Ed packs three pairs of gloves. The mid-weight gloves are a standby in Ed’s Pack for situations when the temperature drops or for when storms descend.
"No glove has ever been built that can keep your hands as warm as a mitten," Ed says. "I rarely need these mitts on Rainier, but occasionally it gets nasty enough to wear them. On most of my 8000-meter peaks climbs, especially when climbing to the summit without supplemental oxygen, I usually have mittens on."
Petzl Ice Axe
This alpine axe is the workhorse that Ed packs for guiding Rainer or Denali, but on a longer expedition he often takes a lighter or more technical ice axe. "The axe that I took to the summit of Annapurna, my 14th 8,000-meter peak, was stolen," Ed says. "So this one became its replacement."
"For a fast and light climb, solo or with a partner, the Jetboil is so simple and handy," Ed says. "The gas canisters are easy to use and the propane fuel lights quick and burns cleanly and efficiently."
"The shortcoming of this stove is the small pot. So, for a longer, high altitude climb I’ll also carry a lightweight Brunton stove, which has a bigger pot to melt more ice or snow quickly, but uses the same canisters," continues Ed. "The water then goes into the Jetboil pot to heat quickly for drinks or meals."
"The scariest book I ever read at base camp was Silence of the Lambs," Ed remembers. "The Hunt For Red October has always managed to stay in my gear depot in Nepal, so it gets re-read on most expeditions. Spy novels are great entertainment as are detective stories. I've tried to read books to better myselfsuch as War and Peacebut could never manage to get that serious. Believe it or not, I also read climbing and polar expedition books while I am on expeditions."
Contrary to popular wisdom, Ed does not cut his toothbrush in half. "During my higher and faster Himalayan climbs I'd usually take one of those tiny toothbrushes and micro-sized tubes of toothpaste they give you on overseas flights," Ed explains. "You're not saving much weight, but it's psychological feeling that you've gone as light as possible."
Ed uses Petzl crampons due to their durable, functional and logical design. "I have big feet and therefore wear huge boots, especially on expeditions," Ed explains. "Most other crampons get dwarfed by my big boots but Petzl supplies me with longer straps and extender bars."
Ed doesn't have much of a sweet tooth but says semi-sweet, dark, bitter chocolate or crunchy bars like Twix are at the top of his bar list.
Ed says he hasn't consumed many memorable meals at the highest altitudes. "Food is simply fuel up high. The stove heats the water to boiling and then we add that into a freeze dried meal pouch," Ed explains. "I tend to like the hot and spicy mealsyou can actually work up a sweat when eating those, even at a 26,000-foot high camp. It's a nice way to get into your sleeping bag when you're warm from the inside."
Peak XV® Down Jacket
The coldest conditions Ed braved in our expedition parka were on summit day in Antarctica this past January. "We estimated that it was 35 degrees below zero with a 40-mile an hour wind, so you do the math! That's way, way, way below zero," Ed recounts. "But I was snug as a bug while wearing this monster parka."
Ed's rack of gear changes based on what he's doing or where he is climbing. "While guiding Rainier I tend to carry a lot of safety gear such as pulleys, extra carabiners, cordolettes, webbing slings, ice screws, rappel devices and a rope knife," Ed says. "Most of the time you'll never need all the gear, but you have them just in case."
First Ascent BC-200 Jacket
"I used to hold onto my old shells for memories sake, but then I had way too many," Ed says. "How to pick which was more significant than another one got pretty muddled, so now I give stuff away to relatives or take it to Second Ascent in Seattle. Once my son gets big enough, he’ll be first in line for my leftovers."
"I still do have the very first shell that I bought way back in 1977. I scraped enough money together to buy a Gore-Tex® anorak made by Banana Gear in Seattle," Ed recounts. "I've had so many great shells in my career that I often didn't want to upgrade to the next year's model. But we athletes, as visual promoters of our brands, need to be in the latest and newest versions."
"I carry a small bag with trinketsa Juju bag—and keep it in my chest pocket when I go on big expeditions," Ed explains. "In this bag are small gifts and items from my wife, kids and others that I feel keep me connected to them when I am away. It's the one thing I won't leave home without!"
First Ascent Multiclava
It's always in Ed's pack, but you’ll find this versatile little number in the packs of all of our climbers. It's warm and quick drying and can be worn endless ways: as a hat, scarf, balaclava, sunshade or even an eye mask when you’re sleeping. We counted at least 12 ways it can be worn on a climb.
First Ascent Proto Sleeping Bag
Keeping with our Guide Built/Guide Trusted mantra, all of our First Ascent gearincluding this sleeping baggoes through rigorous testing in real conditions by real guides before it comes anywhere near our stores. Ed is testing a prototype of our new sleeping bag to ensure it is weather-ready, cozy and warm.