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Chile - Ski Mountaineering

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $4000
    Deposit
    $900
    Duration
    13 days
    Difficulty
    Level 2
    Type
    Skiing
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Chile - Ski Mountaineering

Chile - Ski Mountaineering

The volcanoes of Southern Chile's Araucania Region offer countless ski mountaineering possibilities. Our thirteen day ski mountaineering expedition takes full advantage of this incredible terrrain with multiple ski descents from four Chilean peaks.

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Climb and ski four Andean volcanoes in less than two weeks: Volcán Lonquimay (9,400' | 2,865m), Volcán Llaima (10,253' | 3,125m), Volcán Villarica (9,341' | 2,847m), and Volcán Osorno (8,701' | 2,652m)!
  • Build your ski mountaineering experience with instruction and practice on fun and challenging terrain.
  • Experience the beautiful landscapes and welcoming culture of Southern Chile.
  • Our stays in comfortable Chilean lodges combined with two multi-day ascents make this trip a truly unique experience of comfort and ski mountaineering!

Beginning in Temuco, Chile, our expedition first heads to the lower slopes of the Volcán Lonquimay to the Corralco Ski Center where we spend the day skiing in the backcountry to revive our legs after two days of travel and review ski mountaineering techniques. Volcán Lonquimay is our first skiing objective and offers incredible views of at least eight other volcanoes from the summit! The mountain towers above the small village of Malalcahuello and features some of the best ski mountaineering in the region, including a sustained 35° descent right off the summit.

Next we set off for a two-day ascent of Volcán Llaima, one of the most visually stunning peaks of the Southern Chilean volcanoes. We climb and ski the imposing northeastern shoulder of Llaima, and incredible route that sees fewer ascents than the shorter western route. Llaima means "Reawakened One" in the local Mapuche language; a reminder that it last erupted in 2009!

After Llaima we head south to the beautiful resort town of Pucon for our next objective, Volcán Villarica. This volcano's classic conical shape towers above Pucon and is one of only five volcanoes in the world with an active lava lake in the crater! Similar to Lonquimay, we climb and ski Villarica with daypacks, covering 5,300 vertical feet ending at the ski area on the lower flanks.

The skiing objectives of this expedition provide significant mountaineering challenge, considerable vertical relief, and the unforgettable experience of long ski descents from four picturesque volcanoes!

Said to resemble Japan's Mt. Fiji, Volcán Osorno is our final objective of the trip and equally as stunning as the other three volcanoes now under our ski mountaineering belts. Standing over Lake Llanquihue, Osorno provides an epic ski descent for us and rounds out our volcano filled Chile Ski Mountaineering adventure!

Throughout the expedition we learn how to safely access mountaineering destinations on skis while increasing our speed and efficiency in both climbing and skiing technical mountaineering terrain.

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition, with "advanced" downhill skiing or riding ability, and previous ski touring experience. Participants should feel comfortable on black diamond terrain in ski areas and be able to ski a variety of off-piste (ungroomed) snow conditions. Participants should be able to ascend and descend 5,000 vertical feet in a day of backcountry touring, carrying a 15-20 lb. backpack, or 3,000 vertical feet carrying a 35-40 lb. backpack.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for ski touring in Patagonia, instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.

Our Chile Ski Mountaineering Expeditions is led by RMI's foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing and ski mountaineering experience on mountains all over the world. As you reach higher elevations and challenging terrain and test the limits of your experience, the value of accomplished and highly trained RMI Guides cannot be understated. Our professional guides make possible the experience of safely completing the adventure.

RMI / Pacific Alpine Guides PartnershipIN PARTNERSHIP WITH PACIFIC ALPINE GUIDES

The Chile Ski Mountaineering Expedition is operated in partnership with Pacific Alpine Guides, a small guide service run by RMI guide Tyler Reid. Our partnership combines the strengths of our guide services: RMI's decades of experience leading countless successful international expeditions around the world and to high altitudes, with Pacific Alpine Guides experience specializing in guided backcountry skiing, remote ski mountaineering, and AIARE avalanche training.

SAFETY

Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI's experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our ski expeditions in South America. Careful planning, flexibility in our itinerary, daily weather forecasts via satellite, and diligent attention are taken as we venture into a remote backcountry environment. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

Climber Reviews

Filter By
10/29/2019
Multiple days of skiing, but at the end of each day, we had excellent meals and comfortable lodging. The group size was just right, four clients and one excellent guide. It was a great group!
Richard Q.

