Winter Camping at Chocolate Falls, March 2018
Photo by Ted Sindzinski

Here is a suggested packing list for the Winter Overnight & Summit Climb. 

Food and Water

  • 3+ liters of water: Filled bottles or hydration bladder. Please bring at least 1 hard-sided water bottle.
  • Lunch and Snacks, Saturday and Sunday: High energy foods, e.g. trail mix, sandwich, trail bars, beef jerky, hard boiled eggs, summer sausage, cheese. Optional electrolyte drinks.
  • Bowl and Spoon
  • Thermos or Mug for hot drinks
  • Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast will be provided.


Please wear synthetic (polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or acrylic) clothing. NO COTTON! Cotton clothing is not appropriate for climbing Mount St. Helens. When cotton becomes wet from precipitation and/or sweat, it will not dry out and will not keep you warm. Wet cotton is not only uncomfortable but also hazardous (Polyester/Cotton blend OK.) Dress in layers in order to be able to control your temperature while hiking as well as resting.

  • Mountaineering Boots: Sturdy waterproof mountaineering boots, compatible with your crampons, are imperative. If renting, opt for synthetic or leather, not plastic mountaineering boots. General hiking boots are not appropriate for a winter climb.
  • 2-3 pairs Socks: Thick polyester or wool hiking socks. Optional liner socks help with insulation, as well as reduce the risk of blisters.
  • Tall Gaiters: Helps keep snow out of your boots
  • 2 Long Sleeve Base Layer: Synthetic or wool
  • Upper Body Mid Layer: Polyester fleece jacket or down jacket
  • Rain Jacket: e.g. Waterproof Gore Tex Jackets, preferably not a ski jacket, able to layer underneath
  • Rain Pants: e.g. Waterproof Gore Tex, no snow pants
  • Synthetic Pants: e.g. Polyester zip-off pants, hiking pants
  • Fleece Pants: (optional) for sleeping
  • 2 Bottom Base Layer: Polyester or wool long underwear
  • 2 pairs Liner Gloves: Thin synthetic gloves
  • Waterproof Gloves or Mittens: Warm and waterproof, able to layer thin gloves inside
  • Warm Hat: Must cover ears
  • Sun Hat: e.g. baseball hat
  • Sunglasses: Close fitting to keep out snow reflection


  • Sleeping Bag: at least 15 degree mummy bag, optional liner for added insulation
  • Sleeping Pad: Inflatable or closed-cell foam
  • Backpack: Approx. 55-65 liter backpack, big enough for all climbing and camping gear
  • Ice Axe: Standard Mountaineering Ice Axe (not curved or technical) with a wrist strap, fit to your height. If you do not own one, these can be rented from MSHI (limited quantity) at your local climbing/outdoors store. Wrist straps can easily be made from 5’ of webbing.
  • Crampons: Fit to your mountaineering boots, pack with spikes facing each other, on top or in outermost pocket of backpack
  • Snowshoes: Fit for your height and weight.
  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Packable Snow Shovel (optional)
  • Toiletries: Only the essentials (no makeup, perfume, cologne, face wash, razor, shampoo/conditioner, nor anything too large or bulky)
    • Sunscreen and spf lip balm (SPF 30 and above)
    • Small First Aid Kit (this includes your own personal prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and blister care. Bring extra prescription meds in case of unexpected delays)
    • Toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste
  • Headlamp, with extra set of batteries
  • Bandana: Cotton OK
  • Pocket Knife or Multi-tool
  • 2-3 Large Garbage Bags: Heavy-duty or trash compactor, for waterproofing backpack and glissading
  • Adjustable trekking poles (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Extra Clothing Layers and Socks: (optional) Leave in car

MSHI Provided Equipment

  • Tents: 4-season mountaineering tents, shared. If you prefer to sleep solo, please be prepared to provide (and carry) your own 4-season tent 
  • Stoves and Fuel
  • Cooking Pots and Utensils
  • Group Shelter
  • 2 Snow Shovels
  • 1 Snow Saw
  • Blue bags (for personal waste disposal)


If you have any other questions, please email or call 360-449-7883