SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

Master Alpine Starts

Boost your summit chances and beat lightning storms with a smooth early-morning start.

by: Jenn Fields


What's worse than rising at 3 a.m.? Getting stuck above treeline in an afternoon lightning storm. Follow these tips from expert mountain guides to make the predawn start on your next big climb as efficient and painless as possible.

Get Some Sleep
Pop in earplugs and go to bed early, even if you don't feel tired. "Just lying prone will do your body a lot of good," says Joe Horiskey, co-owner of Rainier Mountain-eering, Inc.


Dial in a Bedtime Routine Here's what Eli Helmuth, a Colorado guide with 3,000 days of alpine climbing under his belt, does the night before:
  • Make a checklist of summit-day gear; load your pack before bed, checking off items as you go.
  • Prep breakfast: melt snow for coffee (this speeds boil time, even if the water partially refreezes), spread PB on bagels, slice cheese.
  • Pack lunch/snacks for the climb.
  • Guy out your tent and store food.
  • Put tomorrow's clothes in a stuffsack and use as a pillow. (Even faster: Just sleep in them).
  • Place your hat, gloves, headlamp, jacket, and alarm next to your bag so you won't waste time hunting for them in the dark. Store technical gear (rope, harness, crampons) prepped and ready in your vestibule.

Eat Smart
Cold, strenuous climbs You need warmth to rev yourself up, and plenty of calories and fat to fuel your hike. Drink hot tea or coffee and eat something quick, easy, and hearty–like dried fruit, cheese slices, Pop-Tarts, candy bars, or a packet of instant dried soup.


Superfast Starts
Pack a cold breakfast–trail mix, energy bar, bagel–in a zip-top bag, stash it in your jacket pocket, and eat as you hike. Your java? Chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Longs Peak Special
Helmuth's favorite morning meal: Instant mashed potatoes loaded with butter.



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

MT Buckeye
Jul 23, 2009

Any suggestions for alarms that are loud enough to wake you in high winds or inclement weather? Your wearing a hat, earplugs, whipping tent, snoring partner, etc and I can't hear the alarm on a watch (Suunto). I always seem to oversleep. I have asked the Gear Chick several times with no response.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Hobby Lobby wins case
Posted On: Jul 10, 2014
Submitted By: HighGravity
Trailhead Register
Life's Simple Pleasures (let's hear them)...
Posted On: Jul 10, 2014
Submitted By: buzzards

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions