Oh, That Denali Repair Kit

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 5, 2010      

Don’t you wish gear never broke or malfed? Modern ski mountaineering kit is incredibly robust, but stuff happens. So you need a comprehensive repair kit for a 3-week 7-man Alaskan glacier expedition. But what do you put in there? Bailing wire. Check. Duct tape. Check. After that it gets complicated, mainly because they don’t allow snowmobiles on the Kahiltna Glacier so you have to man haul your whole junkshow.

Backcountry skiing repair

MSR XGK stoves are quite reliable, but, a broken one can be life threatening so you've got to have the parts and the know-how. Practicing at home is a lot easier than doing it during a bivvy at 30 below zero.

So here is our list so far, anyone have any ideas for additions, deletions? The idea with this list is to go somewhat overboard. Once we assemble everything, we’ll whittle the weight down so it’s somewhere below a lead brick.

Item Quantity Notes
stove repair
extra bottle caps 2
stove tool 2 maybe bring a spoon or two that incorporate this
spare parts
control valve o ring 4
fuel tube o ring 5
fuel bottle o ring 3
pump seal 2
fuel jet 2 1 gk for use with white gas, plus 1 x for use with other stuff
check valve 1
flame spreader 1
dip tube 1
pump cup oil 2
saftey pins 2
shaker jet 1
fuel tube bushing 1
pump cup 1
jet cleaning wire 2
instructions 1
extra stove pump 1 fully assembled, quick fix
Binding repair all for Dynafit bindings
complete spare binding 1
spare heel unit 1 stripped down
extra leash 0 use cord and carabiners if someone loses a leash
sleeping pad repair can also be used to repair other fabrics
sticky patches 6 various sizes
non-sticky patch 8 various sizes
textile glue 1
hot bond adhesive 2 works good, but you have to boil it
instructions? 1
miscellaneous tools
most everyone will have knife or multitool 0 in kit
mini screwdriver bit holder 1
posi drive bit 2
large flathead bit 1
small flathead bit 1
normal philips bit 1
mini star drive bit 1 for top plate on Dynafit
misc.repair stuff
roll of duct tape 1 medium size
Voile straps 2
zip ties 15 various sizes
bailing wire (thick) 5 feet
rubber tube for pulks 2
split pole shaft 2
ski pole size hose clamps 6
larger hose clamps 3
3 mil cord 20 feet tons of this on tents as well
needle 6 heavy duty
thimble 1
thread 1 bobbin
lighter 1
ski pole basket 1
extra waist belt buckle 2
extra small buckle 1
extra dee clip strap 1
draw string clamps 2
shoe lace 20 feet
electrical tape half roll
seam grip 1
5 min epoxy 1
speedy stitcher 1
sunglasses 2 throw-away roll sunglasses
silver and black Sharpies 2
elastic cord 3 feet
mini volt meter 1 for fixing/testing electronics
tent pole repair 1 are everyones tent poles similar sizes?
popsicle sticks 2 for mixing glue
sharpening stone 1 for the ice in the Orient Express!
p-tex 1
things that can also be used as repair stuff
tent snow stakes splint broken shovel handel
Voile straps obviously! everyone should have a few
plastic bags left over from food
athletic tape last resort, in first aid kit
ski pole shaft w/ flicklock will be caried with the solar panels to hold them up
stove repair spoon anyone got one of these?


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43 Responses to “Oh, That Denali Repair Kit”

  1. Sam Atkins April 5th, 2010 11:05 am
  2. Ron Rash April 5th, 2010 11:06 am

    Hi Lou,

    Really nice list. I would take 2 fuel pumps for every stove. Just replace the pump and go. When you have good weather and time replace the o-rings on the bad pumps.
    The needles and thread are nice to take at the same time time I would take adhesive nylon repair tape and call it good. Generally no one really sews on those trips and in a real emergency the conditions will not allow you to sew.
    Just thoughts

  3. Ken April 5th, 2010 11:34 am

    I second just taking spare stoves or pumps instead of all of the parts.

    Another thought on your Voile Straps is to drill extra holes in them toward the buckle while you’re at home. That way they can be used for tighter applications in the field.

    Would you really make ptex ski repairs on the side of Denali? Maybe trade it out for additional lighters. Lighters are finicky for all sorts of reasons…

    Steel picture frame wire is helpful sometimes too.

    Overall looks good.

  4. Lee April 5th, 2010 11:53 am

    It just sounds like way too much to me…I’ve got most the kit you’re taking, had it for decades, it’s never gone wrong – yeah shit happens, but if it does, you might stray into “epic” territory but will it be life threatening? “Light is Right”…isn’t it?

