Packing List For Multipitch Rock Climbing

Packing List For Multipitch Rock Climbing

Packing List For Multipitch Rock Climbing
  • Climbing Helmet – Make sure it is rating for climbing.
  • Climbing Harness – Ensure your harness is in good repair and well fitted. 
  • Climbing Shoes– As you’ll be spending a long day in them, size multipitch shoes a touch larger.  Not so loose that you’ll lose performance but comfortable enough to accommodate your feel as they swell. These shoes are preferably and neutral lasted rather than downturned and pointed.  Popular choices are the La Sportiva Mythos or the new Evolv General.
  • Belay Device and Locking Carabiner – For multipitch climbing it is imperative that you have the ability to rappel down a doubled up segment of a single climbing rope so devices such as a GriGri or Edelrid Jul2 are inappropriate.  Opt for something like the Petzl Reverso, Black Diamond ATC Guide or the DMM Pivot.
  • Three Locking Carabiners – One for attaching your belay device to the anchor, one to secure yourself with a clove hitch, one spare.  For an in-depth look at carabiner selection you can check out Essential Gear For Multipitch Rock Climbing.
  • Anchor Kit – A double length sling (120cm) with two non-locking carabiners.  This can also double as a personal tether.
  • Personal Prusik – A Sterling Hollowblock (recommended) or 1.2-1.5m of 7mm cordelette. 
  • Cordelette – A 5m bundle of 7mm cordelette or accessory cord.
  • Bail Kit – Throw an extra bundle of cordelette or webbing and a mallion or a few old carabiners in the bottom of your pack.
  • Chalkbag – Optional but recommended.
  • Rappel Gloves – Optional but recommended if multiple rappels are anticipated.
  • Water and Food – It is important to gauge sustenance levels based on your body size, exertion levels, weather conditions and personal preference.  Make sure to fuel prior and include a lunch and enough snacks to stay energetic and alert.  If its cold, bring a little extra.  For water, make sure to hydrate the night prior and in the morning before the approach. Begin with one litre for the climb and add more as the temperature rises.
  • Sun Protection – Bring sunglasses, sunscreen and lip chap and be sure to use it.
  • Rain Gear – Throw a lightweight, compact rain jacket in the bottom of your pack.  You’ll be grateful to have it.  I carry the Outdoor Research Helium 2, which is incredibly light, packs down smaller than a beer can and blocks the elements.
  • Headlamp – Whether starting early or finishing late, a headlamp is essential. Don’t depend on your phone for a light, as you may need a full battery for emergencies. If I know I’ll be using a headlamp for approaches or descents I reach for the Reactik from Petzl, otherwise the new Petzl E-Lite lives in my first aid kit.  It weighs almost nothing and puts out 50 lumens.
  • Extra Clothing – Make sure your clothing system is adequate for the anticipated conditions and be sure to add an extra layer like a thin compressible puffy.  
  • First Aid Kit – Make sure to have a means to splint an injury, stop bleeding and control pain.  For me this means a Sam Splint, various gauze pads and rolls, a tensor bandage, an assortment of bandaids, Tylenol and Advil. 
  • Personal Kit – Include anything pertinent for your own self care.  I always include a spare pair of contact lenses, toilet paper, a lighter, small nail clippers, Benadryl and insect repellent but be sure to include any required medications or the like.  Many of these items will carry over with items carried in your first aid kit.
  • Trekking Pole – If you have a long approach or descent, a lightweight trekking pole will be a saviour.  Make sure it is collapsible and fits inside your pack.  I like the Black Diamond FLZ Carbon.
  • Camera – Optional
  • Emergency Communication Device – Always ensure you have a fully charged cell phone and include a small charger like the Goal Zero Flip 10 if you’re worried.  Additionally, a personal locator beacon and a means of two-way communication are invaluable. A VHF radio or sat phone could be a literal lifesaver. 
Route Specific Equipment

Make sure you have a printed topo or guidebook for your first and second choices of climbs.  Bring along an adequate rack, including all required protection, draws and slings, as well as anchor material.  Don’t forget a nut tool if you’re climbing trad.

If you’ve hire a guide for the day they will have a first aid kit, splinting material, emergency shelter, communication devices, bail kit and any route specific gear but have a conversation about what is required prior to the climb.

I keep a printed and laminated copy of this list in my gear bag and double check it each time I leave for a climb to make sure no one has forgotten anything.  Feel free to download your own copy of the packing list for multipitch rock climbing by clicking on the link below.

Packing List For Multipitch Rock Climbing (download)

If you’re interested in learning more and gaining the skills to undertake bigger multipitch objectives you can check the Multipitch Climbing Systems course as part of my Rock Fundamentals Series which run regularly through the summer.

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