The ski traverse: Our bread and butter and absolute favorite way to move in the mountains. Whether for a day, a week, or even months, the efficiency and joy alone of traveling on snow is second to none. While there are many things to consider while planning for a traverse, we're going to focus on the equipment side of things for this little snack.
To begin, we love lists. They're a great way to make sure you don't forget anything - which is especially important when you're deep in the mountains and sleeping on snow. Here is a snap shot of our ski traverse pack list:
Skis, Skins, Boots, Poles - #1 priority here. Don't forget these. Especially the skins.
Long Johns - 1x pants and 2x tops. Move in one top and sleep in the other.
Puffy Pants - Luxury item. Can also bring a heavy weight set of long johns for wearing at camp.
Socks - 2 pairs
Beanie - 2
Gloves - 2 pairs or more! One mid weight and one heavy weight at minimum.
Puffy Jacket - Big down jacket if the temps are in the teens and below. Mid weight jacket if 20's and up. I often supplement the mid weight jacket with a down vest.
Light Puffy Jacket - Breathable, active insulation. Dependent on weather.
Down Booties - Worth their weight in gold.
Goggles - Leave at home if the weather looks sunny and calm.
Sunglasses - One for an overnight. Two for longer traverses. Glacier side shields recommended.
Hat - With a brim
Headband - Just for style points
Vapor Barrier Socks - I really like these for keeping my boot liners dry. Nothing is worse than putting on cold, damp boots in the morning. That said, if your boots are wet come morning, throw them in your sleeping bag or jacket while you eat breakfast. Your body warmth will help defrost and dry the liners.
Avalanche Transceiver + Extra batteries
Radio - Program rescue or weather channels if you're going to be deep in the mountains for an extended period.
USB battery bank
Boot Crampons - Dependent on trip objectives
Harness + Rescue dangles - Dependent on trip objectives
Ice Axe - Dependent on trip objectives
Bivy or Rescue Sled
Backcountry Ski Repair Kit - Duh.
First Aid Kit
Ski Pack - 40L minimum for an overnight. 50-70L for multi day.
Rope - Dependent on trip objectives
Sleeping Bag - 0F to 20F. Depends on night time low temperatures.
Sleeping Bag Liner - Adds a little extra warmth if needed, and keeps your oily sweat off your sleeping bag.
Pillow - Luxury item, but nice to have. Otherwise, you can stuff your big puffy in the hood of your sleeping bag and use that as a pillow.
Sleeping Pad - R value of at least 4
Closed Cell Foam seat pad - Luxury item.
Water Bottle - 1.5 to 2L. No bladders! Any leaks can be critical (ie. Wet sleeping bag or clothing).
Tent - I prefer mid style tents, as they're lightweight, and can be dug out to provide maximum livability for multiple people. Either way, make sure you have proper guy lines and poles. Your skis can be used as anchors/stakes.
Stove and Pot - Make sure to test beforehand. Bring a back up stove on extended traverses.
Fuel - 2 to 4oz per person, per night. Depends on availability of water, meals being cooked, and water density of snow. Don't skimp on this.
Mug and/or Bowl
Toiletries - Hand sanitizer, tooth brush, tooth paste, sunscreen, lip balm, and ear plugs.
That's it! Easy huh?
Coordinate with you partner(s) to divide up the group gear, and don't forget the whiskey.
Let us know what else you bring!