Glacier Trekking

Glacier Trekking

Pigne d'Arolla on the Haute Route

For multi day treks like the Haute Route and the circuit of Lyskamm, here’s a set of kit. Light and comfortable is the key.

I’m a big fan of check lists – check out The Check List Manifesto by Atul Gawande.
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ItemDetailTickMore info
Trekking KitThings to trek with.
BootsFor glacier trekking, you can use a B1 bootI use Scarpa Ribelles, which are B2
CramponsA pair of flexible crampons compatible with your bootsI use Grivel G12 Nu-Matics, but if you have a B1 boot you'll need a classic strap system
Ice axeThere's a wide range of great axes on the marketI use a Grivel Air Tech in a 55cm length. Yu won't need a leash
Trekking polesThe way forward to save your kneesI have some Gipron poles which have done me very well for many years
HelmetThere's not many pieces of Camp kit I use, but a helmet is oneThe Camp Armour has done me very well for years
HarnessA light weight model is best. I use a Blue Ice Choucas
Sling120 cm sling
Screwgates2 should do itI use Petzl 3D Attaches
Prusik loopsCarried on a small snap link krab
Day Pack30 liters is more than adequate for a day trek. 40+ for hut to hutI use a Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack 35
HeadtorchFresh batteries or fully chargedI use a Petzl Tikka RXP as it has reactive lighting and a red bulb option as well
ClothesStaying warm is a very good idea
ShreddiesThat's underpants in northern England
SocksGood quality socks are essential.I use Lenz heated socks. I must be getting soft
GaitersRequired if your boots don't have an integral gaiterScarpa Ribells, like many technical boots, have an integral gaiter. If you're more traditional then get gaitered. Ankle to calf length please.No requirement for UK bog hoppers
Thermals?Depending on temperatures, you may need 1or 2 leg layersI'm testing out some kit from Natural Peak. So far so good...
Soft Shell pantsIdeal for trekkingI use Arc'teryx AR pants
Shell pantsA good shell pant with side zips I use Arc'teryx pants Alpha AR with full side zips for uphill effort or getting on and off over boots
Shorts?Not strictly a glacier item but…Many multi day treks descend to the valley and your legs will appreciate the sunshine
Thermal TopA long sleeved crew necked or short zip top
Mid layer topA long sleeved top with a full length zipA model with a hood can be useful
Insulation layerA light weight synthetic or down jacketI use the Arc'teryx Atom. Light and warm
Shell topA good quality waterproof, windproof and breathable shell jacketI use the Arc'teryx FL
BeanieWoolly hat. Long enough to cover your ears as well
SunhatBaseball cap if you want to look continental, a cricket hat for BritsUseful on walk ins
SunglassesCategory 3 lenses at least. Additional low light lenses usefulI use Tifosi Tyrants with interchangeable lenses
Light GlovesGloves to trek withI use leather gloves from Simond for 99% of the time
Warm GlovesFor when it's chilly. Mittens if you must, but not recommended
ShadesWith category 3 lenses. You have just one pair of eyesI use Tifosi Tyrants with interchangeable lenses
Other Stuff
SuncreamSPF 30-50. Just enough to last the trip. Share with your mates?
Lip salveDon't share this with anyone unless you're prepared to kiss them
WatchSo you can get up for breakfast at the right time. I use a Suunto with an integrated GPS
Sandwich bagUnlikely we'll be doing long lunches on days in the hills
LunchSomething to go in that bag
Snack barsChocolate, nuts, energy gels ? Keep some in your pockets
Water bottle/flask"How much water do I need?". If I had a £ for every time...I carry an insulated 1 liter Nalgene bottle.
WalletFor beers and snacks at the end of the dayOr huts if we're on a multi day trek
Mobile PhoneKeep it switched off and somewhere warm.Make sure you know the emergency number for the area. Ask me if you don't
Overnight Kit
Silk linerMandatory in nearly all mountain huts for hygiene reasons
Ear plugsIn case there are snorers in the dorm
HeadtorchTo get to the toilet at night. Fresh batteries or fully chargedI use a Petzl Tikka RXP as it has reactive lighting and a red bulb option as well
HeadphonesIf you like your music. But only at night please
Phone charger Share with your mates?
Spare pantsIt shouldn't be too frightening, but you never know 😉
Spare topNice to change into for the evening
Spare socksGive your feet an essential evening treat
Brew KitBuilder's tea, coffee, left wing tea. Whatever you fancy
Pack towel (optional)Some huts have showers these days.
ToothbrushCut the handle off to save a few grams
ToothpasteA small sample tube is best