  5. wyomingowen April 5th, 2010 12:18 pm

    Thank goodness for NO ‘biles! How about industrial safety pins. amazon search…. SE 3 pc large safety pin set. While you can fix a zipper closed one time with most anything..what if you need to keep opening and closing a jacket sleeping bag or such? I find them indespensable

  6. Nick April 5th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Another vote for extra lighters – as they tend to break-down (or not work) quicker than half the stuff in your list.

  7. Michael April 5th, 2010 2:32 pm

    I have used two small magnets on either side of a fabric repair to hold the patch in place while the adhesive dries. Much easier than trying to hold it. I don’t know how useful it would be in a repair kit though.

  8. Njord April 5th, 2010 2:47 pm

    Not sure about the voltmeter… I think I would leave that behind. Also, I should gift you a roll of some new “magic” duct tape that I found at a helicopter trade show last month. The stuff is pure gold! Fixes 3000 psi lines and can be reused. Other than the $10 price-tag, I don’t know why the stuff has not taken over the world!

  9. Lou April 5th, 2010 2:57 pm

    Njord, where can we get the nuclear duct tape?

    We need the voltmeter because we’ve got a solar charging system for the Ipods, cameras, computer and satphones. If one little cable shorts or gets disconnected, without a volt/ohm meter it could take hours to figure out what’s going on. The tiny voltmeter I found is just a few ounces, and we can always leave it in one of our caches.

  10. Sam Reese April 5th, 2010 7:10 pm

    I’m with njord on the pressure rated tape. If it is the stuff I’ve used, it doesn’t have an adhesive, per say, but adheres to itself when stretched (kinda like celophane), works quite well at least in Lake Tahoe cold temperatures.

    I’m also a fan of carrying about 2 inches of small heat shrink tubing for insulation of electrics stuff, but that said, I am always the electronics geek.

  11. Robie April 5th, 2010 8:20 pm

    One vise grip junior per party . Nothing else has that kind of squeezing /grip power and most people don’t know that they have a cutter just back from the jaws. Ive carried one since late sixties hare scramble days and on into backcountry skiing.

  12. Simon Isbister April 5th, 2010 8:23 pm

    Lou, can you explain the “throw-away roll sunglasses”? I am unfamiliar… but very intrigued!

  13. Nick L April 5th, 2010 8:35 pm

    A mate of mine once dropped his boot from a bivvy above the Shovel Traverse on Logan’s Hummingbird Ridge…. ho hum. Thus followed a rather interesting descent followed by a bootless 100-mile ski out to the ranger station at Kluane Lake.

    The only way we got it to work was by rigging his makeshift boot (made from a neoprene over boot, bits of EVA foam mat and a Koflach liner) to his Silvretta binding with a length of baling wire and a 6′ long webbing strap with a camlock buckle.

    Ever since then, we’ve never travelled without those two items (but he’s also sure to clip his boots in on bivvies nowadays). The strap is also a great way to tie down an AT boot which has lost its Dynafit heelclip into the D’fit heelpiece.

  14. patrick April 5th, 2010 8:39 pm

    I am a worshiper of the great gorilla tape. I have fixed everything from jackets, tents(fabric and poles), packs, zippers to sleeping bags. I have even littleraly taped my boot into a hammer head tele binding after the heel loop stripped out, it even held while making turns! The tape is indespensible for an untold number of jobs.
    I am very interested in this “Magic duct tape” njord mentioned. The stuff sounds like money!!!

  15. Mark W April 5th, 2010 10:39 pm

    My two items were already there: Speedy Stitcher and Seam Grip. Nice list, very comprehensive.

  16. Mark W April 5th, 2010 10:41 pm

    Nick, Hummingbird Ridge is almost mythical in its stature. Isn’t that where David Cheesmond met his end?

  17. Ryan April 5th, 2010 11:35 pm

    For basic electronics troubleshooting you can jury a rig a perfectly functional alternative to a volt meter out of an led or spare bulb, some bits of wire and a spare battery. (set it up so the bulb lights up if the wires are connected and then use them as probes to check through your circuit checking that things that are supposed to be connected are and things that aren’t aren’t).

    You could probably even come up with a way to convert your headlamp.

  18. Ben April 6th, 2010 12:50 am

    Maybe this is implied in the spare binding, but spare screws? Gotta have something to use all the screwdrivers on. Also you probably don’t have crampons that use small bolts for length adjustment, but if you did, spares of those.

  19. Walt April 6th, 2010 1:29 am

    I would recommend Gorilla Tape over common duct tape. It’s a lot stronger and sticks better.

