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Revision as of 12:00, 16 July 2010 by Patrick (talk) (List of Gear)

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  • finish gear list, include images and links
  • fill in info on local stores, other stores, online retailers

For More information and advice about gear and its use, also see Category:Equipment and Category:How-To.

Club-Owned Gear

We continue to add new gear all the time, with major recent purchases each year since 2006. In addition to many new guide books in the Library, we have the following equipment, which is all stored at the Caltech Y except where indicated. Please read the Gear Rental Policy. It explains what happens if you should lose or break the gear. All the gear is use-at-your-own risk. The club loans gear indiscriminantly, and it is up to the borrower to determine whether they can use the gear safely. To rent, go to the Caltech Y when they're open (M-F 9-5, but show up before 4:30 PM). All of our gear is free to rent.

List of Gear

Click on images for larger views.

Raven large.jpg Black Diamond Raven Ice Axes. Three (one in 70 cm, two in 65 cm). These are very good modern ice axes. I have attached light-weight leashes, which are meant to prevent the climber from dropping the axe, not to support weight. Not designed for ice.
RavenPro small.jpg We have one 70 cm model Black Diamond Raven Pro, a lighter weight version of the Raven.
Blueaxe small.jpg We also have three blue ultra light-weight short ice axes (by Charlet Moser -- probably a forerunner of Petzl's Cosmique Light) from the 1990s. They have shorter picks and are not as nice for self-arrest, but are quite light. You need to use your own leash.
Sumtec.jpg Petzl Sumtec hybrid ice axe / ice tool, 52 cm. This is a technical oriented ice axe that would work well for steep alpine ice, e.g. U-Notch in icy conditions. Email alpine to borrow; we may soon store this at the Caltech Y. Purchased February 2010.
Shrike.jpg One pair bent-shaft Black Diamond Shrike ice tools. These are an older model of ice tools, but work for steep ice and can take abuse. Please sharpen the pick after you climb with these! To borrow, email alpine.
100px Snowboard and size 11 (mens) boots. Donated by Dan Bower, June 2010. Boots by Vision, board is 153 cm Split by Marker ("Split" is the model -- it is NOT a splitboard). Preston LS ride bindings. Will probably need waxing (and edge sharpening?) at some point.
Mountain Hardware EV2 tent, purchased used March 2010. This is a classic tent for 4 season mountaineering. It's very low to the ground, which is good for storms but bad for comfort, so don't take this tent if you don't need it. Single wall construction, integrated vestibule. This tent is super expensive, so please treat it very gently. The EV2 is a two-person tent.
C4.jpg Black Diamond C4 camalots. In addition to the club's rack, in May 2009 we purchased three large C4 cams, in sizes #4, #5 and #6. To borrow these, email Greg Huey or alpine.
Snowshoes.jpg Two MSR Denali Classic snowshoes (December 2008). These supplement the two MSR Denali Ascent snowshoes that the Caltech Y already has (these may have belonged to the Da Vinci club). Both types of Denali snowshoes are good for mountaineering due to their heavy tread; the Denali "Ascent" model also has a heel lift to ease calf strain on steep slopes (our Ascent models are gray; the Classic models are Red). We also have a few extra straps to repair any broken straps; contact alpine if you need to fix any straps. The new Denali Classics are labelled #4 and #5, and are red. The Caltech Y also has a pair of Tubbs snowshoes (these are marked as #3), which lack the aggressive tread. Update, June 2009: Jeff and Kelle donated two MSR Denalic Classic snowshoes to the club. We now have 6 Denali Ascents/Classics. These two new snowshoes are labelled #6 and #7 (one is red, one is black). Also donated was a pair of extension tails; the club's original Denali Ascent snowshoes (marked #1 and #2) also have extension tails.
In summer 2007, Professor G. W. "Mac" Pigman donated the following gear the club (to borrow it, email alpine or Greg Huey): 3 bolt hangers with 3/8" nuts, one StarTECH CAMP helmet, a pair of size 6 or 7 women's Mythos climbing shoes, a collapsible yellow water bucket, a BD chalkbag with chalk, a 10.5mm 50m rope, 2 spectra cordelettes, a rope bag, 2 nut tools, 1 long daisy chain, some cord and short webbing, 1 pair hand jammies, 5 long 1" nylon webbing strands from 20' to 50', 5 metolius quickdraws, about a dozen 'biners, BD Camalots sizes .5, .75, 1, 2 and 3, 17 BD nuts of different sizes, 8 tricams of different sizes, 3 BD hexes, a metolius gear sling with 2 loops, and metolius cams sizes 5, 6, 6, 7 and 8.

