Please feel free to contact me for advice on kit matters. The list below is provided as a source of basic advice and will also serve as a kit checklist when packing for each day out on the hill. Forgetting your crampons, for example, would completely ruin your day!
Winter Mountaineering Boots – 4 season stiff soled leather or plastic boots that will take a crampon (B2 or B3 rated for mountaineering, B3 for Climbing). Good quality socks and personalised footbeds can make all the difference for comfort on long winter days.
Crampons – 12 point mountaineering crampons (Anti Balling Plates Essential). Make sure your crampons are compatible with your boots, phone for advice or visit a specialist climbing shop. Crampons with a combination of clip-on heel and toe strap are quick to attach but will fit a wider variety of boots and remain a good fit should the toe lip of your boot become worn. Such crampons, known as C2 crampons, are compatible with B2 and B3 rated boots (however the detail of the fit between your boots and any particular model of crampon should be checked at purchase). Semi Rigid crampons are better suited to UK conditions than fully rigid models.
For Hillwalking 10 point models with front points are adequate, Note superlite aluminium models wear quickly on contact with rock, which is unavoidable in the UK.
Ice Axes – for hillwalking and general mountaineering a single curved pick axe of 55 – 65 cm. For climbing you will need a technical axe and hammer of around 50cm with wrist loops.
Helmet – Essential even on walking courses (used when practising self arrest techniques). Make sure your hat will fit underneath.
Harness – (Climbing Courses) Ensure it will fit over all those extra winter layers. Adjustable leg loops preferable.
Hardware – (Climbing courses) Ideally also bring a belay plate (usable with double ropes) and an HMS screwgate karabiner, a 120cm sling and 2 more screwgate krabs. If wishing to lead climb and you want to use your own protection equipment please feel free to bring it along.
Rucksack – Medium size of around 50/55 litres with a waterproof liner– all of your kit plus a rope will need to fit inside.
Waterproof jacket – Good quality breathable model with a large hood that fits over a climbing helmet. I would advise against relying totally on Soft shell garments – it is often just too wet in the UK.
Waterproof Trousers or Sallopettes – Full length or ¾ length zip so you can get them on over big boots.
Gaiters – Ideally breathable – In deep snow and bogs you will really appreciate effective gaiters.
Gloves – 2 or 3 pairs of Ski type gloves (or 2 pairs gloves and 1 pair mitts) plus several pairs of thin liner gloves. No gloves (whatever the claims) are truly waterproof so have spares and warm hands.
Hat/Balaclava – Take both.
Goggles – Essential to be able to see in snowfall and wind. Good quality with clear or orange/yellow lenses. On sunny days Sunglasses can be essential to protect from reflected glare off the snow.
Head Torch – With long life batteries and spares.
Map and Compass – Recommend each person carries a compass and map of the area (Laminated or in a good quality map case eg. Ortileeb). O.S 1:50,000 scale recommended. Sheet 41Ben Nevis and Glencoe, Sheet 36 Grantown and Aviemore(for Northern Cairngorms), Sheet 34 Fort Augustus(Creag Meagaidh area).
Food and Drink – At least 1 litre of liquid. Include plenty of Cereal bars, chocolate, pre wrapped cakes etc. which can be carried in pockets and eaten on the move.
Mobile Phone – Always worth taking. Keep it dry.
Clothing – A wicking thermal vest and two fleece layers(1 light,1 thicker) plus a spare layer (fleece or a light synthetic duvet jkt better than down). Fleece, power stretch or similarly warm trousers or sallopettes.
Aspire Mountaineering Staff will carry a group shelter, basic first aid kit and for climbing courses provide the ropes and protection hardware.