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Basic expedition rations

How to eat in the mountains?

The question that worries many novice climbers is how to organize meals during their stay in the mountains or climbing the summits.

Our alpine climbing collection has two formats of the programs - serviced, in which specially trained stuff is engaged in preparing food and creating menus, and not serviced programs - in which the care for cooking, carrying food and kitchen equipment is distributed equally among the participants of the program. The following text relates to the not serviced programs.

In the severe mountain conditions, we expose our body to very serious stresses and spend a lot of energy. Even in a sleep, our body struggles with unusual conditions - with cold, lack of oxygen. And spends precious calories. To maintain the necessary level of power and activity, we need to continuously restore the supply of energy - for this we select the appropriate set of food products and a meal schedule, which can differ significantly from our usual one. So, for example, in the normal “office life” mode, a person consumes an approximate amount of energy per day equal to 2000 kcal. Subjecting himself to an unusual load during the stay in the mountains, a person spends much more energy not only on his physical activity, but also on all the life processes, since the aggressive external conditions of the mountains constantly require acclimatization and adaptation, they do not allow you to relax not a second. Under such conditions, energy consumption even in standby mode can reach 5-6000 kcal, not to mention the peak loads during the summit days or overcoming technically difficult sections on the route.

The meal schedule in the mountains may differ significantly from our usual normal one. So, for example, if in our everyday life, the main meal for us is lunch or dinner, with a small amount of food for breakfast, then in the mountains everything will “turn upside down”. The fact is that the maximum energy consumption in the mountains begins immediately after a morning meal - therefore, breakfast should be the main source of the power for the body. During the daytime activity, as a rule, there is no possibility of getting a full meal - while climbing on the route it is impossible to take a long break for cooking - in this way lunch turns into a light snack with a mug of hot tea and “pocket food”. Evening meals are limited by our energy needs during the sleep - that is, for dinner we consume less high-calorie foods in smaller quantities than for breakfast. This is the basic nutritional strategy for the alpine mountain climbing - it can vary depending on the special features of the program and climbing schedule.

The second significant factor for not serviced mountain programs, which include the majority of ascents of medium and high difficulty, is the need to carry a set of products and prepare the food by yourself. Thus the food set requires compliance with the three parameters - the maximum effective ratio between calorie content and dry weight and the ability to be quickly cooked.

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Since the weight of a set of products directly affects our energy consumption for carrying it, we are not able to take the “luxury tourist goods” with us – beef stew, fresh vegetables or fruits, etc. The mountain diet during the mountain tours includes lightweight, dehydrated (dried) food (dried meat and fish, smoked sausage), instant products (cereals, noodles, mashed potatoes) that do not require long processing time before eating.

In the mountain expeditions, we use the most advanced technology for cooking. Modern kitchen equipment for mountaineering, with the minimum weight, provides the possibility of quick cooking with very low fuel consumption. Since, for the mountain programs, products are selected that do not require a long time to prepare - dry products just to be put in boiling water. Thus, with a somehow limited diet, cooking process does not present any difficulties and does not take much time.

The outdoor food industry has been well developed in many countries of the world - if we have such an opportunity, the set of food for climbing is always formed from high-quality and balanced ready to use components. Where there is no possibility of acquiring high-quality outdoor food, we solve this problem by ourselves. For example, to form the basis of a meat ration for climbing in the Caucasus, we purchase the best beef in the region and prepare dried meat in accordance with the traditional Caucasian recipes of mountain hunters. The same climbing rations for climbing programs in Kamchatka are provided with the best types of dried fish, in accordance with the specifics of the region. So do not worry - in the mountains you always have a chance to lose some weight, but you will not stay hungry! And changing the diet to a more balanced one, combined with a physical activity on the fresh mountain air, works wondrously for the health of the clients of our Mountain Climbing School! And it will energize you for the whole year ahead.

Below is the template for the expeditionary food layout, which we use when compiling the climbing menu in the mountain programs of not serviced format. The total standard weight of a dry food is 591 grams per day, excluding the weight of the fuel. Calorie content of the set is approximately 2600 kcal. Not that much, but definitely you can survive it for a week, especially if you need to carry everything on your own back. This layout is used for the programs of expeditionary format, in the case of self-transportation of the food, fuel and gear. (Altai Belukha, Kamchatka Kluchevskaya, etc.)



  • Milk porridge - 50 grams
  • Cheese - 75 grams
  • Crackers - 15 grams
  • Tea / Coffee - 5 grams
  • Sugar - 15 grams
  • Lemon - 10 grams


  • Dried fruit - 20 grams
  • Nuts - 20 grams
  • Snickers - 70 grams
  • Instant Soup - 15 grams
  • 50g smoked sausage
  • Crackers - 20 grams
  • Sweetie - 10 grams


  • Noodles / Mushed potato / Porridge - 60 grams
  • Sausage / Sprats / Pate - 70 grams
  • Crackers - 30 grams
  • Tea
  • Sugar - 15 grams
  • Chocolate - 30 grams
  • Lemon - 10 grams

Text — Alexey Trubachev, founder of the MCS AlexClimb mountaineering and climbing school.

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Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.