Alpine Eating

Thank you Stanley Brand and REI for sponsoring my post and my adventures.

The Longs Peak / Mt. Meeker massif
The Longs Peak / Mt. Meeker massif

On big routes, sprawling alpine walls, and tough climbs, food is meant for sustained energy and warmth. When I’m climbing for multiple days on end, I need to carry equipment that’s light, durable, and easy to clean. Alpine climbing is about constant movement, even when resting. There’s always a job to be done, always an adjustment, a review, or a task to be completed, leading to accomplishing our objective. Stanley Brand contacted me to test out their aluminum cookware set and cooler in an environment that is uniquely my own.

Stanley Brand Adventure Cookware Set
Stanley Brand Adventure Cookware Set

Alpine climbing involves long routes,  all day continuous climbing, and being able to perform and survive in harsh temperatures, whether on an exposed sunny face, or a cold, snow swept and windy summit. The food that we carry with us on big peaks or tall rock pillars reflects the changing conditions and the task at hand.

Breakfast is always loaded with carbs, which provides the necessary fuel and energy to continuously burn as we climb. When I was climbing in the Cascades over the summer, my breakfast consisted of whole-wheat toast with jam, oatmeal, and dried fruit. Two important factors were decided in breakfast: First is that the food is perishable and will last a long time, and second is it has a good balance of carbohydrates and sugar for prolonged energy.

Lunch will consist of starchy foods and protein to recover muscle as well as the ubiquitous sugars, so we’re typically eating white flour burritos, nuts, dried fruit, cheese on crackers, rice cakes, and energy bars and gels. After several hours of climbing in different circumstances (cracks, chimneys, faces, uphill hiking) the body can feel totally drained and the point is to refuel for the next several pitches.

Dinner recovers muscle with protein and provides fats to keep the body warm. A typical camp dinner in the mountains would include dry salamis, sausages, beef jerky, chicken soup, ramen noodles and any available vegetables. The fat and protein burns during sleep and help keeps the body warm as well as ensuring there is enough energy for an early alpine start.

When using our equipment such as stoves and burners, we don’t have time to fumble around with large cookware or want to lug it around in a pack for days on end. More often than not we’ll “saw the toothbrush” so to say in order to keep the weight light. At 24 oz, the Stanley Brand Cookware Set folds and fits into itself so that it takes minimal space inside the pack, but still opens up into two cups plus the cooking pot. The stainless steel is quick to boil, which makes it essential for quick heating in the mountains.

Stanley Brand Adventure Cooler
Stanley Brand Adventure Cooler

With the return to our base camp, Stanley Brand also allowed me to test out the Adventure Cooler, which locks tight to seal in any fruits and vegetables that we’re planning to bring up with us. The bungee straps help tie down any extra equipment to reduce pack space, and in front of the campfire, it doubles as an extra seat. While it’s a utility for climbers at our first camp, it’s excellent for car camping, beaches, and music festivals.

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Find the Stanley Brand Adventure Cookware Set and Adventure Cooler at REI.

Check out the full set of Stanley Products here!

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2 thoughts on “Alpine Eating

  1. Hey Mike, Great post. I’ve always found what to pack on multi day alpine trips tricky. To delicious and I tend to go over weight, under weight and we risk not having enough. Especially for the actual climbing portions. If you were doing an 8-10 day trip without a restock would you still be bringing jam / cheese & crackers / veggies?

    We’re planning for a trip to the Bugaboos and the best we can figure is to pack for 5 days at a time then spend a day lugging more food in on a very restful rest day.

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