heres a range of things to tick before heading out the door for your climbing trip. obviously the condition section requires more time to prepare.


packed in backpack and/or duffle bag ready to lug to the trail head

  • pack – big enough. the less stuff hanging from the outside the better. cover sharp things if youre using public transport

  • sleeping bag & mat (if required) – warm enough

  • glovesminimum 3 pairs, in good condition, bring mitts too if youre worried about cold. it will be cold enough

  • socksminimum 2 pairs, in good condition, varying thicknesses

  • insulation – jacket, pants, booties & mitts. warm enough. bring 2 if youre worried

  • crampons – adjusted, straps trimmed

  • tools – sharpened

  • hydration system – water tight

  • electronics – charged and enough batteries, waterproofed

  • piss bottle – laugh about it now. when youre warm inside you bag and the winds howling outside its not so funny.


 food & hydration

enough and the right sort. food & hydration is the single biggest weak link of most climbers. all the fancy shells and gear means little without the calories to stay warm and psyched to enjoy it.

  • day snacks – high in fat & carbohydrates, not too much sugar

  • breakfast – easy to eat, high water content, sustained energy, caffeine if you need it

  • dinner – several options, high in fat, mix of sweet and savoury. a wee dram or two is never a bad thing.

  • night snacks – quick and easy to eat if you wake from the cold

  • drinks – sachets of electrolyte mixes, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, soup

  • something to put it in – day snacks go well in a little bum bag or dry sack, all your other food goes well in a mesh bag to see the contents

think: ‘have i got enough?’ take a look at it all in a bag and decide if it would get you through a normal day – then consider you will probably spend double the energy.

think too: ‘how will I eat it?’ can you get the packets open with gloves on? does it take long to cook? do you need utensils? how much packaging will be left?

essentially bring what you love. no one gets fat ice climbing, so nows the time to let loose and eat whole bars of chocolate, peanut butter with a spoon, cream cheese from the jar, slices of pizza, mashed potato and cheese. over the years weve seen some brilliant things being eaten like protein powder mixed with hot chocolate and peanut butter, olive oil spooned straight from the bottle with salami, butter squeezed straight into oatmeal, coffee chocolate melted into instant rice – all good stuff at -15.



fit and relaxed, ready to go

  • ready to walk an hour or two with all your gear

  • able to do several pull ups in a row

  • feet ready for a day or more in climbing boots

  • contact lenses/any medication

if you need a pillow sort that before leaving. if you get cramps, throw electrolytes in. will your water bottle freeze easily? should you take a warmer jacket? do i need more coffee?


have you sorted out:

  • transport – tickets, timetables, directions

  • insurance – does your policy cover winter sports in Japan?

  • money – most mountains dont have ATMs on them

  • accommodation – where will you stay?

all these things form the parameters to the fun you will have – dont skimp on them thinking youre some fast & light wonder, well not unless you have the background and current condition to see it through. bring what you need, be prepared to lump it in, and reap the benefits in the reality of the climbing, not the theory of the scales and marketing propaganda.