Alpine Climbing

This list is based on routes up to AD using only 1 axe and staying in huts overnight, i.e. classical alpinism. For some more technical routes, 2 ice tools may be required. Please ask me about this if you have any concerns.


  • Helmet (available for hire)
  • Ice Axe: Between 55 and 70cm in length depending on your height (available for hire)
  • Crampons inc. Anti Balling Plates (available for hire)
  • Boots & Gaiters – For some alpine climbing, a B2 boot will be fine. A B3 (i.e. fully rigid) boot is required for Mont Blanc to give you sufficient insulation. If you need more details on these B ratings, click here. Although boots can be hired, I would avoid this if possible and have your own boots to keep blisters to a minimum.
  • It may well be worth bringing rock boots with you if you have them. Rock climbing in the Chamonix valley is top quality and a very good alternative if bad weather hits the high hills!
  • Blister prevention and treatment kit: Compeed and Strappal tape
  • Warm Hat
  • Gloves and Spares
  • Headtorch with fully charged battery
  • Water Bottle: 1 litre minimum, many people prefer to carry 1.5 or even 2 litres. Hydration systems such as the Camelbak often freeze on cold mornings, when a thermos flask may be more welcome. Please avoid use of the Platypus system, which is prone to catastrophic leakage
  • Sunglasses (protection level 3 for high altitude) – goggles are not normally necessary in alpine summer conditions
  • Suncream & Lip salve
  • Sunhat
  • Harness (available for hire)
  • Glacier Travel kit. Depends on the nature of the climbing we do. For more info, click here
  • Sleeping bag liner – cotton or silk
  • Ear plugs to deal with snory hut dormitories
  • Rucksack: between 35 and 50 litres capacity. (available for hire)
  • Waterproof Top
  • Waterproof Bottoms: a full side zip is useful to be able to get them on and off over crampons
  • A layered clothing system comprising base layer, mid layer and fleece. Temperatures can range from sweltering on the walk up to -15 on the summit with a stiff breeze, so whatever you choose it needs to be versatile.
  • Good quality socks and a couple of spare pairs as we could potentially be in huts for a few days.
  • Snack food – fruit or crunchy bars are better than chocolate as a rule. Biscuits to take with afternoon tea are good too (see below).
  • Brew Kit – it’s cheaper to buy hot water in huts and then add your own tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate etc., than buy ready made drinks.

It may be useful to bring the following optional items if we go cragging, though they can always be hired if we do need them and you don’t have them:

  • Rock Boots
  • Belay Plate