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Essential Apparel for Climbing the Earth's Highest Peaks

The world's top alpinists continue to push the boundaries of human suffering and exposure with climbs of ever more technical peaks. Gear companies like The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and Marmot don't sell a lot of high-end, alpine gear, but they need to keep their athletes happy. Clients willing to pay guides to get them up Everest and other peaks reap the rewards. Is that you? Well then, lucky you. Here's a round-up of the latest and greatest gear for 8,000-meter vacations.F12_AbsoluteZeroSuit_front[1]Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Suit: It’s been years since a brand has undertaken a wholesale redesign of its 8,000-meter down suit. At the request of Ueli Steck, Mountain Hardwear took on the project. The fully welded and watertight suit is now lighter, compatible with modern Himalayan climbing equipment like air masks, and user friendly. Hood adjustments are easier to make, the 850-fill body is mapped for warmth with improvements to wick away sweat, and the rainbow seat is easier to unzip when you gotta go. Mountain Hardwear built waterbottle pockets on the inside, to reduce the chances you'll carry chunks of ice to the summit. Available August 2012, $1250,

Expedition_modularbootsRab Expedition Modular Boots: Once you've taken your mountaineering boots off, you don't want to have to put them back on to leave the tent when nature calls. Rab's Pertex Expedition Boots are stuffed with a gaggle's worth (five ounces to be exact) of 850-fill European down. The modular system allows you to wear the slippers inside your tent, and if you want to head outside to star gaze, the velcro-attached, closed cell, foam-insulated bootie covers give you traction and keep your feet dry. Available now, $120,

Y15340_6278_8000m_mitt_AMarmot 8000 Meter MItt: Keeping your digits warm during a big summit push is critical. Marmot's 8000 Meter Mitt is a sleeping bag for your hands. The insulated inner mitt is made from fleece lined moisture wicking abrasion-resistant nylon with grippy polyurethane reinforcement. The outer mitt is durable, waterproof, breathable and windproof. Available fall 2012, $275,

-Berne Broudy

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