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All-season, all-conditions SkiMo gear

The one-ski quiver is difficult to pull off. So, I decided to go for two this year.hauteroute

With complicated construction and shapes, boutiques to mass producers, picking out new skis can be perplexing. I work on Mount Hood, so skis must attack a huge variety of conditions—corn, windblown, steeps, ice, and pow—and varied four-season terrain. It must be light and compact for travel and mountain rescue missions, which sometimes last all night. The key: versatility. Of the multitude skis out there, here’s my skimo gear for this season.

Skis: When a big winter storm hits, I reach for the pow slayer for backcountry tours and inbounds yo-yo laps during the height of the avalanche cycle. The Dynastar Cham HM 97 ( has a generous tip rocker, short radius, mid-fat underfoot, and light paulownia core. For one-day spring volcano climbs, spring corn, and the glaciers of Europe, I eyed the traditional-shape, 5.5-pound, 90 mm-waist Black Diamond Carbon Aspect (


Binders: For 15 years I’ve been a Dynafit devotee: inbounds and out. Light, strong, simple, and time-tested. This year’s I’m using Dynafit Radical ST 2.0 with brakes and ski crampons.

Boots: I really tried to love the low-volume, ultralight skimo race boots, but my feet got cold and the boots lacked the heft to drive a fat ski. The light, stiff Dynafit Vulcan TF ( with Intuition Pro Tour liners ( balance weight and performance.

Other gear. The precut, ski-specific skins not quite as versatile to swap between skis in the Wallowas or repair in a Chamonix hotel. This year I chose the Black Diamond Ascension skins: a bit heavier than mohair but better grip. I’m using Black Diamond Razor Carbon poles. For ski mountaineering, I have skied both the Haute Route and Ortler Circuit with the ultralight skimo-specific Black Diamond Raven Ultra Ice Axe, Neve Crampons, and Couloir Harness.


Avalanche: I’m using the Backcountry Access Float 36; after deploying it for air travel, I’ve refilled the canister—with some preplanning—in Chamonix, Davos, and Portland, Oregon ( I’m using a Backcountry Access tour shovel, a CAMP Carbon probe ( and a Mammut Barryvox beacon (

Head gear: I’ve got three helmets to test this year. The ultralight CAMP Speed, the warmer Smith Maze (, and the burly Poc Receptor Backcountry MIPS, the new multi-impact protection system (

Now, let’s hope for snow!

Telecom for Adventure Travel


Telecom kit, from mountain rescue to adventure travel

Telecommunications for Travel and Wilderness Medicine One evening last year, when checking into the lodge Dochula Pass, Bhutan, 3150 meters, I was struck by a spectacular clear view of the Himalayas, a cozy fire, and a plate of dhal. One thing stood out on my two-week tour of Bhutan: it was the only night without cell phone and internet service. In this age of telecommunications, in the most remote corners of the globe we stay connected: in remote villages in Haiti; at 5200 meters in Gorak Shep, Nepal; atop 5895-meter-high Mount Kilimanjaro; anywhere above tree line on Mount Hood. I travel a lot so sometimes I have to stay connected. Here are my favorite space- and weight-efficient telecom and electronic devices for expeditions, medical relief projects, and mountain rescue missions.

  • Although my Apple iPhone works all over the world, I also carry an inexpensive Samsung phone which accommodates two SIM cards and holds a charge for a two weeks with limited use.
  • Asus T100 notebook is my favorite option for using a tablet with a keyboard mostly because it has durable flash memory andit’s inexpensive.
  • Coghlan’s Portable Power Pack provides cell and computer power via a battery you can charge via USB plug, a small solar panel or a dynamo (which is a hand crank). Although I still carry backup lithium AA or AAA batteries as backup.
  • Suunto watches have long been my pick for adventure travel—I’m love my Vector after 14 years and three factory refurbishes. The new Ambit2 is USB-rechargeable wrist-top GPS with surprising accuracy. For a full size GPS, our team uses Garmin Map62.


The trusty 14-year-old Suunto Vector, atop Kala Pattar, Nepal.

  • I love the superbright Gemini Xera 950-lumin headlamp for all-night rescues in foul weather; I use the lightweight 2-cell battery. The tiny featherlight Princeton Tec Vizz uses AAA batteries producing 165 lumens—I carry as backup for rescues and as a primary emergency light for mountain bike and ski backpacks.
  • For short callouts with no notice, I may rely on my iPhone for images, but for documenting rescues and training, I use the compact Panasonic DMC-ZS5.
  • Radios come ultra compact now—our team still used ICOMs. But check out the Yaesu VX-3R VHF/UHF radio clocking in at 4.6 ounces (although FCC regulations prohibit certain uses and a license is required).
  • It’s hard to beat reliable, compact chlorine dioxide purification tablets. But for instant, group water disinfection, the SteriPen worked like a charm on a recent Everest Base Camp Trek.


Quick, easy, battery-operated SteriPen, Denbouche, Nepal.

  • Finally, my favorite avalanche beacon is the Mammut Barryvox, although the Backcountry Access Tracker 3 may be my next  one.