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Ice climbing demands meticulous preparation, and having the right gear is paramount for a successful and safe adventure. In this detailed ice climbing packing list, we'll delve into essential gear suggestions, product reviews, and provide a downloadable checklist to ensure you're well-equipped for your next icy ascent.
Ice climbing is a gear-dependent sport, requiring precision and protection from the elements in harsh environments. Unsuitable equipment can turn a promising day in the mountains into a challenging ordeal. This packing list, excluding clothing systems discussed in another post, covers the essentials for a safe and enjoyable ice climbing experience.
Ice Climbing Packing List
Warm, stiff, and insulated mountaineering boots are crucial, with fit being the top priority. Options like Scarpa Mont Blanc or La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX offer a balanced compromise between weight, warmth, and durability. For colder conditions, supergaiter boots like Scarpa Phantom Tech or La Sportiva G5 provide extra warmth and protection.
Purpose-built crampons for ice climbing are essential. Dual vertical front point configurations, such as those found on Grivel G22 or Petzl Dart, are popular for waterfall ice climbing. Options with replaceable front points, like Petzl Lynx or Black Diamond Cyborg, offer versatility. Monopoints are ideal for technical ice and mixed climbing. Alpine crampons with horizontal front points, such as Black Diamond Sabertooth Pro, are suitable for soft conditions.
Ice axes fall into two categories: all-round or alpine ice tools and steep ice tools. The former, like Petzl Quark or Black Diamond Viper, excel in lower-angled terrain. Steep ice or mixed climbing tools, such as Petzl Nomic or DMM Switch, are designed for more challenging, overhanging terrain. Leashes are optional, used only when dropping a tool could have catastrophic consequences.
A certified climbing helmet is non-negotiable. Options like Petzl Meteor or Black Diamond Half Dome, with hardshell styles, provide excellent protection from falling ice. Ensure a proper fit over a hood or hat, and it should not move when shaking your head.
Harness and Ice Clippers
Winter-specific harnesses with ice clipper slots, such as Petzl Sitta or Black Diamond Aspect, are recommended. Ice clippers allow easy access to screws for placing and racking. Petzl Caritool Evo or DMM Vault are popular ice clipper choices.
A 30-40L backpack is ideal for stowing gear. Lightweight options like Patagonia Ascensionist or Arcteryx Alpha FL with ice tool attachment points are suitable. Consider a smaller summit pack for rappelling, carrying essentials like a belay jacket, spare gloves, thermos, and a headlamp.
Belay Device, Locking Carabiners, Anchor Material
Each climber needs a tube-style belay device with a locking carabiner and a spare locker. For multipitch climbs, additional locking carabiners, slings, a personal prusik, and a bundle of cordelette are necessary.
Personal Bail Kit
A V-thread or Abalokov kit includes a 21cm ice screw, an Abalahook, and a short length of cord. Familiarity with creating a V-thread is crucial, and professional instruction is recommended.
Ice Screws and Draws
Carry 10-12 ice screws, adjusting based on climbing speed and conditions. Opt for a mix of lengths, with options like Petzl Laser Speed Light offering efficient placement. Quickdraws like Petzl Ange, DMM Chimera, or Wild Country Helium are recommended for ice climbing.
Certain routes may require avalanche gear. A beacon, shovel, and probe are essential for complex terrain with an unfavorable bulletin. Lightweight options like BCA Stealth 240 probe and Mammut Alugator Light shovel are suitable.
A bright, reliable headlamp is necessary for climbing in low light conditions. USB rechargeable models like Petzl Reactik or AAA battery-powered options like Petzl Tikka provide ample illumination.
First Aid Kit, Guide’s Tarp, Emergency Communication Device
A well-stocked first aid kit should address minor medical concerns and manage serious incidents. Ensure it includes gauze, bandages, steristrips, medical tape, a blister kit, pain medication, and a tarp for shelter. A fully charged cell phone or a communication device like Garmin InReach is crucial for emergencies.
A compact repair kit with spare toe bail, allen keys, and duct tape addresses common gear issues. Streamline this kit to avoid unnecessary weight.
Food and Water
Carry high-calorie food for sustained energy, doubling your usual rock climbing day intake. Ensure food choices resist freezing, and insulate water bottles to prevent freezing. A small thermos with tea provides a warm treat on cold days.
Include a small roll of toilet paper, a lighter in a sealed bag, contact lenses or glasses, personal medications, and sunscreen, lip chap, and sunglasses for sun protection. Cameras should have spare batteries or be kept close to the body for warmth.
Clothing and Glove Systems
Clothing and glove systems are intricate and warrant a separate post. Ensure you wear an "action suit" capable of regulating temperature and moisture, insulation layers, and a belay jacket for warmth.
This comprehensive ice climbing packing list serves as a starting point to ensure all necessary items are considered. For those in INDIA or shopping online, SKIMO.IN can supply all the gear mentioned. If you have questions or feel something should be added, feel free to contact us directly or comment below. Happy climbing!