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Mountain & Ski Kit List...

Everyone loves a good kit list! You can always tell an experienced mountaineer by their rucksack, especially on a mountain like Mont Blanc. A light rucksack means you will move faster and more efficiently, and on a long summit day like Mont Blanc, dropping a few kilos from your back can have a big effect. Basically, drop all the luxuries and listen to the advice of your guide when it comes to clothing. Ditch the book, PJ’s and cuddly toy – go light and fast!

Mont Blanc Equipment List

This kit list is designed for a Mont Blanc ascent in normal summer conditions. Off season ascents obviously require a different set of gear. This list also assumes your using the mountain huts, and not carrying camping gear up and down the hill.

Technical Gear – which can be rented from us or in Chamonix:

  • B2 or B3 Mountaineering boots. You need warm boots, that can take a C2-3 crampon. Despite the photos of people in trainers on the mountain, it does get very cold and icy. Scarpa make a good range – Freney, Jorass etc.
  • Crampons – 12 point steel mountaineering crampons are ideal, with a set of anti-balling plates. Petzl Vasak for example. Lightweight Alloy crampons are not suitable for icy conditions and ice climbing crampons are heavy.
  • Ice axe – 50 – 70cm. A walking style axe is fine and they are generally lighter than a climbing axe. Remove all leaches and straps, they get in the way.
  • Harness – large enough to go over your layers. 2 x screwgate krabs.
  • Helmet – A rock climbing helmet to go from the Tete Rousse hut to the Gouter.
  • Rucksack – Light and simple, 35 – 50 Ltr. Some rucksacks weigh over 2kg, some as little as 0.5kg.

Clothing – There are lots of gear shops in Chamonix, from cheap to posh for last minute purchases:

  • Gaiters for mountaineering boots. Keeps the snow out and stops you catching your crampons.
  • Thin liner socks and mid weight walking socks. Can prevent blisters if you have two layers, but not essential.
  • Warm gloves for summit day, e.g Mountain Equipment guide glove or similar. Plus one pair of thinner fleece gloves for general walking.
  • Warm hat, buff/neck gaiter and a sun hat.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers, lightweight is best. Ideally your jackets hood will go over a helmet.
  • Trousers – Mid weight soft shell trousers are ideal, and normally wouldn’t require a thermal layer underneath, you can use the waterproof trousers if it’s windy above the Gouter hut. E.g. Arcteryx Beta pants. Thinner trousers can work, but you may need a thermal layer as well.
  • Thermal top layer, thin long sleeved tops work best to keep the sun off.
  • Mid weight top layer. Fleece or other synthetic.
  • Lightweight down or mid weight synthetic over jacket. This needs to be able to go over all your other layers so you can add or remove it without having to take your waterproof or harness off.

Essential Bits and bobs:

  • Sunglasses, Cat 3 or 4. Goggles an optional extra for windy conditions.
  • Sun cream and Lip salve – Factor 30 or more in a little bottle.
  • Waterbottle – Plastic wide mouth “Nalgene” type bottles are ideal. Metal sigg style bottles are rubbish. 1ltr is fine, and could be supplemented by a small bottle of sports drink. You can buy hot tea at the huts for summit day (recommended, tasty and it doesn’t freeze!)
  • Headtorch – Small Petzl Tikka type torches are great. It will need to be fitted to your helmet.
  • Hill food and snacks – Can all be bought in Chamonix or at the huts. We can offer advice on this at the start of the trip and will allow time for shopping.
  • Very small personal first aid, for potential blisters. We will have a group first aid kit with us as well.
  • Any personal medication, including paracetamol etc.

Optional extra’s:

  • Walking pole(s)
  • Camera
  • Waterproof rucksack cover for wet huts walks, or stuff sacks for gear.
  • Ear Plugs for the hut, Alpine membership card, tooth brush, sleeping bag liner.

Group kit carried by the guide and often shard out amongst the group:

  • Emergency Group Shelter
  • First Aid kit
  • Rope
  • Crevasse rescue kit
  • Map & Compass

I hope the above lists make sense. Note the complete lack of luxuries!

