Euro Get-Ready, Military Precision?

Post by blogger | March 31, 2009      
European Backcountry Skiing

Euro Get Ready

Is “military precision” an oxymoron? I hope not, as that’s the ideal I strive for (and usually miss by a kilometer) when getting ready for these overseas backcountry skiing adventures. It’s morning, I’m driving to Denver in six hours, and my gear looks like a museum diorama in the making rather than a tightly packed 49.999 pound roll-around that’s ready for the cargo hold.

Backcountry Skiing

The official traveling museum of backcountry skiing.

New this trip: Lightweight carbon-shafted shovel from Arva. This scoop is not designed for constant use, but it’ll dig a guy out of an avalanche if necessary. Also lightened up my alternate footwear by finding a pair of Reebok Travel Trainers, with insoles removed these weigh 19.4 ounces for the pair. Yeah, heavier than something more flimsy, but good to have something you can walk a few miles in without needing prosthetic feet afterward. (Yes Virginia, Crocs were considered — and rejected.) For a glacier rope we’re bringing an 8mm rando cord, with my 30 meter hunk of 5-mil Techcord (the black rope in the photo) as a spare line to build an extrication system if necessary. Not sure if I’ll carry my thermos or not, and how many pairs of socks does one need for a few hut nights? Two is probably plenty… Ok, time to cram all this junk in the bag.


11 Responses to “Euro Get-Ready, Military Precision?”

  1. Tucker March 31st, 2009 10:32 am

    The hardest part of any trip, good luck. πŸ˜‰

  2. Ken March 31st, 2009 11:02 am

    Is that a probe I see? Lou Dawson with a probe? Maybe Lou is subject to a little social coercion…. Just giving you a hard time. Have fun! -Ken

  3. justin March 31st, 2009 11:51 am

    Ha, your living room floor is looking a lot like mine does right now.

  4. Njord March 31st, 2009 11:55 am

    Geeeshhh Lou: You were conducting PCIs without even knowing it!

    (PCI: Pre-Combat Inspections, a cornerstone of squad-level leadership prior to a major movement).

  5. Jason Gregg March 31st, 2009 12:40 pm

    Hi Lou,
    Will you ski with your Alias pack? I’m packing for my first time on the Haute Route and it’s looking like the M/L Alias is going to hold all my stuff. Will you take knee pads? One last question if you don’t mind, will you ski in schoeller type pants and carry shell pants for bad weather?

  6. Lou March 31st, 2009 4:52 pm

    Hey guys, yeah, the probe is usually carried when I venture into the unknown where mistakes are more likely. Still know from practice that a ski pole works pretty well, but might as well be avy PC!

    Pant system: OR Tremor Windstopper Softshell, with thin polypro long underwear in case the weather gets really stormy, but usually just the pants are enough. They’re quite water resistant, enough to survive a few hours in the rain. Upper will be the usual combo of Cloudveil softshell jacket with wool long sleeved T, a puff jacket, and a lightweight waterproof shell if things get really nasty. Two pair gloves, one warm, one light. Also bringing a synthetic sun shirt that also doubles as another slightly insulative layer. Hats: bill cap for sun, stocking cap, and thin polypro balaclava.

    I’m bringing my Alias, what doesn’t fit in there will be left behind!

  7. Lou March 31st, 2009 4:57 pm

    Oh, and Jason, no knee pads for this kid though I wish there was something minimal built into my pants… Have a good trip!

  8. Tony Clapp March 31st, 2009 9:27 pm

    Quick question off topic. What is the term for stratified snow? I am thinking that it is something like struggio? I know it is not right, any help? Please.


  9. Colin March 31st, 2009 9:54 pm

    ^^^ Sastrugi?

  10. Tony Clapp April 1st, 2009 6:59 am

    Perfect. Thank you, Colin.

  11. Skinnyskier April 1st, 2009 10:13 am

    Sounds like a great trip. Question: do you really need three water bottles? Shave weight where possible πŸ™‚

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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