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.
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.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.