The Heli-Ski Blog

Wonder what CMH Ski Guides carry in their packs?

Posted by Topher Donahue on Jan 3, 2011 9:03:00 AM

Adamants guidepack

Back in the early days of heliskiing, the guide pack sometimes included a bottle of wine to share at lunch, skins for ski touring because the early guides were not confident that the helicopter would really be able to return, and other heavy gear that made the whole profession harder on the knees and backs of the ski guides.

Today, the CMH guide pack is much lighter and more streamlined - and don’t bother looking for that bottle of wine from 1969.  For a view into the guide pack, I tracked down Erich Unterberger, the Manager of Guiding Operations for CMH, who took the time between a few days of guiding in the Monashees to share with us the guts of the guide pack:

"The guide pack got a bit lighter over the years with newer materials being used for lots of our tools. But essentially, the contents are not much different from what we used a quarter century ago when I first started with CMH."

  • The shovel and probe only weigh a fraction of the first generation of their kind.
  • The rope kit (for crevasse or cliff rescue scenarios) is small and still very strong.
  • The headlamp is another tool that is much smaller and still provides better function than the older versions.
  • Some guides use their probes as the ruler for the snow observation kit. The other Snow Observation tools remain the same. 
Guide's Pack Contents:    

    1 medical kit
    1 headlamp or light
    1 improvised splinting materials
    1 collapsible avalanche probe
    1 snow shovel
    1 bivouac bag
    1 jacket
    1 pair of spare gloves
    1 warm hat
    1 multi-purpose tool
    1 metal container for melting snow
    1 altimeter
    1 compass
    1 bush saw
    1 snow observation kit:     
        - folding ruler
        - crystal screen
        - magnifying glass
        - field book, waterproof
        - thermometer
        - pencil
    1 rope kit:  may be carried separately    
        1  min. 25m / 8-9mm rope or equivalent
        2  locking carabiners
        2  carabiners
        3  5m slings

Photo of Erich Unterberger and his guide pack getting up to speed in the CMH Adamants by Topher Donahue.

Topics: CMH Monashees, CMH Guides, Gear, Guides, Adamants