A summary of technical equipment & clothing required for summer alpine mountaineering. The alpine style involves climbing with a small & light pack that has all the essentials, sufficient emergency equipment, and nothing else!
This is an important principle to bear in mind when packing your gear. You need all the technical items required plus a clothing layering system that will function well in both hot & sunny AND cold & windy conditions. So ditch your toilet bag, book / kindle etc but not your warm jacket or sun hat!
Alpine Mountaineering Clothing
Summer mountaineering in the Alps involves a mixture of weather and conditions from hot & sunny glacier travel to cold & windy climbing at high altitude. Thus the mountaineer needs to be prepared for both with a suitable mix of light & cool clothing & sun protection that can be quickly added to with other layers to deal with cold & windy conditions.
- Alpine mountaineering boots, suitable for taking crampons. Don’t worry too much about the B rating, but do check what the boot manufacture specifies as the intended activity for the boots – e.g. it should say ‘Alpine Mountaineering’ and not trekking or hiking etc.
- Gaiters, small & light ankle gaiters are fine
- 2 pairs gloves, one thin dexterous pair (ideally with windproof, tough, leather surfaces for holding an ice axe) plus one thick warm pair
- Warm & windproof hat
- Sun hat
- Waterproof jacket & and trousers, light and thin is ideal for summer
- Light weight duvet jacket, ideally with a hood. Down or synthetic insulation are both fine
- Soft Shell trousers
- Long sleeved thermal top
- Soft Shell Jacket
- Thin liner socks and warmer socks
- 30-50L Rucksack
- Harness (Ideally with 2 Screw gate Karabiners)
- Mountaineering ice axe
- 1L Water Bottle
- Food (snacks for the duration of the trip)
- Head torch
- Sun glasses & sun cream
- Personal first aid kit (plasters, painkillers, blister kit)
- Mobile phone – Make sure you have the rescue numbers stored for each area you are climbing in
- Insurance details / EHIC Card – see our Insurance FAQ
- Cash & credit card
Mountain Boots, Harness, Helmet, Ice Axe & Crampons can be hired from us simply & cheaply.
Group Equipment, Provided By The Guide
…But carried by the whole group!
- Climbing hardware / protection
- First aid kit
- Group emergency shelter
- Map & compass
- Topo / Guide book
Extra Kit Overnight In A Mountain Hut
- Very lightweight sheet sleeping bag / silk liner
- Ear plugs
- Spare socks
- Reciprocal rights hut card (e.g. BMC / Alpine Club / Austrian Alpine Club etc)
For More Technical Climbs
- For alpine rock climbs only – rock boots / chalk bag
- For ice & mixed climbs – 2 x technical ice tools
- Additional mountaineering hardware including 2 prussiks, belay plate, 8ft sling, Ice screw, 1 screw gate and 3 snap-link karabiners
- Goggles (generally only used on Mont Blanc)
- Trekking poles
If you have packed all these items and nothing else, and have modern lightweight gear, your pack should weigh around 5-7kg. Less is fine, if you have everything. If it weighs more than this you may be carrying more gear than is required which is energy sapping and reduces performance both physically and technically.
Early summer can be a cold time in the high mountains and likewise autumn often arrives in September, thus at these fringes of the season or during unusually cold & snowy periods extra gear and warmer boots may be required.
If you have packed things that are not on this list, check with your Guide that you actually need them because excess baggage really slows you down, tires you out and can spoil your enjoyment of being in the mountains. Common items taken in to the mountains but not required are overly large wash bags, deodorant, books, headphones etc. Keep it light, neat and simple…and remember these 2 things….
- Light + Light = Heavy!
- The Only Thing That ‘Weighs Nothing’…Is Nothing!