Scottish Winter Mountaineering

Kit List for Winter Mountaineering & Climbing

Bring this list on your course as a daily kit check before departure. It’s a long way to walk in to the North Face of Ben Nevis to realise your crampons are still in Fort William!

  • Winter Mountaineering Boots – 4 season stiff soled leather or plastic boots that will take a crampon. Boot hire can be arranged in advance. Wear a quality pair of medium weight warm mountain socks.
  • Gaiters – Ideally breathable.
  • Rucksack – Around 30-50L, with a waterproof liner. You should be able to get all the kit listed here inside….plus a large rope that we may give you on the day to carry! Avoid having things strapped to the outside (apart from axes).
  • Crampons and bag – 12 point mountaineering crampons with anti-balling plates, essential. Clip-on crampons are much easier to get on and off in cold, windy conditions!
  • Ice Axes – For general mountaineering a single axe of 45-60cm is fine. For climbing you will need a technical axe and hammer of around 50cm.
  • Harness – If you intend to use your rock climbing harness ensure it fits over all the layers you may be wearing on the hill. Adjustable leg loops preferable.
  • Hardware – Provided by the guide but please bring your own belay plate / Karabiners / Sling – only if you have them
  • Helmet – Easily adjustable and big enough to go over a warm hat / balaclava.
  • Waterpoof Jacket – Good quality breathable model with a large hood that will go comfortably over your helmet (try it on in the shop with a balaclava and helmet on). Soft shell material is a big gamble in The Highlands – it’s often far to wet!
  • Waterproof Trousers or Sallopettes – Make sure they have a full length or ¾ zip so you can get them on over your boots.
  • Gloves – Ideally several thin liner pairs, a pair of thicker gloves and a pair of mitts.
  • Hat / Balaclava – Take both. Neck gaiters / ‘buffs’ can be useful.
  • Head Torch – With new batteries.
  • Water Bottle – 1L Capacity or, heavier, a flask. Carbohydrate and isotonic drinks are well worth experimenting with.
  • Hill Food – Cereal bars, Honey Sandwiches, Power bars, Fruit Cake, Chocolate etc. Not fruit!
  • Clothing – Thermal top and 2 fleece layers. A warm duvet jacket is also essential and, in the Highlands, synthetic insulation is the way to go – preferably with a large, insulated hood. Fleece, power stretch or similarly warm trousers or sallopettes.
  • Personal First Aid Kit – Plasters and blister kit. Personal medication. Sun cream and lip stick for courses later in the winter.
  • Personal Emergency Bivi-Bag – Very lightweight option is ideal as the Guide will have a group shelter in addition.
  • Goggles & Sunglasses – Ski goggles are an important item in snowy / windy weather, which is common! Sunglasses for the optimistic!
  • Mobile Phone – Always worth taking your mobile on the hill. Small Ortileeb waterproof bag / plastic bag recommended.

Your Guide– will carry a group shelter, basic first-aid kit, climbing protection, navigation equipment and provide the ropes

Topping Out On Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis, On Our Matterhorn Training Weekend In Fort William