"APPARATUS: - 97 Ice Axes, - 5 Cases Dynamite, - 7 Cans Nitroglycerin - ..." — From Mark Twain's "A Tramp Abroad" (1880), a snippet of the gear list for the ascent of Riffelberg.
If you are like me and you always forget stuff when leaving on a climbing trip, there are two solutions: either leave everything in a pile at the entrance of the apartment (what I used to do before getting married), or get someone with a sense of organization to deal with the gear (a.k.a. a wife)... Jenny's good at compiling packing lists and here are some of her lists. The smart-ass comments are mine.
There also used to be a list of tricks on this page, but they are now on a separate page.
Rock climbing gear
Socks and shoes for the approach.
Pants: long or short (depending on season, but on long routes always take long pants).
Over pant: light rain protection.
Multiple top layers:
Capilène lightwear T-shirt (or sports top for women).
Medium to heavy fleece.
Light Raincoat jacket / K-way.
Hat for sun protection.
Gloves: light Capilène.
Sunglasses 100% UV protection
Right: Jenny warmly dressed in an integral down suit.
Technical rock gear
Climbing shoes (plus very thin pair of socks if very hot, very cold, very stinky or crack climbing).
Helmet: adjustable and low ears.
Very light (Petzl Tikka style) always in your pack.
Or standard size (Pezl Zoom) for long or multiple days
Harness: with adjustable and cushy padding legs and waist, plus drop seat.
Light Capilène under gloves (always in your pack as an emergency).
Ice climbing gloves with fingers (Charlet Moser style or heavy wind-stopper) + a second similar pair to change when those are too wet.
Over-gloves in Goretex.
Down mittens, for long winter ascents / bivvys.
Hat: polartec fleece with band to cover ears and wind-stopper liner; suitable under helmet.
Balaclava (or belly-cover as I misunderstood for years!): polartec and wind-stopper with face mask, suitable under helmet.
Ear-band in wind-stopper.
Face mask in wind-stopper or neoprene for bad ass storms.
Glacier glasses with dark lenses 100% UV protection and side shields.
Goggles with exchangeable lens (most useful are pink 100% UV protection for fog and transparent for night storms).
Gaiters, or overboots for long winter ascents, or One Sport Everest boots for desperate cold.
Technical winter gear
Right: Snow covered ski bindings
Plastic boots (Koflach style with spare long laces).
Crampons: lightweight with antibot for snow couloirs (for instance the super light 10 points model from Kahtoola) or technical for ice climbing (Grivel Rambo 3, plus hex key for setting it properly and file for after mixed routes).
Snow shoes with clip-on bindings for the approach.
Snow poles (these should be adjustable, folding in 3 and able to fit in the pack) for the approach.
A pair of ice axes: long shaft and lightweight for snow couloirs or technical for ice climbing (don't forget to file the pick before leaving).
Harness: with adjustable and cushy padding legs and waist, plus drop seat.
Helmet: adjustable and low ears (against falling ice !).
Very light (Petzl Tikka style) always in your pack.
Or standard size for long nights or multiple days (bring extra battery and extra bulb, if very cold battery should be L91/X92 Energizer Lithium).
Ice screws (from very short for mixed climbing to very long for V-threads) with carrier and one tent stake for cleaning them. A couple old ones for quick retreats if you don't want to spend time building an Abalakov.
Abalakov (V-thread hook).
Snow stakes (for snow couloirs).
Belaying device and rappelling gear: figure 8 / belay plate / Reverso / Jaws... (No Gri Gri!).
One or two extra lock biners.
Other devices: Tibloc / Mini pulley.
Rock gear for mixed climbing (nuts, cams...).
Other winter gear
Backpack (25 to 70 liters).
Insulated water bottle with integrator (Gatorade, tea with lots of honey...).
Food: Power bars/sandwich/dried fruit and nuts... bring light but high calories stuff (no new age / diet crap) !