Like all the gear we loan, this come with NO WARRANTY and the gear is use-at-your-own-risk. The club makes no attempt to screen borrowers based on experience or skill: anyone may borrow gear.

Saw.jpg One Black Diamond Flicklock Snow Saw, for digging avalanche pits (or for excavating snow caves, building snow walls or igloos, etc.).
One BCA Slope Meter, for avalanche safety. Because this is a small item and easily lost, we're not storing it at the Caltech Y. Instead, email alpine if you'd like to borrow it.
Shovel.jpg Three BCA "Traverse EXT" shovels, suitable for avalanche rescue and shelter-building. Metal, with extendable handle. Pretty good for its weight. Update! Nov 2009. We have a new G3 Avitech shovel thanks to Nick Stadie
Two Life-link "Speed Light" avalanche probes, 196 cm, no cm markings. A basic, lightweight emegergency probe for avalanche rescue and snowpits. Update! Feb 2008, purchase another probe, the Black Diamond QuickDraw Super Tour, 265 cm Update again! Nov 2009, we have a G3 240cm Speed Pro Series probe thanks to Nick.
Two pairs of 'Motorola Talkabout SX700R Two-Way Radios with rechargeable NiMH battery packs (also accept 4 AAA batteries). These can transmit on both the FRS frequencies (.5 watt) and the GMRS frequencies (.5 or 2 watt; requires license), as well as NOAA weather channels. Please read the instructions that come with them. Here is the user guide in PDF form. Update Jan 2010: we are missing one of the pairs, so we currently only have 1 pair of radios and the charger. The missing pair was last seen late 2009.
Black Diamond Contact Strap Crampons, three pairs. This is a lightweight, cheap all-purpose crampon. They only have 10 points and are not very good at all for ice climbing, but they're fine for steep snow and they are strap-on so they fit any boot.
4 Backcountry AccessTracker avalanche transceivers/beacons. These are modern avalanche beacons/transceivers, made by Backcountry Access (BCA). The Backcountry Access website has a wealth of information on rescue techniques, including beacon, probe and shovel technique. As of December 2006, we have 4 units. These are expensive (~$300 each) so please treat them nicely. Available at the Caltech Y. Please read the instructions (Owner's Manual PDF and Quick Reference PDF) and make sure the batteries are fresh. They do not take rechargeable batteries. The club is not responsible for misuse of these devices. Update! Dec 2008, we now have 3 additional units, for a total of 7 transceivers
Picket large.jpg Three MSR Coyote Snow Pickets, 24" length. A standard aluminum snow picket. Weighs 13 oz. Update! June 2007, we now also have a 36" picket (which was found on a mountain)
One Garmin eTrex Vista GPS unit, a full-featured GPS. Nice gray scale screen, altimeter, compass, standard GPS features. Like all GPS, the altimeter can be quite inaccurate. Comes with WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) for increased accuracy. Gets very poor reception in trees. You can store up to 500 waypoints. Runs on two AA batteries -- make sure the batteries are fresh before you take it on your trip. The unit, along with an instruction manual, is at the Caltech Y. It is recommended that you practice with the unit before you take it in the field. It can take a long time to lock onto a signal. Weights 5.3 oz without the batteries. From the REI site, owners manual and Garmin Guide for Beginners. Update! 2008: the Caltech Y has at least 2 of their own GPS units, which are probably superior to this unit
National Geographic TOPO! CD-ROM California product, which uses the USGS data set (REI link). Same resolution at 7.5 minute USGS series, but with extra features (shading, trip planning, 3D views, ...) as well as drawbacks (you need a good printer, preferably with large paper). This is the same dataset as that used by the REI "map machine". The CDs are with the other books in the library at the Caltech Y. Please return the CDs as soon as you are done using them, since this is a popular item.o

Note: the raw images of the USGS maps appear to be in the public domain, and you can get them from many sources online. For very high resolution tiff scans, try See also, which allows you to superimpose a topo map on top of any standard Google Map (e.g. terrain, satellite image), with varying levels of opacity.