We always have a good equipment check before the start of a trip and there is time to go and splash cash in Chamonix if need be.

Ski Touring Equipment list

Ski Equipment List

You can always tell an experienced ski mountaineer by their rucksack, especially on longer tours. A light rucksack means you will move faster and more efficiently, and on a long hut to hut tour, dropping a few kilos from your back can have a big effect.

Basically, drop all the luxuries and listen to the advice of your guide when it comes to clothing. Ditch the book, PJ’s and cuddly toy – go light and fast!


Clothing  – for both heat and sun protection as well as colder early morning starts...

Clothing will need to vary according to the time of year. Below is a suggestion for milder spring touring. In general you will want to avoid bulky downhill skiing jackets, mountaineering style layering is much more flexible and generally lighter

  • Long sleeved thin thermal top
  • Micro fleece
  • Soft shell jacket / Goretex
  • Insulated top – medium weight
  • Soft shell trousers to fit ski boots
  • Lightweight Goretex over trousers, for bad weather and warmth.
  •  Head, Hands and Feet
  • Buff – sun hat – warm hat (All three are fairly essential).
  • Thin uphill gloves
  • Warm downhill gloves (mitts?)
  • Cat 3-4 sunglasses
  • Goggles
  • Sun tan cream and lip balm A high factor 50 is best.
  • Helmet. (An optional item, but recommended)

Clothing – There are lots of gear shops in Chamonix, from cheap to posh for last minute purchases:

  • Gaiters for mountaineering boots. Keeps the snow out and stops you catching your crampons.
  • Thin liner socks and mid weight walking socks. Can prevent blisters if you have two layers, but not essential.
  • Warm gloves for summit day, e.g Mountain Equipment guide glove or similar. Plus one pair of thinner fleece gloves for general walking.
  • Warm hat, buff/neck gaiter and a sun hat.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers, lightweight is best. Ideally your jackets hood will go over a helmet.
  • Trousers – Mid weight soft shell trousers are ideal, and normally wouldn’t require a thermal layer underneath, you can use the waterproof trousers if it’s windy above the Gouter hut. E.g. Arcteryx Beta pants. Thinner trousers can work, but you may need a thermal layer as well.
  • Thermal top layer, thin long sleeved tops work best to keep the sun off.
  • Mid weight top layer. Fleece or other synthetic.
  • Lightweight down or mid weight synthetic over jacket. This needs to be able to go over all your other layers so you can add or remove it without having to take your waterproof or harness off.

Technical Equipment

Most of the following can be hired directly from us, we have a range of very good, lightweight ski touring equipment.

  • Climbing harness
  • “Cow’s tail” plus spare crab for harness
  • Crampons
  • Ice axe
  • Ski crampons – to fit bindings, hire shop should supply.
  • 35 – 45 ltr rucksack – the Arcteryx Khamski 38 works very well.
  • “Not a platypus” water bottle 1 ltr – Nalgenes are bombproof
  •  Bits and Bobs for Multi-Day Tours
  • Blister compeed kit/Very small first aid kit. We have the emergency stuff, you need the personal kit to look after your feet.
  • Hut clothes – spare socks, spare thermal top. That’s it.
  • Tooth brush
  • Wet wipes – just a couple.
  • Hand gel
  • Head torch – Petzl
  • Phone charger – optional.
  • Head phones
  • Sleeping bag liner – a silk liner is compact and lightweight. Compulsory in most huts.
  • • Cash for huts – for small purchases, and normally for the main bill as well.

Things to avoid bringing:

It’s nice to have luxuries but it’s even nicer to have a light rucksack, both for the uphill and the downhill sections!

  • Soap, shampoo, hairbrush etc etc. Most huts don’t have showers.
  • Hardback Book – a kindle or small book is fine, although think carefully how much you’re actually going to read it. I prefer a pair of headphones and a podcast.
  • Pyjamas
  • Towel – see shower comment.
  • Spare clothes – It’s not the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Don’t fall in a stream!
  • Sleeping bag – The huts have blankets/Duvets.
  • Trainers/hut shoes – The huts have a good supply of crocs.

