In August 2018, Mountain Equipment Pro-Team Athlete Tom Livingstone completed the first ascent of Latok I via the West Col, alongside Aleš Česen and Luka Strazar. Below, Tom details the exact expedition kit he used during the trip.
Words by Tom Livingstone
I debated between this and a K7 jacket, but in the end decided to be bold and cold! Actually, surprisingly it was just about warm enough at 7145m. I’ve worn this jacket on lots of routes (eg on Mt Alberta, in Patagonia, in Alaska) so I’ve come trust it!
Mountain Equipment Dewline Vest
This was to add warmth to the Vega, but I didn’t actually wear it on the summit day. It was good to wear at night. I don’t normally like vests as my arms get cold, but this is packed with a lot of down so was a good booster layer.
Great Gore-Tex gloves. Fit well and my main climbing pair.
Bombproof pants but a reasonable weight. Full length zip is useful for calls of nature. Internal gaiters are great for keeping out the snow.
The best alpine shell I’ve used?! All weather protection, only one chest pocket… perfect!
Really good to have a gauntlet length glove…. all gloves should have cuffs this length!
The summit glove. The outers are great for putting over your climbing gloves, to dry them out. They also clip onto the harness.
This was my mid layer for the whole route. I don’t think I took it off, so it probably smelt awful but it was breathable and warm.
Mountain Equipment Base Layer
Mountain Equipment Eclipse Salopette
Super bon. It looks a bit like a romper suit but it works well to minimise cold spots around your waist….. now sadly discontinued.
I like the big wrap-around hood and thumb loops. It provides a lot of warmth for the weight.
I wore these on the summit, and again these pants have been on lots of routes. They’re synthetic so can handle any weather.
La Sportiva Buff
Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Mat
Good Night’s Sleep Guarantee: -14°C / 7°Fhttps://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/fireflash-regular
Total Weight: 1000g / 35oz
Rated to -15C and 1kg.We were impressed with the warmth to weight ratio, and even at our bivi at 6800m this bag was ‘warm enough!’ We took turns between one person going in this bag, and two people going in the ME custom double sleeping bag.
Custom Double Sleeping Bag
Two people are warmer than one! This bag was really good to have, as it was light and allowed us to share warmth. Embrace the man spooning.
At the start it was stuffed full, but by the end it was nearly empty! I stripped it down completely for the route. Impressive pack.
La Sportiva G2 Boots
Rumba 8mm 60m Ropes
They worked well, for about 2400m of climbing and then 40 rappels!
20m 5mm Cord
(1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
Petzl Laser Speed Light Ice Screws
4 x 13xm, 4 x 17cm
Petzl Spirit Screw-Lock Carabiner
Petzl Ange S Carabiners
x2 as spares
Petzl V Conique Pitons
Petzl Ange S Quickdraws
4 x Ange S medium length, 4 x Ange S extenders. A lot of pitches were long (100m+ and we climbed on 1 rope, so we didn’t need to take many ‘draws!).
Knife and V-Threader
Essential….. we actually took a spare V-Threader just in case.
Ice Axe Leashes
We really didn’t want to drop an axe!
2 x 120cm Slings
Black Diamond CAMALOT C3 Cams
Small C3 to Yellow size 2.
The most appropriate axes for the route, they climbed well and have a nice swing. We took a file to sharpen the picks and front points every evening.
Petzl Dart Crampons
Again, these are light and climb well, and are perhaps my favourite crampons. With hindsight Petzl Dartwins Crampons might have been better, it was mostly snow and ice.
Petzl Scirocco Helmet
A lightweight helmet but it feels solid!
Reactik+ Headtorch and 1 x Spare Battery
I used to prefer traditional AA battery head torches (like the Myo), but now I’ve used only the Reactik+ for the past year and I’m converted.
Repair Tape in Clear Plastic Bag
Who doesn’t rip things with their crampons!
MSR 2L Dromedary Water Bottle
BD Skylight 3 man tent
We made an attachment so an ice axe works as the handle.
Petzl Sitta Harness
Simple, lightweight and it has two Caritools. Perfect.
Julbo Explorer 2.0 Sunglasses and Case
MSR Reactor Stove with hanging kit and 1.7L Pot
These stoves are the business, with fast boil times even at 6800m. We were impressed with its efficiency using 2 medium sized gas canisters for every 3 bivies – this included melting water for tea, meals and drinks. We only used something like 4 canisters overall.
Between the three of us we took two freeze dried meals for every breakfast and two for every dinner. We took a total of 6 and a half evening meals worth of food, and 6 breakfasts worth of food. This turned out to be exactly right for us. Two meals between three people isn’t much, and we accepted we’d lose a bit of weight and not be replacing all our calories burnt. We calculated afterwards that we were probably taking in about 1100kcal per day… not much! We used TentMeals and Lyo freeze dried. We also took about 4 or 5 bars/GU gels per person per day, plus some salami and similar snacks.
About Tom Livingstone
Tom has a fondness for trad, winter and alpine climbing. He’s psyched for big and inspiring mountain routes around the world, and devotes himself entirely to this way of life. He treasures the raw emotions at the end of a hard onsight, the pain of the hot aches and the flash of magic as the sun sets in the mountains.
He enjoys everything associated with Scottish winter climbing and alpinism – even if it’s retrospectively – and is determined to follow his ambitions. In summer he longs for pumpy trad routes high above the sea or on granite alpine spires. In winter he searches for sinker hooks at the end of a thin sequence, and the glow of the headtorch as night draws in. Tom’s recent list of recent Alpine ascents his staggering, and includes Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy, the Lesueur route (ED2, all free) on the Dru, the Frendo Spur in winter in a day (which has been managed very few times), and the North Face of Mount Alberta. He’s no slouch at trad either, with ascents up to E9.
Tom is a widely published writer and is based in North Wales, where he enjoys hanging out at Gogarth and the Pass.
A self-confessed gear geek, Tom has been influential in the design of some our new products and in making tweaks to existing designs for upcoming seasons. Whether it’s adding 1 cm of adjustment to a cuff or reinforcing one small area of a trouser, Tom will let us know what he thinks.