Ski Mountaineering is a calculated game where risk is taken and precautions are made to keep you safe on the hill. Apart from fuel your kit list is one of the most important factors in keeping you safe and comfortable if the bad weather closes in whilst backcountry skiing. Making the right choices in what to wear and what gear to carry can be vital to your success…
Just this year Ross Hewitt returned from Baffin Island after nearly a month of skiing 26 unridden lines unsupported in Northern Canada…(you can check out that video here).
He’ll tell you first hand if you haven’t got the right kit to support your adventures you’ll most certainly end up in trouble at some point. However with the right kit you can be prepared against the elements.
So if you’re heading on a ski touring or mountaineering trip this winter and need a little help with what to choose, here’s Ross Hewitt’s recommended ‘Kit List’ for your winter ahead:
Frendo Jacket & Frendo Pant
The jacket is packed with features such as under arm vents, powder skirts, hood, chest pockets and a looser cut so you won’t look like a British Alpinist on skis. Available in an insulated version if you are more focused on frontside (of the mountain) than backside (backcountry).
These pants are at home on the frontside of the mountain, backside or sidecountry. Take this pant anywhere. When the going gets tough there are vents on the outside of the thighs and plenty pockets to take lift passes, ski straps and lip balm. Again available in an insulated version.
If you want a lighter jacket for touring and pack size check out the Velum jacket which still has enough pockets for all your kit. Alternatively if you want more protection and durability then look for the Ulvetanna Pro Jacket. Need a lightweight, packable softshell then look for the close fitting Pordoi.
The Ilam Jacket
A brilliant garment incorporating Berghaus’s market leading hydrophobic hydrodown that keeps its loft and insulation capability even in the wet. Ultralight and packs down small, I have it in my pack all the time ready to pull on when the temperature drops. It also looks great and is cool to wear round town or down the pub without being too bulky. Going somewhere warmer or colder then check out the Ramche Hyper, Ulvetanna Hybrid or Ramche jackets.
This brilliant jacket was our go to piece in Baffin and I recently wore it on the North Face of Grandes Jorasses as my highly breathable insulated outer layer. Hydrodown around the core and hydroloft synthetic on the shoulders and arms that are exposed to precipitation or spindrift. Wear it under your goretex on those colder days or buy a larger size for use as a belay jacket in Scottish winter. Great for humid conditions.
Base Layers and Accessories
Long Sleeve Tech Tee LS
Close fitting which a high zipped collar to let you vent off heat and protect the neck from the sun. This is a simple but well designed piece of kit, after all its right next to your skin so it needs to feel good. I prefer long sleeves to help keep hands warm and protect arms from the sun when stripped down. Combine it with a thermal tight for all-round warmth.
Warm and snug fitting, perfect for wearing with ski googles or sunglasses.
Great on windy days to stop warmth leaking out at the neck area. It also offers face protection from frostbite or winblown ice particles on those wild days. Roll it into a headband when it’s too warm for a hat but you want to keep your ears warm or the sun off your forehead. Small, lightweight and versatile, I always have one or two of these with me.
Arrete 25 Couloir
Designed specifically for the modern freerider and ski tourer, this pack fits close to your back keeping your overall CoG close to its normal position so you don’t notice skiing with it. Fitted with an internal shoulder strap sleeve for protecting bladder hoses from the cold and a dedicated compartment for avalanche kit. The bag is also ABS compatible and can cross carry skis or take a snow board.
Perfect for all of you mountaineering kit..