Bring your fully assembled pack ready to go for the course's Saturday morning start, when we will inspect and discuss all our packs. (For a presentation and discussion of a daytrip pack, you can review this blog post.)
We will travel throughout the weekend with all of our overnight gear, so everything must fit inside or be tightly secured to the outside of your pack. Here are some quotations to keep in mind:
- “Our packs should be small and dense.” - Joe Stock, IFMGA fully certified mountain guide
- “Our packs should weigh . . . success.” - one of my partners before our Rainier summit ski
- “Remember that ‘speed is safety.’” - Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley, Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher
- “Be sure the group knows in advance that there will be an emphasis on moving fast; then leave for dead those who won’t comply.” - Craig Connally, The Mountaineering Handbook: Modern Tools and Techniques That Will Take You to the Top
- unpacking and repacking everything;
- setting up your tent and other overnight gear;
- cooking dinner;
- treating water; and,
- hiking at a steady pace over steep off-trail terrain with all your gear (including overnight items), eating and drinking along the way, without having to stop to rest.
- For navigation, in addition to the sighting mirror compass with adjustable declination as noted on the gear list, bring printouts of the free maps from this list. If you opt to bring a GPS, then load this gpx file. Also, although a barometric altimeter is a highly critical tool for navigation, if you don't already own one, and are pressed for cash at the moment (but note that NSP members can order Highgear products through the Accessories Catalog and Promotional Offers page), then you can forego one for now.
- For ropework, bring your accessory cord and webbing for knot practice during the course. Other gear for mechanical advantage systems will be provided by the instructors (including ropes of course). Feel free to bring your own gear too if you'd like, but that is strictly optional, or at least review this detailed list of such gear.
- Your ski patrol name badge to help with initial introductions.
- Extra FRS/GMRS radios will help our coordination when we sometimes split into separate groups.
- Certain items you can arrange beforehand to share with one other fellow student. On a real trip these could be shared with even more partners, but for the course the sharing is limited to just two people per shared item so as to ensure full engagement by each student in preparation, tent setup, and cooking (with mandatory use of a stove, for training purposes, even though for a "real" one-night trip you could easily get away without one).
- Animals getting into our food and/or trash (which we will of course pack out) is probably not a concern at this time of year, but use your own judgement here.
- Bring sufficient clothing and related items (especially shelter) as if the course were taking place during winter weather, so as to train for such conditions. (This essentially rules out a bivy sack, unless you really think you could sleep out overnight in such a fashion during harsh winter weather.) Therefore, your completed gear list should have only a few items at most that are conditional upon whatever the actual weather forecast is for the course weekend, since you need to be prepared for both potential below-freezing temperatures and above-freezing precipitation (i.e., our pretend winter). And although all the multiple pairs of gloves might seem excessive, if this course were being conducted in winter -- as would be an MTR2 course (whether on Mt Greylock or combined with Avalanche Level 2 in the Northern Presidentials), for which this course is preparation -- then you would definitely need this because of all the rescue digging in snow.
- If you have winter travel gear (i.e., backcountry skiing or snowboarding setup with skins, avalanche rescue equipment, helmet, and steep-snow climbing gear), then bring that for the Sunday afternoon show & tell (and emergency sled construction), but such gear is not mandatory as we will not be traveling with any of it. (So keep it in your car upon arrival Saturday morning.)