/ Gear List for Alpine course

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dropping_bombs - on 06 Jun 2017
I've booked into an ISM Alpine Introduction week in late August and I am curious about what gear you would recommend for an Alpine novice?

I assume it could be very warm down low at that time of year so what layers would you wear for approaching climbs, and did you make any gear mistakes during your first alpine seasons that should be avoided? Cheers.
Jasonic on 06 Jun 2017
tjin - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

- Ask for a gearlist for the course
- You can do a lot with things you already got or borrow
- Decathlon is good to get the basics to start with it.

- A long sleeve t-shirt is nice for hot days when you don't want to be burned alive by sun. Also quality, long lasting , high SPF sunscreen.
guy127917 - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Having done this course with ISM- their gear list on the website is very good and comprehensive- however as other posters have said you don't need full arcteryx shell etc etc- you won't be going out in terrible weather. You can borrow crampons, axes and an alpine sac from them, so basically just some warm and dry layers, a cheapish pair of all round gloves (~30 ish) and decent b2/b3 boots depending on your ambition.

Enjoy!
dropping_bombs - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to guy12791

Great, that's what I was hoping to hear! How did you find the course in general?
guy127917 - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:
Really good, I've done a couple of other courses with ISM since as they are a quality outfit with a slick setup.
Ooh the one thing i would recommend which they mark as optional is a decent pair of gaiters! You will be marching in snow for sure. Also I would say their recommendation of cat4 glasses as slight overkill (since they are not super cheap/easy to find)
Post edited at 16:10
nathan79 - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to guy127917:

Julbo Tensing. Category 4 lens £40rrp.
Easy as pie to find.

Mines have lasted me well.
MG - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to guy127917:

Not sure if you are saying no waterproofs or no Arcteryx waterproofs. Not taking waterproofs in the Alps is asking for (potentially fatal) trouble, but anything will do.
dropping_bombs - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

I figured the poster was saying don't go buying arcteryx gear for this course, which is fair! Being from Ireland, waterproofs live in my bag so they will be brought!
MG - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

> I figured the poster was saying don't go buying arcteryx gear for this course, which is fair!

Absolutely. But thought it best to.be sure!

> Being from Ireland, waterproofs live in my bag so they will be brought!

Ah!!
fifthsunset - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

I did an alpine beginners course and the organisers said I could rent a pair of boots. They were old and leaked and I had wet feet for a week and was miserable. So my advice is buy your own boots and break them in before you go!
planetmarshall on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

> did you make any gear mistakes during your first alpine seasons that should be avoided?

Spent far too much money.

guy127917 - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to nathan79:

If they fit your face well, great. If not... there are limited options. Not a lot of stores stock them to try. It's quite a lot of money if you never walk on another glacier... I'm not saying don't ever buy them, but they are not necessary IMO for first your week out.
guy127917 - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Yeah, ISM are sponsored by Arcteryx, so their gear list suggests several k worth of example kit...
mysterion on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:
Summer alpine kit is basically UK summer mountain kit plus an extra layer, gloves, boots and winter hardware so build on what you have. Lightness is fairly important. Temperature ranges from warm UK summer low down to cold UK winter high up
Post edited at 23:05
dropping_bombs - on 07 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Thanks for the responses folks
teh_mark on 07 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Just for a bit of balance, I don't routinely take waterproofs in the Alps. This is also the stance of at least one of my partners, and a suggestion given by the Conville Course guides last year. I might take a very light shell and overtrousers if I think the situation warrants it (such as last year, hut approach with rain forecast), but otherwise they don't go in my pack.

That said, I'm not climbing any serious and committing routes either.
Fiona Reid - on 07 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

I guess a lot depends on what stuff you already have and also how likely you think you are to do more alpine routes, winter mountaineering etc in future. If you're in any doubt as to whether it's something you'll continue doing then beg/borrow as much kit as you can and once you know what works/doesn't for you go out and buy new toys. You see a lot of boots/crampons etc on sale on UKC and online with worn for a week or two and never used again from folks buying ill fitting boots or deciding they don't really enjoy alpinism or whatever.

If I could wind back the clock then I'd probably have bought g12 (strap on so you can wear with any boot) crampons rather than g10's as when I started doing more winter climbing etc I had to buy more technical crampons.

For approaching alpine stuff I generally wear a long sleeve t-shirt/merino and maybe a thin fleece if it's cold. Trousers with side vents are nice if you have them but not essential. A hat with a mullet or something to protect your neck from the sun is also nice when being broiled on a glacier. Otherwise I mostly just wear my regular hillwalking kit. Unless you have to have everything branded then Decathlon or similar will stock much of the stuff you might need at sensible prices.

