Melissa Arnot has been a mountain guide since 2004, summiting Mount Everest, Mustang Himal and the 50 Peaks Challenge, where she climbed the 50 state high points in just 41 days, 16 hours and 10 minutes. She was also the first American woman to summit and descend Mount Everest without oxygen. She knows what it takes to tackle a big climb, and has her kit set. “After 109 summits of Rainier, my kit for climbing is pretty dialed. I always try to bring exactly what I know I need and nothing extra to help keep the weight reasonable,” Arnot says.
Each year, Arnot leads a group up Mount Rainier as a part of her role in the Juniper Fund. Arnot founded the organization back in 2012 with David Morton to commit to improving the lives of local Nepalese Sherpas and their families, especially after something goes wrong on a climb and that livelihood is no longer an option. The Mount Rainier climb helps fund efforts to support the families whose loved ones have perished at the hand of Mt. Everest.
Here are just a few pieces of gear Arnot reaches for every single time she heads out to hike the glacier-laden trail.
Melissa Arnot’s Gear
Eddie Bauer Evertherm Hooded Jacket
“This is my around camp, and at breaks, and just in case it’s really cold layer. I practically live in it up high.”
Leki Vario Carbon Poles
“I always climb with one pole at least (in addition to my ice axe) and these are perfect because of their light weight and ability to stow away very small.”
Eddie Bauer Alchemist Pack
“This pack is essential — I helped design it for exactly this purpose. It gets big enough to carry all my gear to camp (55 liters) and then converts to a smaller and leaner 40-liter summit pack.”
“These are my favorite sugar treat. It’s important to bring enough calories for the big climb that is Rainier, but it is also important to have some “joy” food for the middle of the night when it is cold and the climbing is tough. That is where these come in for me.”
Petzl Irvis 10-Point Crampon
“These are simple and effective for glacier travel. They seem to work with the widest variety of boots as well.”
Eddie Bauer Karakorum 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
“This bag stuffs away really small and puffs back up for a cozy night sleep again and again.”
Coppertone Sensitive Skin 50 SPF Sport Sunscreen
“The UV is one of the main hazards up there so I make sure to apply this about every hour while I am climbing.”
Eddie Bauer Multi-Clava
“If I can’t cover it with sunscreen, I cover it with the multi-clava. I use these as a headband, blindfold to sleep when it is still light out, face protection from the sun and wind and sometimes I wet it and use it to cool me off on a hot climb down.”
Petzl Sum’tec Ice Axe
“This is my favorite versatile little tool for glacier climbing.”
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