Ice-climbing equipment

Gear list for icefall climbing days.

If you are in doubt about some of the gear or need advice while purchasing you can contact us for help.

Also take a look at our list of recommended products for alpine climbing


Clothing:

During ice-climbing we need to dress up well to handle the cold environment. On cold December and January days it can be bitter cold waiting for your turn to climb and it’s important to be able to stay warm to have any fun out of the day. Some days it can be almost warm. We basically need to have clothing for extreme cold and use the layer principal to adjust for comfort.

Shell jacket – You need a lightweight and well fitting waterproof shell-jacket.

Shell pants – A good pair of waterproof shell pants are great. Best if they reach up your back for a warmer feel.

Base-layers – Top and bottom thermal underwear. Go for a “warm” version.

Mid-layer – A mid-grade fleece sweater or jacket is great.

Extra warm layer – A nice down-jacket or warm fiber jacket is great for waiting at the belay, eating your lunch or anytime we are active.

Warm hat – That covers the ears.

Sunhat – The sun can be very intense on the glaciers. Make sure you have a system so you can hide from the heat and sun.

Neck gaiter – Something that can warm you’re neck and protect against wind and bad weather. A “buff” or other balaclavas are great.

Warm gloves – Finger version are best for gear handling

Extra pair of Gloves – It can be worth bringing an extra pair of gloves, to change if your first gloves get wet, or if your other gloves are good for climbing, but not quite warm enough for the whole day.

Fleece gloves – A pair of lightweight gloves are always very useful.

Socks – A pair of warm socks

Snow gaiters – Go for a pair of long gaiters. Not only to avoid getting snow in your boots, but also to protect your pants from sharp crampon points. If you have shoes with integrated gaiters, you don’t need the snow gaiters.

Climbing gear:

The guide will bring all the ropes, ice-screws and other important bits and pieces we use while ice-climbing. Each participant needs some personal kit for abseiling, attaching yourself etc. For beginners who doesn’t have their own gear, we can rent this material.

35-45 liter backpack – Should have 2 attachments for an ice-axes (1 axe + 1 pole). The best is to go for a relatively simple “alpinist” backpack without to many extra straps etc.

Mountaineering boots – You need a pair of well-fitting, insulated, and sturdy mountaineering boots that fits crampons easily.

Crampons – 12-14 points steel crampons with anti-balling plates. You can choose to wear mono-point crampons if you like.

Ice axe – Two technical ice-axes

Ski poles – Its great to have a set of ski-poles for the approach. Even when approaching on foot. 

Skis – If you are a skier we can approach some ice-falls on skis. You will most often need touring-skis, and they can be any type you like. 

Snow shoes – If we have lots of snow to track to get to the base of the climbs, we might need to rent snowshoes.

Helmet – A normal climbing helmet will do.

Harness – A normal climbing harness, with front work loop for abseiling and belaying, 2-4 gear loops and adjustable leg-loops. As we often are hanging more in the harness ice-climbing, than when doing normal mountaineering, its worth getting a comfortable one, with wider leg loops than the lightest mountaineering and ski touring harnesses.

Carabiners – 3 locking biners

Abseil/belay device – An abseil and belay device that does both things well is preferable. 

Slings – You should have a personal 120cm sling, which we use when attaching us to belay stations.

Prusik – 1 prusiks of 50cm

If we approach the ice-falls on glacier, you can add on the following items for advanced users, which will permit you to do crevasse rescue.

1 ice-screw – 15-17cm tubular ice-screw

Sling – 120cm slingKarabiners – 2 normal karabinersMechanical rop device – Petzl Basic or Kong Duck is great.

Extras: To reduce the weight of your backpack the trick is to bring only the important ones.

Personal affairs – Money (in Euro), passport, insurance cart etc.

Energy-Bars and chocolate

Headlamp – We hopefully won’t need it but keep it in the bottom of your backpack just in case.

Sunscreen – Choose factor 30-50. Below 30 is not enough unless you are a guide with leather skin (and even that isn’t wise).

Sun stick – To protect your lips from disintegrating.

Sunglasses – With side protection, level 4

Snow goggles – When it’s windy on the Mont Blanc or any of the summits we make, the goggles are very important to have!

Water bottles – Sigg or Nalgene bottles are great. 1 liter + 0,5 liter should be sufficient for most people. You can also use “San Pelegrini”, “Badoit” water bottles, but if you intend to fill them with warm tee from the hut they need to be able to handle hot drinks.

Small first-aid – Painkillers (Paracetamol + Ibuprofen), plaster, blister kit (Compeed, sports tape, iodine, small scissor). Don’t bring any more than this unless you have a special conditions that requires you to take other medicine (make sure to inform us on what you take).