Gear List

Avalanche Course Gear List

Alpine Ascents

Overview

  • Each item on the list below is required unless specified to be optional.
  • If seasonal fluctuations impact the requirement for an item on your list, it will be specified.
  • Item images represent one product suggestion for that item.
  • Item images may or may not reflect the model of item available for rent.

RENTAL RESERVATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Items with a price & check box may be rented.
  • Check the box of any item you desire to rent.
  • Complete the personal detail section at the bottom of the page, and click submit.
  • If you are a non-Alpine Ascents climber seeking rental equipment, please inquire via email.

FURTHER RESOURCES

  • If you wish to learn more about any piece of gear, the online Gear Lexicon is available 24/7.
  • A printable/downloadable PDF version of the Gear Lexicon may also be accessed here.
  • For in-depth articles, pro-tips, and advice on select subjects, check out our blog.
  • Our experienced staff are happy to speak with you via phone, or via email.
  • The Alpine Ascents Gear Store offers a wide range of products to suit your needs. All registered climbers are welcome to utilize the discount code contained in your confirmation materials.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Footwear

Description
Click to Reserve/Buy Item
Socks

Socks

One to two pairs of skiing or hiking socks. Consider heavier socks than ski racing socks for warmth.

Ski/Snowboard Boots

Ski/Snowboard Boots

Plan to use alpine touring ski boots or snowboard boots based on your chosen method of snow travel. Standard downhill (alpine) ski boots are not designed for touring and will not be sufficient. Ascent Outdoors and ProSki Seattle rent ski touring boots.

Snow Boots

Snow Boots

If you plan to snowshoe, bring waterproof snow or mountaineering boots compatible with strap-on snowshoes. We recommend a high-topped boot for warmth and waterproofness. You will be walking in deep unconsolidated snow. Depending on the weather forecast, you may choose between renting La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX single boots or Koflach Degre double boots. Not needed if skiing/splitboarding.

Snow Gaiters

Snow Gaiters

Full-size waterproof gaiters that fit snugly with your snow boots. Short trekking gaiters will not offer sufficient protection from the snow. Those using ski pants and ski boots/snowboard boots do not need to bring gaiters.

Technical Clothing

Description
Click to Reserve/Buy Item
Short Underwear

Short Underwear

One set of synthetic or wool underwear. Bring underwear in a comfortable, athletic style based on your personal needs and preferences (boxers, briefs, sports bra, etc.).

Baselayer Bottom

Baselayer Bottom

Non-cotton baselayer bottoms that should fit snugly without constriction. We recommend lighter weight baselayers rather than heavier fleece-type layers. Wool, wool blend, polyester, or other synthetic fabrics all work well. Be sure your baselayer pants are not constructed from cotton.

Ski Touring Pants

Ski Touring Pants

If not using touring pants, you will need shell pants as listed below. Whether you plan to ski or splitboard, purpose-built ski touring pants are recommended as your lower-body outerwear. For cold or precip-free days, hybrid softshell models like the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker are best. For wetter days, hybrid hardshell models like the Outdoor Research Skyward work best. Both models feature dedicated beacon pockets and fit well over ski/snowboard boots.

Baselayer Top

Baselayer Top

One long-sleeved baselayer top. Your baselayer must be constructed of a non-cotton material such as merino wool or polyester. Note that light-colored, hooded baselayers are strongly recommended for sun protection, and are worn by guides throughout most climbs.

Shell Pants

Shell Pants

If not using touring pants, you will need a pair of shell pants suitable for the weather forecast. Ski/snowboard pants can usually work for this layer. Plan to use hardshell (waterproof) pants for warmer and wetter forecasts, or softshell (windproof) pants for dry and cool forecasts. Alpine Ascents has both styles available to rent.

Midlayer Top

Midlayer Top

A midweight, form-fitting, lightweight fleece layer for use over baselayers. Hoods are optional but recommended. Grid fleeces generally provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio. Note that very light puffy jackets can also suffice as a midlayer.

