The Essentials: Hiking a Fourteener

Gear for hiking a fourteener     Photo: Photograph by Inga Hendrickson, Illustrations by Roderick Mills

WHERE TO USE IT: One glimpse of Longs Peak's 1,500-foot vertical east face and you'll know why you came: This 14,259-foot Colorado mountain is no mellow slag heap. The 15-mile round-trip hike gains 5,000 feet and demands an alpine start; afternoon lightning storms are a given. You can also tackle it in pieces by reserving one of the Boulder Field tent sites (nps.gov/romo). Either way, hit the top by noon, and consider rappelling the one-pitch Cable Route, an adrenalized shortcut down.

1. Bomber, yes. But Oboz's water­proof Sawtooth Mid feels remarkably sprightly on the trail. $135; obozfootwear.com

2. Thunderstorm ready: At 10.7 ounces, Patagonia's tough M10 rain shell won't weigh you down on the climb. $399; patagonia.com

3. Cloudveil's Hagen has high hand pockets you can access while wearing a pack and a stretchy, breathable material that's comfy in a range of temps. $120; backcountry.com

4. A few fourteeners have icy spots well into summer. Black Diamond's 1.1-pound, aluminum Neve Strap crampons give any boot solid purchase. $150; blackdiamondequipment.com

5. Panasonic's Lumix DMC-ZS7 has the tech of much heftier cameras (12.1MP, 12x optical zoom, HD video) but adds less than eight ounces to your load. $400; panasonic.com

6. At an airy 1.6 pounds, GoLite's super-minimalist 2,200-cubic-inch Peak keeps your load light so you can max on vert. $125; golite.com

7. Mammut's supple Fiamma pants have a nonchafing waistband, leg pocket, and a thin but durable soft-shell fabric. $150; mammut.ch

8. Save your knees. Leki's fast-adjusting Corklite Aergon SpeedLock poles take some of the sting out of steep, tricky trails. $119; leki.com

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