A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be emailed to you in your PreClimb information upon reservation. For your convenience, the Guide Hut offers rental equipment to our Northwest climbing customers.

The weather in the North Cascades is highly variable. With this in mind, we developed our gear list for the safety and comfort of our climbers. When choosing equipment for mountain travel you should look for gear that meets two simple criteria: Lightweight and Functional. This list accounts for variability between seasons, route conditions, weather and elevation.

Click on our blog post for a list of gear recommendations for specific outdoor brands.

MOUNTAINEERING CLIMBS

These items are recommended for our Mount Baker Intro, Mount Baker 2 Day, Mount Shuksan Sulphide Glacier, Mount Rainier as well as many of our North Cascade classic climbs.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must cover the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. A category 4 lens is required.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt. Hoods for sun protection are strongly recommended.
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This is a breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Medium weight down. 700+ fill or higher required.

Note: Proper hardshell rain gear is required on all trips.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton.
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated.
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants. Full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible double plastic, leather, synthetic, or hybrid boot depending on climb and season.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boots and Crampons guides for recommendations.

● Double plastic mountaineering boots or heavyweight synthetic/hybrid mountaineering boots are required for Mount Rainier, early season climbs on Mount Baker, and in the North Cascades.

● Single-weight synthetic/leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid- and late-summer climbs on Mount Baker and in the North Cascades when conditions are expected to be dry.

X – NO backpacking or trekking boots are allowed above high camp on any trip. Climbing boots must be full shank and crampon compatible.

  • Approach Shoes (Optional): Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes may be adequate for late-season approaches to high camp after trails are free of snow. Must be sturdy enough to support your ankles while carrying a 45- to 60-pound pack.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: A warm bag rated 0ᵒ to 20ᵒ Fahrenheit depending on season.
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam and/or inflatable pad. Foam AND inflatable pads are recommended for camping on snow during early-season climbs.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 65- to 75-liter pack for personal and group gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying 45-60 pounds.
  • Liner Bags: 1 large plastic contractor bag.

Note: An adequately sized backpack is required. You are responsible to carry all of your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). We do not recommend an additional pack for summit day.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-75 cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (1) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Prussik Cord: 6 mm, 30 feet

Hydration

  • Water Bottles: (2) 1-liter, wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Note: CamelBaks and other bladder-style hydration systems may be used in addition to two water bottles, but are not sufficient. Bladders may pop and hydration hoses freeze in the cold.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit with medications and blister kit
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs

MOUNTAINEERING COURSES

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must cover the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. A category 4 lens is required.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt. Hoods for sun protection are strongly recommended.
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This is a breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Medium weight down. 700+ fill or higher required.

Note: Proper hardshell rain gear is required on all trips.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton.
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated.
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants. Full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible double plastic, leather, synthetic, or hybrid boot depending on climb and season.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boots and Crampons guides for recommendations.

● Double plastic mountaineering boots or heavyweight synthetic/hybrid mountaineering boots are required for Mount Rainier, early season climbs on Mount Baker, and in the North Cascades.

● Single-weight synthetic/leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid- and late-summer climbs on Mount Baker and in the North Cascades when conditions are expected to be dry.

X – NO backpacking or trekking boots are allowed above high camp on any trip. Climbing boots must be full shank and crampon compatible.

  • Approach Shoes (Optional): Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes may be adequate for late-season approaches to high camp after trails are free of snow. Must be sturdy enough to support your ankles while carrying a 45- to 60-pound pack.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: A warm bag rated 0ᵒ to 20ᵒ Fahrenheit depending on season.
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam and/or inflatable pad. Foam AND inflatable pads are recommended for camping on snow during early-season climbs.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 65- to 75-liter pack for personal and group gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying 45-60 pounds.
  • Liner Bags: 1 large plastic contractor bag.