  20. Lou April 6th, 2010 7:06 am

    What I’ve done with the solar system is divided it into two packages with one panel each, one is lighter weight and lacks things such as extra cable and voltmeter, other package is heavier. We’ll carry and use both packages lower on the mountain. As we move higher, if we have too much weight we can leave the 1/2 package in one of our gear caches.

    Regarding weight, we’ve all aquired Cilo Gear dyneema expedition packs, which save a couple pounds each over regular expedition packs. My total blogging system with all the spare junk weighs about 15 lbs, so our total expedition weight is easily staying in the conventional zone. All of us are on Dynafit bindings, and that alone is also a huge weight savings over what ski expeditions have tended to carry in the past. So again, overall, even with some extra electronics stuff our weight should be in the ballpark.

  21. Nick L April 6th, 2010 7:27 am

    Hi Mark, Yep that would be a good way of describing it and yes it is where Dave Cheesmond and Catherine Freer were sadly lost. An amazing line, but oh so bold. Which is probably why it’s still unrepeated after 44 years.

  22. Mark W April 6th, 2010 7:54 am

    I give Cheesmond great respect. His climbs speak for themselves. The Select Climbs in the Canadian Rockies by Sean Dougherty is overloaded with first ascents done by Dave.

  23. Kevin B April 6th, 2010 8:41 am

    FYI I never knew that zip ties were made out of different types of materials. Picked some up from my local hardware store for a back country trip this winter. Much to my surprise, as I was doing some final packing at the trail head, I was tightening up some of the zip ties and they just broke as they were tightened.
    Make sure you don’t buy cheap plastic zip ties.

  24. John April 6th, 2010 9:13 am

    lot’s of unessary stuff! get rid of electrical tape (duct tape will work), sharping stone, athletic tape (duct tape will work), plastic bags (will end up ripping apert in 2 days), mini volt meter( what are you going to do bring a full set of resistors and capicators too), pop sticks (you can use your ski pole to mix glue), sharpies…

    Each person in your group should take duct tape and wrap a bunch around each ski pole then there is no need for a whole roll. good for blisters don’t forget moleskin.
    1 extra stove forget all the parts.
    man with all that extra weight it’s going to take you year to get up and down denali.
    bring a good head lamp go light and don’t stop. light and fast

  25. Lou April 6th, 2010 9:54 am

    John, thanks! We’re thinking along the same lines. Just thought we’d start with the kitchen sink then reduce as necessary and appropriate. Definitely don’t need the electrical tape!

  26. Nick L April 6th, 2010 10:46 am

    A headlamp on Denali in June??!!

  27. Thomas B April 6th, 2010 1:54 pm

    axe the headlamp.
    This duct tape around ski pole myth should be laid to rest, by the time it’s sat there and frozen and thawed it becomes worthless. Leave the duct tape at home and buy some Scotch 88 electrical tape. It will last longer and endure cold 10 times better than duct tape. I have used it all over Alaska in temps down to -70 for professional outdoor applications, obviously it works better in the 20 to zero range which is what the majority of Denali temps will be.
    3 week west buttress trip is by definition not “fast and light”, excessive weight is foolish but comfort is king.
    I’m not bringing anything with me , I’ll just be trailing the Wildsnow crew for my needs! :biggrin: :biggrin:
    maybe trade chocolate for stove parts? :biggrin:

  28. Lou April 6th, 2010 3:26 pm

    Um, so what do we light our snowcave with, fireflies in a bottle? :angel:

  29. Thomas B April 6th, 2010 3:37 pm

    you know snowcaves suck and you’ll have those nice tents…… if your cave is that dark in June it may also be a bad carbon monoxide trap.
    I guess you could bring one so the snowcave bogeyman doesn’t get you, I just figured your laptop glow would be visible from space and you wouldn’t need headlamp.

  30. Lou April 6th, 2010 5:51 pm

    He he, yeah, I’ll use the movie library I’ve got on the laptop to light the cave.

    I did throw in a 6×8 inch plexiglass igloo/cave window that also doubles as a pot board.

  31. Louie Dawson April 6th, 2010 7:41 pm


    The throw away sunglasses are officially called “post-mydriatic sunglasses.” You can get them for free from your eye doctor, they are super dark, and they weigh 1/10th of an ounce. I discovered them after I got hit in the eye with a granola bar a few years ago and my pupil wouldn’t dilate correctly. I always wear eye protection in food fights now :).

