Gear List

Backcountry Ski Seminar 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.
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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.

Technical Clothing

Description
Click to Reserve/Buy Item
Short Underwear

Short Underwear

One pair. Synthetic or wool fabrics only; bring a comfortable athletic style for any top and bottom underwear.

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.

Long Sleeve Sun Shirt

Long Sleeve Sun Shirt

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

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.

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. Helmet-compatible hoods are required. Check out our write-up to learn more.

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
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 kHz 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.

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.

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.

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. We discourage using carbon fiber ski poles as they tend break more easily. Poles with small snow baskets will slice deeply into the snow and render the poles useless.

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.

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 being caught in an avalanche but statistically increase the chance of surviving an avalanche. Note that we offer climbing packs to rent, not skiing packs.

Ski Straps (2)

Ski Straps (2)

Two ski straps. Ski straps are an incredibly useful tool for backcountry skiers/riders. Having two straps allows us to easily connect skis to our pack and can be used in a variety of situations if a piece of equipment breaks. We recommend polyurethane straps with an aluminum buckle.

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.

Water Bottle

Water Bottle

One or two 1-liter capacity bottles. No water bag or bladder systems (they freeze or are hard to fill).

Thermos

Thermos

We strongly recommend a 12-16 ounce thermos. It can be very cold, and hot tea or other hot beverages can greatly improve comfort and safety.

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 backcountry navigation.

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.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer

Many alcohol-based hand cleaners will work well. Bring a small amount appropriate to the trip duration.

Face Mask

Face Mask

While on the mountain, all climbers are required to have a face mask easily accessible in a waterproof bag (Ziploc, etc.). When social distancing measure are not feasible, such as at a belay, you will be requested to wear your mask. Cloth or surgical masks are both acceptable.

Food

Food

Please review the food information on your climb Logistics page. A close reading of this information is important towards a smooth trip. Please contact our office with any food-related questions. For additional food tips, check out this write-up.

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.

I recently got into backcountry skiing and I’m hooked!

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Photo Credit: Ruby Mountain Heli

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Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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