This spring I’ll be at Everest Base Camp for a month as theexpedition journalist for Expedition Hanesbrands, a team led by Jamie Clarke, a Canadianmountaineer who will attempt his second summit of the world’s highestmountain. (You can follow the expedition at climbwithus.com and at Outside Online.) I’m staying close to Base Camp, but even so, theweather at 17,500 feet can get pretty nasty. To prepare for all thatwind, snow, and high-altitude UV, I’m not packing light--the list belowisn’t even half of what I'll bring. I’ve tested this gear in Santa Fe, where the mountains topout at roughly 12,000 feet. Here’s to hoping all of this gear works just aswell 5,500 feet higher.
Rab Photon Pants: "You MUST BRING down pants," said one friend fresh from climbingin Nepal. But I ultimately chose a pair of PrimaLoft pants with a PertexMicrolight outer layer. These lightweight pants, which are as soft as down anddry a little faster, can be layered with an expedition-weight base layer and,with their tough Pertex Microlight coating, will stay free of rips and snags.These are men’s pants, but they come in a variety of sizes. ($170; rab.uk.com)
Feathered Friends Volant Down Pant: Another good choice. These pants have full side zips, a baffle construction, and your choice of eVent or Epic exterior fabric. ($245 to $349; featheredfriends.com)
Wenger Swiss Army Knife EvoGrip 18: Almost the exact replica of the Swiss Army Knife my grandfather gave me. But this one has an ergonomic grip with a rough,sandpapery, rubber finish so I won’t accidentally fling it into a crevasse inthe Khumbu Icefall. My favorite of the 11 implements: the double-cut wood saw.($61; wengerna.com)
Sierra Designs’ Waterproof/Breathable Down Bootie: I’ve worn these almost every daysince October to protect my feet from my concrete office floor. I can’t imaginelife without them. ($70; sierradesigns.com)