The 2008 PlanetFear Winter Climbing Kit List

Article by planetFear
Tuesday 11th November 2008

The 2008 Winter Climbing Kit List has been thoroughly updated for 2012 - Read the 2012 Winter Climbing Kit List here>>>


-all photographs copyright Dave Pickford -

A January Storm clears Mont Blanc: there are few places more alluring places to climb than the Alps in winter. 

With the winter climbing season fast approaching, it’s time to start considering what to add to your arsenal of essential gear for cold climbing. To give you a few ideas on where to start looking, planetFear has compiled a definitive list of winter climbing equipment, clothing, and accessories. With winter climbing, the specific gear you take is determined largely by what sort of thing you’ll be doing – ice-falls or alpine, single or multi-day, Scotland or Canada?


Arguably, the most important single component of a winter climber’s equipment is their clothing: without the right clothes, success and survival in the mountains becomes impossible. An effective layering system is the foundation of a functional winter climbing wardrobe, and it must start with a good base layer. PlanetFear recommends the following base-layers for winter climbing:


Base Layer

Mammut New Kula Pull

Arc'teryx Rho LTW Zip Mens

Arc'teryx Rho LTW Zip Ladies

Icebreaker Altitude Zip

Haglofs Actives 021 Zip Polo

Ice Breaker Leggings Mens

Icebreaker Leggings Ladies

Haglofs Activies 021 Long John

Soft Shell

The soft-shell concept has been around for some years now, but improvements to the technology and functionality of these brilliant garments is continuous among the leading outdoor brands. A softshell is the ideal winter climbing outer-layer for all but the worst conditions: light and very breathable, yet warm and windproof enough to keep the elements at bay, a good softshell is a perfect companion on winter climbs. PlanetFear recommends the following soft-shell products for winter climbing:

Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody

Mountain Equipment Moonlite Guide Womens Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Backstage Jacket Lady

Patagonia Winter Guide Jacket

Patagonia Winter Guide Jacket Women's

Patagonia Alpine Guide Pants

Mammut Mont Blanc Pants

Mammut Base Jump Pant

Mammut Base Jump Pant Lady

Climber using a soft-shell system in perfect conditions on the classic of Mont Blanc Du Tacul, the Chere Couloir (TD). There is no need to wear a hard-shell in conditions like these - it can be safely stored in your pack!


Hard Shell

A tough and resilient hard-shell is an essential addition to your winter cragging sack. When the conditions get really challenging, only a hard-shell will keep you dry and warm. PlanetFear stocks a range of high performance climbing hard-shells from the leading brands – click on the links below to read more.  

Rab Latok Alpine Jacket

Mountain Equipment Kongur Jacket New

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket

Arc'teryx Alpha LT Jacket

Haglofs Spitz Jacket

Mountain Equipment Morpheus Jacket

Rab Latok Alpine Ladies Jacket

Mountain Equipment Seraph Jacket Ladies

Haglofs Titan Q Jacket

Mountain Equipment Pro-lite Womens Jacket

Haglofs Crux Jacket

Rab Latok Alpine Pant

Lowe Alpine Climb Pro Gtx Ladies Pant

Arc'teryx Alpha LT Pants

Arc'teryx Theta AR Bib


Neil Gresham ( ice climbing in a hard-shell / soft-shell combination

Hats and Gloves

Keeping your extremities warm can mean the difference between a succesful and enjoyable day’s climbing and a thoroughly miserable one. PlanetFear recommends the following products as a starting point:

Smartwool Balaclava

Haglofs WS Balaclava 2008

Icebreaker Balaclava Lite

Rab Ice Gauntlet

Icebreaker Liner Glove

Black Diamond Punisher Glove

Black Diamond Midweight Glove

Black Diamond Heavyweight Glove

Black Diamond Mercury Mitt 2008

Black Diamond Impulse Glove

Black Diamond Glissade Glove Womens


Good insulation - the secret to keeping warm whilst rock or ice climbing in the winter.



The last element of a winter climbing clothing system is a good insulating garment, usually a lightweight down jacket, which can be packed away easily. The difference being insulated makes on a long cold belay has to be felt to be appreciated!

North Face Redpoint Ladies Jacket

Rab Summit Storm Jacket

Patagonia R2 Jacket

Mountain Equipment Omega Jacket

Rab Generator Jacket

Haglofs Barrier Zone Hood

Haglofs Lim Down Hood

Arc'teryx Covert Hoody


A well-fitting and correctly chosen pair of winter mountaineering boots are about as important as any individual part of your clothing or racking system: they can (sometimes literally) make or break your climb. You should choose your boots according to the type of winter climbing your doing: if it’s mostly ice-fall cragging in Europe, you’ll be better off with a light, technical pair; if you’re doing long Scottish winter routes or full-blown alpine faces, then you’ll need something a little warmer, more robust (and therefore heavier). Click on the links below to find out more about the winter climbing boots available from planetFear.

