How to Climb in the Winter

You are hiking to the crag, bundled up with more layers than an onion, your water bottle is frozen solid, and your friends are expecting you to take your socks and gloves off to climb!

Staying warm in winter climbingThe temps though...

Climbers are crazy individuals, we try to suffer through the coldest conditions possible to get the most friction out of the rock. This is why Climbing is so popular in the winter months with the exception of high elevation and northern areas.

So how do you deal with these brutal conditions?

First and foremost you need to have psych. If you aren't excited to be out climbing then it will be miserable. A good tip is to not push your friends who are not super stoked on climbing that day to come out. It will only bring the whole crew down.

Secondly, you will need the right gear. Although being super stoked can get you through a lot, it won't stop you from getting hypothermia (which is an actual concern in cold conditions, be careful out there). Having good gear can be the difference between having a good day climbing or hiking around with frozen toes...

Climbing or Bouldering in the winter can be very difficult and isn't for everyone. The conditions can be very harsh and should only be attempted by people with the correct gear and knowledge. Please stay safe and make sure to be prepared.

Gear for Winter Climbing

Below is a list of recommended gear for use when climbing in the cold weather conditions of the winter. The following gear is typically for conditions between 20F to 40F (-6C to 4C).

Hand Warmer

Keeping your hands warm is one of the most important things to do when it comes to winter climbing. Cold hands mean numb hands and this makes climbing almost impossible. The best solution to this problem is getting some hand warmers. There are 3 main types of hand warmers on the market today; chemical, fuel, and electric. Our picks for the best ones are below.

HotHands Hand Warmer

The HotHands are perfect for those who look to invest very little and still be warm. One time use, unfortunately.

Zippo Hand Warmer

The Zippo hand warmer uses lighter fuel and burns for up to 12 hours. More Eco-friendly then the disposable chemical warmers.

Rechargeable Hand Warmer

Doubles as a portable phone charger! This is perfect for someone able to charge up every night.

Warm Clothing

This should probably go without saying but you need warm cloth for the winter. The thing is your typical cotton street clothes aren't going to cut it. You need to make sure you have quality, outdoor-tested gear for your cold-weather adventures. Most importantly you need to have good socks and gloves.

SmartWool Socks

Heavy merino wool socks are a must for any cold weather climbing. If your feet are cold you won't be happy!

Down Mittens

Its a puffy for your hands! Seriously these things will keep your feelers nice and cozy!

Down Booties

Yep, a puffy for your feet too! What a wonderful world we live in!

Extra Cold Weather Gear

For the extra cold days, these items will bring you that warm weather comfort. Adding items like a heater or blanket to your winter climbing gear bag will make the days so much more pleasant. Make sure to get prepared for the cold days now!

Little Buddy Heater

For those extremely cold days make sure to get a portable propane heater. Works with green Coleman propane tanks.

Down Blanket

Between climbs take cover under a packable down blanket! Ready for any climbing trip!

Buff Neck Gaiter

A Buff Headgear wool gaiter is a great piece that will keep your neck and head warm. Get the heavyweight for the winter!

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