Guide book (make photocopies to bring on the route) / Map.
GPS / compass / altimeter.
Swiss army knife / Leatherman.
Camera with extra films (with Lithium AA batteries).
Snack: dried fruit / power bar (keep in pocket) / marzipan (almond paste).
Lunch: sandwich (ham/cheese/salami/lard).
Dinner: instant soup, freeze-dry + parmesan cheese (very caloric) or lard or butter, dark chocolate.
Change of dry clothes (no cotton).
Down booties and fleece socks for camp.
Paperback book of some entertaining story (avoid the sad depressing stuff).
Catastrophe backpack... also known as survival bag or emergency pack...
While we are on the subject of equipment packing, here's a suggested list of equipment to keep in a backpack in your home, to grab and run in case of major emergency (hurricane, flood, earthquake, forest fires, angry wife, WWIII, robot uprising, shotgun wedding narrow escape...) before heading for the woods. Remember, if the shit really hits the fan, don't stay in cities. Of course, the kind of equipment that may be needed depends a lot on where you live and what kind of potential emergency you may have to face; so try to think beforehand if you are more likely to be hit by a hurricane, an IRS audit, a tsunami or a disgruntled employee. Plan accordingly.
Street-level paper maps of the city and maps of surrounding regions at various scales.
Compass & cheap GPS.
Pencil & paper.
Minimal first aid kit, including any actual medications that have a decent enough shelf life to store for a while. Spare contacts or glasses if you need them.
Dust mask / covid masks.
Human-powered (also known as hand-crank or kinetic) radio. Small wide-band receiver/transceiver, like the Yaesu VX-2R. Repeater guide.
Water bottles, those that you can crush and later refill with the purifier. You can go for the real collapsible water container but you can't store those already filled up for a long time.
Laminated copy of personal records (birth certificate, wedding certificate, SSN card, diplomas, recent tax forms, insurance policies, driver's license, certifications...). Medical history for those with medical issues.
Spare clothing (pants, wool socks, long underpants, t-shirts, a sweatshirt, reflective orange emergency vest). No cotton: wool (which is warm even wet but dries slowly) or pile (which dries quickly). This means no blue-jeans.
A light rain jacket (K-way or similar) and possibly rain pants. If you live in a cold region, put in a compactable down jacket.
Chemical hand-warming packets (for cold areas)
Firesteel, lighter, waterproof matches, firestarting piston. The more the better. Learn to use them beforehand.
Several hundred $ or local currency in cash. If you expect WWIII, pack in some gold !!! Also, even though they are heavy, think about taking rolls of change as when shit happens banks will close and then shops, even if they want to, will be unable to sell you stuff if you don't have exact change.
Leatherman tool, swiss army knife, spoon, plastic bowl. Large fixed blade knife (hunter style, metal blade).
Plastic bottle of pure alcohol (actually 95% ethanol) for stove use, medicinal use, firestarter, and even drinking if you are getting that desperate.
Homemade soda can stove. Light metal pot for boiling water and making soup. About that learn which local plants you can safely eat.
Small roll of gaffer tape, roll of parachute cord (100m), tube of super-glue (also good in case of deep skin cuts).
A bunch of Ziploc Bags of various sizes (for water, foraging...).
A mosquito net, if you live in affected area.
USB key with most important files.
A basic Survival guidebook, which you'd better study first. Having wild camping experience beforehand is much preferred.
And finally a toothbrush with paste. You can survive fine without soap for a few weeks (we know that from experience), but not having a toothbrush turns uncomfortable pretty quickly.
A few other things can be real handy if you can spare the room: toilet paper in ziplock bags, handi-wipes, a wilderness soap (much less polluting that a normal one), some thin steel wire (for rabbit traps), even a small umbrella.
Also consider carefully where to keep the pack: entrance of your house to grab on the way out ? Trunk of your car ? At your office ? Hidden in the back of the garden ?
