Know your kit and practise using it before you go. It is essential to understand how your equipment works for you, and have everything organised so that you can avoid little things affecting your chances of success on expedition.
Do your crampons fit solidly on your big boots? Do you need an extension bar? Time yourself putting them on, it's fine while the sun is out, but if it’s not you will want to get them on easily with no faff. Practise putting them on with your gloves or mitts on, there will be times you don't want to get your hands out at all. Try putting your crampons on and off on a slope, as it's not always possible to put your crampons on at the start of the day and walk all day in them.
A good fitting rucksack is a must for expeditions where you are carrying a lot of kit. Make sure you get weight in it when trying it on. Find out how to adjust it for comfort. Use the waist belt and the chest strap. Does pulling the shoulder straps in tight to the body make it better or worse for you? Everyone is different, you need to find what is comfortable for you, especially if you are going to be wearing a heavy pack for perhaps 5 or 6 hours a day!
Have a practice pack of your rucksack, will it all fit in without having lots of things hanging off your pack? On expedition make sure you pack your rucksack so that everything you need for the day is at top, knowing where your key items like your torch, gloves, hot pads and goggles are! The last thing you need as it gets cold or windy is to have to pull everything out to get to an item.
At altitude you are burning a lot more calories than normal, usually on expedition we try to stop every hour for a quick bite and a drink, make sure these are close to hand. Sometimes due to weather conditions or the slope you are crossing it's hard to stop for breaks, this is where it is useful to pack some sweets in a jacket pocket that you can get to without having to stop.
If your hands are cold the first thing I ask myself is if I'm wearing enough on my core? If you are only just warm enough your body won't be sending heat to the extremities. If that's not the case maybe it's time to move up to your mitts or add hand warmers. Everyone in the team is different, so some people could be on a fairly lightweight glove whilst others are already on mitts.
Try your sunglasses and goggles on with buff and hat, making sure that they don't steam up!
If you have a problem with cold hands/ hunger/ something rubbing, then early intervention (when it is safe to do so) is the best policy, don't let it get worse to the point it can't be fixed.
Most of all, keep eating and keep drinking. Take a mixture of snacks - chocolate lovers at sea level often wish they had brought savoury and vice versa.
Questions on your kit? Give us a call on 015394 33794 and we'd be happy to talk it through.
Carrie Gibson has traveled on many of our expeditions including Everest North Ridge, Denali, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Island Peak & Ama Dablam. Carrie is also the first British woman to summit Himlung Himal.