So, first of all, thanks for clicking in!
I'm a day hiker that wants to move into mountaineering. This coming summer (July-August) I'm looking to climb some prominent alpine peaks the most notable of which is Mont Blanc. Even though I've been big into hiking, none of the equipment I have really lends itself well to mountaineering, therefore I was hoping to get some help from you all in making some good gear decisions. The only "equipment" that I've bought is Freedom of the Hills. I'd like to get gear that I'll be able to use for plenty of years and climbs. After I do those alpine climbs I'd like to do some big American peaks; Hood, Rainier, Shasta, Storm King, etc.
So, I'm looking for gear that will do well up to about 5000m, maybe 6000m. And after that, I'd look into getting warmer stuff to last me up to 6000m to 7000m for climbs like Chopicalqui and Aconcagua.
That being said, what gear works well and can last me in my early ventures into mountaineering?
I need it all, boots, crampons, ice axes, a pack, jackets, pants, tent, etc.
What experience do you guys have and what would you recommend?
I've heard good things about La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX's, and don't mind the steep price, if they'll last me. It'd be great to have a boot I could wear on approaches and up to about 5000m, and then later, when I climb higher, I'd carry the Nepals with me, and switch to plastics when I get higher. Any experiences with other boots?
Anyone have any recommendations for a solid layering system? I like the approach hikes and think it's a big part of climbing a mountain, I'd need a system that can go from 80 F to 20 F, or in that range. Something along the lines of a thin vest/jacket (eg. North Face Annapurna), then a Patagonia DAS parka (I've heard they're great), and then a windproof/waterproof outer hard shell. Or, would a Down Sweater from Patagonia be a better mid-layer than the DAS?
Pants? Maybe a Khaki type pant as a baselayer, some long underwear underneath and then a winter pant on top of that?
The area where I live has an REI and a Hudson Trail Outfitters, but their selection isn't really oriented towards mountaineering. They don't carry any Ice Axes because they're afraid you might stab someone and only have a few packs.
Whichever component you can help me with, please do!
So, I'm all ears and appreciate very much any insight shared.