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Winter Climbing Rucksack Content

Winter Climbing Rucksack Content

If you have ever wondered what you would need to take out on the hill when going winter climbing.  Here is our winter climbing rucksack content list of suggestions on kit to take out as a winter climber.


  • A 35-45l rucksack with hip belt
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Insulating jacket
  • 2 pairs of thin waterproof gloves
  • 2 pairs of thick warm waterproof gloves
  • Balaclava
  • Crampons bag
  • Crampon repair kit
  • Ski goggles kept in a waterproof bag (helps prevent misting up)
  • Emergency shelter
  • First aid kit and personal medicine
  • Food, plus some high energy bars
  • Cold and warm drinks
  • 2 head torches – You can use one and have spare batteries. But in the middle of winter, with heavy snow blowing, and cold temperatures, it is easier to have a second headtorch when the batteries run flat in the first one. As opposed having to take your gloves off and fiddling with the small batteries, and ending up with cold and slightly damp hands.
  • Waterproof map and compass
  • Sunglasses
  • Mobile phone in a waterproof case/bag (only to be used in emergency)
  • Camera (to document the beautiful scenery)


Extra notes

I could write pages and pages on just gloves, but will try and keep it short.  Carry lots of pairs of gloves (I carry 3-4 pairs for walking, don’t always use them all, but rather have warm hands, than having to suffer).  I wear a thin pair of gloves on the walk in, or approach.  Then put a thicker pair on, when using my ice axe, so as the cold of the metal does not cool my hands.  I have a spare pair of thick gloves in case the others get saturated with sweat, or get wet.  I then have another thin pair of gloves for the walk out.  As the first pair I wore, are probably damp/wet from the morning.  Again, this is only a suggestion, and it is a case of trial and error to see what system works for you.



When out winter climbing, I like to have a warm drink, but also some cold water.  The warm drink helps me stay warm, and lifts up my mood.  But feel that it is not as hydrating as water, hence the cold drink as well.  The warm drink for me tends to be warm juice, not tea or coffee.  For me tea and coffee make my insides go a little nuts, and make me want to go for a number 2.  Which is the last thing I want to do when out on the hill.


Winter climbing rack

Additionally, to the above list of kit, we would have the winter climbing rack.  This is very dependent on the routes we climb, the conditions we find ourselves in. And whether we are attempting to climb a pure ice route or mixed.  Below is a list that gives us a varied option.



Winter climbing rack

  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Crampons to suit the style of route we are attempting
  • 2 ice axes (depending on the style/difficulty of climbing, these would be technical or very technical, plus picks to suit)
  • Ropes 2 x 60m
  • Belay device plus HMS carabiner
  • 3 spare HMS carabiners
  • A locking carabiner with 2 x 6mm cord prussiks
  • Small penknife on carabiner
  • 4-6 extendable quickdraws (link)
  • 4 normal quickdraws
  • 2 x set of wires
  • 3 or 4 hexes (the larger sizes)
  • Cams size 1-3
  • 3-4 ice screws
  • 6-8 pitons (angles, knife blades, and kingpins are useful)
  • 2 x 120cm slings with screw gate on each
  • 1 x 240cm sling with screw gate on each
  • Some 8mm kernmantle cord to be used to abseil off



The above is a very general winter climbing rack.  For a more specific winter climbing rack please follow the following link:

Winter climbing rack


These are our winter climbing rucksack content suggestions. You can use this as a basis, and amend as you see fit.  If you would like some advice on any aspect of winter walking, mountaineering or climbing, please feel free to contact us.  Or if you are interested in looking at our winter courses, please click the link below:


Winter courses