The Best Ice Climbing Gear of 2015
Lighten up your kit for faster ascents.
Beal Gully 7.3mm Unicore rope
The lightest and thinnest half-rope on the market, the Gully 7.3 (from $180) is 98 percent water-repellent. The core and sheath are bonded to eliminate slippage, keeping innards intact even with a core shot. Also certified as a twin rope.
Mammut Ultimate Nordpfeiler jacket
Cut specifically with ice climbing in mind, the stretchy Nordpfeiler ($350) soft shell is long in the arms and torso. Oversize pockets are fully accessible even when you’re wearing a backpack and harness. Gore’s Windstopper fabric keeps out the gusts and flakes of ice.
Mammut El Cap helmet
This durable lid provides complete protection—the brim actually blocks shedding now. The low-profile design ensures it will take up a minimum of pack space. $70, mammut.ch
La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX boots
Weighing less than two pounds per boot, the Cube GTX ($575) is impressively supportive and durable. The waterproof leather-and-microfiber boot body has exceptional ankle flexion, and the Gore-Tex lining kept climbers dry and warm even during last winter’s cold snaps.
Cassin Blade Runner crampons
An innovative sliding heel makes the Blade Runner ($350) the first adjustable crampon for asymmetrical boots that also locks rigid. With interchangeable front points and optional snow points, it’s up for ice climbing or mountaineering.
The North Face Ice Project pack
Designed by Conrad Anker, the Ice Project ($200) is the best ice-cragging pack we’ve ever seen. It opens like a suitcase, there are pockets for all your tools, and the ice-screw carrier snaps to an oversize crampon pocket.
Arc'teryx Alpha Comp pants
The light and stretchy Alpha Comp ($300) has waterproof panels in the rear, thighs, and cuffs to protect you from spindrift and meltwater. The rest is stretchy soft-shell fabric for maximum breathability, cut slim to prevent crampon snag.
Grivel Tech Machine ax
To help prevent ice from dinner-plating on your head during sub-zero climbs, the Tech Machine’s ($250) three-millimeter pick is tapered. It’s also embedded in the head to maximize strength and reduce flex.
Petzl Corax harness
Highly adjustable leg loops and a well-ventilated, supportive waist belt make this the one harness you need for sending ice routes or working on projects year-round. Two rigid gear loops are easy to manipulate with gloves on, and two ice-clipper loops hold a ’biner for easy screw racking. $65, petzl.com