Doug Chatten, Professional Ski Patroller and Mont Ambassador, has had plenty of experience when it comes to on-snow camping. Read on for his guide to a comfortable night on the slopes.
My preferred style of overnight ski touring is combining gear & clothing in a lightweight minimalistic sleeping system so I’m not wasting energy on the approach. I like to head for the steeps where I can ski & climb & give the Mont team some real product feedback.
When bivvying on the steeps I fashion a dog box; a pit across the slope which keeps me arrested particularly in icy conditions. A wind spine amongst some good rock anchors on a steep slope makes a good site. At one end I have a foot well with a bench in front so I can sit up, get organised & cook. It adds a new dimension to ski in ski out accommodation & provides for some spectacular sunsets. A Helium sleeping bag and Warmlite sleeping mat under the open sky provides adequate comfort & warmth.
The following is a clothing list for a mid-winter trip, from this I have choices to regulate my sleeping system by how much I wear at night
Travelling light doesn’t provide the sanctuary of a base camp, is reliant on suitable weather conditions, a disciplined approach, quality gear and clothing, keeping busy, being fit, fuelled up, hydrated & maintaining a realistic schedule. If any of these factors are missing you need to reschedule or fatten up your kit! If one thing’s for sure I never compromise on the quality of my gear, that’s why I choose Mont.
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Open Now: The Mont Backcountry Shop at 20 Pirie Street Fyshwick, adjoined to the Mont Shop at 18 Pirie Street. For those who don't call Canberra home, that's one minute off the highway with free and easy parking right outside.
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Doug Chatten, director and lead-guide at Snowy Mountains Backcountry (SMBC), has been skiing the Main Range for over 30 years, using our gear for 25 years, and working in the NSW Snowy Mountains professionally for 20 years.This year
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