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The Updated Ten Essentials

Ten Essential Items to Carry Climbing


South Korean climber rescued in Yosemite National Park.

Carry the Ten Essentials so you don't have to be rescued.

Photo courtesy National Park Service

Here is the updated Ten Essentials list of emergency items and system categories put together by The Mountaineers in the seventh edition (2003) of their classic book Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills.

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun Protection
  3. Insulation
  4. Illumination
  5. First Aid Supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair Kit and Tools
  8. Nutrition
  9. Hydration
  10. Emergency Shelter

Why Carry the 10 Essentials

Why carry these items when you’re out climbing or hiking? The book’s editors write: “The purpose of this list has always been to answer two basic questions: First, can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? Second, can you safely spend a night—or more—out?”

Carry Them to be Prepared

It’s a good idea to carry something from all ten categories when you’re out climbing. They may stay stashed in your pack for a year or two without ever being used, but when the time comes and you need them, then they’ll be there and you’ll be prepared for your emergency.

The Essentials Rule

Just remember: It’s good to know what the Ten Essentials are, but it’s better to carry the Ten Essentials.

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