As the cold weather approaches and snow starts to fall we start to think about the the winter adventures that are to be sent and the gear we wish we had. Below we break down all the key gear items you’ll need to stay prepared this winter. There are important considerations when making a purchase: What is your skill level? What grade do you want to climb? Powder or groomed? Do you ski in the back-country? Your answer to these questions will narrow the search to help you find the specific gear you need for your activity. At Aspiring we are always ready to help you find the most suitable gear for your missions.
Let’s start with Crampons. Climbing Technology (CT) has a huge variety of Crampons. From flex bars to rigid bars, classic, semi-automatic, automatic, 4-point, 6-point, 10-point, 12-point. The 13-point CT Hyper Spike has been designed to deal with the steepest and hardest ice walls and mixed climbing in the world. The 10-point Snow Flex has been designed for ski touring and general use, however the particular crampon design is specifically to better fit the large variety of ski-touring boot shapes. You could pair your boots with NZ made Aspiring Snow Gaiters which use a stiff canvas upper for durability and rigidity which is reinforced with cordura around the ankles. The knee height allows for you to tackle rugged conditions such as through deep snow and wet bush or in bad weather.
Avalanche Safety Gear
Unmissable in the winter backpack, the probe is a key element for safety along with the transceiver and shovel. The CT FINDER 240 probe is lightweight and resilient, composed of six light alloy elements pre-mounted by Ø 12 mm: thanks to the Kevlar lanyard, the hook is very fast and practical.
NEW at Aspiring is the BCA Tracker 3. The T3 is renowned for its ease of use, instantaneous real-time display, and pocket friendly design. This transceiver uses Signal Suppression (SS) and Big Picture (BP) modes for no-nonsense multiple-victim searching and motion-sensing auto revert-to-transmit mode. Another piece of important kit is a Snow Saw. Manufactured from aircraft grade 7075 aluminium the SMC summit Snow Saw is the lightest saw on the market!
Shovels and Axes
Look no further than the CT Agile Kit + for all your needs for your lightweight set up. This set-up is designed for mountaineering, ski mountaineering, and crossing glaciers and allows your axe to be transformed into a practical shovel.
If the shovel and ice axe combo is not your thing then we have the CT Snow Blade. An aluminium snow shovel for ski touring and mountaineering, with ergonomic handle, for optimal grip during use and better efficiency during excavation. The blade is provided with ribs to increase rigidity. The Snow Blade comes in two versions. Both with a removable aluminium handle with the Snow Blade T Kit being telescopic that extends the handle length.
To go along side your Snow Blade, we have a variety of axes from the North Couloir (Hammer Adze Technical Axe Combo) to the Alpine Tour for Basic use. The Swhippy double lanyard is an awesome option to accompany your Couloir Axes which comes with a small walker that avoids the twisting of the lanyard webbing. Alternatively take a look at the Aspiring Tool Strop.
At the end of 2020 we released the Aspiring Tei Tei Mountain Harness. The most NZ Made harness we have ever made. The Tei tei is designed with simplicity, durability and weight in mind for NZ conditions. This harness will take you on your high altitude, ski-touring, glacial, and mountaineering adventures. With quick release construction, Ice screw retainers and compact gear loops, and a weight of 215g what more could you want. Another option to the Tei Tei is the CT Tami. To accompany both these harnesses we have the CT Truck Tool Holders, CT Ice Screws in 10cm, 15cm and 19cm lengths and CT pitons.
Maybe it is a rope to go with your harness. Fixe (previously Roca) is one of the oldest manufacturers of rope in the world with more than 125 years of experience. Many of the Fixe ropes use Full Dry technology to maximize protection against ice, moisture, and dust, increasing the sliding capacity and abrasion resistance. All ropes treated with Full Dry absorb less than 5% of the rope’s weight in water, highly recommended for mountaineering and ice climbing. Ropes treated with Full Dry include the NEW 9.2 Dominator SPD FullDry, 9.0 Monkey SPD FullDry, 8.1 Zen FullDry, and the 7.5 Summit SPD FullDry. The SPD Spiderwire technology optimizes the performance of the fibres, achieving optimal balance in the rope as a whole. This increases the capacity of number of falls by 30% and achieves a lower impact force allowing smaller diameter ropes have the same characteristics as large-diameter ones, without sacrificing a low impact force.
Looking for gear to create and perfect your crevasse rescue kit. Create yours with the lightweight SMC 30mm CRx Crevasse Rescue Pulley and the renowned CT Roll-N-Lock. Add a couple of the CT HMS Warlock Carabiners and you have a winning system. You could also incorporate the CT Be-up Belay Device or Petzl Tibloc to enhance your crevasse rescue kit even further.
We could not finish without mentioning the NZ made Aspiring Snowstake. Originating in the 1980’s it has become standard use for New Zealanders. Our snowstakes are fabricated from high strength aeronautical grade aluminium and has been tested and found to have a tensile strength well in excess of the 8KN recommended minimum strength for snow anchors. To keep variety we also offer the SMC I Picket and CT Snowstakes!
We hope this article has helped you to have a think about the equipment you might need for your winter missions. If you would like friendly help and support come on in and see us in Riccarton, Christchurch or give us a call. We are always happy to help.