For sale – £30 inc P&P (in the UK)
As always with climbing gear, it’s a highly personal thing. Some people need warmer clothing, some are happpy to run it out a bit so carry less gear, but this is what I plan on carrying next year. Finally it depends on what your budget is as all this kit is can be rather expensive. You can get things done cheaply if you want too. If you’re wondering if winter climbing is for you I’d suggest that you keep things cheap at first. If you do a course most places will be able to rent/let you borrow boots, axes and crampons. Clothing wise if you’re into climbing, you probably have some/enough outdoors clothes to get by with. If not just buy a cheap set of waterproofs something like the Marmot Precip jacket and trousers. Or cheaper offering from Sprayway/Peter Storm etc. Check out shops like Millets/local Army surplus for cheap gear.
I had been planning on going all Paramo, but when I saw a Montane Venture jacket in the Climbers Shop in Ambleside reduced to £100 it was hard not to resist. So I’m rocking a mix of merino baselayer, Patagonia R1 Hoody, Paramo Aspira Salopettes and the aforementioned Montane jacket. It’s a weird mix and I definitely look like a complete div, but it’s working ok for me so far. The Venture could do with having a slightly better hood as my Wild Country 360 doesn’t quite fit under it 100%. It’s good enough tho. I’ve got a Paramo Torres Smock as a belay jacket. The Torres is a great option as a cheap belay jacket as long as you’re happy taking the weight penalty, they’re much heavier than many similar offerings. However a Torres is probably much warmer than most other jackets out there.
I would take a good look at the offerings from Rab and or Patagonia as well. I think a combination of the Rab Shadow Hoody and Rab Alpine Pull-On with a Rab Demand for when it’s proper grim, would make a great combo for your top half. If you run cold either wear a nice 260 weight merino baselayer or something like a Berghaus Smoulder or Patagonia R1 Hoody. Patagonia also do some nice soft-shell trousers. A cheap full length zip over-trousers eg Marmot Precips can sit in the bottom of your pack waiting for the inevitable crap weather.
You could do a lot worse than just buying an Aspira Smock, Salopettes and a Torres Smock. You might end up sweating a lot and the cut isn’t always that great (especially around the lower legs I find) but you’ll probably find that when you’re climbing/descending that they’ll be perfect. Just might be a bit warm on the walk in.
Most of the stuff I’m carrying rackwise is pretty standard. Nuts, hexes, locking krabs, quickdraws etc etc. So I’m just going to detail a few things that I use which I think are particulary useful. You’ll have come across most of these if you’re an experienced trad climber I would imagine. If you aren’t and you’re reading this, bear in mind that I’m a nubbin and you should make your own informed decisions about what gear to use and how to use it. Remember if you aren’t sure get someone suitably experienced/qualified to teach you.
Sling-draws – http://www.planetfear.com/articles/Making_The_Ultimate_Trad_Quickdraw_264.html – I make up about half of my quickdraws using sling-draws. Useful for many things, not least in that it’s a handy way to carry slings. I’ve never got on with putting slings around my chest. They always seem to get caught when you’re taking them off and it’s always at the point where you really don’t want to them to get snagged.
Lightweight locking krabs – I know some people recommend either stripping your draws or carrying extra wiregates to use back to back when creating belays but personally I quite like a couple of the really small and lightweight locking krabs you can get for creating secure belays. Obviously they’re a bit of a pain to handle with gloves and you can’t put lots of clove hitches on them, you’ll need a couple of normal HMS lockers for that. But for that extra peace of mind when setting up a belay, I reckon they’re worth carrying, when DMM Phantoms are about 42g for one locking krab. Thats the same as a normal sized wiregate. Currently, I’ve got two normal HMS krabs and three DMM Phantoms. Quite a few I know, but the Phantoms are really very light. You just don’t notice them.