When I did a course with ISM in 2006 I used a fairly heavy rucksack and now have a lighter one. I also carried way way too much water as I wasn't as fit back then and also hadn't really got the hang of starting off the day well hydrated. These days I take less water and make sure I'm well hydrated at the start of the day. If that means several stops to pee on the walk to the peak so be it. It's a lot better than having a splitting headache and feeling crap as you're badly dehydrated.

My only other recommendation would be take decent suncream and make sure you remember to apply it either before you leave the hut in the morning or as soon as the sun comes up.
Max factor - on 07 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Some good advice here. Get to Decathlon, their mountaineering section is value. The things i've learned are

Get some good light B1 boots- comfy to walk ins and the ankle articulation really helps with cramponing on the ground you are likely to encounter while starting out.

A standard pair of stretchy trousers is all you need; heavyweight schoeller style ones are overkill, and with thigh vents are good.

Thinking about adaptive clothing is good - you can boil in the midday sun, and freeze on the summits; so an active base layer that can cope with sweating and still perform when chucked under insulating and windproof layers is really good. A long sleeved merino wool baselayer is a good choice for alpine trips which you can wear and sweat in for days on end without being too smelly. Again, decathlon do these from £15.

Light colours are also a plus rather than black when under the sun (though buying these will be a challenge!).
dropping_bombs - on 08 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Again, thanks all. Some great tips here.
cyberpunk - on 09 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Just watch any of this guys videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ua_vU6DxHI&t=2s
chamdog - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

If the weather looks super hot, a pair of lightweight shorts is very pleasant for approaches. But it means you have to carry your climbing trousers on your back!
Toerag - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

A friend with learning difficulties once took a bed duvet on a course when a duvet jacket is what was meant on the kitlist!
daWalt on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

no one has yet mentioned the number one piece of kit that is essential for any overnight stay in an alpine hut..............
...
...
tones of cash?... yes there is that.......
...
...
EAR PLUGS!!!!
mysterion on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to daWalt:

Ear plugs, eye covers, etc are clutter you can do without in my experience. Next up laser eye surgery, so no contacts cluttering up the toiletries bag
Wayne S - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:
Some great advice so far, I often joke that the only true travel esentials are a tooth brush and a credit card. Credit card on the basis that you can basically buy whatever you need extra. Though I guess ISM may be a pretty full itinerary.

Lots of long sleeve wicking base layers are always useful, and you can always layer them up a bit. You can always roll the sleeves up, where a short sleeve is much less versatile. I always take an stuff sack for isolating worn base layers from clean, as synthetics stink!

I took pac lite type waterproofs to the alps, but they never really got used, soft shell was fine mostly with a hard shell for emergency use. Very old school, but I always found "Powerstretch" leggings useful. Comfortable, very quick drying and still warm when moist. Though lighter softshell trousers are the later equivalent I guess.

Boots are probably the most critical item, make sure they are broken in and comfy well in advance. Also worth being sure you have a good streamlined climbing pack that you are happy climbing in. (Small number of blister patches and some microporous tape just in case).

In my experience (limited) Alpine like Winter climbing is something you do in spite of your gear, i.e. You seem to spent a lot of time being too hot, then a bit cold. Rucksacks get in the way etc etc. I guess what I am saying is it's better to show up with slightly tatty stuff you have tried and tested together Hill walking in the UK than showing up with the latest set of Arc'teryx or Patagucci gear that are unproven.

Stomping up hill even if it's white on top is mostly a hot and sweaty experience. It's having additional layers for when you stop makes the difference.

A spare pair of gloves can be useful, as they can be slow to dry.

Anyway, have a great time!
Post edited at 18:25
daWalt on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to mysterion:

> Ear plugs, eye covers, etc are clutter you can do without

it's always the ones that snore the loudest that fall asleep the fastest; then can't understand why everyone else is so grumpy in the morning......
Ciro - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to guy127917:

Decathlon do several cat 4 glasses, starting from £16. I'm rarely on a glacier, but they do also work for Spanish bolt clipping ;)
Niblet on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to mysterion:

If the earplugs clutter up your backpack you've brought to many in my experience.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jasonic on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Ciro:

If you get cat4 glasses, don't drive in them as this is illegal in some countries- (On the spot fines)
cat 3 are fine for this & glaciers !
dropping_bombs - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Thanks all
J Whittaker - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to dropping_bombs:

Get a baselayer or light midlayer that has a high collar on it. You'll be taking rope coils and it will be a whole lot more comfortable if they aren't rubbing against your bare skin the whole time!

That was a pro tip from a guide I got on my first alpine trip.

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