Mahoney Alpine Adventures - Rock, Alpine, Mixed, Ski, Expeditions and more!


Thorough preparation for the elements can make the difference between having a challenging yet enjoyable trip and having a disastrous one. Proper equipment makes a big difference but equipment alone does not make an alpine climber — one must also have good judgment and common sense.

Hydration and nutrition are equally important and you are expected to bring what you will need. If you have any questions about equipment or what food to bring, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Equipment List:

Layer system basics: There are essentially two choices here. Insulating layers with a “hard shell” breathable wind barrier, or “soft shell” clothing. I prefer the soft shell approach for most conditions. It provides reasonable insulation and weather protection, but is much more breathable and traps almost no condensation, leading to less accumulated perspiration and wet base layers. By stripping away the hard shell, the dew point, at which sweat vapor condenses, is moved outside the jacket, instead of inside the Gore-Tex shell. The result? Condensation that freezes on the surface of the jacket and brushes off. Instead of freezing like a layer of verglas on the interior of your shell. A dry climber is a warm climber. Evaporation of sweat robs the body of heat with marked efficiency; avoiding this will keep you comfortable. In a full storm soft shells don’t stand up and nothing beats a hard shell.

Considering the soft shell fabrics aren’t as warm as 300-weight fleece, I usually pack a belay parka like the Alcove Jacket. Only on occasion, if wet weather is anticipated, will I add a very light hard-shell layer to keep me dry. I like the Carnic jacket. This usually stays in the bottom of my pack, but on long alpine routes is well worth the 14 ounces it costs for the insurance it provides. Likewise, soft-shell pants are adequate for almost all applications) Light, breathable hard-shell over pants can augment this system for wet belays or snow caves)


Single boots, like the La Sportive Batura or La Sportiva Nepal Extreme, provide more sensitivity on ice and mixed ground than double boots. These would be my choice for long alpine days in the mountains or on ice. For mixed cragging, which is often done in a less committing environment than the aforementioned, an even lighter boot, like the La Sportiva Trango makes gymnastic moves more fluid and fun. Conversely, for mountaineering, overnight trips, or very cold days, a double boot like the La Sportive Baruntse of Spantik allow you to stay warm, have an inner boot in which to sleep, and give you the best line of defense against frostbite.


Supergaiters are nice if you have them, but if conditions are that cold you’ll likely be using double boots. Hybrid gaiters are preferred, as they breathe and prevent the icy condensation accumulation in and around your boots.


For ice climbing gloves are essential. You have to find the balance between warmth and dexterity. I choose a system of gloves with better dexterity for leading and a warmer glove for the belay duty or following. I like the BD Punisher for leading. I like leather palms and I use Nik Wax to help keep them waterproof. For my warm glove I use either the BD Guide glove. In warmer conditions, or for mixed cragging, lighter gloves like the BD TorqueAlways bring two or three pairs of gloves.

Base layer:

If you sweat a lot go as light as you can. I go for lightweight power stretch for you skin layer and add as you need to.

Extra insulating layer:

I like to pack an extra layer, like a Micro grid Zip T and the ever important Super Power Hoody.


Gore-Tex Paclite, like the Mountain Hardware Typhoon or Mtn hardwear’s own Terra Shell material used in the Carnic . My personal favorite soft-shell is the Patagonia. It provides almost total wind protection, reasonable moisture protection and has the right blend of breath ability.


I live in the Patagonia Guide pant in winter. Bring light Gore-Tex pants for overnight trips, snow cave digging, or when rain is possible (always).

Belay Jacket:

I use a Patagonia DAS parka; it is a great choice for New England with synthetic insulation and conduit shell. Except in certain dry, cold conditions, the synthetic bivy jackets are best. They’re idiot-proof, don’t clump, dry quickly and retain their loft when wet.


Pack an extra. Wool or fleece are fine. Make sure they dry quickly.


For most climbs a BD Spot with 90 lumens is great, with both 2 LED ambient bulbs and a LED beam bulb. If climbing a long route where you think you may be benighted, or an overnight trip, something with a better flood mode, and even better spot range, is worth the weight. The BD Icon with 200 lumens is great for overnight trips, but is too heavy for most climbs.


The BD ... is your basic workhorse. For over night trips the BD Speed 40L or 50L the lightest weight option. The BD Mission 50L is your true grit pack for many trips into the mountains.


-Make sure they are shatterproof and provide UVA and UVB protection. Wrap around models like the Julbo Explorer or Dirt. Make sure there is adequate side protection. Snow blindness can occur quickly in the great white world of winter.

Overnight gear:

The layers rarely change for over night trips the only thing you need is a bigger pack and a sleeping kit. I go for the ¾ length thermorest with my pack under my feet. The sleeping bag is very individual. I go for the lightweight Phantom 15 from Mtn Hardwear or try the Phantom 0 . It is light and compact yet with my layers on it keeps me warm below zero. Another choice is the slightly heavier but more protective Banshee 0 with its conduit shell it keeps moisture out and breathes to let moisture escape, the best choice for snow caves. There are many choices and the choice between down and synthetic is a tuff one. Down is the warmest, lightest, most compact insulator however when wet it is useless. I go for down and I work hard to keep it dry (plastic bags to protect it in the pack and keep snow away from it in the tent). Over many nights down will absorb moisture from your drying clothes at night and the moisture in the tent. To solve this air out your bag when ever you can, a few minutes in the sun or in a breeze will quickly give new life to your down.

Technical equipment:

I like gear that works and is versatile and rugged. Black Diamond is the best choice for that. For a harness make sure it fits over many layers theFocus is a great all around choice but the Xenos is the ice/mixed best choice harness. For crampons the choice is simple if you favor the mountains get the Sabretooth if you prefer water ice then choice the Cyborg . With the variety of choices out there for tools it is difficult to pick which is right. Basically the Cobra is the best tool in the world. All the other technical tools do very well but… For mountaineering/snow climbing I like the lightweight Raven Pro. but if you may have to climb some ice then the Venom is the one to get . Helmets have advanced in the last decade to become safer and more comfortable so there is no excuse, wear a helmet. The Half Dome is a great all around helmet. A lightweight option is the Tracer comfortable and light.

Ice climbing and mountaineering

  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Two locking carabiners and a belay device
  • Crampons
  • Ice tools or mountaineering axe
  • Pack 30liter minimum

Rock climbing:

  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Two locking carabiners and belay device
  • Rock Shoes

Recap: Head to toe:

For winter climbing

  • Hat (synthetic or wool)
  • Balaclava and or facemask *
  • Goggles *
  • Sunglasses
  • Belay Parka
  • Hard Shell
  • Soft Shell **
  • Fleece
  • Mid weight hoody
  • Lightweight polypro
  • Hard shell pants
  • Soft shell pants**
  • Mid weight bottoms
  • Insulated pants*
  • Socks (spare set *)
  • Gaiters
  • Boots

* Alpine days

For rock climbing

  • wind layer
  • light rain gear
  • sunglasses
  • clothes to suit the weather

Miscellaneous gear:

  • 1 Liter water bottle with insulator
  • .5liter thermos with hot drink (bigger if you are a hot drink fan)
  • camera
  • hand warmers

Over night extras:

  • Sleeping Bag (zero degree rating at least)
  • Sleeping mat (foam or air)
  • Cup, Bowl, Spoon
  • Extra batteries for headlamp

MAA can provide all technical gear

I will also provide sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent, stove and food for all multi-day trips. This all included in the per day rate.