What’s In Our Pack: Ice Climbing Gear (continued)

If you’ve been following along, ice climbing is at the top of my mind lately. The sweet sound of an ice tool sinking into the ice sends chills up my spine! But getting ready for a big day out in the mountains can be a lot of work.

What gear should you bring and what should you leave behind? Last week, I dumped my pack out to show my personal selection of ice climbing gear. Read Part One Here.

But what about the technical gear? What should you bring? Keep reading to find out what technical ice climbing gear I bring with me for a day of cragging, or a big multipitch ice route.

What Should I Pack for Ice Climbing?

Here is my recommendation on what technical gear to pack for a day of ice climbing. Some of this gear is specific to each person, while some of it is team gear.

Non-locking Carabiners

A staple of any ice rack. I typically bring five separate wire gate carabiners which I use for racking cordellete or other personal items. It’s nice to have multiple carabiners of the same size in case you ever need to improvise a rescue. These are also great if you ever need to leave a carabiner behind!

Locking Carabiners

My kit consists of five separate locking carabiners. I really like the “Pear” shaped carabiners because of the larger amount of surface area for the rope to move over. Normally I reserve my “D” shaped carabiner for my rappel backup or connecting my belay device to the anchor. CAMP makes some awesome carabiners!


Another staple that every climber should have in their ice kit. 20 feet of 6mm cord works great for building anchors or facilitating a rescue. With how cheap this stuff is, it’s a nice option to leave behind when you realize you’re in over your head. Some people prefer the “tech cord” here as it doesn’t absorb water.

Quadruple Length Dyneema Runner

The quad length runners are great for building anchors. I normally bring one of these with me. The dyneema material is great because it is lightweight and doesn’t absorb near as much water as a nylon sling of the same length.

Double Length Runner

I carry one double length dyneema runner with me and use it for my tether and constructing anchors.

Prussik Cord

These are my rappel backups and self rescue kit. I normally like the Sterling Hollowblock aramide cord as well as a homemade 13.5″ accessory cord loop.

Locker Draw

Really more of a specialty piece here. The locker draw gives me many different options for building anchors in the ice as well as doubling for a rappel extension.

J Snare or other V-Thread Tool

A V-Thread tool is essential for descending ice routes without fixed anchors. I prefer the J-Snare style as it doesn’t have a sharp hook that can make your rope look like it’s seen better days. Check them out here.

Ice Clippers

These versatile ice clippers live on my harness and are essential for racking screws while leading. These are also great places to clip your ice tools into as you lower off the top of a climb. The new ice clippers are huge and make organization so easy!

Quickdraws and Runners

My typical rack normally consists of eight quickdraws and two runners. The eight quickdraws are great for clipping into pro and the single length runners can be used in a variety of different ways. Options are key! I bring the same number of draws/runners as I do ice screws.

Ice Screws

A normal rack of ice screws consists of anywhere from 7-12 screws of different lengths. My go to is ten ice screws with the majority being 13-16cm in length. The longest screws are great for v-threading. This all depends though on the length of the pitches you plan to climb as well as the thickness of the ice. Petzl makes some awesome ice screws!

Climbing Rope

Dry treated 60m dynamic ropes are my favorite. I don’t like carrying a 70m around because of the weight. Anywhere from Mammut’s 8mm ice rope to about 9.4mm is a great size rope for cragging and multipitch routes.

First Aid Kit

This one is a biggie in case something goes wrong. I normally go between two different first aid kits: one is a bigger kit for cragging and the other is a smaller kit for multipitch ice. It’s nice to have these in some sort of waterproof container so stuff doesn’t end up soaked.

Repair Kit

There’s nothing worse than swinging your tool into a rock and not having a file to resharpen it with! My repair kit consists of a small file, leatherman multitool, spare shoe laces, zip ties, hose clamps, duct tape, ski straps, allen wrenches specific to my ice tools, some small bailing wire, extra batteries, and a lighter.

Are you looking for a bigger ice day? Something a little steeper? Golden Mountain Guides offers many different ice climbing courses as well as privately guided days.

Golden Mountain Guides even guides at the Lake City Ice Park, Lincoln Falls, and Rocky Mountain National Park!

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