What to Bring for Backcountry Ice Climbing in Iceland

The Iceland clinic is unique in that we ask you to provide your own clothing and climbing gear, however some rental gear is available upon request. Ice Climbing is a true test of our gear and the weather can be extreme. Be prepared to be aerobic and sedentary by layering your clothing because the ice and weather conditions are variable. The weather in Iceland can change quickly, so be ready for the typical ice conditions: cold, windy and possibly sleeting rain or snowing.

Each person varies slightly in what it takes to stay warm and dry and you must be prepared to be outside all day. Note that the approaches can be arduous and long. Here is a suggested packing list for our ice programs. This list is a suggestion of items to help set you up for success.
Top Layers

•   Light-weight wool or synthetic top (this is your first layer)
•   1 Mid-weight synthetic hoody, like the Patagonia R1 Hoody or similar (this is your second layer)
•   1 Lightweight synthetic vest or jacket, like the Patagonia Nano Puff
•   1 Hard shell Gore-Tex or Waterproof Jacket
•   Synthetic Belay Parka, like the Patagonia Das Parka (this outermost layer goes over everything and needs to be compressible)
•   Optional: Soft shell jacket
*   Layering is the key to staying warm ice climbing – cotton is not acceptable

Bottom Layers
•   1 Lightweight synthetic long underwear (you may be layering these bottom layers according to how cold it is during the clinic, we just want you to be prepared with various options)
•   1 Mid-weight or Expedition-weight synthetic bottoms (pile pants if you tend to get cold)
•   1 Hard Shell Gore-Tex or Water proof pants, like the Marmot Minimalist Pant (side zips are best but not mandatory)
•  Optional: Soft Shell pants, like the Patagonia Dual Point Pant or similar

•  2 – 4 pairs of synthetic or wool ski socks (light or medium cushion, depending on your boot fit/preference)
•  Ice Climbing Boots – must be crampon compatible. A boot with an integrated gaiter is preferred (like the Scarpa Phantom Guide or similar)
•  Optional: Snow gaiters for your boots (to keep the snow out)

•   1 climbing helmet (MANDATORY for ice climbing)
•   1 heavy wool or synthetic hat (make sure it fits under your helmet)
•   1 neck gaiter/buff

•   1 Lightweight softshell glove (to wear on the approach)
•   2 pairs of mid-weight waterproof climbing gloves, like the Black Diamond Terminator or Outdoor Research Stormtracker
•   1 Insulated leather palm belay gloves, like the Kinco insulated work glove or similar.

•   1 set of ice tools
•   1 pair of crampons with front metal toe bale (like the Petzl Dartwin or Black Diamond Snaggletooth or similar)
•   1 ice climbing harness (with adjustable leg loops and ice clippers)
•   3 locking carabiners
•   2 non-locking carabiners
•   1 Guide ATC w/ locking carabiner (ex: Petzl Reverso 4)
•   1 double length (48″) nylon sling
•   2 Petzl ice clippers (to clip ice screws and tools to your harness)


•  Avy beacon, shovel, probe
•  Large backpack (45L),  You must be able to carry extra clothing, food, water, ice tools, crampons and a rope
•  Small backpack (20L), to carry on multi-pitch climbs
•  Trekking poles with snow baskets
•  Knife, lighter, duct tape (for emergency repairs)
•  Headlamp (ex: Petzl Tikka)
•  Small first aid kit (including rubber or latex gloves, personal meds, blister care, and pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
•  Two water bottles (insulated) and/or Thermos
•  Your favorite snacks/energy bars/anti-bonking foods
•  Sunglasses with case, like the Julbo Monterosa with the Zebra lenses
•  Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
•  Camera
•  Notebook/journal
•  Skhoop Belay skirt or Insulated Belay Pants

Guest House Items:
•  Sleeping bag (lightweight)
•  Pillow
•  Personal toiletries
•  Reusable grocery totebag

Optional Items:
•  Slippers
•  Bathing suit/towel
•  Ear plugs & eye cover
•  Pee funnel (optional)