PACKING & SAFETY

PACKING & SAFETY

WINTER TOURS

SKI TOURING PACKING LIST

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT

• Harness (all tours where you are on a glacier)
• Ski touring boots & skis
• Skins (glue in good condition)
• Ski & boots crampons
• Poles
• Ice axe (only on some tours – ask if this is necessary)
• ARVA (avalanche transceiver)
• Snow shovel
• Probe

GENERAL MATERIAL

• Backpack (about 40L with strap to carry skis)
• Basic mountaineering clothing (base layer, fleece, jacket)
• Gortex pants or ski pants (+ leggings/tights for underneath)
• Change of clothes for the refuge with a warm light down jacket
• Two pairs of gloves (one warm and one light)
• Warm hat/beanie
• Scarf
• Sun hat, Suncream & Sunglasses
• Goggles/mask
• Head torch (essential for early morning departures)
• Water bottle/thermos
• Sleeping sheet

OTHER & OPTIONAL

Earplugs, Knife, Basic toiletries, Passport, Proof of insurance, Money

Bag of muesli if in Spain or France for breakfast, book...

WINTER TOURS

SNOWSHOEING PACKING LIST

 

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT

(supplied by us and included in price unless you have your own)

• Lightweight plastic snowshoes
• Ski Poles
• Avalanche Transceiver
• Snow Shovel

CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS

• Thermal underwear- 1 set as a base layer
• Fleece
• Waterproof jacket & over trousers
• Warm hat, gloves & walking socks
• Gaiters (not essential but very good for keeping dry feet)
• Sun hat or peaked cap + Sunglasses/Goggles
• Water bottle or Platypus
• Camera
• Binoculars
• Sun block for face and lips

ITEMS FOR HUT TO HUT WEEKS ONLY

• 40 litre rucksack
• Head torch and batteries
• Personal First Aid kit (plasters,compede, paracetamol)
• Water bottle or Platypus
• Penknife
• Change of clothing to include: underwear, tracksuit bottoms/ long-johns, dry shirt, spare socks

• Paperback novel
• Maps
• Ear plugs (there is always one snorer)
• Snack bars/dried fruit/chocolate (though picnics supplied by refuges are usually ample)
• Sheet sleeping bag (blankets supplied by refuges)

ITEMS FOR DAY WALKS

• Day pack for holding water, picnic lunches, snow shovel, extra clothes

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

• Swimsuit for thermal baths or a lake swim.
• Washer/flannel for in front of the washbasin once over (note – most refuges do not have showers, but occasionally there is one that does – often for a small fee). Water and particularly hot water, is a very big luxury at altitude.

SAFETY IN THE MOUNTAINS

Safety in the mountains is at all times our highest priority. Winter puts on its pretty white coat but this also brings new risks to the mountains such as avalanches, cold, poor visibility and bad weather. The word avalanche in itself is sometimes enough to put people off the idea of venturing out, yet this risk is really very limited, particularly when you are with a trained mountain professional whose main task is to keep everyone safe while they enjoy themselves.

 

Throughout winter, the level of risk is monitored by Meteo France, who publish a risk scale.  Your guide uses this information and also has extensive training and experience in this field.  They know the ‘safe’ places to go, those which combine beauty with low risk, and according to the time of season and past snowfall, will adapt each day’s itinerary to remain within this safety boundary. This is one reason why published itineraries in winter are often simply a guide – the actual itinerary often varies depending on snow and weather conditions. Your guide’s task is to choose the best itinerary each day based on conditions and their assessment of the group’s capabilities. This may well involve changes in accommodation which the guide will not hesitate to organise if necessary.

 

For all our ski touring and snowshoeing outings an avalanche transceiver, is an essential item. This is a device which emits high frequency sounds able to be detected and searched for by someone else with the same device in the case of an avalanche. The use of this must not discourage anyone, rather the contrary.  You learn how to use it and as such you are being taught something about the nature of the snow, winter in the mountains and certain survival skills which may will help you to be more self-sufficient in the future, or at least participate actively in any group search if required.

