers who have come before me in the pee funnel — I mean, female urination device / director — arena.  Actionwipes, earplugs, and other essential toiletries just moved from my overnight bag to my pack, so that was easy.

Still to be finalized are things like harness (I just tried on my precious Arc’teryx climbing harness and my legs have gotten so large it won’t go on even over normal clothes, much less layers of insulation and shells.  Um, crap.  Oops.  I should have checked that sooner) and some other items like hats, gloves, and clothing where I need to make a decision based on the weather forecast.  I can’t find my prescription glacier glasses, which is actually okay because the curve of the prescription lenses makes me so incredibly queasy that I still haven’t been able to actually wear them in a technical environment.  I’m going to trust my contact lenses and non-prescription glacier glasses, a combo that didn’t fail me during last fall’s trip which was longer and in much less sanitary conditions.

Training-wise, I’m feeling good.  My first trip up to Camp Muir was really hard… I calorie bonked about 1/3 of the way up the snowfield, and the hike was literally the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done.  My second trip up to Camp Muir just a week later was a world different:  I paced myself well; I fed myself adequately; I carried and drank more water; and Tiffany and I had an all around kick ass strong girl time.  I arrived at Muir the second time feeling strong, happy, and like after a rest and a meal I’d be ready to keep climbing.  Now, we keep fingers crossed for health for the whole team — I fought off the Outdoor Retailer sickness crud round # 1 quickly, and am optimistic that I’ll avoid round #2.  And, good weather.  And, that I find a harness that actually accommodates my tree trunk size legs tomorrow.

GearMount Rainier

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.