  32. roberto palimino April 6th, 2010 8:43 pm

    if your going up in june you might very well not need snow caves.. just move into the snow wall cities that have been already built.

    i was curious about your sled selection.. did not look like anything was going to stop it if you go into a crack..
    agree with all the above comments re tape – sewing gear and stove parts. don’t forget an insulated chair

  33. Drew Tabke April 7th, 2010 11:38 am

    I would recommend bringing some things in the way of boot repair. Some ideas:

    Washer/nut/bolt combos: How many people do you know who’s ankle rivets have blown out of their AT boots? Really easy to fix with a few tiny pieces.

    Walk mode switches: I work in a ski shop, and we’ve replaced more Black Diamond walk mode switches than any other boot by far. But recently I’ve seen a few Garmont walk modes fail, too. I’ve seen one walk mode switch fail on a Dynafit Titan, and this was harder to replace than the others, but still doable in the field with the right parts.

    Dynafit boot heel piece thingy: You know, the metal thing on the heel of your boot that the pins click into. Just pull one out of an old pair of boots you aren’t using anymore, and bring a long wood screw, too (instead of the short screw used originally). That will allow you to screw that thing all the way into the heel block of your boot in the case that the plastic surrounding it cracks out.

    Go get it Lou! I can’t wait to see the reports start to roll in.

  34. Lou April 7th, 2010 11:57 am

    Drew, thanks, we forgot about the boot repair stuff…

  35. hectorvictoriuos April 10th, 2010 1:21 pm

    always bring a towel wherever you go, you never know…

  36. canwilf April 13th, 2010 2:04 am

    Make sure you got a pair of hut booties.
    And some good rum too.

    Hut booties plus rum = no worries.

    You can stow your canteen of hot liquids inside a hut bootie and it will stay warm long.

  37. Steve Nutting April 21st, 2010 11:10 pm

    Lou & Louie, I’m very excited for you guys.

    I’ll second — no need for headlamp. You can just about read a book at 1:00am in your tent. If you’re concerned bring a little squeeze lamp and you can get it going on strobe for a little disco in your igloo when its blowing 60mph outside. People do strange things at 14,000+ ft.

    We had a repair kit about the same size, barely used anything from it. And we were using snowshoes, which in my experience are twice as likely to have a catostrophic failure. Of course for snowshoes a little bailing wire, a stick (good luck with that one on Denali) and some duct tape can put it back together quite well — oh yeah, and the handle from the stove repair spoon.

    Maybe bring an extra coin-cell battery for your altimeter watches — those things like to die at just the wrong times. Or just put a new one in it before you go.

    Is that speed-stitcher the kind with the big wooden handle? If so I’d leave it behind. Exped has an “expedition sewing kit” which has about a 1/2 ounce version of the speed stitcher — basically fully manual, but it works if you need to use it. You usually have plenty of time in the tent to fix things so speed isn’t the issue.

    And iPods? I hope you’re just talking about a shuffle. Maybe a touch or iPhone instead of the laptop if you can get it to hook up to your sat phone for blogging. That would save lots of weight and increase the cool factor too!

    Man I’m jealous. Have a great trip!

  38. Lou April 22nd, 2010 7:00 am

    Thanks Steve, we’re in the process of reducing weight somewhat, but with 7 people charging for 3 weeks we’re definitely taking a full repair kit. We might make a lighter version that lives in the main version, to allow splitting the kit and leaving part of it in one of our caches.

    I tried to figure out a good satphone blogging system using a PDA, but the optimized satphone software I’m using only runs on Windows and these Acer computers only weigh 36 ounces, and we’re doing photo editing, so I’m figuring the extra weight is way worth it.

    I’ll get into details when I blog from the mountain — if the system works. Don’t want to speak too soon.

  39. Brian January 21st, 2011 7:05 pm

    Magic Duct tape found here. http://www.duluthtrading.com (X-Treme tape)
    they have a few other potential items of interest like military wound clotting compress etc. Thanks for the list

  40. steel toe boots February 1st, 2011 8:06 am

    I enjoyed visiting your website & reading your interesting posts, nice list! thanks, VJ

  41. Bob May 17th, 2011 7:16 pm

    Lou, what did you bring for 5 min Epoxy? Gorilla Glue? Also wondering on sizing bolts to replace the ankle rivet?

  42. Lou May 17th, 2011 7:29 pm

    Bob, I’m pretty sure we just brought some 5-min epoxy we got at the hardware store, nothing special.

    I don’t understand your ankle rivet question, do you mean the one in your ski boots? For that you could get the repair rivets from Garmont, they have them to replace lost or worn out cuff rivets.

    Our repair kit was heavy, but it was for 7 guys on skis, difficult to trim down.

  43. See May 18th, 2011 7:55 am

    For minimal repair kit epoxy, I carry Hardman double bubble packets.

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