Equipment List for El Potrero Climbing

Official Papers

Camping Gear


Climbing Gear




Optional Field Gear


The North Face Base Camp Duffel Large

Usually I am stuffing all of my stuff into a big back pack. But for trips where our gear is carried by porters, or when we will be setting up a base camp with some stuff being left behind, a duffel works better. Sometimes, you see the same thing all around because it's the only thing available. In this case, you always see a TNF Duffel on any expedition you go to because they are the best. This is the best duffel I have ever owned, hands down. I am now going to buy the XL version.

Why I bought it: This duffel has 3 things going for it. First, it is sturdy because it's made of a laminated material that resist fluids and can withstand abrasion. Second, the zippers are solid and can take a beating. Third, it has three hauling systems including twin handles on the ends (so you can drag it), the normal duffel handles that velcro together (so you can carry it) and finally backpack style shoulder straps that are adjustable (so you can throw the thing on your back). I have the Large, which is 5600 cu in (90 liters). The XL is 9070 cu in (140 liters).

Good for: Base camp. Long trips where your gear is going to get thrown around and punished.

Not Good For: I can't think of anything this thing is intended to do that it doesn't!

Mount Olympus Notes: The Olympic Range is the wettest place in the US and all we did was throw a bunch of wet, dirty and muddy stuff on top of our bags. So the fact that the bag is basically waterproof is huge for a trip like this. Loved it.

Iliniza Notes: I used this bag as my base camp storage. I kept all the stuff I wasn't going to be taking with me on the climb and the trek in it, back at the hostal in Quito.

Grand Canyon Notes: This was just big enough to carry everything on the plane to get me to the trailhead and back home.

Dana Design Terraplane X : Expedition Pack

This is the Gold standard of packs. It received the Editors Choice GOLD award from Backpaker Magazine in 1999 and all I saw on the net were raves about it’s quality, comfort and design. When I spoke to Rahman at Tent and Trails, he highly recommended it.

Why I bought it: This is the first pack I bought, for my first trip to Red Rocks, Nevada. Even though I didn't really need a pack right then, I knew I was going to sooner or later, so I bought this in anticipation of an upcoming trek.

Good for: This pack is perfect for a climb where you've got to carry 50 to 60 pounds of gear.

Not for: 1 to 3 day hikes. At about 8 pounds, it packs a wallop if all you are doing is carrying a fleece, food and water. This is an expedition pack. Like all packs, it is not very waterproof, so if you are going to be in the pouring rain, line it with garbage bags or get a pack cover.

Dana Design Notes: Dana Design has since been sold to K2 and marketed under Marmot. You can still get these packs under the Marmot brand, but I would argue they are not the same packs! Dana Gleason has since started new company, Mystery Ranch selling the same style backpacks to guides and military personnel. In fact, he has a contract with the navy seals to provide them with their packs. Check them out. The Mystery Ranch version of the Terraplane is the

Oyacache Notes: This pack is bomb proof. I brought a pack fly for the rainforest downpours. Didn't need it. It fits everything with a million pockets and easy access to everything. Love this pack.

Mt Rainier Notes: This was my main pack for Rainier and Adams. Still love this pack, even though its about 3 poinds heavier than the newest packs.

Camping Gear

REI Travel Sack 55 deg

This is a lightweight sleeping bag that should be used for summer time or late spring in a hot place such as the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Notes: This is a perfect bag for the Grand Canyon during spring time. It's lightweight and not too warm.

El Potrero Notes: At the last minute, after checking the average weather in Potrero in March, i decided to not bring my 40 deg bag, and instead bring this one. For the most part I was fine, but a couple nights I got pretty cold. Next time, I'll probably bring my 40 and just be prepared to open it up. But if you are packing lite, and trying to minimize gear, you can certainly be more than fine with this and your puffy.

Sierra Designs Lightning 2 : 2 Person / 3 Season

The Sierra Designs Lightning 2 Tent was one of SD's first major successes in the ultralight category, winning a Backpacker "Editors' Choice" award in 2004.

Freestanding, simple to pitch, the Lightning weighs a scant three pounds, 15 ounces. Clip-Locs and Swift Clips pull up to the x-pole design, meaning you can pitch the whole gig in seconds. With a nine-square-foot vestibule and plenty of mesh, it's comfortable, organized, and you won't get annoying condensation in the morning.

