Being prepared with the right clothing and equipment will keep you smiling…
regardless of the conditions.

Unless other terms are discussed, Cathedral Mountain Guides will provide your group with boots, crampons, ice axes, helmets, harnesses, and all other technical gear that may be needed. For overnight trips and courses, we also provide, tents, stoves, and other group camping gear.

Clients are expected to provide their own winter clothing and accessories including gloves, hats, googles, that are suitable for the forecast and climb. They are also expected to bring their own backpack, snacks and water for the day. Some extra items like gloves, hats and balaclavas are available at the CMG office.

A more detailed list of recommended items is below. But first, a few words about how to dress:

Properly layering clothing is one of the most important parts of winter climbing. On one hand, if you dress too lightly, you will be cold, burn extra calories to stay warm, find yourself at risk of sliding into hypothermia, and have no fun whatsoever. If you dress too heavily, you will sweat excessively, dampening the layers next to your skin, which will have a chilling effect on your body as soon as you stop moving. Wearing specialized synthetic or wool long underwear that’s designed to wick moisture away from your body is a must.

In any clothing system, the space between layers counts for just as much as the weight and warmth of those layers themselves. Experienced winter hands generally prefer to bring lots of light layers that work together versus fewer warmer layers. When faced with a sizing decision, always go with the baggier option, and make sure your clothing options work all at once, and in different combinations. If you have to take one item off to put another item on, chances are there is a more efficient way to do it. Always try to buy top layers with hoods.

Because of the start-and-stop nature of ice climbing and mountain travel, we recommend everyone brings an oversized, well insulated jacket or over-parka with a hood.

Multiple pairs of gloves, mittens, and hats are also strong encouraged.

For all winter programs, clients are expected to have the following items:

  • Long underwear, top and bottom
  • Weather-proof shell pants (hardshell or softshell acceptable depending on forecast)
  • Mid-weight fleece top or synthetic equivalent (hood recommended)
  • Shell jacket with hood
  • Insulated belay jacket, parka, or an extra mid-weight insulation layer that can be worn simultaneously with other .
  • 2-3 pairs of warm, functional, waterproof gloves
  • Winter hat
  • Synthetic or wool socks
  • 2 water bottles with insulation (thermos, insulated jacket, or spare sock)
  • Backpack – 30-40 liter for day programs, 60-80 liter for mountaineering programs with overnights
  • Headlamp

For above tree-line winter programs and exceptionally cold conditions, add the following items:

  • Goggles
  • Balaclava
  • Neck-up or face mask
  • Winter mittens
  • Extra set of long underwear

For overnight mountaineering programs, add the following items:

  • Bowl with lid, mug, spoon, and lightweight knife
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Liner gloves
  • adequate sleeping bag for conditions and pad – negative 20 or negative 10 degree bags are usually required
  • 60 liter pack or larger

Technical equipment:

Cathedral Mountain Guides will provide harnesses, boots, crampons, ice-axes, helmets, plus ropes and other technical gear. Clients who own their own gear are encouraged to bring it and use it.


For day programs, clients are expected to provide their own water and food with enough calories for a day in the hills.