At 4,810m (15,781ft), Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Western Europe, sat between Haut-Savoie, France, and Aosta in Italy. Despite involving no technical climbing, it’s an undertaking that should not be approached lightly: it requires fitness, acclimatisation and glacier travel skills (including crevasse rescue techniques).
The right boots can be the difference between success and failure, and normal winter walking boots aren't good enough for Mont Blanc. If you are doing the trip with a guide or through a guiding company, find out if they have any minimum requirements for boots. As a minimum, you’ll need to consider general mountaineering boots, but a number of guides prefer people to choose warmer, stiffer options (temperatures on Mont Blanc can get below -20°C, especially in the early mornings).
Visit us in-store and get fitted for mountaineering boots by one of our experts. We have an extensive range and a variety of additional boot fitting techniques, including custom footbeds, to make sure you get the perfect fit.
This depends on whether or not your boots have an integral gaiter. Ideally you want ones with a Velcro-only closing system (having a zip can be fiddly). Make sure that the gaiters fit over the boots as securely as possible.
It may sound counterintuitive. but a common mistake to wear either too many layers, or clothing that is too warm. The result is getting hot and sweaty, faffing around removing layers and an unhappy guide (who might punish you by setting an even brisker pace). Speed and efficiency are both key to safety in this environment.
This is a great alternative to a fleece which provides wind and water resistance. Ideal for early morning alpine starts before the sun begins to warm things up. Weight and durability are important factors when choosing a softshell jacket. As a general guideline, anything with a membrane will be less breathable but provide better weather resistance than most jackets without a membrane.
Your insulated jacket keeps you warm when you’re not moving. A fairly common mistake is assuming that an insulating jacket needs to fit underneath a waterproof. Instead, put it over the top of your shell when you stop moving so you don’t lose heat by taking off your shell.
There are two types of insulation to choose from: down and synthetic insulation. For an alpine summer, a lightweight down jacket is normally fine. The higher the down quality, the lighter and more expensive the jacket. It’s possible to get hydrophobic down too, which resists water.
Down jackets have a better weight-to-warmth ratio and pack smaller, but they’re more expensive than artificial insulation. Synthetic insulated jackets are normally lower-priced than down jackets, however they’re often heavier and larger than a high-quality, equivalent-warmth down jacket.
A lightweight, low volume wool or fleece beanie is essential. Make sure it fits comfortably under a helmet. A Buff or wool neck warmer can serve as sun protection and insulation and can be used with a beanie/balaclava.
Heading to the hills for a fast-paced day hike or spending a weekend under canvas carrying everything you need, a venture into Britain's remote and rugged landscapes requires more than just a map and compass (although you need that, too). Here's our list of essential kit for taking on the British hills.
Winter mountaineering can mean anything from hillwalking to technical climbing, and the footwear and equipment requirements are different for every activity.
Scottish winter weather can vary in the space of a single day, so always be prepared for the worst.