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Winter EduTrips Equipment List

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On the morning of your trip, you should be dressed in all your winter gear. Although you will be riding in a snowcat, hiking in severe weather may be necessary in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

Any items you may want on the drive up, such as goggles, face mask, camera, water, and snacks, should be packed in a small daypack to take with you inside the snowcat. The rest of your belongings will be stowed and may not be accessible.

Space on the snowcat and in the summit lodging facility is extremely limited, so personal gear should be kept to an absolute minimum. If you are spending the night before your trip in a hotel, pack a separate bag so you can leave your street clothes, shoes, and other unnecessary items in your car or at the Observatory garage.

Pack and dress as you would for an outing in severe winter weather. You will need many layers of extremely warm clothing; you will be colder than you think! Cotton clothing of any sort is unsuitable for use on the mountain because of its tendency to absorb and hold moisture. Suggested materials are listed for each item:

  1. Wicking base layer: Thin wool or synthetic long underwear tops and bottoms to pull moisture away from the skin.
  2. Insulating layer(s): Warm wool, synthetic, or down tops and bottoms worn over your wicking base layer.
  3. Wind-proof outer layer: Durable synthetic Gore-Text or similar jacket (with hood) and pants worn over your base layer and insulating layers.
  4. Rain layer: Waterproof jacket (with hood) and pants worn over all other layers.
    Note: If your wind-proof layer is waterproof, you do not need to bring a separate rain layer.
  5. Socks: Two pairs of thick wool or synthetic socks.
  6. Hat: Thick wool or synthetic cap that covers your ears.
  7. Balaclava or neck gaiter: Face mask and/or neck scarf to cover your neck and face in severe wind, blowing snow, and freezing rain.
  8. Warm gloves or mittens: Thick down or synthetic-filled windproof gloves or mittens with long cuffs that fully cover your wrists. A minimum of two pair are recommended, to ensure that you always have a dry pair.
  9. Glove liners: Thin wool or synthetic gloves to use in lieu of insulated gloves when the weather is warmer.
  10. Sunglasses: Sturdy sunglasses or glacier glasses with UVA and UVB protection.
  11. Goggles: Ski goggles or similar for protection in wind and blowing snow.
  12. Boots: Warm, insulated, waterproof, durable mountaineering boots. Summer hiking boots and tennis shoes are not acceptable.
  13. Micro spikes: Slip-on traction devices with 3/8 inch metal spikes that fit snugly on your boots. "Yak Tracks" and similar light-duty traction devices are not acceptable.
    Note: the Observatory has a limited number of crampons that you may reserve on a first come, first served basis. Please make your request as early as possible to ensure availability.
  14. Ice axe (if you know how to use one), ski pole, or hiking pole: Sturdy metal walking device to help you navigate the icy summit.
  15. Loungewear and/or pajamas: A comfortable top and bottom to wear when you are indoors and sleeping. You will be going indoors and outdoors throughout the day, so you will remain in your winter gear and do not need more than one set of indoor clothes.
  16. Slippers or house shoes: Something more comfortable than your mountaineering boots to wear when you are indoors.
  17. Ear plugs: If you are a light sleeper, you may wish to bring ear plugs.

Bring all necessary toiletries and medications, including an extra few days worth of medications in case adverse weather delays departure. There is nowhere to purchase toiletries or medications on the summit. If you will be staying for more than two days, you may also wish to bring a towel and flip-flops for showering.

Mattress, sheets, pillow, and blankets are provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own sleeping bag for optimal warmth and comfort.

Special Equipment
If you are bringing a camera or other special equipment, remember to bring extra batteries and chargers. There is nowhere to purchase electronic equipment on the summit, and batteries die very quickly in cold weather.

Other Gear
Personal gear not listed above should be kept to a minimum, since space in the snowcat and in the summit lodging facility is extremely limited.

If you have questions about this gear, please contact Mount Washington Observatory Director of Education Michelle Cruz at (800) 706-0432, ext. 225 or mcruz@mountwashington.org.

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