La Sportiva Trango S Evo

La Sportiva Trango S Evo Lady

La Sportiva Nepal Extreme

Nepal Ext Ldy Sportiva

Scarpa Freney XT Duratherm GSB

La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light Gtx

La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light GTX Women

Asolo Titan GTX

Scarpa Charmoz GTX

Scarpa Charmoz GTX Lady


Ian Parnell ice-fall climbing in Italy - the right combination of boots and crampons is crucial for ice climbing. Forget expedition-weight breeze-blocks: think light and comfortable. A good pair of socks can make even a lightweight ice climbing boot functionally warm in sub-zero temperatures.


Having chosen the best pair of boots you can afford, socks are often an afterthought: they shouldn’t be – a properly-constructed pair of insulated socks can immeasurably enhance the warmth and comfort of your boots: click here to find out about the mountaineering socks available from planetFear.


PlanetFear sponsored blogger Tim Emmett ( sharpening his Petzl Nomics in Valsavaranche, Italy. Having a well-maintained winter rack is as important as getting the right gear for the job.

Ice Axes

The interface between your arms and the ice / rock is about as important a single item of winter equipment as any, and the selection of axes on the market reflects this. The choice between leashes or leashless has become easier now as many modern axes offer the facility of removing the leashes quickly. Click here to browse the ice axes available from planetFear.


Although more gets said about axes, equally important are your crampons. If your old pair are looking a bit tired, why not splash out on a new set this winter? There’s nothing worse, after all, than a seized or broken crampon you’ve just walked for two hours uphill! Click here to browse the crampons available from planetFear.

Winter Protection

A normal ice climbing rack consists of ten ice screws, twelve quickdraws, three screwgates, a selection of slings, plus an abalakov threader and spare cord. For mixed climbs, this is then supplemented with various items of rock protection. Other items such as the bulldog and deadman can be very useful in frozen turf or snow; obviously whether you take these along will depend on your chosen route. Click here to browse the ice and winter protection available from planetFear.


A powerful headtorch is absolutely essential for any day out winter climbing: as any seasoned Scottish or Alpine winter climber will tell you, returning from a long route in daylight is a very rare event! PlanetFear recommends the following headtorches for winter climbing use:

Black Diamond Vectra Iq

Petzl Myolite 3

Black Diamond Zenix IQ

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

Petzl Myo XP 2008

On longer alpine and Scottish winter routes, a 30 - 45 litre alpine rucksack is essential. Giles Cornah uses a prototype Karrimor Alpiniste 35 in Fournel, France.  


Winter Rucksacks

A good, tough alpine climbing pack is an essential tool for days out winter cragging. PlanetFear recommend the following packs for ice, mixed and alpine climbing:

Arc'Teryx Naos 55

Osprey Talon 44

Haglofs Ascent 48

POD Black Ice

POD Thin Ice

Osprey Mutant 38

Arc'teryx Khazri 35

Arc'teryx Khamsin 40

Cooking by headtorch on a winter's evening in Sicily: a good torch and stove are essential for well-lit and well-nourished winter climbing!

Other Essentials

Beyond the main categories outlined above, you may need other items in your winter arsenal if you’re planning on tackling multi-day alpine routes: a lightweight stove, tent, and a 4-season sleeping bag and mat would be the basic minimum requirements here. PlanetFear has selected the following top winter products in this category:


Jetboil Cooking System

MSR Dragonfly Stove

MSR Heat Exchanger

MSR Titan Mini Cookset

MSR Pocket Rocket

MSR Reactor Stove System


Force Ten Baltoro 2

Hilleberg Saivo

Terra Nova Laser Photon

Thermarest Basecamp Xl

Rab Quantum 600 Endurance

Rab Quantum 600 Endurance Lady

And finally - don't forget that a large percentage of the equipment you buy for winter climbing, from clothing to ice screws and ropes, will be perfectly suited to that other great winter pastime - skiing!


Bookmark: Add to Favourites Add to Google Bookamrks Add to Delicious Digg this Add to Myspace Add to Facebook Add to furl Add to Yahoo Review on StumbeUpon Add to reddit Add to Newsvine Add to Windows Live Favourites
Subscribe to RSS Feed Add to Technorati Add to Twitter Add to Yahoo Bookmarks Add to Aol Favourites Add to Ask Add to FARK Add to Slashdot Add to Mixx Add to Multiply Add to Simpy Add to Blogmarks


There are currently no comments on this article.

Add a Comment

Security Code:

Please enter the security code in the text box below.