Shell jacket – You need a lightweight yet sturdy shell jacket made for climbing. The hood should be able to fit over the helmet.
Shell pants – A sturdy pair of gore-tex alpine salopettes/bibs.
Base layers – A long-sleeved base layer top and long thermal bottoms. You can adjust these to be either a light or warm version. It all depends on the temperatures of the day.
Mid-layer – A mid-grade fleece sweater or jacket is great.
Extra warm layer – Light fibre and down jacket.
Warm hat – That covers the ears.
Neck gaiter – Something that can warm your neck and protect against wind and bad weather. A “buff” or other balaclavas are great.
2-3 Pair of gloves – It’s easy to get cold hands when ice climbing. Make sure to bring at least 2 pairs of warm gloves.
2 warm gloves – Finger versions are best for gear handling, but those prone to cold fingers can bring a pair of mittens.
Fleece gloves – A pair of lightweight gloves is very useful when you need the dexterity of your fingers. You should choose a pair with some insulation and waterproofing for ice climbing. Pure fleece gloves will get wet immediately.
Socks – Choose a pair of warm socks that keep your feet warm without restricting blood circulation when wearing the boots. Bringing an extra pair is a good idea.
Snow gaiters – We recommend long gaiters for ice- and winter climbing, especially in cold conditions with deep snow. Short gaiters can be a suitable choice if there isn’t much fresh snow.
Don’t bring too much, as you must carry it yourself.
Head-lamp – You need a small and light headlamp. Useful if coming down late. Make sure to check if the batteries work.
Tea-flask – ½ l of warm tea is good to have.
Water bottle – 1l water bottle. Water systems will freeze.
Snacks – A few snacks, nuts, a small sandwich
First-aid – Painkillers (Paracetamol + Ibuprofen), plaster, blister kit (Compeed, sports tape, small scissors). Please don’t bring any more than this unless you have a special condition that requires you to take other medicine (make sure to inform us of what you take).
Suncream & sun-stick
Personal items – Money, passport, social security card, insurance card, etc.
Phone – Type in the emergency number and keep it warm/dry during the climb
If the trip involves a hut night.
Sleeping bag liner – Obligatory in most huts
Earplugs – If dormitory-style rooms.
30–40-litre backpack – Should have 2 attachments for ice-axes. The best is to go for a relatively simple “alpinist” backpack without too many extra straps.
Mountaineering boots* – A pair of well-fitting, fully rigid, insulated, and sturdy boots that fit semi-automatic crampons.
Crampons* – 12-point steel crampons with aggressive front-points. For introduction climbs, a pair of traditional classic crampons will do fine.
The crampons must be fitted with anti-balling plates to avoid an accumulation of snow below the crampons (risk of sliding).
Aluminium crampons don’t work for ice climbing.
Ice axe* – Two technical ice tools. Technical leash-less models with comfortable grip and handles are great for ice-fall climbs. More versatile and modular tools with leashes are best for multi-pitch climbs and high mountain routes.
Telescopic pole – We recommend you use at least 1 pole for the approach if we can stash them below the climb.
If you need to carry the poles with you on the climb, it’s not worth bringing them, as they will be in the way and add extra weight to your backpack.
Helmet* – A normal climbing helmet will do. Make sure that there is a good attachment for a headlamp.
Harness* – A normal climbing harness with gear loops for hanging quick draws, screws etc. Ensure the harness is large enough to leave at least 10-15cm of extra webbing after the waist buckle when wearing above your jacket.
4-5 Locking carabiners** – Opt for screw gate models for more general usage. A twist-lock carabiner is good for belaying and rappelling as it’s auto-locking, which enhances safety. Ensure you have at least 2 pear-shaped models and 1 belay carabiner with a locking mechanism to prevent rotation during belaying or rappelling.
Belay/rappel device** – A tubular belay device that accepts two strands of rope.
2 x 120cm slings** – Dyneema or nylon.
Lanyard** – A dynamic and adjustable lanyard. It is a useful kit for securing yourself to the belay anchor and adjusting your position.
Prusik** – ≈60cm loop, 1.5m of 5.5 mm-7 mm soft accessory cord joined by a double-fisherman knot.
We only bring the following items if the guide judges they are needed.
Avalanche setup** – Beacon, shovel, and probe.
Snow-shoes* – If the snow is very deep, we can use snow-shoes for an easier approach.
Touring ski setup* – Skis, skins, touring boots.
Using skis is only relevant for skiers with ski touring experience.
For those who know how to ski, having good and light touring gear expands the possibilities to reach ice climbs quicker and further away.
*Can be rented in Chamonix.
** We can supply you with some of these items. Let us know what you need.
The guide will provide all protective and safety gear listed below and only bring what is needed for the climb.
If you have some of these items, you can bring them and use them on the climb. Let your guide know so you won’t be carrying too much.
Ropes – Double 2 x 60m dry ropes. Sometimes, a single rope will do.
Ice-screws – A rack of ice-screws. The needed amount depends on the climb.
Rock-gear & Pitons – Depending on the nature of the climb, we might need to bring rock-gear.
Slings – Several different-length slings
Quickdraws – Normal and extensible.
Ice-screw holders – As ice-screws don’t stack well on carabiners and can be hard to access, various holders and carry-biners exist to make this easier.
Abalakoff tool – You can find different pieces of gear to create Abalakoff rappel points or anchors.
First-aid kit – An extended first-aid kit
Radio – A radio or other means of calling rescue.