Mountaineering Equipment

15 May 2020 Prakash Devkota

Mountaineering Equipment

Nepal is one of the few countries which fills the bill for the best destination to mountaineers. It has got everything from unique topography to extreme wildlands and exquisite habitat.

But nothing delights the mountaineer/climber as much as the sky-scraping mountains here. They seem to be a major crowd-puller rolling magnetic scenery and breathtaking landscape.

Meanwhile, these mountains also bring forth classic trails that are incredible for trekking and climbing. Every route takes more than a day or even weeks before coming to finish. In such a scenario, every hiker has to plan the trip in advance.

Physical strength and mental stability is equally important before setting off the excursion. Besides, they also have to lay the groundwork for all the essential mountaineering equipment.

It’s important for every climber to prepare the mountaineering tools ahead of schedule. This will help prevent from missing out the prerequisite gears which can be a great help. The right gear can help one accomplish the expedition without having to struggle or take the stress.

With the right mountaineering equipment and their uses, you can easily avoid mishaps. So to help you with the stuff required during climbing, we’ve made a list of equipment used in mountain climbing.

Mountain Climbing Equipment

best equipment for mountaineering

Mountaineering Boots

Mountaineering Boot is one of the few essential mountaineering equipments. It more or less impacts the success of any climbing. In a way, climbers completely rely on one of these footwear which helps knock down the snow terrain and make their way through it.

A well-built mountaineering boot provides hikers with a secured grip and steadiness while scrambling rugged trails and mountains. It is equipped with firm soles which are resilient to water and abrasion. They don’t wear out even under extreme exposure and stay around for years.

For many mountaineers, padded light boots which forbid heat loss and enable them to walk comfortably is an easy choice. However, not every warm boots are good enough for crampons and neither they allow to attach it.

This is when you need to be extra careful and choose the right size of footwear to accommodate crampons. Amidst insulated and non-insulated mountaineering boots, you can choose either one or both.

Non-insulated mountaineering boots

Mountaineers who don’t have to confront zero temperature opts for non-insulated boots. In contrast to insulated boots, they are lightweight and stable, which causes mountaineers to walk steadily.

Insulated mountaineering boots

Insulated boots are much preferred by mountaineers/climbers who have to spend a great time in snow sheathed trails. They are pretty much warm with imposing height to defy crisp weather. It consists of a hard outer shell with toe welt on the front section while the inner case is wrapped with a foam.


    It’s possibly the most iconic piece of a gear to be ever found in the backpack of a pro mountaineers/climbers. Though underrated, they act as a system for functioning the boots and provide a strong grip to them.

    It is particularly designed to help mountaineers climb the rocks smeared with ice or snow slopes and even frozen waterfalls. They feature anti-balling plates that wrap the entire sole. This helps prevent snow from sticking to the shoe and stockpiling there making it important mountaineering equipment.

    Most modern crampons these days are prepared from stainless steel to prevent it from rusting and improve durability. It also features three attachment systems, step-in, hybrid and strap-in crampons. The latter one has a toe sling in the front and heel lever on the back side.

    While picking up the crampons, you need to be meticulous about the size and whether it fits the shoe. It’s important to know if they are firmly fixed and provide a good grip while taking on snow sheets.

    Climbing Helmets for Mountaineering

    Climbing helmets are the most used equipment in mountaineering. They are often used by mountaineers and rock climbers to prevent injuries. Using a helmet is most likely to mitigate the unfortunate accidents.

    It protects the head from possible injuries to occur after it hits a hard surface like debris. Climbing helmets come with a hard shell and cushioned with thick foam inside to protect the head even after hitting hard. Thus, it’s important for a mountaineer/climber to wear a helmet and avoid the risk.

    There are mostly two types of climbing helmets, a hard-shell and Shelled foam helmet which has improved ventilation with least weight. The first-mentioned features a rigid outer shell with full vent to cover the head.

    Ice Axes for Mountaineering

    There is no way a hiker can even consider climbing a mountain without an Ice Axe. This is probably enough to explain how crucial the apparatus is seeing that it’s in the service of a mountaineer throughout the time.

