I’ve been using and abusing kit ice climbing and winter mountaineering for a good few years now in Scotland on courses and for play. In the build up to the new season I have been compiling a list of what works really well for me.
Rucksack – The POD Thin Ice at 45 litres is big enough to take all my winter climbing kit for a day and yet still weighs under 1kg! I prefer a simple sack with a floating lid and compact waist belt and the Thin Ice fits the bill perfectly. On ‘go faster’ days I have been using the Osprey Mutant 28 which is a great day sack, again with all the right features.
Boots – Since first trying on the Scarpa Phantoms they have proved to be the perfect boot for ice climbing in Scotland throughout the winter months. They are one of the most comfortable boots I have ever worn and keep my feet warm and dry in all conditions. The La Sportiva Nepal are also a great mountaineering boot for when the going kets tough.
Socks – I wear merino socks every day – enough said!
Base layers – I usually wear merino baselayers and if it’s cold I will layer a technical hoody over the top. The new Mountain Equipment Eclipse hoody looks like it is going to be an awesome bit of kit that will be on my Christmas list this year.
Mid layer – The Patagonia R2 jacket is one of my favourite mid layer pieces. Another option would be a thin synthetic layer or something like the Rab Vapour-rise top.
Legs – Paramo Aspira Salopettes have proved themselves to be one of the best winter legwear options in all conditions. If it’s cold I will add longjohns underneath them.
Booster layer – A warm synthetic jacket such as the Mountain Equipment Fitzroy is great to throw on over the top of your other layers for lunch breaks or on cold belays during a climb. I would avoid down as it can soon wet-out.
Gloves – Lots are required to get you through a typical Scottish winter mountaineering day. I start with a thin fleece glove for the walk in. Windstopper works really well as a fabric for gloves. If I am ice climbing I will change to something thicker with a leather palm for dexterity and grip. The Black Diamond Punisher has been a great glove over the last few seasons. I always have a pair of warm mittens in my rucksack as a back up.
That’s about it for clothing. In the next blog I will list more of the technical climbing kit I use throughout the winter.