Clothing and Extra Clothing

Crampons (for trips that require them)

Some folks recommended that your first pair of crampons be aluminum and field adjustable (without tools) with universal bindings to allow their use on boots or approach shoes.  Deeper crampon teeth are also worthwhile on aluminum crampons as aluminum wears faster (deeper teeth also help you reach ice when it’s under a few inches of soft snow).   These Stubai Ultralights are one example of crampons with these characteristics and have lasted 5 years for some folks.  You might want to postpone the purchase of anti-balling plates until after you’ve learned the technique for avoiding snow balling up on your crampons. You can always buy them later, avoiding them helps reduce weight, and you should learn the technique anyway as anti-balling plates sometimes don’t work.

Snowshoes (for trips that require them)

A key difference between snowshoes are those with flexible decks (as found in the MSR Lightning Ascent), and those with rigid decks (as found in the MSR Evo Ascent).  When breaking trail downhill where the snow has a crust some folks find that the rigid decks are preferable since you can apply more force to the rear of the snowshoe to break through the crust.  Some folks opt to rent snowshoes before deciding which type to buy.  This can be a zero additional cost approach if the store lets you apply the rental cost to the purchase price.

Crevasse Rescue Pulley (for trips that require them)

There are two kinds of rescue pulleys, those that are designed for crevasse rescue (which means good self tending characteristics), and those that aren’t.  Self tending pulleys have ‘just the right’ width as well as a square shoulder (not round) where the prusik knot first touches the pulley which prevents the prusik knot from being sucked into the pulley.  Other desirable characteristics are low weight and low cost.  This SMC Crevasse Rescue Pulley is my favorite as it achieves all of these design goals.  Some folks frequently carry two of these (owing to their low weight and cost) for use on crevasse rescues as well as rock rescues.