Ski mountaineering and glacier ski touring equipment purchase guide:
Choosing the right equipment is part of the preparation before each high-mountain expedition. Having the right equipment gives you security and confidence, nothing worse than having to deal with bad equipment. Even if each tool has its own area of preference, they all offer a good versatility, it is the case of ice axes and crampons for example. Here are a few tips for efficient glacier climbing:
Choosing the right mountaineering axe:
The mountaineering or hiking ice axe is useful in many situations. It allows you to move on glaciers in the middle of crevasses with a blade that clings strongly in the snow or ice. At the opposite end of the blade is either a purlin or a hammer. The purlin is ideal for carving steps or preparing a dead body, while the hammer is used to pit effectively. As for weight, remember that you carry everything in your backpack and every gram you gain is effort saved. Ice hiking ice axes are quite light, less than 300 grams, and easily attach to the back of your pack. This type of ice axe can also be used as a cane if you pick it up the right length, i.e. with your arm stretched out, it should reach to your ankle.
Choose your ski touring crampons carefully:
Crampons are essential for all outings on ice or hard snow. There are several attachment systems that depend on your boot, it is important to test the compatibility before leaving for the adventure. A ski touring boot and a rigid mountaineering boot with a rear/front overhang work with all three types of bindings whether it is strapped, semi-automatic or automatic.
The crampons have 10 or 12 spikes and are made of aluminum or steel. For glacier tours, aluminium spikes are sufficient, especially as they are lighter and less restrictive to carry in the backpack. You really want to go on steel spikes if you encounter rocky passages or very sharp ice. Otherwise, why not choose a versatile model that is half aluminum, half steel, like the Hybrid crampons from Petzl.
Choose your ski touring ropes carefully:
When you're skiing with a partner, you must be connected by a rope to prevent a possible fall or other accidents. For glacier walking, a double rope is ideal because of its light weight and thinness. Perfect for abseiling, this two-strand rope will ensure you are double secured. It can even be used to rope two seconds simultaneously. It is also advisable to have a static rope with you for crevasse rescue or to lift a load as efficiently as possible.
Choose your carabiners carefully:
This metal object is the link between your rope and your belay point, it is an important safety element. For ski touring, we advise you to start on a screw carabiner. Manipulable even with gloves, the locking system offers security against unintentional opening.
Choose your ski mountaineering harness carefully:
For mountaineering or ski touring, every gram counts! Choose a light and comfortable harness that can easily be worn even with a backpack. Preferably a model with adjustable and detachable leggings so that you can put on your harness without removing your skis or crampons.