Free Home Tips for everybody who can appreciate them     Your Tip !

Battery    Cloths    Equipment    GPS    Leadership    Luggage    Planning    Safety    Walkie-talkie 

Battery   Up

bulletBattery live reduces noticeable when they are cold. 
For a second win, heat up your battery!

Rechargeable batteries (Ni-MH) can contain more energy for every gram you have to carry.
The latest AA batteries can give 2300 mAh. 
Especially when you need several batteries, for example to energies your GPS or electronic compass for a week, you can reduce some extra weight (about 25g/battery).

bulletRechargeable batteries do lose their energy in time. 
For optimum benefit it is best to charge a battery as late as possible.
bulletA GPS consumes al lot of battery power. 
You can reduce this by switching off the backlight
(The E-trex models of Garmin have the disadvantage that you can easily switch it on by by pressing the on/off button for a short while).
A compass function on a GPS is also a power consumer. 
It is better to switch it off when you don’t really need it.
bulletTo protect your batteries against short circuit due to moisture, wrap your batteries in plastic foil.
This is light weighted and you can easily determine which battery has already been used.

Due to low temperature and intensive use, the battery of your altitude meter (watch) might give it up during your tour. 
So consider to replace the battery before you start the tour.

Cloths   Up


Gloves on, gloves off, put it away, take them back again, gloves on, ….
Getting tired? Consider a elastic band around your wrist. 


It is important to have dry shoos in the morning. 
Your inner shoo will dry better when you take out the insole and put them both in front of the stove. 
Once your are in the hut, wear slippers instead of your inner shoos so they have time enough to dry completely.


When you wear gloves you are still able to use your fingers. Mitten instead provide the best insulation. The combination is ideal. Your fingers won’t frees immediately when you have to take of a mitt

Equipment   Up

bulletRepair everything once you are back home. 
Don’t wait until your next tour, you might forget what was wrong with your equipment. 
bulletCheck your crampons, do the fit under your (new) ski boots!  
bulletNo firm hold when you have to take your ski pole below the handle?
Consider to entwine your pole with tape.
bulletSkins, Shaped or Straight, that's the question.
There are two schools of thought on the selection and fit of Climbing Skins, Shaped and Straight.
Shaped: This will provide you optimum grip.
Straight: This skin will set-up lighter, glides better and eliminates the possibility of contaminating expose glue when storing skins. Straight skins are also easer to fold for packing and storage and their weight is less.

GPS   Up

bulletFor creating your custom waypoint symbols, go to the Garmin website en download xImage (freeware).
bullet Downloading a copy of the current GPS display as a bitmap is possible with G7ToWin and xImage (for those units which support it). Both are freeware.
bulletTo benefit from the latest GPS firmware, check for new version on the site of your GPS supplier.

Leadership   Up

bulletIt is important to have a agreement about the decision process before you start your tour. 
When (some) group members are equal in experience and/or knowledge it might be a good idea to circulate the role of leadership. 
The leader of the day can consult other group members but (s)he will make the final decisions. 
Other “leaders” still have a right of veto in case of a conflict. 
bulletMake sure your companions are well-equipped and that everyone knows what the plan for the day is. Don't allow your group to split up and never leave someone on his/her own (if one person turns back alone, the remainder of the group will have to spend the rest of the day worrying about whether the person has made it back OK). Travel at the speed of the slowest or least fit person - pushing someone to go faster will only create problems later in the day when fatigue causes mistakes or slips.
bulletA common contributory cause of accidents is disparity within groups - different aspirations and abilities can lead to poor decision making on the hill. Going into the hills alone is generally more serious than going with a group and requires experience and judgement gained from trips made in the company of others and this is particularly true in winter.
bulletWhen you are not familiar with the group, a good walking speed to start with is 50 steps/minute.

Luggage   Up

bulletTravel light!
bulletBefore you start. Check the luggage of the group before you start your tour to avoid any redundant or unnecessary item. 
Try to avoid overloading of any group member by selective distribution of  the items needed for the whole group.
bulletWhen you return home.
In case your backpack was a bit heavy.
Consider, while you unpack, which items is really necessary and which not. 
Don’t forget or update your packing list but leave it home next time!
bulletPut one big refuse bag in your backpack before you pack it. 
This insures that everything in you backpack will stay dray. 
When you go out for a day tour, you can use the refuse bag to store the items you would like to leaf in the hut.

Safety   Up

bulletProgram all the important telephone numbers (avalanche bulleting, weather forecast, huts, …) in you mobile phone.  
bulletCheck the telephone numbers for weather and avalanche information before you leave. Check that they provide detailed information about the area of your interest.
bulletIn case somebody has fallen into a crevasse, the rescue team needs a Compressor and a tripod. When you have radio contact inform them immediately by saying:  ”Spaltenunfall, bitte Kompressor und Dreibein mitfuhren!”.

In case you do like the Auto-Reverse System of the Tracker DTS avalanche bacon, you have to know that this option must be activated each time you replace the battery. How, the operation instruction gives you the following information:
At start-up, the user can engage the Tracker’s auto-reverse safety feature by pressing the option butt “SP” while pressing and turning the on/off switch. With auto-revert engaged, the Tracker will revert to transmit mode after five minutes in search mode.

