Japan Slackcountry Gear Checklist - What's in yours?

Undies

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Given there's a lot of folks heading out the gates these days, how about some of the regulars/experienced folks put up a list of what they consider to be sensible gear for wandering off the main trails.

Do you pack a whole bunch of heat? Or do you think gear is for sissies/unnecessary?

*******************************************

Given that there was some valuable advice in this thread, let's pop some of it in the front here.


Thinking about heading out the gates at a Japanese resort this year?

Here is a list of simple things that are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you intend to ski safe and come back with great stories to share over beers in years to come.

1. Knowledge

As you head out the gates you are now at much greater risk from obstacles, unmarked hazzards (glide cracks, cliffs, etc), and especially avalanches. If you and your mates have not undertaken some learning on how to identify and mitigate these risks, you are placing yourselves and others in potential danger.

* Read through this thread and pay particular attention to the posts from the likes of Damian, Carveman, Draizuh, etc.
* Book yourself into an avalanche/snow skills course when you get to Japan (you will find guides in many resort towns who can offer guiding/education packages).
* Read the links in this thread that go to helpful sites with backcountry information.
* Read books like Bruce Tremper's: Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain (it's better than the in-flight entertainment on your Jetstar flight anyway)


2. Gear

The following should be your standard pack/minimum. Some people choose to take more. See the rest of the thread for details.

Beacon/Trasceiver
Shovel
Probe
First-aid kit (including space blanket/bivvy bag)
Food
Water
Some way of communicating with the outside world (no 2-way radios in Japan though, so bring yer phone)
Spare warm clothing (jacket, gloves, face-mask, etc)
Whistle
Multi-tool/spares
Map/compass/GPS


3. Mates

* Do not go out the gates alone.
* Make sure your mates bring the above gear and knowledge as well - it's pointless having only one of you decked out. If your mates are unable/unwilling, it is your job to educate them. Or find new mates.


Summary

If you're heading for the first time to Japan it's perfectly understandable that you want to get out the gates and into some of the incredible snow experiences that we keep seeing in magazines, videos, and youtube punter clips. But as the experts here have said, it's important to remember that going out the gates is a whole new world of dangers that we typically aren't exposed to in Australia. Accept the fact that you know nothing and need to learn before jumping into that world.

As has been said in this thread, the most important thing isn't that awesome run you might have, it's coming back in one piece and being able to talk about it over a beer or 2.
 
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smackies

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Even though I think undies is being a twat with this question, the serious answer is:

Slackcountry = backcountry.

Approach it accordingly.
 

gibbsy

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I think still take the bong. If you get rid of the peeps, shovel and probe and the space blanket/bivvy you'll find that the weight balances out nicely, with even enough room for extra snickers, which you're gonna need if you take the bong
 

Undies

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Don't forget the box of Ansells. I hear those Japanese chicks swarm all over you any chance they get.
 

Undies

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smackies said:
Even though I think undies is being a twat with this question, the serious answer is:

Slackcountry = backcountry.

Approach it accordingly.

And if we're going to be grown up for a minute: yes, this.

Given there's likely to be a whole new bunch of kids taking their first Jetstar flight this season so that they can charge head-first into the halls of fame with their own Go-Pro clip of sidecountry epicness, perhaps a couple of sensible posts wouldn't go astray. Sigh.
 
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smackies

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If by Japanese chicks you mean Scandi dudes... then yes.

Verm told me so.
 

Angus_McCrory

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Take it as a serious question; I'm considering leaving my usual travelling alpine gear at home and taking the DPS Wailer 105 and Dynafit boots. Pow and off piste means beacon, probe. shovel. Don't own a GoPro or do-rag and dont drink Red Bull.
 
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CarveMan

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Undies said:
smackies said:
Even though I think undies is being a twat with this question, the serious answer is:

Slackcountry = backcountry.

Approach it accordingly.

And if we're going to be grown up for a minute: yes, this.

Given there's likely to be a whole new bunch of kids taking their first Jetstar flight this season so that they can charge head-first into the halls of fame with their own Go-Pro clip of sidecountry epicness, perhaps a couple of sensible posts wouldn't go astray. Sigh.

OK serious mode.

