Please refer to this ski mountaineering equipment list for Ski Haute Journeys and other glacial hut to hut tours. This list is intended for guests skiing in guided groups and those without a guide may need extra equipment.
Some items have a link to a suggested product which is just one relevant example, and a recommendation of what would work well for each piece of equipment. Many others will of course also be fine and exact choice will depend on what other intended uses each item of equipment will have.
Aim to ‘pack light’ and ski with as light a pack as possible…it still won’t be that light! Remember that light + light = heavy and that the only thing that ‘weighs nothing’….is nothing!
Clothing needs to be suitable for skinning up hill on a hot and sunny glacier AND skiing downhill on a cold and windy glacier, quite a range! Thus pay attention to the layering system and details for gloves / hats / glasses & goggles for warm and sunny and cold & windy days.
- Touring Skis fitted with ski touring bindings and set up ready for your own boots. A light to medium weight ski with a waist of around 80-100mm and turn radius of less than 20m is ideal for most tours where a variety of snow conditions will be encountered.
- Ski Touring Bindings fitted to your skis, ideally with brakes attached. Dynafit are still probably the most popular and are generally light and robust, but take some practice so please ensure you arrive knowing how to use them!
- Ski Boots designed for ski touring. Lighter boots with a comfortable walk mode are ideal – and usually with holes either side of the toe for working with ‘pin bindings’.
- Ski Poles can be fixed or telescopic but either way will need to be strapped to your pack for the mountaineering sections.
- Skins must be fitted accurately to your skis. Modern glueless skins work well if they are in good condition and still sticky!
- Avalanche Transceiver with fresh batteries. This should be a modern digital transceiver in good working order.
- Snow Shovelwith a metal blade as plastic blades don’t work!
- Avalanche Probe
- Harscheisen – ski crampons – couteaux(choose your language!) must be compatible with your ski bindings
- Lightweight Ski Pack (35-45L). Think about how you will attach your skis & helmet to it
- Tough & windproof ‘soft shell’ trousers are ideal for most days touring but see below for an essential addition. Make sure they fit snugly over your ski boots.
- Lightweight hard shell / waterproof outer layer trousers for bad weather
- Lightweight base layer / thermal top and
- Light soft shell jacket or fleece / mid layer
- Waterproof / Hardshell Jacket
- Lightweight duvet jacket – ideally with a hood
- Gloves thin dexterous pair for skinning and a warmer thicker pair (mitts not really recommended as too clumsy)
- Warm Hat & neck gaiter / ‘buff’ (to protect your neck, lower face and nose in cold windy conditions)
- Sun Hat ideally a proper sun hat and not just a baseball cap
- Ski Goggles with low light / poor visibility lenses
- Sunglasses suitable for use on snow / glaciers
- Sun cream & lip barrier stick, factor 50
- Personal Medication & Blister kit but not a full first aid kit as the guide will have this
- Ski Strap important for carrying skis on your rucksack
- Headtorch lightweight model like ‘Petzl Tikka’
- Mobile Phone
- Food plenty of snacks although these can be bought in the mountain huts too
- Water Bottle (at least 1L)
Technical Equipment Required for Steep / Glacial Terrain
- Ice Axe lightweight ski touring axe is fine
- Crampons lightweight ski touring crampons are fine – unless harder variants are planned
- Harness lightweight ski touring harness is fine
- 1 x Ice Screw (17cm Petzl Speed Light is a good choice)
- 1 x Cows tail for skiing on the glacier, you can buy these in Chamonix. Rope is better than sling material eg Beal Dynaloop 60cms
- 2 X Screw-Gate Karabiners
- Helmet ski mountaineering helmets are now a lot lighter and easier to carry than traditional ski helmets
The minimum amount of technical gear is listed here. If you would like to train with your crevasse rescue gear please also bring a couple of prussiks, micro traction style device, pulley or DMM revolver Karabiner, 240cms sling, 4 screw gate and 4 snap link karabiners.
Group Gear – Provided by the Guide…But Carried by the Whole Group!
- First Aid Kit(s)
- Group Shelter(s)
- Spares Kit
- Maps & Navigation GPS & Apps
- Phone Numbers For Rescue & huts, weather, taxis, tourist info etc
- Cash (Swiss CHF best for the Swiss Huts although they also take € euros albeit not at a good exchange rate)
- Credit / Debit Card
- Insurance Details
Multi-Day Hut to Hut Touring & Optional Items
- Spare Socks
- Spare Shirt (or buy one in a hut when you start to get smelly!)
- Tea Bags (help save on hut expenses as hot water is often the cheapest thing to buy)
- Tooth Brush
- Sheet Sleeping Bag as lightweight at possible
- Earplugs for noisy huts!
- Reciprocal Rights Hut Card – Alpine Club / CAF / BMC / Austrian Alpine Club
- Camera think about making your camera highly accessible whilst skiing / skinning as once in your pack you may not want to get it our and team member may not want to wait for you to do so!