Touring Jacket

Touring Jacket

Bring along one of the following types of layers: softshell, windshell, lightweight active insulation layer, etc. This jacket is designed to be worn when you need protection from the wind or light, dry precipitation. If the weather forecast allows it, you might consider leaving behind your midlayer and counting on this layer for warmth in middle temperatures.

Hardshell Jacket

Hardshell Jacket

A non-insulated, fully waterproof shell jacket with a hood. Must fit comfortably over your baselayer, midlayer, and softshell.

Lightweight Insulated Jacket

Lightweight Insulated Jacket

We recommend a lightweight insulated jacket to serve either as a layering piece or as stand-alone insulation when appropriate. This may be filled with down or synthetic insulation.

Handwear

Description
Click to Reserve/Buy Item
Lightweight Liner Gloves

Lightweight Liner Gloves

Very lightweight wool or synthetic liner gloves that offer a snug, comfortable fit. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection. Black or dark-color gloves are also acceptable.

Softshell Gloves

Softshell Gloves

Midweight, lightly insulated gloves for use when mittens are too warm and liner gloves are not warm enough. Leather-palm construction is always ideal for the sake of durability. Check out our write-up to learn more.

Waterproof Ski Gloves

Waterproof Ski Gloves

One pair of very waterproof gloves designed for cool-to-cold weather use. Consider warmer pairs for colder forecasts, or lighter pairs for warmer forecasts. Regardless, ensure that your gloves will remain waterproof as you will spend time digging in the snow while using these gloves. Treated leather or synthetic materials can both work well.

Headwear

Description
Click to Reserve/Buy Item
Buff

Buff

A must-have for all outdoor activities, the UV Buff is a versatile replacement for the bandana and serves a multitude of purposes. Check out our write-up to learn more.

Sun Hat

Sun Hat

Any style of lightweight hat for shading the head will work well. Baseball caps and sombrero-style sun hats are the most common.

Wool/Synthetic Ski Hat

Wool/Synthetic Ski Hat

A non-cotton wool or synthetic hat that covers the head and ears comfortably.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

High-quality, UV-blocking sunglasses with good all-around protection are recommended. A good fit is critical for comfort- try on glasses to check for a comfy fit and good light blockage. Keep in mind that high-quality lenses are an absolute must due to mountain sun.

Ski Goggles

Ski Goggles

High-quality goggles for sun and wind protection at altitude. The lens should offer visible light transmission (VLT) of no more than 30%. Those with light-sensitive eyes may wish to use a darker lens. Photochromic models are ideal for use in changing conditions. See here for more.

Ski Helmet (Optional)

Ski Helmet (Optional)

Used at personal preference for any downhill skiing or riding. If opting to use a ski helmet, be sure to bring one purpose-built. Note that climbing and biking helmets are not suitable for skiing unless specifically dual-rated.

Personal Equipment

Description
Click to Reserve/Buy Item
Touring Skis/Splitboard

Touring Skis/Splitboard

Skis or a splitboard compatible with your ski/snowboard boots. These must be designed for touring with a walk/climb mode as uphill travel is a necessity. Ensure your skis/board have leashes or ski brakes. Ascent Outdoors and ProSki Seattle rent ski touring and splitboard setups with climbing skins.

Avalanche Transceiver

Avalanche Transceiver

457 mHz digital avalanche transceiver (also known as a beacon. Bring a modern, multi-antenna, digital transceiver. Stay away from older models with a single antenna or analog-only operation. Be sure to bring fresh alkaline batteries, as rechargeable or lithium batteries are not acceptable to use with most beacons. Read more about batteries for beacons here.

Shovel

Shovel

Collapsible, purpose-built avalanche shovels are required for this course. Models with extendable handles make shoveling drills easier, though very compact rescue shovels can suffice.

Climbing Skins

Climbing Skins

One pair of climbing skins pre-cut to fit the exact pair of skis or splitboard you plan to use are required. Practice putting these on and taking these off of your skis or splitboard prior to the course. If planning to use snowshoes instead of skis or a splitboard, skins are not required.

