Hiking Outdoor

Ice Climbing Gear List

Written by Chris Alan

A delicate balance of efficiency and weather protection is required for technical, athletic movements in a tough, unforgiving environment. A fantastic day in the mountains can rapidly become an epic one if you are using improper equipment for ice climbing. Make sure you have everything because ice climbing relies heavily on gear.

The ice climbing packing list that must be followed while packing a bag is listed below. Every effort was made to provide variations and explanations for each one.

Ice Climbing Gear List

Your axes, crampons, and climbing boots—which allow you to ascend the ice—are the most crucial gear. You also need specific climbing tools like a harness and a helmet. Finally, wearing the appropriate clothing will keep you warm and prevent sweating.

  • Ice axes

The ice axe is the most crucial gear for ice climbing. It acts as a means of securing yourself to the ice and pulling yourself up to the top at icefalls or on steeper glaciers. Their curved shafts make it easier to support your weight. They can also be used to create an improvised ice anchor and to self-arrest if you slide or fall on an icy surface.

  • Ice screws

Ice screws are cylindrical, threaded screws used to establish a running belay on hilly slopes, such as ice falls or frozen waterfalls. They are usually composed of Chromoly steel and vary in length from 10 to 23 cm. Climbers might be secured higher on slippery surfaces using ice screws to help avoid falls. Make sure to purchase ice screws with changeable tips to last longer. 

  • Rope

A rope is required for ice climbing. Even if you’re a newbie, you can top-rope with it because it will protect you if you fall while leading. The two types of rope used for ice climbing adventures are dynamic and static.

The ideal rope for climbing is dynamic because it is more elastic, which is useful if you slip or fall. For descending, a static rope is stiffer and more suitable. Ice climbers should typically pack 60 meters of rope at least 9.4mm broad. The rope will be in the snow all day; therefore, dry treatment is essential.

  • Harness

Climbers are fastened to a rope or an anchor point using harnesses. They typically consist of loops of nylon and linen that wrap around the waist and around each leg. Although improvised harnesses made of rope are possible, using commercially available ones that typically contain comfort and attaching loops for holding other equipment is much more prevalent.

  • Carabiners

A steel carabiner is a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate. This is used in ice climbing to attach and swiftly detach a rope from the harness. Because of their size and form, pear/HMS carabiners are most usually used for belaying and rappelling because they provide the necessary hook with two strands of rope.

  • Quickdraws

Quickdraws are used on bolt anchors when lead climbing to allow the rope to pass freely through them. Typically, these gadgets consist of a straight-gate and bent-gate carabiner connected by a piece of leather or plastic. While the bent gate is clipped to the rope, the straight gate is attached to the anchor.

  • Belay device

A belay device is a piece of mechanical gear that makes it easier for the user to apply tension to a climbing rope in order to keep another climber from falling. Metal belay devices provide friction and reduce the effort necessary to give climbers the correct rope ratio.

  • Crampons 

Crampons are gripping devices that are fastened to the bottom of climbing boots. They are often made of a steel alloy and include spikes on the bottom to help the person climb ice falls and maintain balance on glaciers.

Your crampons must be designed specifically for ice climbing and firmly fit your boots. This indicates that the heel lever must be locked with force, there is little room between the heel supports, and the boot’s forefoot makes complete contact with the front piece of the crampon.

Since you need as much surface area on the ice as possible to navigate, semi-rigid ones with a step-in system and 14 points are the most popular for ice climbing.

  • Ice climbing boots

The sort of boot you choose is significant for an ice-climbing adventure. You need a pair of climbing boots to properly fit the crampons onto your feet. These boots are stiff-soled, high-ankled footwear intended to be employed in combination with crampons.

Your weight won’t feel as if it is completely concentrated on the part of your foot that is typically on the ice with stiff boots constructed from these materials. The inside lining keeps your feet warm and dry, which can be easily taken off at the end of the day to be dried.

  • Gore-tex Gloves

Placing ice screws and making knots with rope require a lot of hand skill and control. Therefore, wearing gloves that keep your hands warm & dry, and allow fine movement is essential. Gore-tex fabric is waterproof, breathable, and suitable for temperatures below zero. It is somewhat expensive, but it is well worth the money, especially if you’re in a situation where skill is essential.

  • Helmet

For any ice-climbing adventure, a helmet is crucial safety gear. In aspects of ice climbing, it protects your head against falls or falling objects from above, typically ice or rock. Ice climbing requires hardshell helmets with a thin foam liner inside and a thick plastic outer shell. While they can be a little heavy, they will guard you against falling ice more than their shelled foam counterparts.

  • Clothing 

Being outside in colder temperatures for extended periods makes wearing warm clothing necessary for ice climbing. You’re engaged in a high-intensity sport, which makes you sweat at the same time. Sweating cools your body down, which can be harmful because after you stop moving, the sweat can cool you down excessively and cause your body temperature to drop dangerously low.

Ice climbers apply a strategy known as layering to get around this. When you wear several articles of clothes over one another, you can remove or add layers as desired.

  • Water bottle

Anywhere you go ice climbing, carry a 1-liter bottle of water with you. It’s critical to stay hydrated, especially when it’s freezing outside. For the activity, slightly insulated water bottles work best so that your water doesn’t freeze while you’re out climbing.

  • Backpack

Even on an all-day ice-climbing trip, most guides will advise you to bring a 30 to 50-liter backpack. The backpack can hold all the gear you need, plus you’ll also need a place to keep snacks, water, and a camera.

  • Sunglasses & sunblock

Since ice is so reflective, it is really simple to become scorched or blind from the glare—even in the dead of winter. When the sun is out, sunglasses will help you see everything clearly. You won’t get a burn straight away if you use sunblock. Nothing prevents you from fully enjoying your outdoor experience like a sunburn.

  • Camera

Making memories is the main purpose of spending time outside; a camera is a terrific tool for capturing that. Having a little spare battery with you will prevent your phone from dying in the middle of the day because batteries deplete far more quickly in the cold.

  • Personal Safety Gear

It includes anything you are aware you need to stay safe outside. It might be a first-aid kit, an inhaler, matches, medications, an emergency blanket, or anything else you require to feel secure. I would suggest that it can’t hurt to bring these things along as long as you have space in your pack for it.


Wrapping Up

Most well-known spots for ice climbing will have facilities to rent gear, and many guides will include technical equipment in the cost of their trip. However, purchasing your own equipment may be useful if you intend to do a lot of ice climbing.


When choosing gear to buy, keep the above points in mind. Also, don’t forget to try everything out, especially the attire, before making a final purchasing choice.


About the author

Chris Alan

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