    Ice Axe accommodates climbers while walking on snow terrain or sheer ice sheets. From drawing on as a walking stick to tying the rope around the pole to create an anchor, Ice Axe is used in so many ways and is very important mountaineering equipment.

    It consists of pick and adze which are constructed from stainless steel. Their purpose is to hook onto thick snow or drive on footholds to make the way ahead. The shaft just below the carabiner hole allows the straps to fasten to the ice axe.

    There are different lengths and sizes of Ice Axe available in the market. So, you need to be careful while purchasing one. At the forefront decide if you want a classic or special ice axe as the latter one is for pro climbers and has a more strong main shaft.

    Also, you might want to give a look at the head of the axe as the adze which is leaned forward is more adaptable. If you want to keep the weight as light as possible then just go for a short axe but if not then buy a longer one which works as a snow anchor.

    Climbing Harness for Mountaineering

    Climbing Harness is another very important mountaineering equipment. If you’re climbing mountains and you’ve already got the rope then there’s no way you can miss the climbing harness. It’s a must-to-be equipment for mountain climbing as the harness provides you with security and support while mounting rocky hills.

    Climbing harnesses are designed with nylon webbing as it’s able to resist the pressure. It features a heavy-duty waist belt with a leg loop and double strap to avoid falling off.

    Unlike previous climbing harnesses, modern ones are more secure and comfortable to use. Their frame construction is incredible with a soft waist pad which is adjustable.

    Fixed Rope

    Without an anchor, you can’t even think of climbing mountains let scrambling be. For that reason, every mountaineer/climber must have a fixed rope used to place up to the point of protection. Since it’s normally anchored at the lower and upper end, the rope remains at one fixed place. Climbers then use the ascender to advance through the rope.

    Climbing Backpacks

    Climbing Backpack

    Climbing Backpacks is a must-to-be gear while embarking on an excursion. It materializes as your only solution of stuffing all the apparatus required before heading on an expedition.

    Ideally, they are used to stuff all the equipment needed during a trek. Hence, it’s important that you choose a rucksack that holds everything needed without padding.

    The key aspect for picking just a right climbing backpack is to inspect its durability. You also need to inspect the material components used to improve the performance. The backpack must be light but stiff enough to endure bare minimum load featuring cramp patch and ice axe loops.

    You should go for an all-in narrow contour while buying a backpack as it provides the mountaineer/climber to have a smooth movement while ascending the peak. You should not compromise while getting this mountaineering equipment for yourself.

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    Ascender (Jumar)

    An ascender is a mountaineering equipment/device used to couple the rope which then allows mountaineers to ascend steep hills. The rope attached to the ascender provides the climber with a strong grip and secure a foothold.

    Ascenders are available in different sizes and shapes so it must be carefully chosen. You need a set of hard-wearing handled ascenders for mounting big walls with rolling routes.

    Jumar is one of the most popular ascenders entitled after its manufacturer Jumar Pangit. It is quite preferred by mountaineers/climbers during rock climbing and mountains.

    Figure 8 Descender

    Figure 8 is a belay device made from an aluminum alloy with one end small and other large. It’s designed to form the shape of 8 which looks impressive but works even more efficiently.

    Figure 8 comes with an easy locking system and wide space which offers enough friction for abseiling. They also have an improved brake to allow the mountaineers/climbers to descend smoothly from the rope. Besides its use as mountaineering equipment, it can be applied for sport rappellers, ice climbing, rescue, and many more.

    Tape Slings

    It’s usually overlooked for being a small piece of a gear but the sling is competent at doing a lot of tasks. More often it is used to prop over giant rocks spikes or chockstone and make a route to climb the hill.

    Commonly known as runners, tape slings are made up of webbing loops. It is brought into applications by mountaineers to minimize the time spent in building knots. Slings also reduce the stress of finding an accurate position to place the ropes and securing an extra space to rest the foot.

    A strong fabric like nylon is frequently used to create tape slings though it’s also prepared from polythene. They are accessible in both normal stitch length and loose knot which you can adjust as per your ease which makes it a – must include mountaineering equipment.

    Ice Screw

    Ice Screw is just another indispensable asset of mountaineers. It is a laced tubular screw used as an anchor by mountaineers to climb steep ice surfaces. Ice Screw works best in frozen ice sheets and waterfalls where you can easily place the screw and fasten rope.