Probe

Probe

An avalanche probe is a must-have for this trip. Bring a collapsible probe between 240-320 centimeters in length. Carbon or aluminum models both work well. Longer probes offer greater search depth and allow for deeper penetration when assessing the snowpack - consider longer lengths especially if you intend to spend time in the winter backcountry in the Pacific Northwest where the snowpack is often very deep.

Ski Poles

Ski Poles

Adjustable ski poles are required for skiers, splitboarders, and snowshoers. We recommend 2 or 3-section poles, and note that large powder baskets are a must for travel in winter snow. Poles with small snow baskets will slice deeply into the snow and render the poles useless.

Backpack

Backpack

A 30-40 liter pack sufficient to carry your probe, shovel, snacks, water, and extra layers. Backpacking, climbing, and town packs can all work, although a touring-specific pack is best. Touring packs offer a snow tools pocket which is efficient for the carriage and deployment of your probe and shovel, and are built for comfortable uphill and downhill travel. If you are purchasing a pack, consider an airbag pack. Airbags do not prevent avalanches but statistically increase the chance of surviving an avalanche. Note that we offer climbing packs to rent, not skiing packs.

Snowshoes

Snowshoes

Snowshoes compatible with your boots are required. These will provide traction and flotation in deep snow. Lightweight, ascent-focused snowshoes with metal traction are preferred. Models with a heel-riser to aid in uphill travel are best. Snowshoes are not needed if you plan to use touring skis or a splitboard.

Snow Study Kit (Optional)

Snow Study Kit (Optional)

A snow study kit including a crystal card, inclinometer (slope meter), thermometer, loupe, and hangable case is recommended but not required. Folding rulers can be a helpful addition to most snow study kits. This is especially recommended for those intending to progress their avalanche education beyond Level 1.

Snow Saw (Optional)

Snow Saw (Optional)

While the course instructors will bring snow saws for demonstration purposes, a snow saw is an important tool for digging snow pits and carrying out various slope stability and snowpack assessment tests. Some models can be attached to ski poles, giving the user greater mobility and reach for deeper snowpacks. This is especially recommended for those intending to progress their avalanche education beyond Level 1.

Altimeter (Optional)

Altimeter (Optional)

An altimeter watch or other altitude-measuring device is optional but useful in this course and beyond. Altimeters are useful in measuring ascent pace, assessing run length, and noting altitude as it relates to wind speeds, precipitation rates, or freezing level. Watch models like the Suunto Core, Suunto Traverse, Garmin Fenix 3/5, or various models made by Casio can all suffice.

Compass (Optional)

Compass (Optional)

A Northern Hemisphere compass with a sighting mirror and adjustable declination. Mechanical compasses are recommended over electronic compasses for wilderness navigation. This item is not required, but is useful in assessing wind direction, slope aspect, and for any backcountry navigation.

Maps/Nav Apps (Optional)

Maps/Nav Apps (Optional)

It is useful to have map sets (USGS Quads) for our course location. Contact the Gear Department to get recommendations on which maps are recommended. Alternatively or in addition to paper maps, wilderness mapping apps like Gaia GPS make the most of smartphone technology.

Water Bottles

Water Bottles

Two to three one-litre capacity bottles. Bottles should be wide mouth made of co-polyester (BPA free plastic). No water bag or bladder systems (they freeze or are hard to fill) and no metal bottles (they have a tendency to freeze).

Sun Protection

Sun Protection

Bring one 2-ounce tube of SPF 30+ sunscreen, as well as one tube of SPF-rated lipscreen. All sunscreens lose SPF ratings over time; be sure your sun protection is brand-new.

Lunch/Snacks

Lunch/Snacks

Pack a full day's worth of snacks/lunch food for each field day. This food needs to be ready to eat (no cooking required) as we snack on the go, between drills, or at short breaks. Bring enough food for a full day of movement in the outdoors. Consider packing a thermos full of hot coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa especially if the weather forecast is cold and/or wet.

Rental Agreement Terms and Conditions

I promise to return all equipment rented from Alpine Ascents International, Inc. in good condition at the end of my climb/course. I agree and authorize Alpine Ascents International, Inc. to charge my credit card on file for repairs and/or replacements of damaged, lost or stolen gear. And I agree not to hold Alpine Ascents International, Inc. responsible for any injuries incurred through the use of its rental equipment.

