23. Bivy Considerations

In this video we discuss bivying in the mountains. A bivy is a term for a simple camp set up, often using an ultralight tent or emergency shelter, for exposed and challenging routes, or in inclement weather.

Moving light and fast with no bivy gear can feel far more enjoyable. However it reduces the safety margins—and being unexpectedly caught out in the alpine environment without it can be an uncomfortable, or even dangerous, situation.  

Sometimes there is an element of joy in having an exposed bivy in the mountains. Many have enjoyed amazing starry nights and incredible sunrises from high bivy perches, which can be just as rewarding as big, long, in-a-day alpine missions.

As the saying goes, “if you bring bivy gear, then you will bivy.” Avoid bringing overnight gear if you are confident you can do the route in a single day.

Sometimes summer temperatures and weather forecasts are such that a small tarp and a light summer alpine bag are all you need.  

However in winter conditions, a small tent may be worth the increased weight.

As with all things alpine, light gear is the best. But part of being lightweight is also leaving things you don’t need behind: if you don’t need it, don’t bring it.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk