Fresh off a first ascent of Chile's Avellano Towers, Dave Anderson of Lander, Wyo., will set out next month on a 4,000-mile trek across Asia. Inspired by Polish prisoner Slavomir Rawicz's 1941 escape from a Soviet labor camp, Anderson and three others plan to travel from Siberia through the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas to India. Here's what he'll bring.
Brunton Multi-Navigator ($359) brunton.com
We'll use the GPS mainly in the Gobi, where the terrain is featureless and there are few roads. This will give us a rough idea of where we are, especially if we go for a day hike to find an oasis and need to retrace our steps. This GPS runs on both satellites and compass, so you can turn the feature to the compass to save battery power.
August 29, 2004
La Sportiva Trango Trek ($185) sportiva.com
GoreTex lined boots are great if you're going to Chile, where it rains every day, but pretty much everywhere else, you don't need them. Gore-Tex isn't breathable enough, so it makes my feet sweat, and then they get cold. These leather shoes wick away moisture and breathe really well. The Trango also has a speed lacing system that provides stability.
Brunton SolarRoll ($399) brunton.com
The SolarRoll is a great way to recharge our sat phones, digital cameras and mini laptops. This charger is flexible and superlight, so we can throw it over our backpacks and let it recharge in the sun while we're walking. That's a huge plus because we won't have to sit around and waste daylight waiting for the solar charger.
Iridium 9505 Portable ($1,100--$1,400) iridium.com
In this era of crazy politics, it's reassuring to have a sat phone in the middle of nowhere. I used an older model when I did Avellano Towers. This one is resistant to water and dust and weighs less than a pound, and you can plug it right into a laptop.
Black Diamond Lighthouse ($369) bdel.com
A lot of other lightweight tents just use mesh fabrics. This one is made of a new fabric called Epic, which is breathable, waterproof and superlightweight. It doesn't have a fly, but the climate we'll be in is pretty dry. The great thing about this two-person tent is that, unlike mesh, it shields us from the dust and sand, and it weighs only three pounds.
Pacsafe Security Web--Large ($70) pacsafe.com
The Trans-Siberian Railroad is notorious for pickpockets and thieves. We'll use the chicken-wire-like fence to secure our packs when we're on trains or in crowded areas, where someone can slice a pack with a knife. Travelers get their stuff stolen on the train, and the ride from Moscow to the Siberian prison camp is a 2 1/2 day journey.