Note: An adequately sized backpack is required. You are responsible to carry all of your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). We do not recommend an additional pack for summit day.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-75 cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (4) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Belay Device: Tube style belay device.
  • Rescue Pulley
  • Prussik Cord: 6 mm, 30 feet
  • Nylon Slings: (2) 60 cm nylon slings

Hydration

  • Water Bottles: (2) 1-liter, wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Note: CamelBaks and other bladder-style hydration systems may be used in addition to two water bottles, but are not sufficient. Bladders may pop and hydration hoses freeze in the cold.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit with medications and blister kit
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs

ROCK CLIMBS & COURSES

These items are recommended for our Intro to Alpine Rock and Smith Rock Intro to Sport Climbing itineraries.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must cover the ears.
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Sun Glasses: Essential eye protection for a day outside. Full spectrum UV protection is recommended.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Lightweight Tops: Two lightweight T-shirts for warm days.
  • Baselayer Top: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt. 
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This is a breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Medium weight down. 700+ fill or higher recommended.

Note: Proper hardshell rain gear is required on all trips.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton.
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated.
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants. Full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hardshell pants without removing your shoes.

Footwear

  • Rock Climbing Shoes: Velcro, lace-up, or slipper-style rock climbing shoes with sticky-rubber soles. A snug but not painful fit is recommended. For first-time climbers, general purpose shoes are best, such as the La Sportiva Mythos, Scarpa Origin, Evolv Defy or Mad Rock Drifter.
  • Approach Shoes: Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes.
  • Lightweight Socks: Two to three pair. Synthetic or wool recommended.
  • Mediumweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks for chilly days.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 40- to 50-liter pack for personal and group gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying roughly 25 pounds.

Note: An adequately sized backpack is required. You are responsible to carry all of your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (ropes, protection, etc.).

Climbing Gear

  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Rock Climbing Harness: Padded rock climbing harness.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (4) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Belay Device: Tube style belay device.
  • Cord: 6 mm, 30 feet
  • Nylon Slings: (1) 120 cm nylon sling; (2) 60 cm slings
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible for approach hikes to alpine rock climbs. (Optional)

Hydration

  • Water Bottles: (2) 1-liter, wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Note: CamelBaks and other bladder-style hydration systems may be used in addition to two water bottles, but are not sufficient. Bladders may pop and hydration hoses freeze in the cold.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit with medications and blister kit
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs

SKIING

These items are recommended for our Intro to Backcountry Skiing itinerary.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must cover the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. A category 4 lens is required.
  • Goggles: For protection from wind. (Optional) 
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt. Hoods for sun protection are strongly recommended.
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This is a breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Medium weight down. 700+ fill or higher required.

Note: Proper hardshell rain gear is required on all trips.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton.
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated. (Optional)
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© ski pants. Full-length side zips are recommended for ventilation while climbing, and to allow you to take off your hardshell pants without removing your shoes.

Footwear

  • Alpine Touring Ski Boots: Alpine touring (AT) ski boots with walk and ski modes for uphill and downhill travel. Must be compatible with your bindings and crampons.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pairs of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for cold days or summit days.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: A warm bag rated 0ᵒ to 20ᵒ Fahrenheit depending on season.
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam and/or inflatable pad. Foam AND inflatable pads are recommended for camping on snow during early-season climbs.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 65- to 75-liter pack for personal and group gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying 45-60 pounds.
  • Liner Bags: 1 large plastic contractor bag.

Note: An adequately sized backpack is required. You are responsible to carry all of your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). We do not recommend an additional pack for summit day.

Ski Gear

  • Skis: Lightweight alpine touring (AT) recommended. 90-110 mm underfoot depending on snow conditions.
  • Bindings: Lightweight alpine touring (AT) bindings with uphill and downhill modes. Ski brakes and/or leashes recommended. Must be compatible with your boots.
  • Climbing Skins: For ascending on skis. Must be properly sized for your skis.
  • Ski Poles: Lightweight and adjustable with snow baskets.
  • Avalanche Beacon: With harness system. Ortovox, BCA, Pieps, Mammut, etc.
  • Avalanche Probe: Lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber. At least 6 feet / 2 meters long.
  • Avalanche Shovel: Lightweight metal or heavy-duty plastic. Collapsible handle recommended.
  • Helmet: Lightweight. Many popular climbing helmets are certified for skiing.

Climbing Gear

  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (1) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Nylon Slings: (2) 60 cm nylon slings
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.

Note: Please read our Crampons guide for recommendations.

Hydration

  • Water Bottles: (2) 1-liter, wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Note: CamelBaks and other bladder-style hydration systems may be used in addition to two water bottles, but are not sufficient. Bladders may pop and hydration hoses freeze in the cold.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit with medications and blister kit
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs