Gearing Up for Big Days in the Mountains (Ep.50)

Last Saturday, Sam Shaheen skied three different lines in one day on the Colorado 14er, Torrey’s Peak. So Jonathan Ellsworth sat down with Sam to discuss the details of this “Torrey’s Peak Triple Crown”; the ‘D-Scale’ of rating ski descents; the gear, apparel, and food he used on the mountain; and the safety and decision-making process throughout the day.

We’ve also included at the bottom of this post a complete list of the gear, apparel, and food that Sam used on the day.

Sam Shaheen discusses how to gear up for big days in the mountains on Blister's GEAR:30 Podcast


  • The Torrey’s Peak Triple Crown (1:03)
  • The ‘D-Scale’ in ski mountaineering (3:45)
  • Sam’s pick for skis (14:04)
  • Bindings (18:00)
  • Skins (19:40)
  • Poles (20:53)
  • Pack (21:20)
  • Apparel (22:39)
  • Food (27:04)
  • The avalanche forecast vs. Sam’s decision making that day (33:10)

Listen to GEAR:30 on Your Favorite Podcast Player:

Gear list:
G3 FINDr 102, 179 cm
G3 ZED binding with 100 mm brakes
G3 Alpinist+ Glide skins
Scarpa Maestrale RS boots
Black Diamond Expedition 1 poles
Petzl Meteor helmet
Sungod Pacebreakers sunglasses
Arcteryx Alpha SK32 pack
BCA Tracker DTS + harness
Ortovox Pro Lite 2.1 shovel
Ortovox Alu 240 PFA probe
Small repair + first aid kit

Apparel list:
Thin (~120 wt) wool short sleeve crew baselayer
Point 6 midweight merino sock
Patagonia R1 Tech Face Pullover
Patagonia Micro Puff
Patagonia Knifeblade pant
Outdoortech Yowie
The North Face Gore CloseFit Tricot Gloves
G3 Touring Cap
G3 Merino Toque
Flylow Ridge glove

Food list (that was eaten):
½ pound of cooked bacon
Justin’s Peanut butter packets (2x)
Lenny & Larry’s the Complete Cookie (½)
Bobo’s Nut Butter stuffed bar
GU Strawberry Energy Chews (1 pack)

13 comments on “Gearing Up for Big Days in the Mountains (Ep.50)”

    • Hey Luke,

      BCA used to have a great app for skiers, but it has been discontinued. I use the built-in “Measure” app on my iPhone, but there are other apps available that offer more features — though I’m not sure there is a ski specific one on the market right now.

      • Just listened to this, great discussion as always! But, there was one thing I would like to hear more. What and how much you drank during that day? Fluids are heavy, but on a hot, long and demanding day you need to drink quite much. How did you approach that dilemma?

        • Hey Mikko,

          Both my partner and I brought a single liter of water each, but we also brought a small stove to melt snow (the weight of the stove + fuel is less than a 1/2 liter of water). In total, I only drank about 1.5 liters of water on the day. My partner drank closer to 2 liters. Most of the day we were moving slow and steady (very much “zone 1”) and not getting super high heart rates or much perspiration.

          Overall, I think I would have felt better if I both drank more water and ate more food, but that’s pretty much how I feel after most big days.

          Hope that helps!

    • Hey Jacob, hope things are good!

      Yeah, I would usually ski a 184 cm FINDr 102 for most days in the mountains, but the 179 cm version is what we have available to test. In most ski mountaineering situations, I think the 179 cm would work just fine for me. I wasn’t really wishing for much more stability or top end from the 179.

  1. On the “French scale” this is just if you bother to buckle your boots or just leave them open flapping in the wind.

  2. Just listened to this today. Liked the discussion and learned a lot, really good to get this kind of insight, particularly as someone who has not done something like that (yet). However, the highlight for me was definitely listening to the two of you talking about bonking (I assume I heard that right?!) Just to let you know that in the UK bonking is slang for the act of sexual congress. So when Sam said something like ‘neither me or my partner bonked’ I was quite perplexed – how would you have had the time or inclination on such a challenging day, or maybe it was part of the Triple Crown objective????

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