/ Beginner mountaineering kit for the alps
When I went out I took the bear minimum to move as quick...even when bivvying I've stashed my bivvy gear finished a route then returned to it.
Do you do winter walking in the UK ? because if you have you probably have everything you 'need'.
If the weather is serious in the Alps you don't want to be there ! continentals happily go out with gfar less kit than we find necessary for the Brecon Beacons. Two of my mates managed to do moderately technical routes to oover 5000m in S.America in clothes predominantly from Millets !
I'd save money on clothes and think seriously about getting boots that are going to stay comfortable after a full day in the snow.
First time I went to the alps I basically had a pair of montane microfleece/pertex salopettes, base layers, a couple of fleeces, a fairly standard shell, a powerstretch balaclava, liner gloves, windproof gloves and buffalo mitts.
On the feet were my trusty nepal extremes.
Axe was a fairly middle of the road DMM raptor, G-12 crampons.
Other essential stuff: Good sunglasses, sunblock, sun hat, shorts.
It will often be bloody boiling in the valleys/on walk in, and freezing at the start of your summit day so layering up is the thing.
Useful list. Harness?
And don't foget prusik loops and know how to use them!
Good point. Not sure how I missed harness, rope, helmet etc. I think I just took it as read that they would be climbing and wanted things like clothing advice :)
One other comment on what I said above - if I went now I would probably swap one of the fleeces for a soft shell.
How decent a bag you need depends on whether you plan to camp/bivi or use huts. The huts tend to have blankets so you just need a sheet sleeping bag. I took an old iceline (claims -25) the one time I did high camps there, and found it comfortable but probably overkill.
For kipping in the valleys you don't need anything special in summer.
Most of the stuff I have is getting on a bit so my brand advice probably wouldn't be a lot of use, but here goes.
I get on well with Rab VR softshells, but I'm told they cost a lot more than they did when I bought mine. I don't find much to choose between standard fleeces - any of the names would be good.
Montane & buffalo salopettes & trousers are the dogs when it is cold.
I just picked up some Montane Extreme mitts which look very good - similar to the buffalo ones but with a better palm material. I will see how they treat me in Scotland and Norway this year. Currently fairly cheap at go outdoors!
I have yet to find a good glove*, and have concluded that something fairly thin that will keep me just about functional plus mittens to throw on when it gets too cold works best. Extremities sticky windies with a thin liner underneath seem to work well but they get trashed alarmingly quickly.
For standard cold weather headwear I reckon you can't do much better than the mountain hardware powerstretch balaclavas.
Any shell that goes on over everything else, has enough pockets and allows you to move is as good as any other imho. I'm old fashioned and think that their design peaked with the Lowe Alpine Flash jacker in the late 90s/early 00s though :)
*as opposed to mitt.
Check out skytech argons for your delicate stuff in gloves, then an oversized pair of pertex/pile on top.
5.54 a pair from dortech direct.
Hi Colin, I don't know if you are aware of the BMC's subsidised courses the Chamnoix.
If you time your trip to conincide with there course they will advise you what to bring with you,
In addition if your planning on being out there for a longer period then you should be able to put what they teach you into practice.
By coincidence, I saw some Marmot DriClime gloves at the weekend; never seen before. Now, as someone with Raynaud's, I'm always looking for the 'perfect glove', so I tried them on. And was surprised how they felt warm very quickly.
Granted, this was in the shop, so in no way a decent test of their actual warmth (or of their durability; shelled micropile not being the most robust of affairs), but the very fact of them feeling warm instantly was quite unusual. If I could find a pair that were short enough for my Aquaman webbed fingers, I might be tempted to try a pair.
I've never been to the Alps myself but I found this article written by Andy Kirkpatric that might be useful:
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