BCA Guides believes that adventure travel should not include bad memories of heavy bags dragged through many airports and train stations. We follow two simple tenets when using and suggesting equipment for our trips: Lightweight and Functional. Lightweight equipment increases your chance of success and helps make you more comfortable. Functional equipment determines how warm, dry, and safe you will be, so choose equipment that is of good quality, dependable, and versatile.

Clothing impacts not only your comfort but also your safety. Our recommended clothing system has four layers.

  • Base layer: manages moisture and wicks perspiration away from your skin. (Polypro, capilene, driclime)
  • Softshell: should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water resistant layer that breathes well. The main Softshell fabrics are Polartec Wind Pro, Gore Windstopper N2S, Schoeller and each clothing manufacturer has their own. 200 weight fleece can be substituted for our Soft Shell recommendations but is not as versatile on how it may be used when layering.
  • Hard shell: windproof, waterproof and breathable. (e.g. Gore-Tex, or similar)
  • Insulating layer: should be down-fill or synthetic-fill and fit over all layers. (e.g. down, primaloft or polarguard)

These four layers are usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder bring one extra medium-layer that would be ideal for extra warmth around camp, such as a vest. When deciding what to pack, remember to bring enough clothes and accessories to ensure your safety and comfort, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably won’t use.

When trying to chose what combination of skis, bindings and boots you want for a given ski trip, you can divide the typs of skiing into 3 categories: Big mountain/Free Ride/Lift accessed; Big Tours/ Grand Peaks and Powder/winter touring. The first group require stiff boots, wide skis and burly, easy to get in and out of bindings. The second group needs lighter gear to lighten up for the long ascents. The third can use gear from both previous groups however demands fat skis to enjoy deep snow in any condition.

  • Skis
  • Poles with powder(big) baskets
  • Alpine touring, telemark boots
  • Skins
  • Avalanche Beacon. Triple antenna digital recommended
  • Shovel. Small collapsible style.
  • Avalanche Probe. 270 cm minimum
  • Ski Crampons Required for all ski mountaineering trips

Here we focus on the type of climbing we do and plan accordingly. All high alpine ski tours and peak ascents require glacier travel equipment. Adventure treks and climbs also the same gear and use different footwear. Any rock climbing require a belay device and rock shoes. Remember the Keep It Simple Principle when buying and organizing your equipment; it will pay off when you are climbing!

  • Alpine climbing harness Must have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing (e.g. Mammut Alpine Light, Black Diamond Couloir)
  • 2 Locking carabiners Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best. screw gate type, no Autolocking (e.g. Kong HMS, Petzl Attache or Black Diamond)
  • 2 Regular carabiners (e.g. BD Hot Wire are recommended)
  • Ice axe Lightweight (e.g. Petzl , Black Diamond , Camp) Under 5’7″ use 60cm, 5’7″- 6’2″ use 65cm, over 6’2″ use 70cm
  • Crampons with anti-ball plate * Must be fit to plastic boots prior to trip, new-matic type recommended, (e.g. Grivel, Black Diamond, or Petzl)
  • Perlon cord 30 feet of 6-millimeter perlon cord for glacier travel prussik kit
  • Sleeping bag Rated to 0 to 20º F. Pack the bag with a compression stuff sack.
  • Sleeping pad full length closed cell foam (mandatory) and/or ¾ length Therma-Rest for extra warmth and comfort
  • Internal frame pack 2000-4000 cubic inch capacity, capable of carrying skis options
  • Goggles **
  • Glacier glasses 100% UV protection with side shields and a hard-sided storage case (e.g. Julbo or Cebe)**
  • Personal first aid kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, etc.
  • Lip balm At least SPF 20
  • Sunscreen At least SPF 40
  • Headlamp (e.g. Petzl or Black Diamond)
  • Water bottles Two 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene and 1 bottle holster, or Hydration bladder With drinking tube and 1 Nalgene bottle
  • Toiletry kit
  • Bandana
  • Camera

** If you require prescription glacier glasses, you can get your lenses modified to your prescription. Julbo Sherpas glacier glasses work great for prescription lenses. Send the glasses to Opticus along with your PD (pupil distance) number with your order. Their number is 1-800-870-5557.