In just a few hours, I will be leaving for a two weeks expedition to North-Eastern Greenland (more specifically North Liverpool Land). I am going with friend and awesome photographer Tony Hoare and some other Alpine Club members, and our goal is to ski and climb some hopefully new summits in this relatively unexplored part of the world. We are very lucky to be sponsored by three awesome brands for this trip, Edelrid for technical gear, Montane for clothing and Dynastar for skis. Thanks to all three of them!
Since I am in the middle of packing way too many big duffel bags, I thought it would be cool to give a complete list of what I am bringing (and why).
- Edelrid Orion harness: very comfy, lots of gear loops, doesn’t hinder movement, not too heavy.
- Edelrid Shield II helmet: so light I don’t really notice it, sturdy and great for photos in bright orange!
- Edelrid Riot axes: mildly curved shafts that make them a perfect compromise for the PD-AD terrain we are likely to encounter, yet still straight enough to self-arrest efficiently. One with adze and one with hammer.
- Edelrid Beast crampons: dual vertical front points, anti-balling plates, lightweight. I am using the full auto variant.
- La Sportiva Spantik boots: since I often have cold feet, these are really great. They climb really well considering the warmth they offer, too.
- BD Camalots, full set (0.2 to 2): still the gold standard for cams.
- BD Turbo Express ice screws, 7: and the gold standard for ice screws.
- Assorted nuts and pitons: if nothing else fits, they are often a great last resort, and can also be left behind as needed for abseils.
- Simond Abalahook: for abseils on ice.
- Edelrid Mega-Jul: works like a regular belay device but also auto-locks in case of a fall!
- Assorted Edelrid carabiners, quickdraws and slings: some of the best out there!
- Nikon D4: my workhorse, and I know it can take everything I’ll throw at it.
- Nikon D800: backup body, and for landscapes from camp, as its image quality is still unparalleled.
- Nikkor 16-35 f/4 VR: a light, wide, great quality lens which I use most of the time.
- Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR I: the older model but still an awesome performer for portraits or getting that extra reach.
- Nikkor 50 f/1.8 AF-D: so cheap and light I take it without thinking and don’t mind (too much) losing or destroying it. Good for quick portraits.
- Nikkor 20 f/2.8 AF-D: a backup wide prime should something happen to the 16-35
- Lots of Lexar memory cards (32GB in XQD, 192GB in CF, 64GB in SD) as I won’t have a laptop or hard drive to download images to.
- 3 batteries for the D4, 3 batteries for the D800
- Peak Design Capture Camera Clip v2, one of the best ways to carry a camera in the outdoors
- Think Tank Skin belt system: another great carry system for when I need a bit of extra protection
- wet sensor cleaning kit, microfiber cloth to wipe snow from lenses
- Carbon fiber tripod: probably won’t leave camp, but good to have for the sunrise/sunset shots
- Montane Deep Cold Down Jacket: a giant down jacket which will certainly be very useful in camp or if we have to move in really low temps.
- Montane Fast Alpine Neo Stretch Jacket: a shell which uses the awesome new Polartec Neo fabric, just as waterproof as gore-tex but breathes a lot better!
- Montane Alpha Guide Jacket: a breathable insulated mid-layer, this one uses that other new Polartec fabric, the Alpha. Great for high output effort in cold temps.
- Montane Astro Ascent eVent trousers: solid shell pants, a staple for mountain activities.
- Montane Primino base layer and long underwear: I refuse to use non-merino base layers anymore, especially on showerless expeditions. The fact they keep their warmth when wet is also crucial.
- Montane gloves: Resolute Mitt (heavy duty, very cold weather mitts), Thermostretch (for warmth), Tigertooth Pro (my go to ice climbing gloves, warm yet dexterous enough to wield tools and manipulate equipment or camera) and Power Stretch Pro (light and not waterproof, for camp and ski touring).
- Montane Punk Balaclava: still the best option for really nasty weather.
- Montane Resolute Beanie: warm hat I will be wearing 98% of the time.
- Socks: many many socks, all merino, varying weights.
- Civilian clothing and shoes: for the trip there and the stop-overs in Reykjavik.
- Swimming trunks and towel: I am hoping to hit the Blue Lagoon on the way back!
- 2015 Cham 107 High Mountain 184cm with Look Alti 12 bindings: serious freeride chops, yet still light enough for the 800-1000m of D+ we are likely to find. The giant rockered tip makes them fairly easy to turn in any condition (especially deep powder) but they are built for carving wide turns at high speed. A delight to ski.
- Dynastar glueless skins: we shouldn’t have to worry too much about glue not sticking anymore after two weeks of heavy use
- Dynafit ski crampons: in case we have to go up icy slopes
- Dynastar Alti 8 poles: carbon fiber, telescopic, sturdy.
- Mammut Element Barryvox beacon, shovel, probe: even more important out there where self-rescue is the name of the game
- La Sportiva Spectre boots: those are simply magic. Lightest 4-buckles on the market, great to ski with and with a great walk mode. I intend to do much of the easy climbing with them.
- Scott photochromatic goggles: simply better for skiing
A lot of it is provided by the expedition manager, but I am still bringing the following:
- Montane Deep Heat sleeping bag: rated -12 to -20ºC, it’s a beast and exactly what we’ll need.
- Vaude Norrsken inflatable mat: a solid 4 seasons mat which uses primaloft for extra insulation. And still twice as small and light as my old three-seasons mat…
- Thermarest Z-Lite mat: closed-cells are still key to proper ground insulation for very cold terrain.
- Edelrid and Sea-to-Summit eating and cooking ustensils.
- 1L Nalgene + insulation, 0.8L thermos bottle for tea.
- Julbo Cameleon sunglasses: photochromatic glasses are amazing, and these go to a strong cat.4, great for camping on a glacier.
- Toiletries: SPF 50+ sunscreen, lipbalm, wet wipes, toothpaste, toothbrush, tissues.
- First Aid Kit, including compresses, band-aids, compeed, ibuprofen and paracetamol.
- Knee brace: I have, after all, no ACL on my left knee…
- SPOT beacon: lightweight and able to use satellites to relay SOS information, though we of course shouldn’t await rescue anytime soon…
- 2-man bothy bag: in case we have to take emergency shelter.
- Petzl Tikka XP2 headlamp w/CORE battery: at this time of year, we’ll have close to 24h of sunlight, but a headlamp can always come handy.
- Repair kit: duct tape, wire, cord, extra screws for the bindings.
- Knife and multitool
- Ski wax on spray: one or two reapplications during the trip for optimal gliding.
- Kindle Paperwhite: with low weight and low power consumption, this is a no brainer for in camp entertainment.
- Passport, driver’s licence, wallet, phone: all safely tucked in a waterproof container.
And that’s it, everything is packed away and a grand new adventure begins. See you in a couple of weeks with plenty of new photos of a unique place.