Acadia Notes: The one thing I hate about this tent is how it performs in the rain. This is definately a warm weather tent. Cold wet weather doesn't really work well. The bottom of the tent seeps water, even if you are using the accompanying tarp. I ended up having to line the bottom of my tent with garbage bags on the second rainy day in Acadia. It wasn't a river...but when you are using the tarp that comes with the tent, you evpect the only ater in the tent to be the water you track in on your boots.

Grand Canyon Notes: I took this along with me to the Grand Canyon and I absolutely loved it. I usually just use the tent without the fly, unless theres a good chance of rain. It's just big enough for me and my pack so it's great for camping when I don't feel like rooming with somebody. It was perfect for the canyon. I bought 2 of them, so JP slept in the other one, which was good because he decided it was a good idea to roll over on his camelback and dowse his sleeping bag with water. I would not have been thrilled had we been sharing sleeping quarters.

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad

Big dudes need cushion for sleepy time. After my Thermarest Neo Air got a slow leak at the worst possible moment, on a big expedition to Orizaba, I decided to try something else.

Mount Marcy Notes: This pad certainly is a little more hefty than my Neo Air, and definately took some heffing and puffing to inflate it. Once the pad was inflated, I really liked it. It also took some time and energy to deflate it is well, but the insulation was well worth it. To be fair, I used it in conjunction with a foam core sleeping pad. But it definately did the trick.

Climbing Gear

Black Diamond Blizzard Harness

The three main companies I looked at when researching harnesses were Petzl, Black Diamond and Trango. When choosing a harness you really have to figure out what type of climbing you’re going to use it for. I know that in the next year or two, I will be attempting to summit a 18000+ mountain peak. In that case, I will need a harness big enough to fit over clothing, so I need adjustable leg straps. That, plus the Blizzrd’s seat drops out so there’s no problem answering the unavoidable “nature’s call.”

Notes: Very confortable harness.

Iliniza Notes: I never ended up using my harness because there was no ice at the top of the mountain and it was not a technical climb, so there was no need to rope up.

Petzl Meteor : Lightweight helmet

I had the Ecrin, but it felt a little heavy for me, it was not well vintilated, and quite honestly extreemly ugly. The Meteor fixes all of these problems.

Good for: Climbers who climb in hot weather most of the time and don't want to wear a big Rudolph Helmet.

Not for: Cold or windy weather conditions.

El Potrero Notes: You NEED a helmet here. There is so much rock fall here, you must wear a lid. Tabitha was quite envious of mine. I double checked when it was time to leave to make sure she didn't lift it!

Black Diamond ATC

From everyone I have spoken to, this is the belay device to own. Period. It is so good, the three wilderness stores I went to didn’t have any in stock. And rather than try to sell me on another type, they simply pointed me to another store they thought would have it in stock. I had to wait a few weeks and pick one up when a new shipment came in.

The ATC worked well for me.

El Potrero Chico Notes: On a recommendation a few years ago, I bought a Petzl Reverso (first generation). This was the first time I got a chance to play with it as I haven't been climbing in the last few years. I absolutely hated it. It was SO grippy that when I was trying to lead belay, I had to actually push the rope down through the device because it would constantly get caught. Interestingly enough, the newer generqation of reversos look much like the ATC's so apparently they have fixed that problem. But sufficed to say, I put that thing away immediately and grabbed my tried and tru ATC! :-)

5.10 Spires

These shoes were billed as a great overall shoe for beginners because they are stiff enough for a beginner’s weaker foot, which needs support. When it came down to my decision to purchase this particular shoe, It came down to that fact that they are good quality, inexpensive (as climbing shoes go anyway), and as a beginner, I am going to dog whatever shoes I buy because of poor technique. Everyone I spoke with told me that it’s a great shoe to start out with, so that’s what I went with.

Good For: Beginners who don't want to spend a lot of cash and/or haven't built up the necessary pain threshold for the more agressive shoes.

Not For: Non beginners.

El Poterero Notes: I really like these, but i think it's time to start moving up to a more agressive shoe. Had it not been for a broken toe, I would have picked up antoehr pair for this trip.

