Price is secondary to safety. Gear is secondary to wisdom.
Kit list for courses:
In the past few years there has been some significant advances in the usability and quality of avalanche equipment. The biggest advances being with the development of three antenna digital avalanche transceivers and airbag rucksacks. Everyone has their favourite piece of equipment, here you can find out thoughts on what kit we like to use and what kit you will need to bring along on your course.
Unless booked specifically as a foot course, all our courses are based on skis. We will use ski’s fitted with skins to access terrain and study sites on most courses so please come with ski touring equipment and be ready for full days out.
Avalanche Transceiver – This should be a digital three-antenna unit. Our current preference is for one of the Mammut units, but all the three Antennae units work well. See our reviews.
Avalanche Shovel – The blade should be metal, if you have a plastic shovel we will lend you a metal one for the course. A model with an extending handle is easier to dig with. A smooth blade makes the job of digging a clean snow profile easier. See our reviews.
Avalanche Probe – The probe should be a minimum length of 2.4m we would advise against models that use a cord to tension as these tend to stretch or snap. A model with a wire self locking mechanism is easiest to use. We would also advise against the super light weight carbon fibre models as they are easily deflected by debris when probing. See our reviews.
Ski Touring Equipment
- Skis with touring bindings.
- Ski mountaineering boots Preferably that have been worn before the trip to ensure comfort.
- Ski Poles with normal baskets not small piste baskets
- Skins for skis
- Ski Crampons (optional)
- Rucksack 30 litre for day tours and off piste skiing. Models that skis can be attached to are best.
- Harness and screw gate Karabiner – in case we go on a glacier, please discuss with the us prior to the course.
- Thermal base layer top. No Cotton
- Soft shell or fleece jacket.
- Spare Fleece or fleece alternative like a Puffball. If your course is in Dec or Jan you may want to bring a down jacket as it can be cold while looking at the snow pack.
- Trousers to wear under waterproofs, Schoeller type fabrics or powerstretch.
- Waterproof Trousers / ski trousers gore-tex or other breathable fabrics are best
- Waterproof Jacket Goretex or other breathable fabrics are best
- Gloves. Thick and thin – multiple pairs if you have them. We spend lots of time with our hands in the snow!
- Warm hat and sun hat
- Sun glasses & Sun cream. We recommend factor 30 as a minimum
- Lip salve
You do not need to bring anything extra on the course other than a notebook and pen / pencil. A notebook with waterproof paper is much easier to use on the hill.
A small loupe type magnifying glass and crystal screen is useful for looking at snow crystals but is not essential on the level 1 course.
If doing a level 2 course it would be useful to bring the following items if you have them.
- Crystal screen – metal is best. Required – metal is best. We like the BCA one.
- Loupe magnifying glass. Required. You can buy these cheaply online: check out Amazon.
- Mechanical Pencils x 3 Required.
- Snow saw ( shared between 2 or 3 – we can lend these to you)
- 2 metre folding rule (optional)
- Field book. This can be purchased at the start of the course for €25. (optional)
The above can be purchased as complete kits – the cheapest being provided by Brookes Mountain Range and are available online. In the UK Anatom import BCA snow science kits which are very nice but a little pricey. However, by far the cheapest way to put a kit together is to create your own by sourcing items individually on the web.