    You can expect the ice screw to come in varied lengths from 10cm to as long as 22cm. Hence, the choice of the ice screw should be based on the thickness of the ice sheet.

    Contrary to the belief that the long ice screws are more strong and durable. But in fact, short ice screws are more stiff and work excellent in rock-hard ice. They help keep the thread connected with the ice to make holes.


    You can ring it, tie it to a rope or attach gears and Carabiner will just offer an accurate result. The tool has multi-functions and can this mountaineering equipment come to the help of a mountaineer in numerous ways.

    Carabiner is a metal loop designed to unlock from a spring gate. It allows the climbers to fasten the rope and create an anchor for the crevasse rescue haul system.

    The carabiner is usually crafted from a high-strength aluminium to improve durability and power. During mountain climbing, these palm-size carabiners are very much used to fix the rope and latch on to it for climbing hills.

    Since they come in a lot of designs and sizes including snap gate, bent gate and wire gate, you need to take a close look at it.

    Trekking Poles

    Trekking Poles, one of the most important mountaineering equipment are definitely worth having during a long-distance trek which involves steep hills. That’s because it reduces the load on the body and helps improve the pace of hikers.

    Other than that, it allows trekkers/mountaineers/climbers to walk comfortably both while ascending and descending the heights. Trekking poles are much like ski poles, except for that they are engineered to ease hiking.

    Made from an aluminium or carbon fibre, trek sticks are too convenient to use with no technicality involved. That said, you need to see if these poles are adjustable or not.

    An accommodating trek pole facilitates you to work on the angles of the slant hills. To increase performance, you can regulate it to your satisfaction. It also provides hikers with a strong grip on snow-covered mountains.

    Water Bottle

    Water Bottle definitely tops the list for the most essential equipment used in mountaineering. It supplies trekkers with much-needed water to stay hydrated and impede altitude sickness.

    You need to drink a minimum of 4 to 5 litres of water each day during a longer trek. And this is only possible if you carry your own water bottle as not every place has access to water.

    Refilling a bottle is far easy and a better option to store water. So make sure to carry a tough plastic water bottle which is made to last for several years. For a second option bring an insulating sleeve to protect the water bottle from freezing at high altitude.


    Mountaineering Tent

    Camping tents are worth spending money on when you haven’t made an investment in booking a room. The surroundings at higher altitude often witness severe weather and climate change.

    So to withstand the cold climatic condition, you must have a tent which will provide you with a shelter. Unlike the stress of finding a dwelling place, they are easy to set up and portable.

    In most cases, climbers use 3-season tents which are lightweight and budget friendly. But to resist the unpleasant weather and strong winds, it’s better to have 4 season backpacking tents.

    These tents are really cosy and come with adequate space to store other equipment. You can quickly assemble it and unfold after bringing to use.

    Belay Gloves

    Climbing mountain continually leaves the mountaineers/climbers with scratch and burns while grasping the rope. Therefore, to avoid the wounds and keep your hands safe from the rough nylon rope, you’ll need belay gloves.

    Made with reinforced leather or synthetic fibre, Belay Gloves offer protection to your hand and withstand injuries. They are relatively light and sturdy to allow the mountaineers/climbers to take full control over the rope.

    Ski Goggles

    Frosty weather becomes a greatest obstacle for most mountaineers/climbers as they gain height. The continuous blow of snowy wind appears to disrupt hikers as it hits their face and even eyes. In that case, you might want to consider having sunglasses that protect your eyes from blazing heat or cold.

    Normally a regular sunglass would be suitable for hiking. However, ski goggles provide more safety and improved visibility underneath the googles. They are flexible and come in different sizes and lenses to enhance the visibility.

    Gas Stove

    When backpacking stoves for mountaineering, consider the one which is lighter and easy to use. On that scale, canister stoves surely conquer both liquid fuel stove and alternative stove which runs on wood.

    Unlike most stoves, the canister needs little maintenance and it’s easy to operate. Moreover, they’re lightweight and compact, leaving you a lot of space to store in the backpack. Even so for better performance at cold temperatures, Liquid fuel would be a good option. They are quite relevant and perform well even in freezing temperatures.

