What is ski touring or ski mountaineering?

These two activities are the same, the term ski mountaineering is simply used to denote ski touring in areas where some mountaineering skills may be required. Whichever name we use, we are talking about travel on skis through hills and mountains. It is a stunning, efficient, fun and exciting way to travel, often getting to more remote areas and allowing you to cover long distances with relative ease.

In areas such as the Alps where there is danger from crevasses and avalanches, there can be occasions where you have to be prepared for crevasse rescue or abseil down a Bergshrund, slope or gully, we refer to this as ski mountaineering. In areas like this, all members of a ski party will wear a climbing harness and an avalanche transceiver and carry a shovel, probe, crampons and axe. It would be normal for one member of the party to be carrying some ice screws and either a short, say 8mm x 30m, length of rope or possibly a full climbing rope.

There are many areas of the world where you can tour without the dangers of crevasses and may not need to abseil, so you can go out touring for a day or multi-day trips with a lighter pack and a smile on your face. In all off piste areas you will still need to observe the avalanche danger. In Scotland you will never fall into a crevasse but people die each winter in avalanches. You just need to think carefully about which kit is required for different types of terrain.

If you are a newcomer to the sport, or keen to improve your skills - then we suggest you sign up on a ski touring course run by our friends at Alpine Guides, who are acknowledged experts in ski touring and ski mountaineering training.


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