Petzl Carabiners

Petzl makes some of the best gear for rock climbing and they are well known for the quality of their carabiners. You'll need to carry at least two locking carabiners at all times and I like the fact that Petzl marks the red on the gate to show whether or not the gate is fully screwed closed.

Metolius Personal Anchor System

This PAS is a 16 mm Dyneema and nylon webbing multi looped anchor that can be used for setting up a rappel or belaying. It's better than the daisy chain because every link in the system is rated for a fall, not just body weight as the daisy chain is.

Good For: Suggested for sport climbing. Really easy to just carry 2, clip one to the anchor, one to the other anchor, and you're golden. These are also great for using as an extender on your rapel devices.

Not For: While this is a good tool, it probably won't replace your sling collection if you are climbing in a trad area like the Gunks. Totally usable, but not a replacement for standard slings.

El Potrero Notes: I loved this thing. It made it really easy to just set up the anchor.

Black Diamond Quickwire

Each draw has a hot-forged HotWire rope-end carabiner and a Quicksilver straight gate top biner linked with a 10 mm Dynex dogbone with the Straitjacket System.


North Face Venture Jacket

The Venture Jacket is North Face’s most affordable water proof shell. The Venture is a relatively thin and light weight jacket that is well suited as a multi season jacket.

The jacket is made from HyVent DT, a waterproof yet breathable fabric with raised microdots that lift the fabric off of the skin in order to channel moisture away.

Other features include a fully adjustable, attached hood, brushed chinguard lining, pit-zip vents, two hand pockets, adjustable Velcro cuffs, and a cinch cord at the waist.

One almost seemingly hidden feature is the left pocket stow. Stuff the jacket in the left hand packet, zip and the jacket quickly transformed into a small bundle

Pros: Very good waterproofing, lightweight and compressible, resonably priced

Cons: Hood doesn’t roll up and hide away. Cuff Velcro tabs stick out a bit, they could Velcro down a bit more

Canadian Rockies Notes: This was the only shell Jacket I took along on the trip and I actually pulled it out on the top of the 6 Glaciers hike when it started to snow and rain. I was glad to have it because it kept me dry and warm, but not hot. Definatley need a brimmed hat (like a baseball cap) or the hood can be uncomfortable.

5 Boro Bike Tour Notes: I bring this in my pack no matter what. It's light weight and

North Face Venture Pant (Shell) :$100

The Venture Pant is a lightweight thin shell pant that you can use for light to medium rain situations. While it won't keep you totally dry in 6 hour thundershower, it will provide you with enough cover for most of your hiking needs.

Canadian Rockies Notes: This was the only shell pant I took along on the trip and though I never used it, I was glad to have it in my bag the shole time.

North Face Flash Jacket

This was one of the major items that I had still not purchased for climbing but was looking forward to adding to my gear pile because of its utility. Besides being extremely warm, it is extremely lightweight and very compact and packable.

Canadian Rockies: I will never do a hiking trip without a down jacket again. Best thing I took with me.

Grand Canyon Notes: The beauty of this jacket is its flexiblity. It stowes into a little pocket, is extremely lightweight, and can be used for many things, from a jacket to a pillow. I pretty much take this on every trip or expedition.

El Potrero Notes: This is the perfect item to bring to potrero. It is extremely lightweight. It is extremely warm. And it is extremely versatile, given that you can use it as a coat, sweater, or pillow! It doens get windy and cold depending on what time of year you are going.



Crocs are ugly, but they are the best thing ever thought of for anybody who needs easy to slip on footwear that doesn't get funky when wet. I love my crocs and I don't care how ugly they are.

The first time I saw a pair of Crocs was on the Deerfield river with the KCCNY. This dude was broncoing in a hole, and got out to portage over some rocks to do it again. He kept doing it over and over, and every time he would slide out of the yak, pull the crocs out of the hull, put them on, and pick up the yak. His crocks were and ugly orange, and all i could think was, they must be pretty functional, because they sure are ugly. And he confirmed. And from then on, I decided I needed a pair.

Madawaska Notes: I didn't own a pair of crocs when I did this trip. But I wished I did!

Canadian Rockies Notes: This trip I bought them and never will take a long trip without them again.

Grand Canyon Notes: I brought these as my camp shoes since they are light weight, and I want to get out of my shoes in camp. Well worth their weight. I need to air out my dogs at night and these help me do that.

