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Backcountry Ski Touring and What Do You Bring
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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Backcountry Ski Touring and What Do You Bring on 11/20/2005 16:27:38 MST Print View

New to ski touring. I will be making my rounds in the Sierra's and was wondering what any of you bring when it comes to cold weather camping. I guess that elevation would be anywhere from 7-10,000 ft. With nighttime lows around 5-20 degrees at night. What I am really am asking is; I want to stay lightweight and be prepared.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Backcountry Ski Touring and What Do You Bring on 11/20/2005 21:55:30 MST Print View

The Sierras can be pretty benevolent with some monster snows on occasion...are you going to the same place where you can build an igloo or snowcave or are you going to assorted destinations?Overnight or multi-night?Touring where you can dip water versus having to melt snow?Prepared tracks or are you breaking trail?The answers predict how much shelter,stove,and clothing changes you might need.Alpine and Nordic backcountry skiing burns more calories then just about anything out there,except skate skiing.When you throw in altitude your hydration needs increase dramatically.It's never hard to stay warm skiing it's when you stop that you need to shed wet base layers...building snow caves and igloos can be pretty wet work also. The one item I always manage to overlook is adequate light,it gets darker earlier in winter and you need quality light to set camp,cook, etc...

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Backcountry Ski Touring and What Do You Bring on 11/20/2005 22:42:19 MST Print View

For an overnight trip, I'd for sure have a fluffy down jacket with a hood. Liner gloves (probably with an extra pair), fleece mittens, and overmitts. I'd want a thin, light hat (a buff works well) and a warmer hat.

I would wear a warmer polypro bottoms and shorts for pants, probably a smartwool midweight top and maybe a wicking tee-shirt underneath it.

My normal summer raingear doesn't have enough pockets for winter wear (think about climbing skins, waxes, that extra hat, overmitts, Clif Bars, &c). My experience is that wind pants are better substituted with goretex rain pants with side zips (bibs don't vent well enough for my taste). But I don't even like to go to the post office without a windshell.

Some people are fanatic about neoprene socks or other vapor barrier things.

If it is colder (like down to -25F) I'd probably consider thinner polypro bottoms and either Koch XC pants or a pair of Pattagucci Wind Shield tights, and a light fleece vest or fleece pullover top.

Most people screw up on sleeping pads. You need a lot more insulation of you are camping on snow. A full-length foam pad and a partial-length self-inflating mattress is a good starting point. You will probably want a warmer sleeping bag (although I've regularly gotten away with a 30-degree down bag in a bivy sack in conditions like you are expecting).

You'll need lots more food. Figure on twice the weight and calories per day you'd need for a comparable summer trip.

You'll need lots more fuel to cook that food. If you are melting snow for water you will need lots and lots more fuel. I usually figure on about three times the fuel I use on summer trips.

A beefier headlamp with lithium batteries is a good idea.

Then there is all that other stuff -- a snow shovel, climbing skins, avalanche transceivers, wax (both grip waxes and maybe glide waxes -- the new paste glide waxes from Toko are great), a scraper, a cork, and (of course) skis, boots, and poles.

Edited by david_bonn on 11/20/2005 22:43:32 MST.

Andy Lewicky
(romanandrey) - F
Sierra Descents on 11/21/2005 08:37:12 MST Print View

I am building a website dedicated to Sierra backcountry skiing. Much of the content isn't fully edited yet, but I have a large gear section where I list what gear I use & talk about why I use it.

If you find anything useful (or not), please let me know. I still have lots of work to do.


kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
LW gear list for 5 day ski traverse on 04/21/2006 11:13:42 MDT Print View

Here's a gear list I saw on Lou Dawson's ski mtneering blog.
These folk are coming from a relative heavyweight tradition but have done (I feel) a pretty good job. Their randonee gear, on the other hand is state-of-the-art light (Dynafit oriented).