Mount Washington Gear List

Lions Head

Summiting Mount Washington via the Lions Head is a trip up one of New England’s iconic mountains via one of the region’s most classic routes. In preparation for an upcoming article for goEast, we recently revisited this classic climb. To coordinate our packing, we found ourselves typing out a checklist for personal and group gear. Although extraneous to the article, the list is interesting and informative. So here it is.

Upper Body Layers:

  • A lightweight synthetic baselayer top
  • A lightweight windshirt with a hood; a favorite is the Black Diamond Alpine Start
  • A vest with active insulation; we’ve been using the Outdoor Research Ascendant Vest and Arc’teryx Proton LT Vest
  • A puffy coat with active insulation; we love the Arc’teryx Proton LT Hoody and the EMS Alpine Ascender (check out our review of the Ascender here)
  • A traditional lightweight puffy; the Black Diamond Access LT Hoody is a great choice
  • A hardshell (unless you’re incredibly lucky weather-wise, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in it); a jacket like the Black Diamond Liquid Point fits the bill

Lower Body Layers:

  • Medium weight baselayer pants
  • Medium weight softshell pants; the Marmot Pro Tour softshell pant is a solid choice that’s worked well for us


  • Goggles are a must have for the winds found above treeline
  • A lightweight winter hat
  • A balaclava
  • A Buff Neck Gaiter is an awesome addition, as it can serve as a second hat or balaclava in the event one gets wet
  • Leather work gloves; Black Diamond’s Dirtbag Glove is a long-time favorite
  • A pair of insulated waterproof gloves
  • Heavy mittens; Black Diamond Mercury Mitts have been a key part of our kits for years
  • Lightweight liner gloves are a nice addition if you are going to take pictures or do anything that involves finger dexterity
  • Chemical hand warmers (great for emergencies or colder-than-expected temperatures)


  • A 30- to 40-liter pack should be able to accommodate all of your layers, accessories, food, and water (if not, it might be time to start re-evaluating your kit); the Black Diamond Speed series offers packs in both of those sizes


  • A lightweight leather mountaineering boot; the La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX is a consensus favorite
  • Midweight wool socks; Darn Tough socks are made locally and are guaranteed for life


  • Lightweight mountaineering crampons; the Petzl Irvis crampon is a nice choice
  • Mountaineering ax; the Black Diamond Raven is a classic for a reason
  • Collapsible trekking poles; Black Diamond’s Compactor Ski Poles are nice for adding stability while hiking and can be easily tucked away in your pack when climbing through the steep section
  • Traction devices; while crampons are great on the upper mountain, CAMP’s Chainsen Light is perfect for making good time up and down the lower mountain

Other Equipment:

  • Sunglasses; we like Julbo—the funkier the colors, the better
  • A small first aid kit
  • A headlamp; we’ve gone through several versions of the Black Diamond Spot with no complaints
  • Food; pick something that won’t freeze
  • A water bottle or thermos (or both)
  • A map, compass, and phone-based mapping app like GAIA GPS with a pre-programmed route plan
  • An emergency bivy; if you’re heading out in a bigger group, consider having someone in the party bring a lightweight sleeping bag as well

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