In 2007, in a joint venture with the Caltech Y, we purchased a complete set of Tom Harrison topo maps (for California). These are high quality topo maps of various scales based on the USGS maps. Tom himself walks the trails and records the mileage. He gave us 50% off, so we got the full set for about $350. We have duplicate, and even triplicate, copies of the most common areas (e.g. Whitney). This is a fantastic resource, so you should use it!
First aid kit (put together ourselves; not a "package deal" like the one in the photo). We have a large first-aid kit that we bring with us on large trips. You're welcome to borrow it for private trips (or to borrow bits-and-pieces of it). This is NOT at the Caltech Y. You must email alpine ahead of time if you'd like to borrow this.
Piton hammer, pitons, full set of hexes (thanks to Tom Farr for donating these). These are also NOT at the Caltech Y. Email alpine if you'd like to borrow them.
Eight climbing helmets, blue. Most are large or one-size-fits-all.
One bouldering pad. On the medium to small side.
Sierra Designs Tiros I two-person mountaineering tent (4 season, weighs 6 lbs 15 oz). It's in a red stuff sack in the Y's gear room; you need to ask specifically for it, otherwise you'll get one of the Y's non-mountaineering tents (and they also charge for their rentals; our tent is free).
Snow chains. These are not actually ours (I think) but are the Y's. There are three models, all from SCC. The models are the SZ339, SZ343 and QG1134. You can do an Amazon search on the part numbers to find out what tire sizes they fit. The QG model (Quik Grip) might require chain tighteners, which might not be included!

Other Sources of Gear


The easiest way to get access to gear is to borrow. Try sending an email to the mailing list or try your friends. I'm happy to lend out a bunch of my gear, and I have a few less common items like snow pickets and wands that might be hard to find elsewhere. Books are an easy thing to lend. Borrowing things like ice screws, cams, 'biners and rope is a delicate situation, and don't ask to borrow these from anyone who doesn't trust you.

Caltech Y

Caltech Y's equipment rental and location. They charge a small fee to rent their items. They are located between Chandler and the Ath. Their hours are 9-5 M-F, so rent before the weekend. They also ask that you come before 4:30 PM, since they want to leave at 5. Some of the items they have: tents (2,3,4 and 6 person), sleeping bags and pads, tarps, back packs, bear barrels, large coleman stoves, backpacking stoves, fuel bottles, cook kits, water bottles, and water filters. Some of their gear is pretty decent (i.e. backpacking stoves), and some is a bit out-dated (i.e. backpacks). They also rent out skis and snow shoes for the Da Vinci club (for free!), and they hold some of our gear (including the helmets, ice axes, crampons and bouldering pads).

UC Riverside Outdoor Excursions

From their equipment manager: "We rent a wide variety of equipment some of which is not carried by Sport Chalet or REI (crampons, ice axes, avalanche probes, snow shovels, snow saw). Our rates are good too. Our students receive the lower rate. We are able to mail some of our rental gear. Please visit our website for details:"

Riverside is not too far out of the way for some destinations East of Pasadena, so this is an option to consider. Here's a direct link to their equipment rental page. They have climbing shoes, bouldering pads, gloves, goggles, snowshoes, poles, snow saws, avalanche probes (not beacons), ice axes (not ice tools), crampons (probably non-rigid is my guess) and gaiters, as well as other camping equipment and water sports equipment.



Greater Los Angeles

Owens Valley (Lone Pine, Bishop, Mammoth, etc..)



Online Retailers