Scandinavian Mountains over 2000m - Introduction

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

Introduction › Equipment

Ice axes are an indispensible item and as a rule of thumb should always be carried. You never know when you might need one, even in the late summer. They make glissading on steeper slopes safer and therefore more enjoyable. I prefer to use a 60-80cm shaft.

Crampons are also essential and while it may not be necessary to take them on every excursion into the mountains they should be taken on any trip which takes you over a glacier or where you may encounter steep snow or ice. The crampons do not need to be heavy 12 or 14 pointers (C2 or C3) and lightweight 10 pointers (C1) will suffice unless you are ice climbing.

Rope is needed for glacier crossings, exposed wet scrambles and climbs. Ideally one rope should cover all eventualities. I therefore find that a single 9mm rope is sufficient. This rope should be 60m to allow abseils up to 30m and also allow some extra for potential crevasse rescue. A dry proofed rope is not essential but highly recommended.

Boots should be sturdy. Four season hill walking boots with semi-stiff (B1) or preferably stiff (B2) midsoles and a supportive and durable upper are necessary. The boots should suit the crampons.

Harnesses should be lightweight and comfortable. The harness will be essential for any climbing and glacier crossings. For glacier crossings a chest harness, possibly made from a sling, is also advised.

Protection on rock is the normal choice of wedges, nuts, friends and slings. For glacier crossings ice screws are essential and either a snow anchor or stake is also advised.

Skis for hut to hut tours in the winter/spring are normally Nordic touring skis. However, for ski ascents more specialized Telemark skis, ski skins and plastic boots are more appropriate. If you want to do both then a hybrid ski, ski skins and lightweight plastic boots are sensible compromises.

Rucksacks should probably be about 40-45 litres. The rucksack should be large enough for potential rope, harness, rack, crampons, photographic equipment, food etc. If you are going to bivvy a sleeping bag, gore-tex bivvy bag and sleeping mat must also fit in.

Helmets are necessary for any ascent where there is a climb. These mountains are solid but there are sometimes scree-filled gullies and there may be scree on ledges.

Bivvy bags are advised if you are intend to bivvy on some of the ridges. A gore-tex type bivvy bag is advised. During July and early August the nights are quite short and it may be preferable to take advantage of the 20 odd hours of daylight rather than bivvy.

Sleeping bags are necessary if you intend to bivvy. During the summer a three season bag (-2 to -5 celcius) will suffice. Down is better if you are out for a single night and are confident the bivvy bag is waterproof, otherwise a synthetic one is advised, while a bit heavier it will retain some warmth if things get damp. Do not bivvy unless the forecast is good.