10 Pieces Of Essential Ice Climbing Gear
Getting into ice climbing can be a pretty big investment. Whether you already climb or boulder or are a complete beginner, there's a lot of specialist equipment for you to sink your teeth into and get to grips with, so it's important to familiarise yourself with the basics before you take the plunge. To get you started we’ve listed some essentials, but this list is by no means exhaustive!
- Curved shaft for clearance
- Ice pick gives solid placements in all kinds of ice
- Good clearance under the head makes hooking more efficient
- Griprest supports and protects the hand and knuckles
- T rated (pick and shaft)
- Weight: 550g
Excellent for technical routes the Quark ice axe is a lightweight tool that utilises a curved shaft to clear protruding obstacles and it has a good angle of attack on the pick for solid placement. This version comes with knuckle protection on the grip and an adze end fixture (to help make steps and clear loose ice).
- Proprietary elastic webbing stretches for maximum reach
- Low water absorption
- Locking carabiners (non-weight bearing) attach to spike or head
- Built-in swivel prevents tangles
- 2 kN rated
- Weight: 90g
Attached to your harness at one end and your ice axes at the others, this Spinner Leash allows you to climb without wrist loops. A swivel sits off the harness to prevent the cords from tangling, and elasticated webbing stretches or contracts with your movements for a neat and secure system.
- C3 Crampon
- 3D relief stamped chromolly steel
- 11 point configuration
- Rear-facing points for hooking or back stepping
- Hot forged interchangeable front mono point
- Rear anti-balling plate included
- Weight: 874g (pair, with anti-balling plates)
Designed specifically for ice climbing, the G20 Plus features aggressive front points to penetrate and grip hard ice. Weighing a measly 874g, the lightweight design aids modern climbing techniques and opens up technical routes.
- Advanced tooth geometry
- Large crank knob allows uninterrupted 360° motion
- Colour coded for easy indexing
- Strength: 10kN
- Length: 16cm
- Weight: 146g
Easy to identify on your rack thanks to the colour coding and straight forward to fix, the 16 cm Express Ice Screw from Black Diamond is a staple for any set of ice protection.
- 3mm+ waterproof Hydro Perwanger leather uppers
- GORE-TEX Insulated Comfort is warm, waterproof and breathable
- Reduced weight mini steel lace hardware
- 2mm polyurethane midsole graded for crampon attachment
- Vibram sole with Impact Brake System renowned for traction and durability
- B3 rated
- 950g (single men's boot size 42), 800 (single women's boot size 38)
La Sportiva have poured all of their experience and knowledge into developing, testing and building this boot.
A weight saving carbon sole and minimalist steel fixings are combined with a 3D flex system (ankle and metatarsal reinforcement) and EZ Out tech (precise fit) for comfort and support.
The boot has a B3 rating and full crampon compatibility to provide torque for solid placement whatever the conditions. Add in the thermal foot bed and a wicking GORE-TEX liner and you have a boot that will satisfy the most demanding of alpinists.
- Safe, strong and secure racking for ice screws and tools
- Low profile nose minimises snagging
- Max webbing size: 45 x 3mm
- 23mm gate opening
- Strength: 3kN
- Weight: 63g
The DMM Vault karabiner allows you to fix ice screws, tools and other equipment to ice clippers on your harness.
- Pre-curved fingers and thumb improve dexterity
- Water resistant goatskin leather palm and back of hand
- Fibre pile inner lining on back of hand for extra warmth
- GORE-TEX waterproof and breathable insert
- Weight: 200g (L)
With ample knuckle protection, pre-curved fingers and a Gore-Tex insert the Mountain Equipment Coulouir gloves are a great choice for any ice climber. The palm, fingers and thumb are all made from a goatskin outer that is malleable enough to grip an axe handle yet tough enough to withstand abrasions.
- Top of helmet: polycarbonate crown and compact EPS foam liner
- Ultra-light, vented perimeter of shell in expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam absorbs lateral and rear impact by deformation
- Excellent ventilation distributed around shell
- Textile adjustment system, adapts to all head shapes
- Patented magnetic buckle allows one-handed fastening
- Weight: 170g
Tested and approved by Mountain Leaders and Instructors in some of the most challenging conditions, the Sirocco offers excellent protection and is the world’s lightest climbing helmet.
The reworked shape fits better and sits lower than the original, improving coverage to the back and side of the head, enhancing comfort and fitting better when worn with a hood.
An adjustable sizing system, one-handed magnetic buckle system and ice visor mounting system are all well thought-out features on the class leading helmet.
- Warp Strength Technology effectively disperses pressure
- Burly double weave outer
- Self-locking waist and leg buckles
- Adjustable leg loops
- Four reversible gear loops
- Four ice clipper slots
- Weight: 395g (M)
Arc’teryx have constructed the AR-396a using Warp Strength technology to evenly distribute weight and avoid pressure points. They use a double weave material that stretches four ways to aid technical movement and is tough enough to withstand abrasions.
It comes with four ice clipper slots, a rear haul loop and a further four gear loops. In addition to the ample racking space, adjustable leg loops make it easy to wear over insulated trousers. When summer comes around you can shorten the loops and use the harness for trad and sport climbing.
About the Author:
Pete Fletcher - Outdoor Expert
Pete grew up hiking most of the trails in the Lake District before being introduced to skiing. A decade later and you're most likely to find him snowboarding, skateboarding or making a mean coffee.