ASK THE MASTER

Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

 

QUESTION: What are the five essentials you should always carry in the mountains?

MARTIN VOLKEN: As a mountain guide, my goals are to keep my clients and myself safe, accomplish the objective and keep everyone reasonably comfortable, so I always pack:

1. Appropriate navigation tools. This could be a map, compass, altimeter, a dedicated GPS and or a downloaded map on your smartphone (take good care of your battery life there!).

2. Communication tools, such as a cell phone, sat phone, Spot locater device or VHF radio.

3. A high quality first- aid kit.

4. A little more fuel than you think for overnight trips.

5. The above items are for incident prevention and emergency preparedness. From here, what you pack depends on the objective, so it is hard for me to be too specific. I did develop a packing system that is bundled in threesomes. It is called the “threesome packing helper,” and is meant to help you not forget anything.

  • Maps, compass, altimeter
  • Shovel, probe , transceiver
  • Skins, ski crampons, repair kit
  • Food, drink, extra layer
  • Bivi bag, first aid, cell phone
  • Under layer, mid layer, outer layer
  • Hat, gloves, goggles
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, sun hat
  • Harness, Ice axe, crampons
  • Rope, Ice screws, rescue-gear kit

  • Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and Martin Volken will supply the answer.


    AMGA Guides' Tips Video Gallery


    As part of its mission to teach the correct fundamentals of climbing, the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) has produced a series of 12 instructional videos. The videos cover a range of necessary climbing techniques from belaying, to rappelling and anchoring.

    Raising Systems - 3:1 Advantage From Belay Plate
    Raising Systems - 3:1 Advantage From Belay Plate
    Friction Hitches - Autoblock, Prusik and Klemheist
    Friction Hitches - Autoblock, Prusik and Klemheist
    Releasing a Loaded Auto-Blocking Belay Plate
    Releasing a Loaded Auto-Blocking Belay Plate
    Top-Managed Belay Sites
    Top-Managed Belay Sites
    How to Make a V-Thread and O-Thread
    How to Make a V-Thread and O-Thread
    How to Build an Ice Anchor
    How to Build an Ice Anchor
    Belayer Positioning for Ice Climbing
    Belayer Positioning for Ice Climbing
    How to Place an Ice Screw
    How to Place an Ice Screw
    Packing For A Day Of Ice Climbing
    Packing For A Day Of Ice Climbing
    How To Sharpen Ice Tools And Crampons
    How To Sharpen Ice Tools And Crampons
    Rappelling: Throwing Ropes
    Rappelling: Throwing Ropes
    Belaying from Above
    Belaying from Above
    Anchors: The Quad
    Anchors: The Quad
    Anchors: Replacing Old Webbing
    Anchors: Replacing Old Webbing
    Lowering from a Loaded Belay Plate
    Lowering from a Loaded Belay Plate
    Belaying: Assist from Above
    Belaying: Assist from Above
    Clove Hitch: Handshake Method
    Clove Hitch: Handshake Method
    Anchors: Three Piece
    Anchors: Three Piece
    Anchors: Two Slings & Three Pieces
    Anchors: Two Slings & Three Pieces
    Rigging A Rappel
    Rigging A Rappel
    Anchors: Cleaning Top Rope Anchors
    Anchors: Cleaning Top Rope Anchors
    Belaying a Lead Climber
    Belaying a Lead Climber
     
     
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