Looking for that perfect gift for your climber (or yourself) ? Hopefully this post will give you some ideas based on my own personal experience. You don’t have to spend a lot to make your climber happy!
I always try to buy local to keep the sales tax in my city and support my local retails but there are good deals online at:
- Sierra Trading Post – lowest prices on first, seconds and closeouts
- Steep and Cheap – Incredible deals that last only a few minutes
- REI Outlet – deals on already great prices
- Backcountry – full line on-line retailer with good review feature
- Moosejaw – full line on-line retailer with an attitude
- Campmor – full line on-line retailer for discounted new gear
- OMC Gear – full line on-line retailer with good phone service
- TravelCountry – end of season deals
If you are looking to research gear, I suggest using these sites:
note: I do not receive any compensation from any of these sites
Books for Inspiration
|The Ledge: A story of resilience and courage by my friend Jim Davidson. Trapped on Rainier in a crevasse, his partner dying … the story reveals what humans can do.||My Old Man and the Mountain: A father-son story revolving around Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest in 1963 and his son, Leif Whittaker. Written by Leif, he takes us through his life in the shadow of his father’s fame to his own summit of Everest in 2010. A bit of history, family dynamics and climbing Everest makes for an entertaining read.||Training for the New Alpinism has become the must read for anyone wanting to up their game – literally and figuratively. While long and plodding at times, if you can get through it you will be a better climber at all levels. Written by Steve House, world-class climber and Patagonia ambassador, and Scott Johnston, coach of U.S. National Champions and World Cup Nordic Skiers.||Seventy Summits: Long time mountain guide and somewhat of a legend, Vern Tejas has a new book where he describes how he started guiding (a big surprise) and covers the 7 Summits where Vern has climbed each (Bass list) over 10 times each and over 200 in total!!! A nice overview if you are interested in climbing the 7, mountaineering in general or seeing the life of a mountain guide from the inside.|
Climbing Movies for that cold winter night
Best Climbing Movies
|Touching the Void: Probably the best climbing movie ever. The story of Joe Simpson’s amazing survival after falling into a crevasse when partner Simon Yates cut his rope.||Everest: Everyone’s favorite mountain to love and hate, this recent movie (2015) is loosely based on Into Thin Air and tells the story when of the 1996 disaster where 8 people died on a single day. I think it is the best movie about Everest outside of a documentary.||North Face: A gripping movie around German alpinists, Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser attempt to climb the Eiger north face in 1936. Closely following behind then were Austrian competitors, Willy Angerer and Edi Rainier. The movie picks up as Willy gets seriously injured by a falling rock. All four men realize they must work together. The movie is full of amazing climbing scenes and high stakes drama. Extremely well done.|
Worst Climbing Movies (great for a nite of laughs!)
|Vertical Limit: If you ever wondered if you need nitroglycerin to climb K2 – this is the movie for you! It has everything from flirting at base camp to “amazing” scenes of one-handed self arrests while flying over a ice cliff to a cameo from Ed Viesturs. While I think the producers thought they were making a great climbing movie, they did succeed in making a movie will keep you laughing for years!||Cliffhanger: Sylvester Stallone shows us how to drop your climbing partner, fall in a freezing stream without getting your hair wet and why huge biceps are a must for rock climbing. All of this plus a ‘high’ altitude game of cops and robbers in the Rocky Mountains! If this won’t get you training, nothing will 😮||Subzero: Once again K2 is in the middle of explosions and vertical rock climbing. A device controlling a Russian-made satellite weapon is stolen by terrorists, who attempt to escape by plane, but are shot down. The active, ready-to-strike device now rest on top of K2. The team must retrieve and deactivate the device. Unfortunately, it’s winter. A recruited team of the best mountain climbers in the world must bring techs to deactivate the device to the top of K2. Another must watch – if you can find it for free!|
Organizations worthy of membership or donation
|American Alpine Club: The premier US climbing organization where your membership also provides evacuation coverage, gear discounts while supporting the climber community.||Nature Conservancy: Protecting ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.||British Mountaineering Council: The largest climbing organization in the UK.||Big City Mountaineers: Bring the gift of the outdoors to urban youth|
Safety for your loved one
|Garmin InReach: A GPS device that helps friends and family follow you while hiking or climbing anywhere in the world. You can send custom messages and read replies on the device. Also a 24×7 monitored SOS button that will contact Search and Rescue. A great gift for entire family to go into together. $400||Medical Kit: This kit is small and lightweight. Targeting a four-day trip, its has an assortment of first aid supplies to treat cuts and allergies to upset stomach and dehydration organized into nice pockets for fast and easy identification and access. $40||Sol Bivy: inexpensive emergency shleter for the unexpeted. Not a tent and won’t replace a sleeping bacg but might help you make it through the nite. A must for anyone hiking far, or close, from home. $40|
Stocking Suffers are Everyone’s Favorite!
