Lists, everywhere you look you see them; shopping, errands, and project to-dos. They are an attractive method of condensing information down to the minimum. The restrictions and expectations match that format. You have one line for each item, and therefore formatting takes a back seat and grammar conventions fly right out the window. It just does not fit. For each high-alpine hiking trip I have my own list and you might just find it useful. It is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good place to get started.
The core list
- Silk sleeping bag (Hütte)
- 2 extension trousers (Wandern + Hütte)
- 2 Pullovers (Wandern + Hütte)
- Pair of hiking boots (Wandern)
- Pair of hiking sticks (Wandern)
- 2 thick socks (Wandern + Hütte)
- Pair of Flip flops (Hütte)
- Set of Scharfkopf und Doppelkopf cards (Wandern/Hütte)
- Headlamp (Hütte)
- Ohropax (Hütte)
- Backpack rain cover (Wandern)
- Rucksack (Wandern)
- 2 ~35 liter trash bags (Wandern)
- Microfiber towel (Wandern/Hütte)
- Rain trouser (Wandern)
- Rain jacket (Wandern)
- Multi-socket power adapter (Hütte)
- Zip lock bag (Wandern)
- Sun screen (Wandern)
- Windproof hat (Wandern)
- 2 water bottles (Wandern)
- Blister band-aids (Wandern)
- Kinesio tape (Wandern)
- X Boxer shorts or equivalent (Wandern/Hütte)
- X/3 + 1 T-shirts (Wandern/Hütte)
- X/3 Paper tissue packs (Wandern/Hütte)
X denotes the number of days you will be on the go, Hütte items used in the cabin and Wandern for the hike itself. A + means one for each case while / means during both situations. The central premise is to have a set of outside and inside clothes. Everyone on the mountain cabin has loosened hygienic expectations of one another, but its no reason to throw it completely out the window.
The cabins provide a mattress and thick blanket and for hygienic reasons require that you sleep in your own sleeping bag. Washing them often is not an option when your source of power is a water generator. The extension trousers should have a significant synthetic component (Nylon/Polyamid) so that they can dry quickly. You will get wet. One pullover for hiking that you can properly sweat into, the other for the cozy cabin evenings. Hiking boots with hard soles are preferable as you will be crossing scree fields, stones rolling into your shoes. Those hiking sticks will help you down steep slopes and across snow fields. As for the thick socks, same principle as with the pullovers. Flip flops are great for freeing you feet from a day of hiking. And to pass the time, cards are the preferred choice. If in the middle of the night you have to take a leak and do not want to wake the cabin crew, use a headlamp. And more than one person will snore, loudly. This is where you learn to love your Ohropax.
A backpack rain cover is a must to keep your backpack somewhat dry, which is why it is recommendable to put all your belongings, that should stay dry, in both trash bags. Microfiber towels dry quick, take up little space and are perfect for drying yourself after going skinny dipping in a mountain lake. A proper rain trouser and jacket are a must. Triple layer with GoreTex are perfect as they will keep you dry even during hours of hiking through the rain. Most cabins only have two or three power sockets for everyone. Be a hero and bring a multi-socket power adapter. In the morning you will want to take a slice or two of your rationed bread as your lunch; pack it in your zip lock bag. To deal with those sunny days, a hat and sunscreen are essential. And it is essential that the hat can withstand gusts of wind. A scarf is a great combo item since it can warm your neck on cold days or be reconfigured as a head scarf. This is the point where hydration comes into play, a total of 1.5 to 2 liters are recommended.
Now to preserving your feet and especially the back of your heels. Before taking your first steps, apply a blister band-aid to the back of your heels. Then add tape around the band. This should carry you a significant portion of the route. Alternatively, wear womens feinstrumpfsocken underneath your thick socks. Don’t trust me, trust a Himalaya conquering climber. And bring enough blister band-aids for all the other spots that will become sore. This leaves just boxer shorts, t-shirts and paper tissue packs. As stated above, the amount that you will need depends on the number of days you will be on the go and round it up. For a 5 day tour take along 5 boxer shorts, including the one you will be wearing on the first day, as well as 3 t-shirts, one for the cabin, and 2 packs of paper tissues.
A final note to the core list, pack some pain killers targeted at joint pain. You will get sore feet, knees and everything that goes with it. The worst thing you can do is try to ignore the pain and compensatory movements. This will lead to other parts taking damage and really screw you up. Ask your local pharmacist about over the counter drugs that can help in these cases.
The hygienic extension list
- Curd soap
- Mini shampoo
- Small (~1 liter) trash bag
- X Paper hand towels
In addition to the core list items, it make sense to have the above to be able to have a lick and a promise wash (Katzenwäsche). The paper hand towels are great if all you have to clean yourself is a bathroom sink. And if you are prude, be prepared to see people naked in the shared washrooms. I have to say that the Austrians, unlike their Italian counterparts, offer gendered washrooms.
P.S. While writing this post I had the idea for a collaborative list platform, but that probably already exists ^^ Or better yet, collaborative recipes, where you can fork someone else’s, make amends and then send them a merge request! Software ❤ Cooking