Beacon/Shovel/Probe. Duh.
For Japan I'd seriously consider an Avalung
First Aid Kit inc Space Blanket. Some carry a bivvy bag
Spare Gloves
Compressible Down Jacket.
Food
Water
Multi-tool / binding spares / voile straps
Comms device of some description (phone, radio, epirb etc)
Paper map, Compass, GPS (in that order)
 
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smackies

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Pretty sure all of that can be replaced with duct tape.

And to save room in your backpack, you could just duct tape your snickers to your arms/legs/torso.
 

dawooduck

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I dunno how we ever coped back in the day ... because that's over an airfare cost of gear before you even leave home ...

laugh.gif
.... the blokes I am going to Rusutsu with in Feb are trying to justify buying phat skis .... and they have a gazillion hours on skis

Sensible post is ... be sensible and do an avi course before you buy the gear.
 
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Snorkler

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CarveMan said:
Undies said:
smackies said:
Even though I think undies is being a twat with this question, the serious answer is:

Slackcountry = backcountry.

Approach it accordingly.

And if we're going to be grown up for a minute: yes, this.

Given there's likely to be a whole new bunch of kids taking their first Jetstar flight this season so that they can charge head-first into the halls of fame with their own Go-Pro clip of sidecountry epicness, perhaps a couple of sensible posts wouldn't go astray. Sigh.

OK serious mode.

Beacon/Shovel/Probe. Duh.
For Japan I'd seriously consider an Avalung
First Aid Kit inc Space Blanket. Some carry a bivvy bag
Spare Gloves
Compressible Down Jacket.
Food
Water
Multi-tool / binding spares / voile straps
Comms device of some description (phone, radio, epirb etc)
Paper map, Compass, GPS (in that order)

I would add

Mate who has
Beacon/Shovel/Probe.
Experience using the above
First Aid Kit inc Space Blanket. Some carry a bivvy bag
 
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M_G

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Gave me an excellent larf, this did.
rofl.gif


But seriously.

1) Some serious advice from serious slackcountry/backcountry folk - a course even better.
2) A partner who knows what they are doing
3) The right gear for the right conditions. Don't go overboard.
4) 2 Crunky bars
 
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Jamesc

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Beacon, Shovel, Probe
Space Blanket
Bog Roll
Drink Of some sorts (i like a few cans of boss rainbow)
Crunky
Black Thunder
Morning Thunder
 

piolet

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smackies said:
Even though I think undies is being a twat with this question, the serious answer is:

Slackcountry = backcountry.

Approach it accordingly.
gibbsy said:
I think still take the bong. If you get rid of the peeps, shovel and probe and the space blanket/bivvy you'll find that the weight balances out nicely, with even enough room for extra snickers, which you're gonna need if you take the bong

Since smackies is right, being BC a Ti bong would be the go.
Never knew verm was a weight weenie
 
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Vermillion

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TJ said:
If you are takin the tickets then take the tube too. Don't you be laying any Nippon cables around these parts.

Tube is not so convenient for the chocolate shotgun. For the standard cable though i'll agree, clean up your dump.
 
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Cryin_boris

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So in all seriousness, I've got no avalanche experience, but my intuition tells me that if you get buried, your chances are shit, no matter how much gear you and your buddy have.

If he/she is below you and has to hike pow to get to you, if he/she doesn't see exactly where you end up and has to use beacon/probes to find you, if you are so deep he/she needs to break out the shovel to get you out... All bad signs. So to me, going into the bc has risks. Carrying a grand of gear reduces that risk by not very much at all. Indeed it might even make you falsely confident.

My experience in us and canadian bc is the biggest risk is cliffing out. Know the terrain. Japan is obviously different, and by no means do i want to discourage people from being safe, but if you are on a short holiday during which you'll take less than ten trips into the bc, buying avi gear is doing little more than feeding your ego about what a core pro you are. Hence the largely tongue in cheek responses to this thread.

Anyone agree or am I way off?

Obviously if you are a doing dozens of bc days a season his post is not for you.
 

Angus_McCrory

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Whatever, go knock yourself out and/or bury yourself, but please put up a sign saying if buried dont bother looking.
 