|Sawyer Mini Water Filter: Don’t want to use iodine to make water from a mountain stream safe? This lightweight, extremely effective water filter is a must for you. It weighs only 1.4 ounces and will last for 100,000 gallons. $25||Buff: The Swiss army knife of head covering, I always have one in my pack. Cover your mouth in cold weather, use to filter muddy water or replace a lost knit cap – Buff does it all! $20||Orbit lantern: This is a cool little lantern that hangs inside your tent that lights things up using only a couple of batteries. Perfect for reading, organizing or looking for that midnight crawly thing! $30|
Inexpensive Gear at a low price and great quality
|IL SOLO GLOVES: I used a version of these on K2 with great success. Warm, yet supple enough to manipulate carabiners and ropes. A great value from The North Face. $80||ATC-Guide Belay device: This type of device is a must when rock or ice climbing. This Black Diamond model has become my goto ATC for belaying and rappelling. It works with any rope size and has two friction modes – standard and extra friction plus an easy to rig auto-block. A spare is always a good idea! $30||40 Below Camp Booties: A must for anyone who wants relief from their boots, but still need to keep the toes comfy in the tent. Add the Sheepskin Insoles and you are toasty – even at home watching TV! $70|
Going Big with Price and Quality
|ExPed Down Mat: When weight is not an issue – like car camping or having a yak haul your gear to base camp, this is the only way to sleep. This thick air pad has down inside to protect you from the cold ground. Back, side or stomach sleepers alike will find they have a great night’s sleep and that is the key to having a great day climbing. Expensive but worth it. $240||Micro Puff Down Hoody: Patagonia has broken the mold (again) with this synthetic filled jacket, the Micro Puff Hoody. It only weighs 8 ounces, stuffs into it’s own pocket and stays warm when wet, unlike down! Almost too light to be noticed, until you need it. $300||Alpine Cork Trekking Poles: These Black Diamond poles are pricey but if you are trekking to Everest Base Camp or up the Baltoro Glacier to K2, you will appreciate these sturdy, well made trekking poles. Some studies suggest poles can reduce compressive force on the knees by up to 25 percent. $170|
Preparing for the Best Experience
The first time summit rate for big climbs like Everest, Denali, Aconcagua and K2 can be improved by going into the climb better prepared. Summit Coach prices meet any budget. If you are thinking about spending $5,000 or even $50,000 to climb the mountain of your dreams.
If any of these points sound familiar, you may benefit from Summit Coach:
- All guide services seem similar and are not sure who you can trust
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- Want to climb Everest but not sure where to start
- Unsure on the best gear at the best price
- How to get family on the same page to support your ambitions
- Want to be in the best shape possible for your climb but unsure how to start
- Not pleased with your experience on a recent climb
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For your Children
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Alan – thanks again for all the great recommendations! They are excellent. Am putting a few on my list (ie: “The Ledge” and the water filter). Also two more books – I have greatly enjoyed – “After the Wind: Tragedy on Everest – One Survivor’s Story” by Lou Kasischke; and the classic “Annapurna: The First Conquest Of An 8,000-Meter Peak” by Maurice Herzog and Conrad Anker. Lastly, an almost hypnotic movie – “The Summit”.