Rental Information

Reserving: Please submit one reservation per person per departure. We recommend submitting reservations at least one month in advance to ensure adequate time for processing. Incomplete reservations may cause delay or failure to reserve requested items. Cancellations must be made three weeks in advance of your departure.

Washington Rentals: All rental equipment for trips taking place in Washington will be picked up at your gear check. At that time, payment will be taken for all rented items. No security deposit will be charged for Washington rentals; however, Alpine Ascents reserves the right to assess fees for the replacement or repair of any damaged items.

Alaska Rentals: Due to the unique nature of Alpine Ascents' Alaska program, some items requested may be picked up in Talkeetna at your gear check rather than shipped directly to you. However, not all rental items are available for pickup in Talkeetna. Payment for Alaska rentals will be charged to the on-file credit card after your gear check, including a $50 security deposit per item. Alpine Ascents reserves the right to withhold all or part of your security deposit for the replacement or repair of damaged items. All equipment, whether shipped to you or picked up in Alaska, may be de-issued at the Alpine Ascents Alaska facility at the end of your trip.

International Rentals: All rental equipment for trips taking place internationally will be shipped to you approximately two weeks prior to your trip departure date. A USA address must be provided for rental shipments. Rental equipment may not be shipped internationally. At the time of shipment, charges will be assessed to the credit card on file, including shipping charges, rental fees, and applicable security deposits. Please immediately contact the Gear Department with any questions.

Confirmation: Allow 48-72 hours for rental confirmation via email. If you have any questions or have not heard back from us within three (3) working days, please email [email protected] or call (206) 378-1927 and ask for the Gear Department.

Payment: The credit card on file will be used to process rental payment. For climbs in Washington, payment will be taken at your gear check and no security deposit will be required. For climbs taking place outside of Washington, charges are processed at the time of shipment (approximately two weeks prior to departure date) and will include a $50 security deposit per item plus shipping. Shipping cost is based on size and weight and can only be determined at the time of shipment.

Security Deposit: Fees are fully refundable upon a timely return (one week from the end of trip). Fees may be assessed for repair or replacement of damaged item(s). Please allow up to two weeks for your refunded to be credited. Please note that for items not returned within one week after a trip end date Alpine Ascents reserves the right to withhold all or part of your security deposit.

Shipment: Rental items for climbs taking place outside of Washington are scheduled to ship two weeks prior to your trip departure. Once received, please verify that all items are correct and fit appropriately. Please note that sizing information provided is used to determine the sizes of items shipped. You are responsible for rentals once items are shipped and until items are received back at Alpine Ascents. We encourage you to insure your shipment.

Yes! It exceeded my expectations. The crew were amazing, friendly and each person was great at what they do. The camp set up was impressive, always in a premium spot, tents ready and bags unpacked at each location (which I did not expect!) The level of attention on summit night was also wonderful and really […]

Photo courtesy of Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski
Photo courtesy of Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski

ALPINE ASCENTS BLOG

  • Puffy

    Down Fill-Weight vs. Down Fill-Power: Why the Latter Doesn’t Matter

    How exactly can you shop for a down jacket…and be confident it’s going to be warm enough? Here, we break down one aspect of down jacket selection. Alternatively, check out the insulation we offer for men and women, and email us with your questions. How much down is in this jacket? The key question to […]

  • Boots for Mount Rainier: Singles or Doubles?

    Easily the most common question we are asked is, “What kind of boots will I wear on my Rainier climb?” Here, we break down how we decide. Two Boot Types We use two main types of boots in Washington’s Cascades Range, which includes Mount Rainier and Mount Baker among other peaks: double boots and single […]

  • Bigr

    The Notebook: When Should I Climb Rainier?

    Alpine Ascents climbs Mount Rainier from May through September. We are often asked which dates to choose, so here we break down the merits of each month. Mount Rainier’s Climbing Season(s) Mount Rainier can be climbed year-round. For climbers willing to adventure, even the more challenging shoulder seasons can provide interesting climbing or skiing. A […]

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
© Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved. Alpine Ascents International