After a winter of testing, including about fifteen days of European backcountry, here is my current gear take. We tried to give the best links we could, if any of you guys are shopping or just looking…
|LDIII tests the gear about a week ago in Austria.|
Black Diamond Raven Pro ice axe. Nice and light but with a strong steel head.
Crampons. Hybrid cramps my dad put together using some Kong aluminum with Grivel steel, steel front half, aluminum back half.
Black Diamond Whippet ski poles. The old stand by, getting a little beat up from falls and hot snowmobile exhaust pipes melting the baskets.
BCA Tour shovel and probe. Light and compact because probe stores in shovel handle.
Scarpa Spirit 3 boots. I wore the pivots and toe rubber out on my old pair of backcountry skiing boots, and got a new pair for this trip. They fit me great and ski well, what more do I need?
Dynafit FT 10.0 skis mounted with Dynafit Vertical bindings, used with brakes but I carried safety straps in case we needed them for glacier travel. I used the Dynafit skins with the tip attachment, but ended up removing the plastic tip reinforcement on the skis because I could feel it messing with my turns when my ski tips went into the snow. I like bigger skis in the soft, but the FT is a good compromise when you don’t know what conditions you’ll be hitting. The pair I used were new for 08/09. They skied well and were said to be beefed up for freeride use — fine by me.
K2 scepter helmet. 4 years old and still fits. Don’t know if these are still available, but main criteria is that it’s light and has a vent system you can close. The CAMP Pulse is similar.
Camp Coral harness. Sadly the weather kept us off the glaciers so I didn’t use this, but I’m planning on climbs and glacier travel this spring so I’ll keep it in my travel kit.
BCA Stash Valhalla backpack. Versatile, carries my helmet well.
Zeal optics goggles. Photochromatic lenses change with the light
Ex Officio underwear, indeed terrific for traveling. Wash when you take a shower, dry overnight, on again the next day.
Ski socks, Thorlo.
OR Sequence wool t-shirt. Awesome.
Balaclava I always carry this, super thick and warm. Might be overkill, but 80% percent of heat escapes through the head, as everyone knows.
Buff neckgaiter. Good spare in case someone forgets their neck gaiter. Surprisingly warm for its size.
Nalgene polycarbonate water bottle. I spray painted this black, so you can melt snow in it on a sunny day.
Lightweight and heavy versions of homemade survival/repair/first aid kit. Heavy version includes Mylar bivvy sack. All Europeans carry is a shovel and a cell phone, so even with my lighter weight kit I was ahead of the game.
Slope meter. Cut down to save weight.
Garmin Etrex GPS. Since much of the good skiing is above timberline, this is an essential item if you’re self guided. Remember to put in your waypoints BEFORE you leave.
Compass. Ditto above.
Full brim sun hat, generic from the surplus store.
Old Marmot Randonee glove. Good backup pair.
North Face gloves with liner. Got them for 10 bucks at a silent auction, have served me faithfully ever since.
Sports Authority thin glove liners.
OR Motto jacket. Review coming soon.
Marmot softshell pants for warmer days. We didn’t have any warmer days, so I only used these for city pants during a cold rainy day in Kufstein.
Mountain Hard Wear Extend long underwear bottoms (sorry, the word “tights” is not in my vocabulary.