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Gear List: Overnight Ski Mountaineering

Overnight ski mountaineering trips in the Cascades are unique because we need to bring extra layers, food, stoves and tents. But we still want our packs as small and stuffed - the tighter the pack, the better it skis! The clothing is very condition dependent, since what I need for a March tour will be radically warmer (and heavier) than for June. Here's my suggested list, with links to the gear I use.

Group Gear Provided

  • Tents
  • Stoves and fuel
  • Ropes
  • Climbing protection
  • Comprehensive first aid kit to stabilize bleeding and fractures
  • Emergency communication - cell phone, satellite phone, or beacon device
  • Emergency shelter

Personal Gear

  • Internal Frame Pack - 40L to 55L. Depending on the time of year or conditions, I've been using the Blue Ice Warthog 40L (my favorite but a bit hard to get in North America) or Mammut Trion Guide 52L
  • Sleeping pad - I bring a full length, inflating pad for snow camping. Thermarest NeoAir XLite
  • 1-2 Liters of water storage, in a combination of Nalgene bottles and thermos. More about my thoughts about water storage and treatment is here: LINK.
  • Sun screen and lip balm
  • Sunglasses - with good side protection and dark lenses. I actually carry two pairs, a brown lense for low light and a reflective lense for bright light. Native Bomber and Smith Guide's Choice
  • Goggles - yes bring both! I like sunglasses for most uphill work, but goggles for the stormy days with flat light. K2 Source Z - Red Storm Goggle
  • Small first aid kit with a couple of band-aids, aspirin, ibuprofen, your preferred blister repair. Also, an epi-pen if you have any critical allergies!
  • Pocket knife
  • Lighters - I carry 3-4 on any trip, in various places in my pack
  • Headlamp - Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp
  • Sleeping bag - I recommend down insulation because it packs so much smaller. 32°F / 0°C minimum, 20°F / -7°C for real cold weather or folks who sleep cold. Feathered Friends Vireo or Swallow UL 20 Sleeping Bag
  • Compression stuff sack - makes that sleeping bag pack really small! Outdoor Research Ultralight Compression Sack, 5L or 8L
  • Mug - instead of a mug, I bring a 500mL Nalgene bottle. It works as a mug in camp and water storage during the day.
  • Spoon - no need for a fork for most meals.
  • Bowl - a few years ago I discovered this bowl that unsnaps to make cleaning easy and packs flat in my pack. Fozzil Bowlz
  • Food - you'll want a simple, quick breakfast to get started in the morning; 4-8 snacks to get you through the day; and a hearty dinner to fill you up at night so you can sleep warm. Food shopping, preparation, and cooking is available for an additional charge. Read my menu recommendations and a few dinner recipes here: LINK
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, any medications you normally need
  • Camera, cell phone

Ski Equipment

  • Avalanche Transceiver - single frequency, 457kHz, less than 10 years old required. Backcountry Access Tracker 2
  • Shovel - small, compact, and metal blade. Backcountry Access B-1 Shovel
  • Probe - a dedicated avalanche probe, not a ski-pole alternative model! Backcountry Access Stealth 240 Probe
  • Skis - with Alpine Touring / Randonee or Telemark bindings and Ski Brakes or leashes. K2 Wayback 96 skis with Dynafit TLT Radical FT 2.0 Binding
  • Ski boots - Alpine Touring / Randonee or Telemark only. No downhill boots! Scarpa Maestrale RS
  • Ski poles - if you like to adjust your poles, then great, but I find them too much trouble and bring fixed length poles on 99% of my trips. Black Diamond Fixed Length Carbon Ski Poles
  • Climbing skins - these should be full length, wall-to-wall. I'm a huge fan of Pomoca, who just happen to produce the K2 backcountry skins. Pomoca Climb Pro Skins
  • Ski Crampons - REQUIRED! Really necessary for those frozen morning starts. Get a pair wider than you ski-waist width, but less than 10mm wider. Dynafit Ski Crampons (100mm fit my skis above)
  • OPTIONAL: Ski Helmet - helmet usage is becoming more and more common. While you're likely not to see me ski with a helmet except under certain circumstances, I will never tell you that you shouldn't. Make sure you have a way to secure it to your pack for uphill travel, and be aware that not all models replace the need for a climbing helmet. K2 Stash Helmet

Climbing Equipment

Clothing - recommending clothing can be the hardest part in the Cascades. What I wear for a tour in March is dramatically different then for June. Here is a loose suggestion that may be changed depending on actual conditions.

Gear List: Overnight Alpine Rock Climbing

Gear List: Cragging Days