• Essential Survival Kit


    Appropriate food and plenty of water (or purification supplies) are essential to enable you to carry on climbing. Becoming dehydrated or allowing malnutrition to take hold will make you far more susceptible to illness, make you become tired more quickly and make your muscles ache sooner. This will dramatically slow your progress down, but in the event of an emergency these things can make a critical difference.


    Along with climbing clothes, warm socks, a hat and mittens or gloves (mittens are warmer but provide less dexterity) are absolutely essential at altitude. A fleece is also a must. One set of clothes does not provide for all eventualities, especially the weather. A change of clothes could be vital to the prevention of cold or altitude illnesses.


    Unbelievably, there are people who venture out into the mountains without a map, or don’t have a clue how to use the one they’ve got. Some trails have markers, but in the event of adverse weather conditions these may not be clear. Be responsible for your own safety – take a map and be able to read it.


    A compass is essential for map reading. It is pointless to have one without the other, and even more pointless to have neither.


    The essential see-in-the-dark tool. Remember the spare batteries.

    Waterproof Matches

    Ordinary matches just won’t do, and so high up you can’t take a risk and hope that there will be someone else to ask. Another option is a flint kit.

    Pen knife

    This magical instrument will have numerous uses, and would be very difficult to manage without.


    At altitude it is imperative that you have some means of attracting attention to yourself in the event of an emergency. A mobile phone cannot be relied on, so a whistle should be part of your essential survival kit. The international help signal is six blasts repeated at 1 minute intervals.

    Survival Bag

    These person-size bags are designed so that in a situation where a person is trapped or injured they can climb inside and stay safe and arm. They are often bright orange and can be a life saver should something go wrong. The silver safety blankets are not a substitute for a survival bag, they aren’t designed for the job and are completely inadequate.

    First aid kit

    A good first aid kit should contain bandages, plasters, gauze, and tape, amongst other things. There is a wide range available so there is no excuse not to carry one.