The main challenge - other than curbing David's clowning around at the busy downtown MEC location - was selecting gear that would help us traverse through two distinct climates. After all, it's gonna be like hiking from the heart of summer straight into the dead of winter. (Why must they call it "dead" anyway?) And all the while, staying within a super-tight budget.
From hiking to sleeping gear, we're told it's going to seem like we're starting out with way too much stuff. But by the time we get up higher, we'll think we didn't bring enough. For sleeping bags, the trick is getting something thick enough for warmth, and compact enough to carry. We each chose MEC's Phoenix Hybrid, which offers adequate comfort for temperatures as low as minus 12 degree Celsius. (I picked yellow first, then David and Alex copied.)
Speaking of not freezing, we'll be rocking plenty of layers, including soft- and hard-shell jackets. They'll pick my colour there, too.
One major consideration is the gear that makes contact with the ground as we climb. While for David and Alex this means choosing hiking boots that are light yet incredibly durable, I have to consider that walking on my hands for an intense and sustained period of time will totally trash any hand-wear out there - gloves just aren't made for walkin'. So I'm bringing several pairs of Goretex gloves for the first portion of the climb, and snow gloves for the higher altitudes. And believe it not, as Sean McSweeney, the uber-knowledgeable MEC store manager, points out, I need to bring duct tape! It will help keep the gloves together once the stitching starts to stretch. (Somewhere, Red Green is holding out for a belly-buck.)
Now to put this gear to good use! Next time you hear from me will be from base camp.