Light to pack entertainment for mountaineering: Playing Cards!
When a person goes mountaineering, or to a place like Mount Everest like I did last year, there's a lot of different things which need to be prepared in advance: footwear, clothing, equipment, the trail you're to follow, first aid. When you're new to it, these things can occupy your mind and keep you from realizing what else should be packed. For example, have you ever considered that you might need some entertainment while you are out there? Last year in the bivys project for my book you mayhave recalled when Chris and I played one of the highest hands of cards ever in the State of Colorado up on the Maroon Bells.
You'd be forgiven for not thinking of this. There are many reasons why climbers climb, but we do it because we enjoy it, and we want to occupy our time with something we find entertaining. And yes, getting out in the elements and seeing the world in another light is a lot of fun. Every so often there will be moments when you've got nothing to do because you are hanging out in camp waiting for your body to acclimatize, or maybe even tent-bound in a storm. There isn't any WiFi up there, so you can't access websites like http://www.partypoker.com/ to pass the time. What you can do is bring some entertainment with you though.
Now obviously when you're climbing high peaks and using up all of your excess energy, you don't want to carry anything too heavy with you, so a laptop or anything less practical to carry would not be wise to bring along with you. A small item you can carry in your pocket, which is light and will barely impact on your journey, is a pack of cards. There are so many different varieties of game to play with a deck: snap, go fish, card tricks and even the most popular card game in the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker .
It's easier to play poker in the mountains if you are trekking up there with more than one companion. Ideally you should have between three and six players. So long as one of you knows http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/poker-basics-ga.htm the game, hours will fly by once the games get rolling. You can place bets on little things like food rations, or perhaps a few makeshift poker chips which are created for the occasion. It's good to keep your mind occupied during a rest period of acclimatizing http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mountaineering , and a card game like poker will certainly allow for that. While it may seem fairly simple, there's a lot more than luck which comes into play. Sometimes you have to use your intelligence to outsmart your opponent.
So make sure you pack a deck of cards into the pocket of your coat or bag, and be on your way. You never know when it might come in handy. Poker is the ultimate distraction, and a nice break from the dangers of climbing the highest mountains on earth.