 

An avalanche transceiver is an expensive item, but along with a shovel and probe, an essential part of winter safety. These are either provided in your tour price or can be hired. Equally important is being well prepared. See our snowshoe packing list, and ski touring packing list to make sure you have the clothing you need to enjoy winter adventures in the mountains.

SUMMER TOURS

PACKING REFUGE BASED

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT

• Comfortable walking boots or shoes (3 or 4 season)
• Walking poles (definitely two)

• Keeping your pack weight to a minimum is the key to a successful trek. You really will do without the extras, and should aim for a pack weight of 7-10 kgs.

CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS

• Fleece
• Waterproof jacket (or big plastic poncho)
• Waterproof over trousers (only if you really hate having wet legs!)
• Lightweight puffer jacket for evening comfort in the higher refuges
• Warm gloves and hat (for early starts)
• Sun hat or peaked cap + Sunglasses
• One pair shorts
• One pair lightweight walking trousers
• Two T-shirts (anything but cotton, wool is best as it is quick to dry and doesn’t smell. Synthetic is also fine – it smells but it is quick to dry)
• Good quality walking socks

OTHER ESSENTIAL ITEMS

• 40 – 60 litre Rucksack
• Light weight towel
• Sheet sleeping bag liner. No sleeping bags are required – refuges provide mattresses and blankets and pillows.
• Waterproof ruck sack cover or waterproof bags to keep your things dry (unless you have a poncho, in which case this will suffice)
• Sun block for face and lips (Factor 50)
• Personal First Aid kit (plasters, Compeed for blisters, paracetamol)
• Roll of toilet paper
• Water bottle or Platypus type hydration system – 1.5 to 2 litres
• Penknife
• Head torch for use in refuges
• Survival blanket (light foil blanket to keep injured people warm).

OPTIONAL ITEMS

• Change of clothing to include: underwear, tracksuit bottoms, dry shirt, spare socks (think of things that you can wear to both dinner and bed so you don’t need to change)
• Camera
• Paperback novel (light!)
• Snack bars/dried fruit/chocolate
• Waterproof map case
• Ear plugs (there will inevitably be snorers in the refuge)
• Buff – good for blocking out light and noise while sleeping, keeping your neck warm, holding your hair etc.
• Swimsuit (our guides do everything they can to find swimming opportunities!)

 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS FOR INDEPENDENT GROUPS 
Compass, Altimeter, GPS or mobile phone with GPS

DON'T NEED 

• Sleeping bags (just a sleeping sheet – the refuges provide blankets)
• Sleeping mat (refuges provide mattresses and a pillow)
• Food (refuges provide breakfast, picnic lunch to take with us and dinner). You might want to bring a bag of oats for breakfast, especially if you’ll be mainly in Spanish refuges.
• Hair dryers or an extensive range of toiletries!

See information about Pyrenean Refuges for an idea of sleeping conditions on most of our treks.

SUMMER TOURS

PACKING HOTEL BASED

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT

• Comfortable walking boots or shoes (3 or 4 season)
• Walking poles (definitely two)

CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS

• Fleece
• Waterproof jacket (or big plastic poncho)
• Waterproof over trousers (or big plastic poncho)
• Sun hat or peaked cap + Sunglasses
• One pair shorts
• One pair lightweight walking trousers
• Two T-shirts (anything but cotton, wool is best as it is quick to dry and doesn’t smell. Synthetic is also fine – it smells but it is quick to dry)
• Good quality walking socks

OTHER ESSENTIAL ITEMS

• Day pack
• Waterproof ruck sack cover or waterproof bags to keep your things dry
• Sun block for face and lips (Factor 50)
• Personal First Aid kit (plasters, Compeed for blisters, paracetamol)
• Water bottle or Platypus type hydration system – 1.5 to 2 litres
• Penknife
• Survival blanket (light foil blanket to keep injured people warm).

OPTIONAL ITEMS

• Camera
• Snack bars/dried fruit/chocolate
• Waterproof map case
• Ear plugs (if you are sensitive to noise, sleeping in different places always means different noises!)
• Buff – good for keeping your neck warm, holding your hair etc.
• Swimsuit (you never know)

 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS FOR INDEPENDENT GROUPS 
Compass, Altimeter, GPS or mobile phone with GPS