If auto-revert is engaged, “Ar” will be shown in the power display after the diagnostic testing. If auto-revert is not engaged, “nr” will be displayed.
If auto-revert has been engaged, then after five minutes in search mode, an alarm will sound for ten seconds and “Ar” will flash repeatedly in the distance indicator. To remain in search mode, press the search/transmit button or the option button at any time during the ten-seconds alarm period. If ten seconds elapses, “tr” will appear and the Tracker will revert to transmit mode.
If auto-revert is not engaged, the Tracker will sound a short alarm every ten minutes to remind the user that he or she is in search mode.
Regardless of the option chosen, the Tracker will always revert to transmit mode if the search/transmit button is depressed for more than two seconds.


Some Ski poles models (from Leki for example) can be converted into an avalanche probe. 
The disadvantage is the limited length and it takes time to connect the two poles together and to remove the tip.
The advantage is that you will have an (extra) avalanche probe at all time without carrying extra weight. 


Leaving information about the day's plans is widely regarded as good practice. The effectiveness of the voluntary mountain rescue teams is greatly facilitated if a reasonably accurate description of a mountaineer's plans is available. It is important to remember that mountaineers do not have a right to be rescued and that their safety is not ultimately guaranteed by the emergency services. A late return, a benightment or a forced bivouac are all situations for which mountaineers should be prepared, and which do not necessarily justify alerting the voluntary mountain rescue services. Mountaineers should be independent, self-reliant and able to look after themselves.

The details to leave in a note are:- time of departure, number of people in the party, brief description of the intended route (with sufficient details that would allow someone else to follow the route) and the expected time of return. Include any possible alternative routes (i.e. your tour plan). Details of the action required by the person with whom the note has been left should also be provided. The note should be left with friends, hotel or guest house proprietor, the Police or some other responsible person.

It is absolutely essential that you inform the note holder of your safe return at the end of your trip - otherwise the voluntary mountain rescue services may be alerted unnecessarily. Mobile phones can be useful but it is not always possible to get a signal. Mobiles phones are no substitute for planning and preparation.


For a calm and controlled descend you might consider to leave your climbing skins on. This might be useful when the snow is difficult to ski or when you have not enough space control you speed (for example when ski down a mountain road).


By highlighting the most important spots (like huts or emergency phones) on a map with a marker, you might avoid unnecessary searching or overlooking this information.


A simple lightweight isolating sitting mat can be very convenient in case of a unwanted stay in, for example, a rescue shelter.

Planning   Up

bulletDue to weather or avalanche conditions it might be necessary to consider an alternative tour. This decision is easier to make in case you prepared an alternative tour as well. It avoids taking unnecessary risk by continuing your tour or starting unprepared with an alternative tour. When this alternative tour is located in a part of the alps with a different climate it is more likely that the conditions will be better over there. You can use one of the Tour plans, offered by this site, as an alternative.
bulletWhen you go out for a week, you might have several maps with you.  On the 1:50.000 map you can write the corresponding 1:25.000 map numbers for ease in finding the right map. On the rim of the 1:25.000 map you can write the number of the map connecting to it.
bulletLong toenails might hurt while you are walking. So don’t forget to cut them before you leave.  
bullet Consider how to print your Tour plan and how to bind the pages.
Printing two pages on one sheet and printing both sites of a sheet will reduce the weight.
Bind your Tour plan in a way that you can take out the pages. This will allow you to remove pages you won’t need during the tour (for example the information about hotels and local transport).
During the day you have to verify your Route plan. For easy access it is good to put the sheets with the necessary information in your pocket. Try to print this information in a way that you can read it without constantly turning the pages.
bulletWith OziExplorer you are able to view your scanned map in three dimensions. This is done by combining your two dimensional map with a three dimensional grid of that area. You can download a grid for most parts of the world. For more information see
A three dimensional presentation is useful in getting a better impression about the landscape. You can recognize the tracks with higher avalanche risk by looking at the steepness and the shade.
bulletEspecially in Switzerland, the unguarded huts do have a telephone that do allow incoming calls but no outgoing calls (except an emergency call). If you want to stay in contact with someone, give him/her the telephone number of the hut. When it is possible you can inform this person that you (will) be there by sending a SMS. This will spares the battery power of your GMS for emergency cases.

Walkie-Talkie   Up

bullet From autumn 1997 on, Switzerland has one emergency channel: 161.300. You have to "open" in by a ZVEI five tone (send - wait - REGA initiates contact). For more information about upgrading your walkie-talkie with this code: get in contact
The SAC channel (159.200) is also often used in case of emergency.
bulletIn the western part of Wallis you have, most of the time, a good connection with Televerbier because of the high altitude of the ski station on the mt. Fort (154.500). You can use the police channel (***,***) for the rest of Wallis. The police relay on the Eggishorn gives coverage on the Aletsch gletscher.
bulletOn the Italian site of the mt. Rosa massif you can reach the guardians of the Theodul-, the Ayas-, the Sella- and the Mantova hut. In wintertime, you can not expect a guardian in The mt. Rosa hut.  
bulletDuring the winter in the Ecrins, you can't expect the presence of a guardian in any hut. A relay is not available so you need to have eye contact with civilization.
bulletInform, also in Italia and Austria, about their radio. Do they have it on the whole day!