Peakbagger (n): A mountain climber whose principal goal is the attainment of a summit, or a specific set of summits. www.peakbagger.com
Let me first start out by saying that in order to really enjoy your Peak Bagging at high altitude, having some hiking and outdoor adventure experience is necessary. Good overall physical health and wellness will also help you to push the limits to succeed on your hike. If your goal is to one day hike a peak at high altitude but you are not in shape, think about training first and taking an experienced guide with you (like Colorado Wilderness Ride... . Be smart, be safe and have fun!
Preparing for my fist big hike at high altitude, I was a tad bit nervous. I've only done one 14er in my life, and it was for the Pikes Peak Ascent so it was more like a 2 for 1. Listening to all of my husband's stories about hiking Mt. Massive, Quandry, Bierstadt (and the list goes on), had me intrigued, but honestly a little bored. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE outdoor adventure but I never thought hiking a 14er or "bagging peaks" was something I would enjoy. I looked through his amazing photographs from the tops of peaks thinking (WOW, beautiful, but all the photos look the same). Little did I know that the top of every peak is different and special in its own way, especially the vistas, flora and fauna.
I picked Yeti's brain about what things to pack, what to eat, how much water to bring, how hot or cold will it be, will I get blisters (and the list goes on again). He basically told me to calm down, breathe and do some research. So, using trailspace.com, I found the size of backpack I would be comfortable with. I knew I needed a daypack which usually range from 30-40 liters. I went into the gear closet and grabbed the Deuter ACT Trail 32. (Beginner backpack note: the number on the pack "Trail 32" tells you what the capacity of the pack is.) So now, what to put in it? Here is the list of things that I chose to include in my pack:
Water! Two full Nalgenes (64oz) and a 3 liter (100oz) Osprey HydraForm Reservoir (I had about 1/4 left of my HydraForm and two full nalgenes.) The general rule is 1/2 liter (16oz) of water per mile, and never pass the chance to fill up your bottles with filtered water.
Snacks: 8-10 misc snacks like MoJo from Clif, Kashi Granola Bars and GUs, Justin's Almond Butter. (Only ate about 5 total)
Lunch: burrito from Big City Burritos. Yum! Although I think it accounted for 2 lbs of total pack weight, it was worth it!
Warm Jacket: Brooks-Range Cirro in a stuff sack (about 11.8oz) never had to use it.
Rain Jacket: Marmot Gore-Tex Paclite Women's Minimalist Jacket (14.4oz) This jacket also worked wonders as a wind-stopper. It was in and out of my pack all day for wind mostly.
Misc Used Items: Warm gloves, sunscreen, Kleenex, headband to keep ears warm, bandana, gum, wet wipes, small Ziploc bags, Advil, cell phone camera.
Misc Unused Items: Sun hat, winter hat, Buff, arm sleeves, extra contacts, sunglasses, emergency blanket, GoGirl.
Total pack weight: 17 lbs
Hike Observations: I realized there were a lot of things I didn't use, but was happy that I brought them. My pack wasn't heavy, but it was always a nice relief to take it off at wind breaks on the tops of peaks and rest points. I took small but frequent sips of water from my hydration pouch, and it was very nice to have a "hands free" option instead of a Nalgene. I never experienced any symptoms of altitude sickness so I think I stayed well hydrated and ate appropriately. Whenever I had any thoughts or feelings of "what the hell am I doing", I just took a bite of my snack or drank some water to get my mind off of it.
Tips for your first peak bagging adventure:
Ten Signs you may be a Peakbagger from www.peakbagger.com