Technical equipment such as snowshoes, skis, harnesses, helmets, crampons and ice axes will be provided for you unless otherwise specified. If you have your own technical or specialist equipment that you prefer to use, you are welcome to bring it!!
2 or 3 pairs of warm walking / skiing socks - proper walking / skiing socks have extra padding where you need it the most and are worth getting!
A decent pair of walking boots or snowboots for snowshoeing and general walking around in the snow. They need to be waterproof, warm and reasonably stiff with ankle support (also gives you a bit of extra height and protection from snow entry!). A good 3 - 4 season walking boot is fine.
Waterproof jacket and trousers or sallopettes. As you will be skiing, walking or climbing, you will be creating your own body heat, so a waterproof, breathable shell is fine to keep any snow from getting in and melting. It is a good idea to have trousers with elasticated bottoms or snow cuffs to stop snow from getting inside your boots. For trousers and jackets if it is possible to get material with some stretch in it – go for it.
At least three layers - thin thermal layer or t-shirt made of wicking material rather than cotton next to the skin, a mid weight fleece and a thicker fleece. It is better to have lots of layers so you can strip off going up and pile on the layers when you have a rest as your body temperature will vary quite a lot as you are walking, skiing and climbing up and down. The merino wool thermals made by companies such as ice breaker are perfect.
Extra fleece or sweater
Fleecy trousers or thermals to wear under your outer trousers and / or a decent pair of mountaineering trousers – usually made from a thickish, water resistant stretchy material.
Gloves, hat, neck warmer or ear warmer. It's worth getting decent waterproof warm ski gloves or mitts. For ice climbing and general mountaineering in snow and ice conditions your gloves need to be flexible enough for you to be able to use your fingers to do things like clip a caribiner but still warm and waterproof. A couple of pairs of fleecy gloves are a good idea as they will get wet. A 'buff' with a fleecy and a material end is good for head and neck as it can fit under your helmet – or alternatively / in addition a thin fleece hat or balaclava is good.
Rucksack to carry spare sweater, waterproofs, packed lunch, water bottle, climbing kit, ice axe, crampons etc and other bits and pieces. Good idea to put a waterproof rucksack liner inside your rucksack.
Good sized water flask or re-usable water bottle. A Platypus or similar water system is also very handy, but beware, they can freeze so an insulated tube is a good idea.
Thermos flask – the metal ones are best as they can't beak when you drop them!
Sun screen and lip salve with sunscreen
Sun glasses - you should make sure they wrap well round your eyes at the sides to protect you from snow glare from the ground
Goggles – for eye protection in snow blizzards
Sun hat or cap for warm winter sunny days.
Duvet jacket - serves as a good lightweight warm jacket for those frosty cold days.
Head torch – essential for those early alpine starts, nights in the igloo or moonlit snowshoe walks!
Gaiters – if your waterproof trousers don’t have snow cuffs, and even if they do, sometimes a pair of gaiters are worth bringing as an extra defence against snow entering your walking boots!
Mountaineering Boots – a decent pair of boots are invaluable but expensive so if you don't already have a pair think about hiring and try a few out before you decide to buy. They need to be rigid enough to take a step in crampon, waterproof, warm and have good grippy soles.
Fleecy gloves - for ice climbing and general mountaineering in snow and ice conditions your gloves need to be flexible enough for you to be able to use your fingers to do things like clip a caribiner but still warm and ideally waterproof, although unless you are buying top of the range waterproof usually equals loss of dexterity. A good compromise is a couple of pairs of fleecy gloves with grips that you can change when they get wet.
Buff or balaclava - 'buff' with a fleecy and a material end is good for head and neck as it can fit under your helmet – or alternatively / in addition a thin fleece hat or balaclava is good.
Sleeping Bag and camping mattress – if you have your own sleeping bag (that goes down to -10) and a good camping mattress (eg thermarest) then it is worth bringing your own. They are available to hire if you don’t have one. Please give us advance notice if you will need to hire them.
Decent Rucksack – for the igloo expedition, you will be carrying quite a lot of equipment, including spade, sleeping bag, camping mattress, food and clothes for the night so will need a good sized rucksack. At least 45 litres with places on the outside to strap things or larger. These are available to hire if you don’t have them.
Camera, spare film or memory card and batteries.
Pen knife – not essential but it is always good to have a decent knife – mainly for picnics! But it can serve as a tool for repair and maintenance.
A small sit mat or bit of old camping mat - not essential but good for a bit of comfort when picnicking in the snow.
Swim suit – please note that boxer short style swimming trunks are not allowed in French pools. Figure hugging sport swimming trunks only.