Gear I Trust
Monday, March 18, 2013 at 11:56PM
Dave Watson


The picture is very busy, lots to look at.  This is the gear I use for touring and ski mountaineering.  Sometimes I bring more, sometimes less.  I omitted little things like sunglasses, lip balm, compass because there was too much to fit in the image.  I included 2 pr of skis and boots because sometimes there is rad powder and sometimes there is rad ice.

Starting on the left are K2 Darkside with Dynafit bindings, this ski is super fun, floaty, has some rocker up front so it handles wind/sun affected snow and crust easily.  It also has camber under foot and a flat tail so it is not scary on ice.  There is no metal in it so it's light.  I use the K2 skins with these, the tip/tail attachment is bomber and the grip is great, the glide however is not as good as some others but makes up for it in durability.

The other skis are my spring/summer boards.  The K2 Wayback is my go-to when things are icy or when I have to climb with the skis on my back for many hours (too steep to skin).  These skis are super light and fun to ride, they hold an edge well and have a little rocker up front.  I use the 174 length, small, turny and light.

Dynafit TLT5 are the boots I use with the waybacks, killer set-up.  The boots are really low profile and volume.  It's like wearing a plastic rock shoe.  The boots are light, have great range of motion in the cuff, are easy to ice climb in and feel suprisingly stout while skiing.  The Dynafit Titan Ultralight are the other boots in the photo (lower right).  I use these boots with the Darksides and all of my alpine skis.  Nothing but high praise for this boot, light and powerful.  I've used this boot for ski patrolling the last 2 seasons and it is holding up well with 250+ days on it.  The stock liners in both boots work just fine, I just add a custom footbed from Superfeet.

The clothing is from the Mammut Eiger Extreme collection, love it.  The Nordwand Jacket is Gore-Tex Pro Shell, the best hard shell fabric available.  It pretty much lives in the pack, unless I am guiding or skiing in a storm.  I feel shitty when I overheat so I climb in thin layers and put a shell on when there is wind or precip.  Sometimes I'll swap the Nordwand out with the Felsturm pullover (lighter, different fabric).  The pants are the Eisfeld, a soft shell with schoeller fabric.  They are stretchy and breathable, great for climbing, shed snow well, plenty of pockets, awesome pants.  I also carry the Nordwand pants in my pack in case of rain or wicked high winds.  Jackets I use to keep warm are Mammut Rime Pro (synthetic) and the Broad Peak Hoody (down), both are hooded and work well as belay jackets, compress down nicely so they don't take up much room in the pack.

The pack shown is the Mammut Nordwand, classic top loader with a full length zipper down the front so access to gear in the bottom of the pack is easy.  I also use the Mammut R.A.S. Rocker pack, it's an avalanche airbag pack that is a bit smaller, I really like the low profile design but hope I'll never need to deploy the airbag to save my life.  It's an insurance policy, not a substitute for sound judgement.  As with all of the Mammut gear, the features are too numerous to list so check their site with the link on the left of the page.  Their gear has never let me down and I am extremely grateful for their support.

The other items in the photo are small but still important.  2 sets of gloves, 1 thin pair for the skin/climb and 1 warm pair for the descent.  Goggles, I'm using the Oakley Canopy.  They are the best googles I've ever used, max peripheral vision, comfort and a great selection of lenses.  For sun and high altitude I use the Fire Iridium lens and for stormy flat light/night action the High Intensity Yellow is my choice.  Mammut Zephir Altitude is a great harness, ultra light and able to be taken off/on while wearing skis.  I also carry a couple of cordelettes, 3 spare carabiners, 2 slings, 2 ice screws (1 larger titanium screw, 1 stubby), 1 DMM revolver carabiner (built in pulley) for crevasse rescue and sometimes a snow picket.  The rope is 5 or 6 mm and 125ft.  It can be used for glacier travel but is mostly used for rappelling.  The Petzl axe and crampons round out the collection. 

I posted this info because these are some of the items that let me go into the mountains and be safe, this is gear I trust my life to.  Many people will post pics of gear they just got and talk about how stoked they are to use it, well this stuff has been used and I'm even more stoked now.  Very few pieces of gear are perfect, gear doesn't need to be perfect, just like my grammar and spelling don't need to be perfect.  But gear does need to perform well enough that we are psyched to keep using it and trusting it.  I hope you find gear that gets you so stoked you want to tell people about it.


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