International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

Ouray Ice Climbing

Ouray Ice Climbing Festival, Colorado

Ouray Ice Climbing with International Mountain Guides

IMG Ouray Ice Climbing Gear List

This equipment list is meant to help you compile your personal gear for a mountaineering expedition. Most items are required. Please consider each item carefully and be sure you understand the function of each piece of equipment before you substitute or delete items. Keep in mind that this list has been carefully compiled by George Dunn, the expedition organizer. Don't cut corners on the quality of your gear.

[  ] Boots: Rigid lug-sole climbing boots. You boot must have a welt that accepts a clip-on crampon. Modern insulated leather or synthetic climbing boots are much lighter and more precise for ice climbing than plastic double boots. Either is acceptable for the course.
[  ] Socks: Two changes of heavy wool or synthetic
[  ] Gaiters: short boot top gaiters are more flexible, but traditional knee high gaiters will work fine. Some boots have an integrated gaiter—those also work.
[  ] Long underwear: Synthetic or wool tops and bottoms
[  ] Soft Shell Pants: Any of the new climbing pants made from Schoeller brand fabric or similar stretchy, dense weave, durable synthetic fabric (like the Outdoor Research Exos or Cirque pant).
[  ] Shell Pants: Breathable/waterproof with full to ¾ length zips to go on over boots
[  ] Shirt: Expedition weight fleece/synthetic
[  ] Soft Shell Jacket
[  ] Shell Jacket: Breathable/waterproof jacket with hood. Lightweight and slim in fit is best for ice climbing.
[  ] Warm Parka: Down or synthetic filled, but does not need to be expedition weight. We do a lot of standing around belaying and watching, so an insulated layer is essential.
[  ] Hat: Wool or fleece with a Buff, neck gaiter or a balaclava. Pick a hat that fits well under your helmet.
[  ] Gloves: Bring minimum 2 pair, at least one good insulated glove with Gore-Tex outer fabric. Something with good dexterity and a good grip. Several pair of gloves or glove liners are helpful for changing between climbs. You may need to trade off your gloves each day, leaving one pair back at the hotel to dry completely. A good all around glove is the Outdoor Research Extravert. Simple, dexterous, warm.
[  ] Mittens: insulated mitts with a water resistant shell and a good grip. These are backups only, or for those with extra cold hands. Most ice climbers prefer to use gloves if at all possible.
[  ] Helmet: A good fitting UIAA approved climbing helmet.
[  ] Ice Tools: Two 45 to 50 cm technical ice tools.
  • Recommended manufacturers include Petzl, Black Diamond and Grivel
  • If you just buy one tool, get a hammer head, not an adze. Many ice climbers have hammer heads on both of their tools. No adze to bonk yourself in the forehead with.
  • Leashless tools are the standard, and for good reason. Best adapted for mixed and steeper climbing, leashless tools open up a whole new set of options for the modern ice climber.
  • Stumped on what to buy? It is probably best to rent tools and technical crampons your first time out. IMG has them available for you in Ouray. Try out as many types of tools as you can and see what works best for you before you buy.
[  ] Crampons: vertical front point crampons, hand filed sharp. Recommended brands include Petzl, Black Diamond and Grivel. More and more climbers are choosing monopoints for serious ice climbing and mixed climbing. The single front point allows you to pivot your foot more and places well in narrow cracks. Just make sure your crampon has aggressive secondary points close to the front monopoint for softer or rotten ice conditions. Monopoint is great for technical ice and mixed climbing, dual points still work best for general alpine climbing and in softer ice.
[  ] Climbing Harness: Should have a belay loop and gear loops
[  ] Carabiners: 2 locking pear shaped biners, minimum. Bring a couple of non-lockers if you have them.
[  ] Belay Device: Black Diamond ATC XP or ATC Guide or any of the comparable devices.
[  ] Sun Glasses: Good shatter resistant, wraparound sunglasses that provide eye protection and minimize fogging.
[  ] Suncream and Lipbalm
[  ] Water Bottle: One quart, wide mouth plastic bottle with insulating cover. A thermos is also nice—hot drinks are great when it's cold!
[  ] Pack: Good sized pack (30-50L work well) to carry spare clothes, food and tools for the day.
[  ] First Aid Kit: Each individual should carry a small kit to meet their personal needs. Recommendations include: Aspirin or Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Band-Aids, Steri-Strips, 1 or 2 4X4 gauze pads, athletic tape, moleskin and any necessary personal prescription drugs.

[  ] Ice screws
[  ] Prussik Slings: Bring two pretied 6mm. prussik loops if you plan to practice rescue training (as in on the 5-day seminar. Construct each prussik out 4.5 feet of 6mm Perlon accessory cord tied with a double fisherman's knot. Or just bring 10-15 feet of 6mm cord.
[  ] Sewn webbing runners. A 48" nylon runner is useful if you have it.
[  ] Extra non-locking carabiners
[  ] 20 feet of 7mm cord for linking anchors if you want to practice anchor systems
[  ] Camera with extra batteries
[  ] Disposable glove warmers, for those with cold sensitive fingers
[  ] Swimsuit for the hot tub

Note: If you do not own ice tools or rigid crampons and do not wish to purchase them, rental tools and rigid crampons are available for an additional fee. Make your request early, as supplies are limited.

Item:2 Days3 Days5 DaysPer add'l day
One Ice Climbing Tool$10$15$25$5
Two Ice Climbing Tools$20$30$50$10
Technical Crampons$10$15$25$5
Recommended Gear

Confused by what exactly we mean on some of the listed gear, or wondering which brands might be better? See the IMG Recommended Gear Page »

IMG is proud to feature our partnership with Mountain Gear, and we recommend them for your equipment requirements. IMG climbers get 5% off when they click through here to access Mountain Gear's Online Store or call 800-829-2009 and use code: 0IMG (zeroIMG)

Everything was great, and we had a ball. I can't wait to climb with IMG again; I have enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks again for everything...
~Nicholas S.
Just wanted to let you guys know that the course this weekend was amazing. Having climbed with IMG, I went in with high expectations, and they were exceeded. Mark and Gary were great guides and mixed in lots of mileage with technical stuff... Thanks for a spectacular weekend.
~Scott M.
I participated in George Dunn's ice climbing seminar. The instruction from the guides was superb. Their encouragement and positive reinforcement at every step of the way, made for a pleasant and rewarding experience...
~Gordon R.

The Ice Climbing Seminar is out of control. You stay in a hotel all week and the ice park is just a couple minutes away. Jake Norton, and Jeff Ward, two of George's assistant guides are great. They are very good teachers. It's amazing how fast everyone picked up the ice climbing skills. Our skills and confidence improved every day. At the end of each day we'd hit the outdoor hot tub, drink a few beers, and talk about our adventures of the day. Our group pushed each other to do better every day, and we did...
~Bruce G.
Thanks so very much for the GREAT climb with Jeff, Justin, and Farmer this past week. It was my first experience ice climbing and their professionalism, expertise, and instruction really helped me reach beyond my expectations. I'm hooked and hope to make it back next year!!
~Patricia W.
IMG ice climbing in Ouray, Colorado
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