I hope the above lists make sense. Note the complete lack of luxuries!

We always have a good equipment check before the start of a trip and there is time to go and splash cash in Chamonix if need be.

Ski Mountaineering Equipment list

Ski Mountaineering Equipment List

This list differs slightly from our standard ski touring equipment list in that it adds some slightly tougher gear, and warmer layers.


Clothing  – for both heat and sun protection as well as colder early morning starts...

Clothing will need to vary according to the time of year. Below is a suggestion for milder spring touring. In general you will want to avoid bulky downhill skiing jackets, mountaineering style layering is much more flexible and generally lighter

  • Long sleeved thin thermal top
  • Micro/mid weight fleece
  • Soft shell jacket / Goretex
  • Medium weight down jacket - Arcteryx Thorium for example
  • Soft shell trousers to fit ski boots
  • Lightweight Goretex over trousers, for bad weather and warmth.

Head, Hands and Feet

  • Buff – sun hat – warm hat (All three are fairly essential).
  • Thin uphill gloves
  • Warm downhill gloves (mitts?)
  • Cat 3-4 sunglasses
  • Goggles (essential)
  • Sun tan cream and lip balm A high factor 50 is best.
  • Helmet. (An optional item, but highly recommended, ideally one rated for skiing, as well as mountaineering)

Technical Equipment

Most of the following can be hired directly from us, we have a range of very good, lightweight ski touring equipment.

  • Climbing harness - No need for heavy padding. Light weight is fine.
  • “Cow’s tail” plus spare crab for harness
  • Crampons - steel front, rather than a light weight alloy crampon.
  • Ice axe - a 50cm touring axe is ideal.
  • Ski crampons – to fit bindings, hire shop should supply.
  • 35 – 45 ltr rucksack – the Arcteryx Khamski 38 works very well.
  • “Not a platypus” water bottle 1 ltr – Nalgenes are bombproof
  • Avalanche equipment - shovel, probe and transceiver.

Bits and Bobs for Multi-Day Tours

  • Blister compeed kit/Very small first aid kit. We have the emergency stuff, you need the personal kit to look after your feet.
  • Hut clothes – spare socks, spare thermal top. That’s it.
  • Tooth brush
  • Wet wipes – just a couple.
  • Hand gel
  • Head torch – Petzl
  • Phone charger – optional.
  • Head phones
  • Sleeping bag liner – a silk liner is compact and lightweight. Compulsory in most huts.
  • Cash for huts – for small purchases, and normally for the main bill as well.

Scheduled Ski Trips for 2019 - France, Italy, Switzerland and Russia. Details here: ... See MoreSee Less

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5 days ago

Vertical Frontiers Ltd

Awoke to a wild and blustery day at the Britannia refuge this morning. Plans were scrapped, extra coffees were drunk and we headed down.

Finished the day with some scrambling and summits on the Perron traverse above the Emosson Dam. A day salvaged.

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Fresh snow but summer temperatures on the 4000m Allalinhorn today.

It was nice to follow a track this morning. Tomorrow’s trail breaking is going to be a workout 😬

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1 week ago

Vertical Frontiers Ltd

Back up in the #alpine again and enjoying the autumn weather and conditions.

Lots of rime ice on the Marbrees traverse this morning. Scottish.

Off to tick off a couple of Swiss 4000m peaks this weekend.

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#climbing_is_my_passion
#britishmountainguides
#climbing #mountaineering
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Perfect autumn climbing weather. Photo: @allyswinton of Sara scrambling across the Perrons yesterday. The classic rocky ridge line above the Emosson reservoir.

It’s been a mixed few days weather wise, and the original plan of climbing the Grand Paradiso was out on hold. Flexibility is the key to a happy trip :)

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+33 (0) 787371926

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