Gear – splitboarding

For purchasing splitboarding gear we recommend a number of online retailers:

Facewest or Backcountry UK for for general backcountry gear, and Sick & Wrong for splitboards and more specific splitboarding related items, or West Coast Surf shop, Abersoch.

For splitboard hire in the Alps we recommend Zero G in Chamonix.

Sick & Wrong may be able to hire you a splitboard too, which they can post to you, so that is an option for other places.

Gear list for splitboarding trips

List 1 – Provide your own or hire in UK or locally in resort – these are all essential items that you must have.

For some items I have included links to retailers. Other links are just for information.

Snowboard Boots – Using your own soft boots is fine and works well. Hard boots can work better for skinning. There are specific backcountry boots such as the Fitwell boots which are a snowboard boot with a vibram sole. This gives better security when skinning and when walking.

Splitboard & Poles -There are many models on the market and the development of bindings is quite rapid at the moment. The new tesla system & magneto bindings from Spark are looking good at the moment as they are quite light and have less fiddly parts to drop in the snow. I am using a ‘hard boot’ set up which I have written about briefly on this site. For hire we use The Sick and the Wrong in the UK and Zero G in Chamonix.

Telescopic or “Z” style walking poles that break down small for stowing are best.

Skins & Splitboard Crampons –The skins should fit neatly to the split-skis and you should check that they are a good fit when you hire them.  Splitboard crampons have brand names like Mr Chomps or Sabretooth and are essential for splitboarding in the Alps.  Make sure they fit correctly to your board.

List 2 – All these I can hire to you for a small charge if you let me know beforehand

Transceiver. I can supply transceivers. If you wish to buy, I recommend 3 antennae transceivers such as the DTS Tracker 2 or the Mammut Pulse for ease of use.

Shovel & Probe – Light modular aluminium shovel  and 2.4m probe. There are some good deals on these if you are buying a transceiver, shovel and probe together a a full safety package.

Ice Axe (55cm-ish lightweight)A general mountaineering axe will do but there are some lightweight axes specifically designed for ski touring that will make a difference to the weight of your bag.
Harness Either a general mountaineering harness or a specific touring harness – all comes down to weight, but a good all rounder that is quite light is the Black Diamond Alpine Bod.
Crevasse Kit: 2 Prusiks, 1 ice screw,Sling & Krab, Pulley. This may be provided as group kit, but please bring along if you have your own.
Crampons.  For splitboarding you can use aluminium crampons, which aren’t the strongest, but are very light. If you are keen to buy crampons I’d recommend something like the Grivel Air Tech Light Classic as they fit many boots and they are great for lightweight use on mountain boots too. However check that they will fit to your snowboard boots well. For soft snowboard boots the crampons will need to be fitted using straps.

List 3 – Clothing and Equipment

RucksackIdeally it is best to have a proper snowboard pack. For day touring a 25-35L pack will be fine. For longer hut to hut tours then a 40-45L pack is more realistic. The main thing is that your pack is a simple sack with a good system for carrying your board. Avoid sacks with side pockets or sacks that are bigger than 45L capacity. Many good snowboard sacks have separate compartments for avalanche safety gear – which is a good idea too. Consider ABS (Avalanche airbag system)bags too as more and more people are using them. They can also be hired fairly easily.

Snowboard Jacket & Pants – it may be worth considering a layer system in preference to a standard snowboard jacket & pants. Using waterproof shells on top and on your legs is fine for riding down and gives you the option of stripping off for the ascent. Standard snowboard jackets are generally heavy.
Spare warm layer – fleece or light synthetic insulated jacket or vest.
Gloves – one thin pair (eg Powerstretch gloves )and one thick pair (eg Guide Gloves). Mitts are clumsy for most jobs.
Goggles & Glacier Sunglasses (Cat 4)
Warm hat / Helmet
Headtorch (light LED / maglite)

Sun Hat (good cover including the neck) & Factor 50 Cream (Sunblock) Map & Compass
Water Bottle – not platypus type thing, but a Sigg bottle type 1.5 litre max Blister Kit / Personal first aid kit (plasters/headache pills etc)

Money, INSURANCE details, Alpine club card (if you have one)

Other useful items :

Light clothing, thin layers, light colours etc – most people suffer from being too hot, ideally you need good “wicking” material and definitely not black!
Silk sleeping bag liner for huts – don’t bring cotton – v heavy
Good idea to have some cash (euros / swiss), and mobile phone for safety.

The main thing is that your bag is not too heavy, there will be a little group gear to share round on top of your personal stuff – which should be as lightweight as possible.
Reading material- for afternoons in huts!

Group kit to be shared around: 1st aid, tool kit, group shelter, ropes, gps, crevasse kit, spare skins etc…