1-day SAC/CSL checklist


This course is designed for a variety of wilderness visitors, some learning about sIMG_20140316_132717_109now-hiking in general while others have hiked 700 miles from the Mexican border to attend as they continue to Canada.

This List is to help you quickly compare what you usually carry (or are already carrying) into the backcountry against what we suggest for this 1-day SAC Clinic. The items listed are what we have chosen to use after 36 years of teaching snow-hiking in the Sierra. We prefer reliable performance and durability over lighter weight to assure personal and group safety. We can only suggest that you do the same.

If students choose to bring to class equipment or gear that doesn’t allow them to learn and practice what is being taught, like boots that can’t “edge,” topo maps that don’t have enough detail or scope by which to navigate over snow, a GPS that doesn’t work, or traction devices that roll off their feet on steep inclines, you will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging  that you were informed of these limitations. We will try to work with what you bring, but if it compromises your ability to maintain your safety, we need to document it for liability reasons.

This is not a complete Gear List, but only of those things relevant to this 1-day IMG_1739SAC course.


Boots (traditional leather is best for edging or something tall with stiff edges)

Insoles (like Superfeet or whatever works for you)

2 sets of sock pairs (Smartwool outers with silk liners or whatever works for you)

Traction Devices (Kahtoola is preferred; hiking crampons, then microspikes. No climbing crampons)

Poles & SA device choice:

  1. One lever-lock adjustable pole with snow basket (like the BD Traverse Pole) and
  2. One BD Whippet Self-Arrest (SA) pole


  1. Two lever-lock adjustable poles with snow baskets and
  2. One Ice Axe (like the BD Raven with leash)IMG_3213



Sun Hat (baseball with bandana or other wide-brimmed hat)

Bandanas (for sweating and sun protection)

Gaiters (tall, for snow and leg protection while postholing)

Waterproof, durable shells (jacket with hood and pants for glissade and SA practice)

1 pair waterproof gloves/mittens

Thin glove liners (can go inside outer gloves or worn as sun protection)DSCF0965



Sunscreen (at least SPF 40)

Lip Balm (with sunscreen)

Skin Cream (for dry, cracked skin)



Dark glasses for snow (must fit close to skin, UVA/B & Polarized. Julbo is goodDSC01316)

Colored topo map of the area (for over-snow navigation. Halfmile?)

A GPS unit or app is good (Highly consider the Garmin InReach for this and emergency use)



Sit pad (for sitting on snow)

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