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smitty484

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Cryin_boris said:
So in all seriousness, I've got no avalanche experience, but my intuition tells me that if you get buried, your chances are shit, no matter how much gear you and your buddy have.

If he/she is below you and has to hike pow to get to you, if he/she doesn't see exactly where you end up and has to use beacon/probes to find you, if you are so deep he/she needs to break out the shovel to get you out... All bad signs. So to me, going into the bc has risks. Carrying a grand of gear reduces that risk by not very much at all. Indeed it might even make you falsely confident.

My experience in us and canadian bc is the biggest risk is cliffing out. Know the terrain. Japan is obviously different, and by no means do i want to discourage people from being safe, but if you are on a short holiday during which you'll take less than ten trips into the bc, buying avi gear is doing little more than feeding your ego about what a core pro you are. Hence the largely tongue in cheek responses to this thread.

Anyone agree or am I way off?

Obviously if you are a doing dozens of bc days a season his post is not for you.

hahaha ok whos alias is this? pls own up
 
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Cryin_boris

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Angus_McCrory said:
Whatever, go knock yourself out and/or bury yourself, but please put up a sign saying if buried dont bother looking.

That's just the point. Who's looking? How many people saw you go down and how long till they can get you out? 20mins? 30mins?

I dunno, like I said I don't know shit. But id love to hear from anyone who has actually been involved in a rescue, cos I've talked to plenty with gear, but none who've used it.
 
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smitty484

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the amount of skilled people looking down the hill for you is entirely up to you.

you should have stopped here.
Cryin_boris said:
I don't know shit.

on the flip side, if you are genuinely interested about BC safety, plenty of people around here to assist your quest.
 
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tbnext

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All a bit flippant. No one would ever leave the resort if they read this. Courses are great they will help you mitigate your risk. That gnarly line is an accident waiting to happen. But has been pointed out it's not what you are carrying, it's your mate. Know what to do and how to use it. But the uplifting side is if you do get caught in an avi you have around a 20-30% chance if dying from an injury.

So backcountry skiing is risky. The best thing you can do is not ski on high risk days and slopes.
 

Cryin_boris

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Btw I'm not trolling. I just think most punters don't need AVI gear. If you think im wrong tell me why. No need to get pantsy.
 

tbnext

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I think your wrong. Why would the average punter not need it? If I understand who you are defining they are possibly more at risk and likely to have the benefit of a group go find them.
 

Cryin_boris

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Because the average punter goes where a million other average punters have gone before. He probably went through an open gate, to an easily accessed slack where avalanche risk is low. If he ducked a rope on a high risk day then he's an idiot and there's probably noone around to help but his idiot mate who ducked with him.

If he's on a properly prepared serious bc expedition he's not your average punter.
 

CarveMan

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Cryin_boris said:
Because the average punter goes where a million other average punters have gone before. He probably went through an open gate, to an easily accessed slack where avalanche risk is low. If he ducked a rope on a high risk day then he's an idiot and there's probably noone around to help but his idiot mate who ducked with him.

If he's on a properly prepared serious bc expedition he's not your average punter.

That there is the main danger of this word 'slackcountry' - it's trying to introduce an element of grey into an equation that is entirely black and white. You're either in bounds and protected, or in the backcountry and un protected. There is no such thing as slackcountry from an avalanche POV. Avalanches don't care how close you are to the ropes or the lifts.

Go do some research on the human factors and heuristic traps - very interesting part of avalanche avoidance. Human behaviour is as much a factor as the hard science.

http://avtrainingadmin.org/pubs/mccammonhtraps.pdf
 
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tbnext

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I'm not sure you've actually been to these places. Most have a massive sign in the gate. I and rover tore a new one to our shit hot 16 yo skier who ducked a rope. He skied his whole life at hotham, is awesome and invincible. But he got it in one tearing. It's not hotham, it's metres of snowpack and around 39?degrees. He got it-Why can't you?
 

Stratus

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Cryin_boris said:
If he ducked a rope on a high risk day then he's an idiot and there's probably noone around to help but his idiot mate who ducked with him.

...Who both have a better chance if equipped with Avi, Beacon and Shovel in the case of a slide. Idiot or not.

A life is a life. How you can be so ignorant is beyond me.
 
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