Mountaineering is a pastime that places a lot of strain on the body. People will frequently attempt to make steep ascents thousands of feet high, where strength, skill and mental stamina are crucial.

But taking on such a challenging climb isn’t just about having your body and mind in the best shape. Ensuring you eat the right meals before, during and after your ascent is crucial. So what makes the right meals for a mountaineering trip?

Types of mountaineering trips  

When thinking about meals for a mountaineering trip, you should first think about the type of mountaineering trip you’re doing. For instance, is your trip long or intense, moderate or extreme? Are you climbing in a summer or winter climate? And what type of mountaineering equipment are you taking with you?

There are three main types of mountaineering that you can do, depending on your level of experience. These are:

  • Alpinism – Used to ascend low-level routes that are below 5000m
  • High altitude – Routes above 5000m that are affected by altitude and weather, usually involving sustained climbing on ice and snow
  • Ultra lightweight – For more intrepid mountaineers where climbers ascend very high peaks, using lightweight equipment

Knowing what type of climb you’re doing can help you determine what your meals should contain to successfully complete your ascent.

High energy

The first important factor to consider is that meals for mountaineering should provide lots of energy. Food needs to be high calorie and high in carbohydrates. But it also needs to be light and easy to digest, especially in the morning before you start your climb. When trying to complete an ascent, you don’t want to eat something that is difficult to digest and lies heavy on your stomach – stopping your muscles from performing as effectively. You should also have a big high-energy meal the night before to prepare your body.

Carb-rich foods that are easy to digest can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream and will help keep your muscles moving. You should also include foods that have good amounts of protein for quick recovery, sugar for extra energy, and fats to help keep you warm in very cold environments.


Keeping hydrated is essential during a mountaineering trip, so you need to drink plenty of fluids and include them within your meal planning. It’s also worth mentioning that you can sweat out a lot of nutrients during your climb, this includes important vitamins and minerals. You should aim to replenish these to help keep your body performing at its peak throughout your climb. Good choices to help with this are sports drinks, which can help replenish some of these nutrients, as well as help prevent problems like muscle cramping.

Packaging and preparation

Carrying as little additional weight is crucial for making a climb easier. A heavy load is much more draining and tiring to climb with. Finding ways to reduce weight is going to be one of the key considerations that makes the difference between a difficult and an enjoyable climb.

Your choice of food can help keep your overall weight down. Think about meals which:

  • Don’t take up too much room, so they fit in your rucksack
  • Are quick and easy to prepare reducing the need for extra equipment
  • Are quick to clear away to help you keep moving

Meals in pouches for example are a great choice as they are lightweight and the pouch itself can be what you prepare the meal in and eat out of. This helps to keep fuss and mess to a minimum while also reducing the overall amount you need to carry.

Helping you with meals for your mountaineering trips

Whatever mountaineering trip you’re looking to do, whether it’s alpinism or a high-altitude climb, it’s important to have the right meals to achieve your ascent successfully.

At Summit To Eat, we provide a range of freeze-dried meals which can help ensure you have access to the perfect meals to fuel your next mountaineering adventure. This includes breakfasts, mains, desserts and snacks. Our meals and ingredients are:

  • Freeze-dried to create a lightweight, easy to store meal
  • Easy to prepare – simply add water to the pouch and wait for the meal to rehydrate
  • Expertly cooked prior to being freeze-dried, ensuring they taste fantastic
  • Nutritious – bursting with carbohydrates and protein to give you energy and keep you feeling satisfied

To find out more about our range of freeze-dried adventure foods, take a look at our meals page, or contact us to speak to a member of our dedicated team.