Alpine Climbing Kit List

Kit required for alpine mountaineering with Tom

What you need for summer mountaineering in the Alps, most of this stuff is can also be used mountaineering in the UK. Get in touch if you are unsure what to bring, I am always happy to advise. Also, if you don't have any of the stuff listed let me know and I might be able to lend you stuff. Mountain boots can be easily rented in the Chamonix Valley, and most alpine villages.
Remember light is right, and you will be carrying everything you bring all day. Try not to weigh yourself down with additional kit.
Don't pay too much attention to the suggested models, they are just recommendations if you are considering buying your own gear.

Well dressed alpinists on the Traverse of the Entrèves


I normally wear the following:


For most summer alpinism I'll wear stiff scrambling boots like Boreal Brenta, La Sportiva Trango Tower, or Scarpa Ribelle Lite HD.

For colder, higher objectives, like Mont Blanc, or climbing requiring two ice axes you'll need a stiffer pair of boots like the La Sportiva Nepal Extreme or Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro.

Fit is key here, and it is worth going to a specialist independent climbing shop to get them fitted. If you often get blisters I would recommend taping the rub point (with K tape) prophylactically.

Socks - I wear one thick sock made from Merino Wool. Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy are my favourite.

Short gaiters (Optional) - Good for keeping snow stones out of you boots, I like Black Diamond Talus Gaiters.

Rock shoes are always worth bringing for valley rock climbing or multi pitch alpine rock objectives. Make sure they're comfy.

Trainers to save my knees on hut approaches and descents.


Wicking boxers or underpants. Patagonia Capilene are my favourites.

Softshell Trousers - Stretchy, wind resistant trousers that keep out most of the weather, ideally in a light colour so they don't get too hot. I like Arc'teryx Gamma LT

Waterproof Over-trousers. A lightweight pair are ideal for soggy hut approaches or for keeping the wind out up high.


Baselayer Tee - These days I wear a sun hoody most of the time to protect my ears and neck from burning.

Thin Fleece ideally with a hood. - The Patagonia R1 Air is my fav.

Windproof hoody - Patagonia Houdini

Waterproof Jacket - Get a light weight one, but make sure the hood is big enough to go over your helmet.

Lightweight belay jacket - Patagonia Das Light Hoody


Beanie hat - if going up high.

Buff - most of the time I bring two instead of a hat.

Cap or sun hat

Category 3 or 4 wrap around sunglasses that fit your face.

Small tube of sun cream (factor 30 or 50).

SPF Lipbalm

Googles - for high mountains like Mont Blanc.


Leather gardening gloves - these are great for rope work, and protect your hands from rough rock. They're cheap too. It's worth punching a small hole in the cuff and tying a short loop of cord through, so you can easily clip them to your climbing harness.

Warmer Gloves - A medium weight pair of warm gloves, with a leather palm is the perfect back-up for most summer alpinism.

Mitts (optional) - For cold high mountains like Mont Blanc or the Dufourspitze a pair of lightweight mittens are essential.

Climbing Equipment

Harness - A simple model with four gear loops, and fixed legs loops works well for the vast majority of climbing.

Helmet - A modern, lightweight model like the Edelrid Salathe or Petzl Meteor is the best option.

Crampons - 12 point crampons like Petzl Vasaks or Grivel G12 are perfect. Make sure they fit your boots and you've cut the straps down nice and short.

Ice Axe - A classic mountaineering axe, 50-60cm long, with a rubber grip. I like the Petzl Summit Evo.

Belay Plate - A DMM Mantis paired with a DMM Phantom HMS karabiner would get my vote.

Two extra screwgate karabiners - for attaching yourself at belays. I like the DMM Phantom HMS.

Two extra snapgate karabiners - for clipping things like your gloves, windproof top and trainers to your harness. Any will do.

120cm sling and karabiner

A dynamic lanyard like the Petzl Connect Adjust (optional)

Other stuff

Rucksack - 30 to 40 litres should be plenty. A simple climbing sack like the Aiguille Alpine Stratos is much better, and easier to to pack than complicated hill walking bags with airflow back systems. I like to larks foot a 60cm sling through the bag's haul loop and clip a krab through it, which allows me clip the bag in at belays (or to myself if taking it off in an exposed place).

Walking poles (optional) - worth having for those knee busting descents. Make sure they have snow baskets and will fit inside your pack when collapsed.

Headtorch - make sure it has a lock button or otherwise turn the batteries round when not in use.

Drink - Make sure you start the day well hydrated. I always try and drink a litre on the drive or in the lift. Normally I will carry 1.5 litres. On long climbs the Matterhorn I might carry 2 litres of water. Electrolyte tablets are worth adding and make a big difference on long days.

Personal first aid kit - I'll have everything for a major incident, but its worth bringing some pain killers and blister plasters.

Hill food -.In the Alps I normally take a bag of mixed nuts, an apple and some cheese/sausage.

Camera (optional) - Keep it around your neck on a thin loop of cord so you can't drop it. These days I just use my phone, but have its case attached to me with a lanyard so I can't drop it.

If we are staying in a hut

I don't take too much extra stuff if I'm staying in an alpine hut.

Silk Sleeping bag liner

Tooth brush

Mini Tooth paste

Contact lens


Battery Pack

USB Plug adapter (French ones won't work in Switzerland but Swiss ones will work in France)

Cables for changing my phone, head torch and battery pack

Headphones (Luxury item)

Spare underwear and a clean tee shirt to wear at dinner.

Stuff you don't need

I will be carrying group safety equipment: first aid kit, bothy bag, and abseil tat. There is no need to double up on these, so please don't bring them.

I am always happy to chat about your guiding aims and aspirations, or just climbing and skiing in general.

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