mountain view

You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you. –John Muir
Mountains are one of the most eye catching feature of any landscape. They rise up to the heavens, dominating the skyline and reminding everyone around them of how small they are in the face of nature.

But humans have been scaling there ways to the peaks of these majestic locations for as long as they’ve been around. Despite the dangers, the struggles, the exhaustion, there is something about a mountain range that challenges us to go further, climb higher, if only to prove that we’ve made it to the top.

The climb is only part of the journey; the real adventure begins when you reach the summit of the mountain and look down on the valley below with a birds-eye view like no other.

No matter if you’re going to an afternoon climb or looking to scale the tallest summit, there are certain things you should always make sure to have with you. After all, even the most unexpected journey deserves an ounce or two of preparation. From climbing gear and safety equipment, to tools and gadgets to make your climb as easy as possible, making sure you have the right tricks of the trade available before setting out on your next ascent will help keep your next adventure from feeling like a landslide.

Ascend to New Heights

Mountain climbing can take on a few forms, from free-climbing surfaces and challenging hikes, to full face ascents complete with pitons, ropes, and challenging holds. No matter the scale of the mountain or the length of the climb, there is something indescribably freeing about reaching the next outcropping, or finally pulling yourself to the peak to look out on the world below you.

Mountain climbing doesn’t have to be a solo adventure; some of the greatest journeys are those you share with a companion or loved one who can bask in the wonder from far above the clouds. Yet for all of its glory, mountain climbing is no easy endeavor–only the bravest of souls take on the most challenging ascents, and everyone has heard horror stories about mountain climbers who never make it back to base. That’s why it is always important to be prepared before you set your first piton, no matter if you’re an expert ascend-er or a beginner belay-er. Training with equipment like a hangboard may be a good idea before you set out on a climbing adventure.

When it comes to choosing the right equipment for your next climb, keep in mind what you expect to accomplish. Being aware of what you are in for, whether you are planning on facing down the sheer face of a cliff-side, or scrambling to the top of a gentle slope.

As with any adventure in the outdoors, there are a few things you should always have on you, including a map, a signal whistle, plenty of water, and emergency supplies, like a first-aid kit. You should also be sure that you tell someone about your next exploit. While wandering into the wilderness to scale the face of a giant mountain may feel like the start of a great adventure novel, it can easily turn into the next hit horror story if you don’t have someone watching your back in case things go wrong.

Cover the Base-ics

The first thing you want to make sure you have with you before any ascent is navigational supplies. You want to make sure you have a waterproof map and a compass at the very least, as your navigational skills may be top-notch in a car, but they may lead you astray when faced with the spiraling heights of a mountain range. For more challenging hikes, or for multiple day journeys, it’s a good idea to also bring a solar-powered GPS. Even if you don’t have to use it, it is better to have a backup and not need it than to find yourself without a clear way home.

The next thing you want to make sure you have is sun protection. While you might not think it’s that sunny outside when you first start out, you’ll be wishing you had a way to keep your skin protected when you’ve been hiking for a couple hours and are starting to feel more like a lobster than a mountain goat. Sunscreen, lip balm, and of course, a good ol’ hat are all great things to have with you on a hike to make sure the sun doesn’t spell disaster for your climb.

You want to make sure you have some kind of flashlight just in case, as well as back up batteries. Even if you only intend to be climbing for a few hours, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. At the very least you’ll have a way to find your keys if you drop them on the way through the parking lot later that night.

You want to invest in a good hiking backpack that is waterproof, like a waxed canvas backpack, so your gear will stay dry. It’s also a good idea to invest in light weight but insulating clothing to help you stay warm and dry, like climbing pants.

Depending on what kind of hike you have in mind, you should be sure to bring the right equipment, including ropes, climbing cams, harnesses, helmets, crampons, carabiners (locking and non-locking), a climbing pick, bouldering crash pads, and any other pieces of equipment that you think you’ll need along the way. The one universal item that you will need with you on any mountain climbing expedition is a good pair of hiking boots or bouldering shoes that will keep your feet dry and warm, no matter the weather, without causing you to overheat along the way. Make sure to wear a double layer of socks with your hiking boots to help prevent blisters, and to never buy your boots too small. Trust us, your feet will thank you.

You also want to invest in some hand protection, whether that be full or half gloves, as well as chalk to help you grip onto surfaces without worrying about sweaty hands getting in the way.

When it comes down to it, only you can really know what you need with you for your next ascent, so take the time to plan your path up to the top of the mountain. That way, you’ll find yourself less caught up on the what-ifs along the climb, and instead enjoy the byways that take you into the heavens.