El Potrero Notes: Do NOT leave home without them. The showers are clean enough, but I would not venture into that bathroom without my shower shoes!

Saloman XA Pro 3D XCR

This is the third pair of Salomon Trail Runners I've bought and they sure won't be the last. The best part is the quick lace feature that keeps them tied tight and eliminates the need to tie your laces!

I absolutely love these things. I did all of my hikes in these. They are vented so your feet stay cool. They did well on the wet day (even better than some in boots).


Wet Ones Travel

It really doesn't matter which moleskin you choose. Personally, I like the thin moleskin, especially since I start applying it as soon as i feel even a hotsot. I never wait until i develop a blister so i rarely ever develop one. But i use moleskin almost every day of a hiking trip and remove it at night to air out the hot spot.

Grand Canyon Notes: Since water will be so sparse on this trip, I'll bring a pack of these for my outback shower!

El Potrero Notes: Anytime you are in Mexico, bring wet ones. They rarely have toilet paper in any of the bathrooms, so having these hand is nice.

Packtowel Camp Towel

Bottom line, this is not ever an optional item. I have to have at least one on my trips. It's really water absorbant but rings out like a shammy and packs away dry right after you've used it on your whole body!

El Potrero Notes: Bring a camp towl because they don't have them readily available at the Posada.

Grand Canyon Notes: I'll bring my small towel just so I can wash my face, or if I want to go down to the river.

Nalgene Water Bottle

These bottles are indestructible and supposedly, they don’t promote bacteria growth or hold odor. In every picture I see of someone camping or on a mountain, I see them holding a Nalgene bottle. I’m not even sure they have any competition they’re so well entrenched. And what makes them even better is most water filtration systems are built specifically to fit Nalgene bottles!

I always wrap some clear and some gray duct tape around my bottles. First, it helps to tell whos they are and it also is an easy way to keep duct tape which is the most important item you can take on a mountain! It fixes everything from blisters to leaky tents. I always bring 3 liter bottles for summit day. I also sometimes bring an extra to pee in if im too lazy to get out of the tent! just be careful. Aim smart.

Packtowel Camp Towel

Bottom line, this is not ever an optional item. I have to have at least one on my trips. It's really water absorbant but rings out like a shammy and packs away dry right after you've used it on your whole body!

El Potrero Notes: Bring a camp towl because they don't have them readily available at the Posada.

Grand Canyon Notes: I'll bring my small towel just so I can wash my face, or if I want to go down to the river.

Petzl Tikka

Since I bought the Petzl Tikka to replace my Black Diamond Gemini head lamp, I have never looked back. The Tikka is the perfect size and wieght, and it has all the functionality you really need in a head lamp.

While there is no spotlight on it, I have found that I rarely use the spotlight, so this is perfect for my needs. And when you are trying to limit the weight in your backpack, every ounce counts. I actually have 3 of these to give to my non backpacking friends when we go out together.

Why I bought it: I had the Black Diamond Gemini before this, which was great, but big and bulky and just overkill. After actually using these things, you only need a small lamp with a few lighting settings.

Madawaska Notes: You don't really need this if you are staying in the bunk house. But if you are camping, you know the drill!

Grand Canyon Notes: You have to have a head lamp on any trips in the backcountry. And since we were in a primitive area, I brought an extra as a back up. And a good thing too, because Drill Sgt left his in the car at the trailhead!


Larabar Fruit Bars

Fruit bars are my favorite food. But these are fruit bars to the next level. They are gluten free, soy free, vegan, etc, etc. I don't go anywhere without them.

Gatorade Packs

Gatorade is one of the best tasting electrolyte replacement drinks. I't probably not necessary when mountaineering because you are not sweating, but it can't hurt. But if you're out there in the heat, you need to replace those electrolytes.You can get them in 1 quart packages which are perfect for your nalgene liter bottles.

Mt Washington Notes: Adding gatorade to your water on a freezing cold mountain helps to keep it from freezing. It's high salt and sugar content will add at least a few degrees to your drinks max freezing temperature.

Grand Canyon Notes: You should definately bring at least one liter per day. It gets really hot in the canyon.

Action speaks louder than words, but not as often!
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