Mountaineering 101: What to Bring

A high-octane trek or climb up a mountainside calls for some intense gear. Before packing for your next excursion, make sure you have the right equipment.

If you’re looking to take your adventures to new heights, then mountaineering might be your ticket. This advanced activity combines elements of intense trekking and climbing to give athletes a sense of exhilaration as they explore some of nature’s most beautiful peaks.

With no pre-cut trails to follow, and with conditions often in the extremes, mountaineering is not something you should just pack up and go for impulsively. Packing the proper gear and hiring a guide (link) are starting points for a mountaineer’s success.

Beginning with your apparel, be sure to check with local authorities and weather forecasts to get a better understanding of what conditions you’ll encounter. According to Mountain Madness Alpine Guide Marina Fitzpatrick, your apparel should be warm and waterproof, but you don’t want to sweat yourself out of your equipment.

“You don’t want to get too hot, because if you’re too sweaty and the wind picks up, it’s going to be hard to warm yourself back up,” says Fitzpatrick. “You also don’t want to be too cold, so it’s a balance between bringing enough stuff and not too much stuff.”

If your mountaineering adventure is a multi-day trek through the environment, then you will undoubtedly need a sleeping system in your pack, as well as your trusty mountainside cookware. In your mountaineering pack, you should include a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tent, food and water, as well as a camp stove. “And then, of course, first-aid gear and a map is always a good idea,” says Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick adds that if glacier travel is expected, then your mountaineering gear should also include crampons, a harness, ice axe, climbing helmet, some carabiners and even some ice screws and pickets to build snow anchors if situations call for them.

When packing all of your mountaineering gear, your main focus should be on balance and center of gravity. Having a well-balanced pack can make a difference on the mountain in terms of comfort and ease of carry, so in order to accomplish this, pack your heaviest items as close to your back as possible. Fill in air pockets with softer items, such as tent canvases and additional layers. Your gear doesn’t have to be perfectly organized as you’ll have plenty of time to take everything out and organize at camp. When it comes to packing for the trek, try and get your gear as compact as possible.

Mountaineering can be a fantastic, intense activity for extreme athletes looking for more adventure. Make sure you’re properly geared up to conquer any mountain with help from these Pro Tips.