~Wow, that really did get your attention! I still think the titles are the hardest thing to come up with creatively. I’ve always thought of myself as more of a overseer, I am not the creative one, but I can work. I can learn and I can work hard.
“So, what’s the point”? The point is every year about now, I start fielding phone calls and emails about gear lists. (Get it? Clothes, equipment = gear -vs- no gear, wet and naked!) Ok, I told you I wasn’t funny.
The weather can be hot, cold, wet and windy. The most important gear I pack, no matter what time of the year it is, is the gear that will keep me warm and dry.
Quite simply, the biggest danger, the most deadly thing in Alaska that everyone must understand, is hypothermia.
Hypothermia will kill you.
Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when your body’s core temperature begins to drop below the temperature needed to function properly. Shivering, hypertension (blood pressure rises), mild confusion, muscle mis-coordination, movements are slower and more difficult, pale face, lips, ears, fingers and toes may be blue, disoriented, confused and combative attitude are all signs and symptoms of hypothermia.
Riding in the intense (you have to feel it to believe it) Alaska sun or as you climb and heat up only to continue riding along and turn a corner or reach the peak of the mountain you are climbing and the wind picks up or you ride into a cold spot; these temperature changes happen constantly and that is where the danger lurks.
Hunt Alaska Naked
The Wrangell St. Elias National Park has the largest conglomerations of glaciers anywhere. Glaciers cover 25% of the Park, approximately 5,000 square miles. The wind coming off of the glaciers and the waters pouring out of the ice is cold. Deep down, to the bone, inside the bone…COLD.
I use different gear on my horse than when I am off my horse. For instance, riding I wear leather chaps and have my long rider tied behind my saddle. Both are great for protection from branches ripping holes in your clothes as you are riding through the Alders and spruce as well as for keeping you dry. They are however not the best choice for walking, stalking and climbing. My light-weight, rolled up, slip-over-and-on rain gear is in my back pack.
As we climb, to walk that ridge or to take a closer look at those rams, or riding across the tundra, the wind coming off all that ice can (and does) cut straight through to the bone. I’ve ridden into wind that can make it damn hard to even breathe.
Wind Shear, shirts, sweaters, jackets and even pants can make all the difference in being comfortable (and safe) instead of cold, miserable and hypothermic.
Under Armour’s ColdGear base layers, lots and lots of wool socks, my wool-wind proof pull over sweater (that Jesse, my first Hunt Of A Lifetime hunter gave me!), quiet, easy to pull on and over rain gear (great for wind-proof warmth too!), my awesome super-warm sleeping bag (Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model -40* and, once again, no matter what time of the year it is!), stocking caps, gaters (to protect my pants and my boots!) and good boots.
- Under Armour