Gear List for mountaineering in New Zealand

This clothing and equipment list is compiled with moderate alpine routes (NZ grades 1-5) in mind. Layering is the key to this system. Make sure your system works by trying it out as best you can beforehand.

Items with * are trip dependent.


Boots – La Sportiva – checkout the ‘Nepal’ range for the ‘Evo’ or ‘Cube’, or the Trango series for late summer. Scarpa Mont Blanc or Triolet series, Millet Brenva Evo, and Mammut also have suitable products. La Sportiva Karakoram’s or similar are lighter and may be sufficient for mid to late summer ascents. (Please speak to me about your situation) Plastic boots aren’t necessary but are adequate (especially if you own a pair already) for early season or mid winter climbs – I will be climbing in leather boots with standard gaiters.

Approach shoes – Something that will allow you to float up the valley. This can be an old set of runners, trail shoe or light weight trekking boot.

 2-3 Pairs of socks and/ or liner socks if that makes your boots fit and your feet protest less.

Climbing pants – Lightweight. These pants are great for the walk in when it can be rather hot. You can use these for the climb, upgrading the insulation by wearing thermals underneath (see below)

Fleece pants and Merino, Polypro or capilene thermals/ long johns – some climbs will warrant either or both of these depending on the weather and altitude.

Storm Pants – Gore Tex or E-Vent style with full-length zips.

Long sleeve tops – At least 2 of the following combinations.

Merino or Fleece or Polypro (eg 1 x 100 weight, 1 x 200 weight). Preferably with a high zip collar.

Fleece Jacket or Windstopper style soft shell. Lighter gauge rather than thick and heavy

Parka/ Storm Jacket – Gore Tex or E-Vent style climbing jacket.

Down Jacket – with or without hood. Can be a lightweight PrimaLoft, but a full on Goose down jacket is better, mainly for use at camp, over your sleeping bag or as a belay jacket while climbing. Situation dependent, so please speak to me.

Climbing Gloves – 1 X Fingered polypropylene and 1 X Mittens. can be lightweight polypro and dachstein woollen mitts. You can invest in a dedicated leather climbing glove for rope work or try a decent pair of all leather gardening gloves with the polypro gloves inside.

Waterproof Over Mitts – so that’s 3 sets of gloves in total. Don’t lose those digits.

Sun Hat – Baseball or Legionnaires

Neck Gaiter – Cheese cloth or Buff (one costs $1, the other costs $40). Could also be a balaclava.

Wool/ Fleece/ Windstopper hat that fits under your helmet

Gaiters– standard alpine gaiter

Technical Gear

Crampons – Black Diamond Sabre tooth or G12 (not G10’s). I rate the fit of the plastic toe bail well above the metal one. Make sure your crampons fit nicely to your boots. For more technical trips vertical front points (BD Cyborg or Grivel G14) are more aggressive and stick into steep ice better.

Harness and belay device – Can be the BD Alpine Bod harness, or similar. If you already have a rock climbing harness that’s fine too. The Alpine Bod style harness is light and easy to get in and out of with crampons on. Important for toilet stops. If you don’t already own a belay device get the Petzl Reverso4.

Locking carabiners – X 5 (Two large pear shaped and 3 small D shaped)

Snaplock carabiners – X 2

Ice Axe and hammer – BD Venom style, Grivel Air tech evolution or Matrix, Petzl Summit axe / Quark Hammer.

Prusiks – 6mm nylon cord (must be rated rope) 2 medium length (navel to chin when tied) and one long (toe to navel when tied)

Helmet – one that your headlamp attaches to easily e.g. BD Half Dome

Walking poles – Optional.

Ice Screws – I recommend one BD turbo express 22cm.

Snow stakes – You don’t need to purchase these. If you own one and want to bring it let me know

Sewn slings – 90cm X 18mm or 120mm X 12mm (somewhere in that range) this is to construct a cows tail or safety line. You may substitute the sewn sling for a 3m length of dynamic UIAA rated (1) single climbing rope.

Plus a 60cm x 12mm (to construct a runner with your snap gate carabiners) you can substitute with a quickdraw if you already own one.

*Avalanche Transceiver, Shovel and Probe – Certain conditions, objectives or snowpack may warrant us carrying this equipment. Needing one means needing all three.

Personal Camping Gear

Expedition Pack minimum 55-65 litres (that allows you to fix your crampons and snow stakes to the outside)

Sleeping Bag – Rated (2-3 seasons for high summer hut use, 3-4 seasons tenting or winter)

*Sleeping Pads – Thermarest/ ExPed/ Ensolite. Bring your repair kits too. A cheap closed cell foam pad can give you extra comfort.

*Tent – Please let me know if you have a suitable tent that you want to test out, otherwise leave it at home.

Miscellaneous Personal Gear

Water Bottles – 2 x 1litre Nalgene style bottles. Buy or make an insulating pouch to allow you to keep hot water hot and stop liquids from freezing. Camelbak or Platypus hoses freeze quickly and are not ideal.

*Cup, Bowl, Spoon and knife – Camp life will be just fine without a fork. We will mostly eat foods that are chopped finely, easy to chew and digest.

Watch – Preferably with alarm and Altimeter

Ear Plugs – Oink, snore and wind proof

Camera, memory cards and batteries.

Headlamp – BD ReVolt style with spare batteries. Save us all and bring rechargeable.

Sunglasses and Snow Goggles – BOTH please! With maximum UV protection. Julbo style glacier glasses with blinkers.

Stuff Sacs/ dry bags – Don’t have to be the Sea to Summit style, but make sure they are sturdy if they are plastic. It’s amazing how much more organized your gear will be with different coloured bags.

Zip lock bags – For your notebook, camera, maps, phone. Note pad and Pencil (Or iPhone) – For jotting down your memoirs. The best ideas are hatched in the hills.

Hand Sanitizer and personal toiletries

Pee bottle – This can be your Nalgene. The hardened mountain criminals have no problems cleaning them with boiling water, ready for oral use again. It makes a good story too.

Personal Medications

Blister Kit (compulsory) – Tape AND Moleskin or Second skin or Compede) I will be carrying a group first aid kit.

Sun Cream – No tanning cream. Preferably 50+ SPF

Lip Balm –Also with SPF  30 minimum, preferably 50+ SPF

Chemical Hand warmers – For summit day 2×2

Simple Pain relief – Aspirin, Tylenol, Panadol

Insect repellant (trip dependent)

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