I am trying to decide on a backpack strategy for Himalayan expeditions to 6k-7k peaks. Typically, these involve a few days approach march till the base camp. Then the actual climbing is another 3-5 days from base camp / advance base camp to the summit.
In total, I will need to carry the following -
- Crampons + compatible ice boots
- Ice axes and trekking poles
- Some carabiners, ice screws, pulleys, ascender, descender,
- Snow anchors
- Rope - 40/60m and some cords
- Waist Harness
- 2/3 person tent
- Sleeping bag
- Stove, fuel
- Water bottle
- Down jacket
- Heavy gloves/mittens
- spare socks, 1 set clothing, inners
- First aid kit
- bivy / emergency kit
- might have missed something..
How much space (liters) do I need to fit all this?
In general, if we use top of the line products, the weight and volume can be reduced. But for now, let's assume good quality but not the most expensive gear.
A rule of thumb I've heard (not verified) is for high altitude expeditions, use a 90 liter pack. Assuming 90 liters is needed, what's a better strategy -
- A single 90 lt pack, or
- A 60-65 lt pack and another 35 lt pack. This way, the bigger pack stays at basecamp and the smaller 35 lt goes up the mountain. Alternatively open the route with the smaller pack and then load ferry the larger pack using fixed ropes.
We could also would hire porters/mules till the basecamp and climb by ourselves (with a guide) beyond that. In this case, it might be easier to load the 65lt pack on the mule and walk with the 35l pack.
Even when 90 liters has to be carried by oneself, is there an advantage to packing it in two packs - wearing the bigger one on the back and the smaller one on the front? There seems to be some studies that distributing the load over the front and back is better.
I would really appreciate from folks experienced in multi day high altitude expeditions about if my line of reasoning makes sense and what is a good strategy?