Splitboarding is one of the most enjoyable yet demanding aspects of snowboarding for me. The weird thing is the enjoyment is not just about the riding. Although you get to hit some epic untouched terrain in some beautiful places, its more about the physical and mental challenge of making it up to a big peak.
The pay off is the satisfaction of completing something that on the face of it looked too tough. Yet during the challenge you get some proper personal time to clear your mind and enjoy your surroundings. You’re away from the crowds, noisy lifts, queues and sharing something special with a few mates.
if you make some simple clothing mistakes it can result in you sweating to death, missing everything around you praying for it to end.
..if you make some simple clothing mistakes it can result in you sweating to death, missing everything around you praying for it to end.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to be suitably kitted out, you just need to make some sensible choices that revolve around technical layering.
When you’re hiking for a number of hours in varied terrain and conditions your body temperature is going to fluctuate. You’ll be hot on the hikes and chilly on the descents and the change overs. You’ll want clothing that has the options for both venting and insulation to give you the best possible protection and temperature regulation.
You’ll not want to be wearing any impact protection. It will make movement hard and just add extra thermal layers that you’ll not need. You’re feet are going to get hot. I find that merino socks will keep my feet a bit colder and manage my temperature a little better. I go for a more padded sock to give me a bit of extra cushioning, as I’ll be walking for sometime.
With thermal bottoms I wear 3/4 length 185g/m2 Ortovox Merino Short Pant. They’re great as they stop just short of the boot, so do not add an extra layer within the boot.
Big and baggy pants will hinder your walking and make things way more effort. You’ll want to choose a mid weight pant regular fit pant, with some useful pockets and most importantly some zip venting. You don’t not need to go mega technical. I commonly wear a pair of Thirty Two Basement Pants. They’re only 8k waterproofing and 8k breathability, yet they do the job without being too heavy and bulky with extra thermal liners.
This is where you need to spend some time looking for the right items at the right price. Merino wool works really well at wicking sweat and keeping you cool, but it will cost you a lot of cash if you rush into buying them. Keep an eye on Sport Pursuit or ebay for two key items.
Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 g/m2 Long Sleeve Crew (base layer) plus a Sierra Long Sleeve Zip (mid layer). I find these two items will cover a lot of your temperature management needs.
If you do not go technical with your upper body and stick with traditional cotton based t-shirts or a lot of unnatural fibres you will end up sweating a lot more than you need
If you do not go technical with your upper body and stick with traditional cotton based t-shirts or a lot of unnatural fibres you will end up sweating a lot more than you need, as the fabrics will not wick away the moisture as well as a wool based garment. If you’re hiking and the temperature starts to climb, then you’ll be adding to your fatigue as your body struggles to regulate its temperature.
For a jacket I go with something that is windproof and like my snowboard pants, not too baggy.
For a jacket I go with something that is windproof and like my snowboard pants, not too baggy. You’ll most likely only be wearing the jacket whilst snowboarding or if the weather starts to deteriorate. To that extent you’ll want something that can be put in a rucksack out of the way and is not very bulky. For this season I’ll most likely be using a Thirty Two Kaldwell Jacket for hotter days and boosting up to my Thirty Two Truman Jacket (similar to the Blythe) if things are expected to get a bit colder.
Sunglasses are a must whilst hiking. Goggles will get steamed up quickly, and you’ll probably not want to be wearing a beanie after around 15 minutes of hiking.
Sunglasses are a must whilst hiking. Goggles will get steamed up quickly.
Lightweight gloves will help. I use a pair of x military leather desert camo gloves. They are lightweight, comfortable and only cost around £10 from most surplus stores or ebay.
You’ll most likely be hanging out in the sun for a number of hours so you might want a bandanna to cover your face and neck. It will also help keep the wind off your face if the conditions start to change.
With that in mind, keep your suncream or water in easy reach. Quite often mountain guides will not be stopping much. You’ll want to be able to top up your protection of fluids on the move. Mini snacks kept in easy reach will also be a bonus.
Keep your suncream or water in easy reach. Quite often mountain guides will not be stopping.
It’s a tough call in relation to helmets. I only wear them when riding. They’re bulking items, but once you start riding you’ll want to be covered. Rocks and other hazards can be just under the snows surface. As you can see from below, you can fall when you least expect it.