    Sleeping bag

    Nothing delights the hikers as much as proper napping all through the expedition. But for that, they need a quality insulated sleeping bag which maintains warmth and can withstand extreme cold is regarded as most valuable amongst the mountaineering equipments.

    The temperature and climatic condition of the place usually influence the mountaineers/climbers’ choice of the sleeping bag. However, most of them prefer having regular synthetic fiber bags as they are proven and insulated when wet. They are durable and offer great performance for many years.

    On the far side, people are also pleased with the down-insulated bags which are lighter and more compressed than synthetic. They are cured to resist water and generate heat to put up with the cold weather.

    Mountaineering Jackets

    The weather is usually brutal at mountains and to combat it climbers need protection day and night. And what better for the defense than a well-insulated down jacket which is incredibly warm and light.

    It is a quilted jacket made out of synthetic materials, normally nylon and polyester. The inner layer is, however, filled with a soft down feather of goose or duck to maintain heat. They are furry and water-repellent which retains the heat and keeps mountaineers/climbers warm.

    Waterproof Trousers

    You may not find anything significant in Waterproof trousers but they are really good. These lightweight trousers will help you get control of the cold atmosphere by providing heat.

    Earlier, fabrics such as laminated nylon and plastic were used to make rain trousers. But modern waterproof pants are designed from water-resistant fabric like Gore-Tex. They are breathable and excellent in retaining heat given the fully-taped stitches.

    Accessories for Mountaineering

    Navigation Tools

    It’s not necessary that mountain climbing always comes with a well-marked route or pitched trail. In fact, there can be times when you don’t even have someone to get the help. So, to restrain the risk and not to get lost on the way, you need to have navigation tools.


    For most mountaineers, GPS is the only reliable source through which they can locate the places. Using the system, they navigate their way to the most secluded parts and remote areas of the Himalayan region.

    However, the loss of battery and energy stored can restrain you from using the GPS device. So, if you don’t intend to be stuck in an abandoned place then ensure that your battery is fully charged and protect it from cold.

    Map and Compass

    Mountaineering Map and Compass

    It’s never easy to traverse over a route that’s completely new and strange. You’d definitely need a pro guide or something that can find you the way out of an uninhabited region.

    For only that, you need to have a detailed paper map and compass all the time. A map of any country comes with a comprehensive location of all the places. Therefore you must build a skill to read the map and track down the locations.

    Apart from that, you can orient yourself using a magnetic compass. It features everything you need from rotating bezel to rulers and direction of travel arrow. Turn the compass to the direction you want to head and it’ll provide you with the valuable instruction.

    Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

    PLB is a high-tech device developed to transmit an emergency alert through satellites. It’s programmed to send off the signal to the concerned officials or rescuers who then finds the help for climbers.

    Altimeter watches for mountaineering

    They may look fancy and sophisticated with all the features. But Altimeter watches have so much more to offer than just the display. They are user-friendly featuring extensive navigation tools and GPS tracking devices. Altimeter watches are tested to provide the hikers with time, barometric pressure, and altitude gain. Check these best mountaineering watches.

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      Prakash Devkota

      Managing Director and Team Leader

      Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota is an established name in the Tourism Sector in Nepal. He is a focused individual gifted with a brilliant mind. He is also hugely dedicated to social work. Born in the Gorkha district, a beautiful hilly region of Nepal, he first entered the tourism industry as a guide in 1997. He has gained extensive experience in almost all the trekking and climbing routes like Mera, Island, Lobuche and, Ama Dablam, etc.

      He registered Nepal Guides Treks & Expedition in 2009 AD. Due to his passion for adventure and efforts to provide quality personalized service to his clients, he has established himself as a successful tourism entrepreneur. He has dedicated most of his time working diligently to elevate the tourism industry and collected more than 15 years of experience in organizing trekking and expeditions in Nepal, Bhutan, and India. He believes in the power of the tourism industry and the employment opportunities that can be created through it. He constantly looks for innovative ways to run the company.

      Mr. Devkota has always been an avid practitioner of eco-friendly tourism and has always promoted environmental conservation throughout his career. He motivates his staff to embrace eco-friendly tourism through responsible tourism practices. He believes promoting eco-tourism will preserve natural resources and positively impact the environment.