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Do I need to buy a lot of expensive climbing equipment?

Do I need to buy a lot of expensive climbing equipment?

What is the exact list of personal climbing equipment which should a beginner have, and why? Since most likely a novice climber is not going to conquer Everest, Cerro Torre or Fitzroy immediately, then, for the alpine programs of the initial level of complexity, there will be no need for abundant climbing equipment. Basically, the “beginner kit” will consist of a set of clothes, shoes and sleeping gear - for the most of the basic mountaineering programs, no special equipment is needed. If necessary, for training and climbing, you always can rent crampons, iceaxes, helmets and other special equipment - at the initial stage, rent is the best solution for that, as you can without making unnecessary purchases, get to know the different models, understand for yourself all pros and cons, and subsequently make the right choice of your own equipment in the future. But clothes, shoes and sleeping bag can be rented only in case of utter necessity – first because these are very personal items, with all the issues related to hygiene. Secondly - even in the most basic mountaineering programs, both the success of climbing and your health and safety depend on the quality and comfort of your clothes and shoes. It’s better not to save on these things.

At the beginning of your hobby for the mountains, you should not go to extremes to have all the most expensive, beautiful and completely useless for a beginner climbing gear. It is much more important to attend to the choice of the mountains that you are going to climb, to think over a program of technical, tactical and physical training. In the process of this preparation, it will become clear what kind of equipment you will need in the near future. Do not forget that entry-level climbing programs, such as Mount Elbrus, Toubkal, Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Kluchevskaya Sopka, etc., require using of a minimum set of the special climbing equipment (only crampons and trekking poles) - in fact, these programs are very similar to alpine trekking, only with more intense physical activity.

Requirements for the equipment for climbing are reduced mainly to its weight and quality. The specific list of the gear may vary depending on the nature and season of the climbing program, but at its base it remains unchanged. As the difficulty of the climbing routes increases, additional items appear in the equipment list that correspond to the class and nature of the chosen route (technical programs of alpine rock or iceclimbing, high-altitude class of ascents). At the same time, the basis of the list of the equipment, nevertheless, remains unchanged regardless of the level of complexity and nature of the program - it is a set of clothes and shoes, sleeping equipment. You can read general recommendations on the selection of the elements of the gear list for the basic climbing programs in our article on this issue. Below is a standard list of equipment for climbing Semenovsky Peak, from our Basic Alpine Climbing Course in Bezengi.

Personal equipment

  1. Sleeping bag, comfort temperature -8 -12;
  2. Backpack waterproof cover;
  3. Sunglasses;
  4. Headlight with a set of spare batteries;
  5. Individual serving set Bowl (not plastic);
  6. Cup Spoon;
  7. Personal first aid kit;
  8. Pocket knife • Sit pad;
  9. Sun protective lipstick;
  10. Sunscreen factor 30-50;
  11. Toiletries;
  12. Raincoat.


  1. Windproof waterproof Jacket (preferably a membrane);
  2. Windproof waterproof trousers (preferably a membrane);
  3. Warm jacket of light down jacket (Primaloft, synthetic);
  4. Warm light jacket (fleece);
  5. Warm trousers (Primaloft, synthetic or dense fleece);
  6. Warm underwear (top and bottom);
  7. Warm knee-high socks;
  8. Lightweight trousers for daily use;
  9. Gaiters;
  10. Warm light gloves;
  11. Warm mitts (preferably double waterproof);
  12. Warm hat;
  13. Balaclava;
  14. Cap or panama;
  15. T-shirt;
  16. Lightweight sneakers or sandals;
  17. All-season climbing boots (plastic is not recommended).

Special equipment

  1. Telescopic trekking poles;
  2. Lightweight alpine climbing crampons;
  3. Helmet.

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

Do I need to buy a lot of expensive climbing equipment?-2

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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.