Climbing three mountains in 24 hours requires a lot of planning – physically and mentally, but without the right gear the experience can become a whole lot less enjoyable – even dangerous. You wouldn’t climb one mountain without having access to some basic stuff, let alone three! In order for your challenge to be successful, you have to have thought everything through carefully. A few minutes here and there faffing around trying to find things in your car boot, or looking for loose change for the car park can be the difference between scraping through the 24 hour target or breezing through it. You need to aim to have things as slick as possible.
The gear I took had some basic requirements in mind, namely; warmth, protection from the elements, nutrition and hydration.
I basically had two packs, a small day pack for stuff I needed to take with me on the mountain and a pack for the car with things I needed quick access to between peaks.
My day pack: (for taking on the the mountain)
Long sleeved base layer
Water proof jacket
Gloves (all the above in a waterproof bag)
Water – in a 1.5-2 L bladder for easy access (alternatively use a couple of narrow mouthed bottles that you can drink from on the move)
Nutrition – I like to take a few sugary snacks with a healthy balance of protein such as Nakd bars, fruit and nuts. For the less health conscious – any sugary treats will do!
Phone in zip locked plastic bag (mainly for taking photos but may also be needed in case of emergency- assuming that network coverage is available on the mountain, which it may not be in all places).
Side note: I used the Mountainsmith Day Pack to take my gear with me on the mountain (pictured above and below). More on that to come as I will be doing a gear review of this lumbar pack.
Between peak bag: (to be kept handy in the car)
Three pairs of spare socks
Three clean pairs of shorts/leggings Three clean T-shirts
A Towel 5 litres of water to refill hydration bladder (and extra for when driving)
More snacks for the remaining two peaks
Something more substantial to eat between mountains (I took sandwiches)
Anti inflammatory relief such as ibuprofen tablets or gel Deodorant – not vital, but kinder for your companions
Protein shake for the end
Addresses/ directions for the car parks we were headed to
Coins for the car park (expect to pay £5 for four hours or less at Snowdon, and £6 for Scaffel Pike)
There aren’t a whole load of places to refill your water at each mountain to my knowledge, and to avoid any hydration related catastrophes I would highly recommend taking more water than you think you’ll need with you, at least in the car. Not only will your body require more water than normal due to intense physical effort it takes to climb three mountains, but there are a couple of fairly long drives in between peaks where you will want to replenish your fluid levels. Running out of water is a totally avoidable problem to have, and one that will cost you time.
Remember not to start with too many layers on, you will soon be sweating and wishing you hadn’t put everything you own on. Similarly If you think the weather is changing or as soon as you start to feel cold, put an extra layer on. It’s better to prevent yourself getting really cold and it’s easier to put the extra layers on before you near the top of the mountain where it will be a lot more exposed.
For more information on undertaking the challenge without an organised tour or guide, see my recent post on how to complete the UK three peaks challenge unsupported.