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10 Pieces Of Essential Ice Climbing Gear

10 Pieces Of Essential Ice Climbing Gear
17 January 2017 No comments

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!


Quark Adze Ice Axe

Petzl Ice Axe
  • 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
  • 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).

For more information about ice axes have a look at our buying guide.

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Black Diamond

Spinner Leash

Black Diamond Spinner leash
  • Steel mini-clips for a tool's head or spike
  • Low water absorption
  • Built in swivel prevents tangles
  • 2 KN rated
  • Weight: 120 g (4 oz)

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.

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G20 Cramp-o-Matic Crampon

Grivel Crampons
  • 3D relief stamped chromolly steel
  • 11 point configuration
  • Hot forged front mono point
  • Rear anti-balling plate included
  • Weight: 794g (pair)

Designed specifically for ice climbing, the G20 features aggressive front points to penetrate and grip hard ice. Weighing a measly 794g the lightweight design aids modern climbing techniques and opens up technical routes.

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Black Diamond

Express Ice Screw - 16cm

Black diamond Ice Screw
  • Advanced tooth geometry
  • Large crank knob
  • Colour coded for easy indexing
  • Strength: 10kN
  • Hybrid construction
  • Length: 16cm
  • Weight: 145g

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.

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La Sportiva

Men's Nepal Cube GORE-TEX Boots

La Sportiva Gore-Tex Boots
  • 3.2mm silicone impregnated Idro-Perwanger leather for high-abrasion resistance
  • GORE-TEX insert
  • Reduced weight mini steel lace hardware
  • Carbon Tech honeycomb insulation is lightweight, stiff and low-profile
  • 2mm polyurethane midsole graded for crampon attachment
  • B3 rated
  • 890g (single boot size 42)

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 footbed and a wicking GORE-TEX liner and you have a boot that will satisfy the most demanding of alpinists.

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Vault Locking

DMM Vault
  • Low profile locking mechanism does not affect clipping
  • Low profile nose minimises snagging
  • Max webbing size: 45 x 3mm
  • 20mm gate opening
  • Strength: 3kN
  • Weight: 79g

The DMM Vault karabiner allows you to fix ice screws, tools and other equipment to ice clippers on your harness. It comes with a secure locking option that minimises the chance of the gate opening but can also be fixed open to replicate a racking biner.

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Mountain Equipment

Couloir GORE-TEX Gloves

Mountain Equipment Couloir GORE-TEX Gloves
  • Pre-curved fingers and thumb improve dexterity
  • Cowhide leather palm and fingers for grip and durability
  • Wrist leash
  • GORE-TEX waterproof and breathable insert
  • Weight: 205g (L)

With ample knuckle protection, pre-curvered 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 cowhide outer that is malleable enough to grip an axe handle yet tough enough to withstand abrasions. Another useful feature is the wrist leashes – invaluable pieces off elastic that stop you from dropping your gloves.

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Sirocco Helmet

Petzl Sirocco Helmet
  • Expanded polypropylene (EPP) offers excellent impact protection
  • First rate ventilation distributed around shell
  • Textile adjustment system, adapts to all head shapes
  • Patented magnetic buckle allows one-handed fastening
  • Weight: 150g

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.

Built from one piece of expanded polypropylene (EPP) the foam like material is great at absorbing energy from shocks and can withstand multiple impacts. Due to the high performance of the EPP no outer shell is needed – greatly reducing weight.

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.

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For more information about climbing helmets have a look at our buying guide.


AR-395a Harness

Arc'teryx AR-395a Harness
  • Warp Strength Technology effectively disperses pressure
  • Burly double weave outer
  • 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.

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If you're a beginner and want to learn to ice climb or improve your technique we have an ice wall in our Manchester and London stores where you can rent equipment and receive tuition. For more advance routes and ice climbing instruction Glenmore Lodge offer courses in Scotland over the winter.

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.