Note that in case of orderly evacuation by car, you will want to get more than the list above. Some important items that you should be able to toss into a car on a 15 minutes notice: pets, family photos (this is irreplaceable), wedding album, personal journal (if it's still on paper and not on a blog!), fileserver (better if you have everything regularly backed up to an external hard drive, even better if it's backed up offsite), a laptop with wireless (alternate communication medium that may be available if cellphones are saturated), a camera to document the event (may have historical importance later on), surgical masks, some valuables (jewelry), spare change (rolls of coins become very handy if banks are closed for a long time), hiking and camping gear (large water container 20l, 2-second tent, sleeping bag, mattress, extra blankets, good stove, plenty of gas for the stove, pots and pans), extra clothing, long conservation food (cans or better: dried stuff, white rice, beans...), construction tools (cordless drill, hammer, screwdrivers, saw, axe, nails, screws, chainsaw [wind can trow down a lot of trees]), larger solar and/or hand-crank charger, power inverter, cooler or power cooler, a bike (a quiet, easy and long-lasting way to move around). Don't expect being able to find gas for the car. Consider a destination and brief some family members / neighbors about it. As experience has shown, don't trust the government to help: if you've lost everything, you no longer pay taxes and a week after the disaster you are not news anymore...
Rec.Climbing endorsed gear for next year
The gecko climbing shoes
Comes in two models: the GreenFoot based on chopped off real gecko feet or the MetalFoot Lowe/HomeDepot design based on a large metal brush. Great for those long runouts at Glacier Point Apron. You'll finally be able to lead the Snake Dyke.
The Essential Joe S. belay knife.
As seen in most climbing movies. Reinforced Carbide tip with diamond coating allows you to also use it to quickly and efficiently carve holds in blank 5.9 rock.
The Safe Binner.
Made out of very advanced poly-alloy, you drop it as much as you want and it won't micro-crack. Come with an optional electronic accelerometer embedded inside warning you when it's been through too much and you should retire it. Only $2000 each.
The 'Suck' advanced slab protection device.
With this device you can aid long blank sections of rock without having to place bolts. You can also protect those hard 5.8 moves when the bolts at your favorite crag are placed more than one meter apart. You too can 'suck'. Picture of unknown origin on right.
The full body rubber suit.
After the sticky shoes and the hand jammies, you too can finally climb those heinous offwidths/squeezes and make them feel like real 5.9, just like Layton Kor and Brutus of Wyde rated them. Comes with a barrel of talc powder to put the suit on.
Centrally marked ropes.
To cut short any further discussions, a consortium of leading ropemakers has setup a discussion group to decide on how to establish a marking standard in the safest way. Should come out anytime now.
The hard to find Bolt Gun.
As seen in Cliffhanger and finally available to normal climbers who are not yet superstars. Uses 48 AA batteries (not included) and Black Diamond ice screws.
The r.c cell-phone
Calls 911 automatically when your pants get brown from the inside. Or when it gets dark. Or cold. Or your stock of Power Bars is down to one. Or your Camelback is leaking. Optional configuration include a quick TR button which will post a standard victory Trip Report for when you finally manage to free that 5.8 you've been working on for a week.
The Trip Report generator
A masterpiece of artificial intelligence and Dadaism all in one. You just feed it a few basic elements: name of route, nickname of partner, how much runout, how many times you went offroute and a few other keywords and it generates a Trip Report that will earn you adulation on r.c. Certified by Dingus. Windows installer comes on a CD with abusive EULA terms.
The big wall Suzie Doll.
Lighter than a realdoll and won't puncture if dragged behind the pig thanks to special reinforced kevlar fabric. The favorite big wall climber model is 'Big Suzie' who will lighten up your hauls big time when filled with helium. Comes with certificate of quality from MadDog, solar battery charger and a gallon can of Suzie-lube. Helium refill tanks sold separately.