Backcountry Guide

Backcountry off the Hornli

Musts for your backpack General items
· Avalanche Transceiver
· Maps & Compass
· Shovel
· First-aid kit
· Whistle & Torch
· Emergency survival
   food and water
· Probing poles
· Survival sack, blanket or light-weight
  tent
· Snowshoes (forget split-boards)
· A Complete set of spare thermal
  clothing
· Hat & face Protection
· Goggles and glasses
· Multi-use pocketknife
Over-boots & Gaiters
Clothing layers
Spare torch batteries
Mobile 'phone & batteries
Collapsible poles
Snowprobe poles
Board tune-up kit
Spare binding screws
Spare binding parts
10m of avalanche cord
For Ice & Glaciers
Crampons & Ice axe
Safety helmet
Carabiners, Rope/Harness
Nightwise
Tent & Sleeping bag
Stove & Cooking utensils

Back in those dark days before snowboarding, when people were thinking of new ways to descend a slope it wasn't the green run to the café or a 540 they had in mind. It was havin-it down a wide open powder field at full speed sending a plume of light fluffy snow skyward in their wake. That's what Snowboards were made for and anyone who's had the joy of doing it will tell you there's nothing else like it. Those first turns in virgin snow will have you screaming with joy and boring your mates rotten in the bar for days.

Like any extreme sport there's a cost and in Back Country/Off piste Boarding it can be high. People die every year in avalanches boarding Back Country, 90% of people who are caught in an avalanche either set it off themselves or someone in their party did.

Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Pore Performance. Before you think of heading Back Country there is knowledge and equipment you must have. Read any information on avalanches and back country travel you can get your hands on, watch videos, look at the web and don't skimp on equipment if you have a transceiver and no shovel all you can do is find where you should be digging. Over 90% of people buried in an avalanche survive if dug out within 15 minuets, try digging in avalanche debris with the end of your board, it doesn't work. Pack your back pack for all eventualities. Remember the weather in the mountains can change fast, because you started the day in sunshine doesn't mean that you won't end it stuck Back Country in a white out. Always be prepared to stay over night.

There is advice out there, so seek it out and take note of it. Avalanche Risk Warnings are posted in resorts, often there's an advice line you can call for information on the weather and snow conditions. The resort mountain staff will know the mountain well, local inside knowledge is invaluable. Check if there's any Back country tours available, take a local registered guide, if you can't afford one at least ask their advice. Many resorts will have Heli-boarding or a snowcat service which is a fantastic and easy way to access the back country, most commercially run trips will include a local guide in the price.

Next: law & insurance