Ski Mountaineering need to knows

Ski Mountaineering Need-To-Knows

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Feature photo from the Inspired Summit Adventures Ski Mountaineering Clinic.

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Ah springtime! A fabulous time in the mountains when snowpacks have stabilized and trailheads are quieting down as many folks flock to the desert. Spring can be a great time for exploring new zones or getting up close and personal with those lines you’ve been eyeing from afar. 

We tagged along with V-Team ambassadors / lead guides / owners of Inspired Summit Adventures: Shaun and Weston Deutschlander, and IFMGA Guide Emilie Drinkwater, for a day of ski mountaineering. Here’s a quick rundown of skills you should know and practice in safe terrain…

Gear

The name of the game with ski mountaineering is to do a lot with a little. Shaun, Weston, and Emilie recommend: 

  • Lightweight harness
  • Lightweight rope
  • Helmet
  • Slings 
  • Locking carabiners
  • Ice axe or whippet 
  • Ski crampons
  • Boot crampons
  • Skis that can go the distance and handle variable conditions

Scroll through by clicking arrows on sides of pictures or number bar below. Hover or click on the image for more info.

  • The HyperCharger and SuperCharger skis can go the distance and handle variable conditions.
  • Skiing with a harness can be funky. Having a comfortable lightweight harness is key!
  • Pro-tip: always flake the rope before using.

KNOTS

Using the correct knot is crucial. Inspired Summit Adventures recommends fine-tuning your knot tying skills (with gloves on) for these basic climbing knots:

  • Munter Hitch
  • Clove Hitch  
  • Figure 8 (and Figure 8 on a bight)

Scroll through by clicking arrows on sides of pictures or number bar below. Hover or click on the image for more info.

  • ski mountaineering tying knots with gloves
    Weston demonstrating how to tie knots with gloves on.
  • Testing the clove hitch.
  • ski mountaineering clove
    Shaun and Weston setting up a belay.
  • Practicing belaying on a Munter hitch.

ANCHORS + RAPPELLING

Setting up anchors can allow you to rap into chutes, over cliftbands or monster cornices, allowing you to access the skiing.

  • Tree anchor
  • Body belay (with skis)
  • Horseshoes anchor 
  • T anchor
  • Deadman’s anchor

Scroll through by clicking arrows on sides of pictures or number bar below. Hover or click on the image for more info.

  • ski mountaineering tree rappel
    Rappelling off of a tree.
  • Shaun doing rope management while in a seated belay stance.
  • ski mountaineering seated belay
    Shaun demonstrating a seated belay with one ski on.
  • ski mountaineering t-trench
    T-trench anchor
  • ski mountaineering horseshoe anchor
    Shaun testing a horseshoe/ bollard anchor.

OTHER TECHNIQUES TO PRACTICE

  • Belaying on a Munter hitch
  • Skiing on belay
  • Rappelling with skis on
  • Lowing without a harness (handlining)
  • Finding good transitions zones (i.e. stopping out platforms to take skis off/on feet or pack)

Scroll through by clicking arrows on sides of pictures or number bar below. Hover or click on the image for more info.

  • ski mountaineering belayed skiing
    Weston demonstrating skiing on belay.
  • ski mountaineering belayed skiing
    Weston demonstrating a jump turn on belay.
  • Weston demonstrating a jump turn on belay.
  • Moving the ropes off the shoulders and behind the backpack.
  • Weighting and double checking the system before lowering.
  • ski mountaineering lower2
    Shaun beginning to ease her way over the drop.
  • Managing the rope during a hand belay.
  • Past the drop and in the chute. Time to ski!

Want in on the action?

Want to really jump into the world of ski mountaineering? There are a few spots open on the Spring Ski Mountaineering Camp in the Uinta Mountains this April 15-18th. Click here for more info from Inspired Summit Adventures or read our blog about the camp.


About Shaun and Weston

Image

Shaun Raskin

Location: Park City, UT


Facebook Business Page:  Inspired Summit Adventures


Living each moment to it’s fullest has lead Shaun on this wild journey. From NY to Colorado to now Utah, she has spent over a decade chasing her dreams. Shaun’s passion for skiing is what has been the engine behind her actions. First as a big mountain competitive skier, then sponsored pro, to now avalanche educator, guide, and business owner. It is even how she and her husband, Weston D met. Now living in Park City with their two dogs and daughter, Shaun continues to pursue her dreams whether as a big mountain skier, web series co-creator, AIARE avalanche instructor, backcountry and cat ski guide or owner of a wellness guiding company, Inspired Summit Adventures. She began this journey with nothing more than a dream of becoming a professional skier not sure where it would lead, but today finds herself humbly sitting amongst many of her heroes living the dream. 


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Weston Deutschlander

Location: Park City, UT


Facebook Business Page: Inspired Summit Adventures


Weston is one of the smarter New Yorker's and fled the state as soon as he could. After arriving in Utah, the snow addiction took a firm hold. Once he learned the freedom of a beacon, probe, shovel, skins and a good partner, he started venturing further and further off the beaten path. Today Weston spends his summers and winters guiding all while trying to play as much as possible on the side. 

 


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