10/11/2018
Chile was a marvelous surprise. The scenery is stunning, the people are friendly and accommodating and the food is simply delicious. More people should take this trip, not only those who are new to ski mountaineering, but veterans as well, who probably have no idea how challenging, entertaining and rewarding this trip can be.
Arthur M.

  • Upcoming Climbs

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  • Price
    $4000
    Deposit
    $900
    Duration
    13 days
    Difficulty
    Level 2
    Type
    Skiing
Table of Contents
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Day 1

TRAVEL

Depart U.S.A. Travel to Temuco, Chile (ZCO) typically takes 18-27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times.



Day 2

TEMUCO • 1,180' | 360m

Upon arrival in Temuco, we are picked up at the airport and transferred to our hotel. After checking into the rooms there is time to explore the city or to relax. In the evening we meet in the hotel lobby for introductions and a brief orientation. Overnight in Temuco.



Day 3

CORRALCO • 4,724' | 1,440M

After breakfast we travel to the Corralco Ski Center, a ski area situated at the base of Volcán Lonquimay. We spend the afternoon riding the lifts and skiing some of the backcountry terrain accessed by the ski area — a great opportunity to get our ski legs back under us. At the end of the day we drive down to the town of Malalcahuello where we settle into our accommodations on a beautiful ranch. Overnight in Malalcahuello. (B,D)

La Suiz Andina



Day 4

LONQUIMAY SUMMIT DAY • 9,400' | 2,865m

After breakfast we drive to the base of Volcán Lonquimay and begin our ascent. In our daypacks we carry our standard ski mountaineering kit including ice axe, boot crampons, and ski crampons — prepared for all types of snow conditions. With soft snow conditions, it is possible to skin to the top of Lonquimay. With the more typical spring melt-freeze conditions we’ll encounter, crampons and an ice axe become the best tools for the job, especially the last 1,000’ where the angle ramps up to sustained “black diamond” terrain. Climbing Lonquimay typically takes 5-6 hours but the 4,500’ ski descent from the summit goes much faster. Overnight in Malalcahuello. (B,D)

Skiing Lonquimay



Day 5

APPROACH TO LLAIMA • 5,180' | 1,579m

We shift focus to our next objective, Volcán Llaima. Although Llaima is right across the valley from Malalcahuello, it’s about a 2-hour drive to our starting point. Armed with our overnight packs, we ascend to the top of Las Araucarias Ski Center. From here we cross a broad plateau to the base of the mountain, where we setup camp for the night. (B,D)

Llaima



Day 6

LLAIMA SUMMIT DAY • 10,253' | 3,125m

With an alpine start, we start our climb on Llaima. Looking up at this mountain from our camp the summit looks close but it’s an optical illusion. It doesn’t seem to get any closer until we’re finally there — about 6 hours of climbing later. The crater rim of Llaima is covered in ultra-sharp lava rock, formed during its 2009 eruption. The ski descent off the top of Llaima is quite steep, requiring careful, controlled turns. After few thousand vertical feet of skiing, we pack up our camp and ski out the rest of the way. Overnight in Malalcahuello. (B,D)

Skiing Llaima



Day 7

MALALCAHUELLO VALLEY SKIING • 3,097' | 944M

The Malalcahuello Valley offers a number of great ski touring options. Depending on weather and snow conditions, this day may include ski touring on two other nearby volcanoes, Sierra Nevada or Tolhuaca, or exploring more of the terrain around Lonquimay. This is also an optional rest day for those interested in soaking in the termas (hot springs) or other low land activities such as hiking or horseback riding. In the evening we celebrate our last night in Malalcahuello with a traditional Chilean asado (bbq) prepared by our host. (B, D)

Malalcahuello Skiing



Day 8

PUCON • 745' | 227M

We leave Malalcahuello and drive to the resort town of Pucon. This busy little Chilean ski town sits on the shores of the beautiful Lake Villarrica, with Volcán Villarrica towering impressively above the town. The afternoon is free for participants to explore Pucon, including another opportunity for relaxing in termas (hot springs). Overnight in Pucon. (B)

Pucon



Day 9

VILLARICA SUMMIT DAY • 9,341' | 2,847M

Like other volcanoes, our climb on Villarrica starts from the base of a small ski area — this one called Ski Pucon. This being our third volcano of the trip, by this point we’re starting to get in the groove of these summit days. We skin half to two-thirds of the way to the summit before transitioning to boot crampons. The 5,000 vertical foot climb to the summit of Villarrica takes about 5 hours. In good conditions, the descent back to the parking lot only takes 25 minutes! Overnight in Pucon. (B)

Villarica



Day 10

TEKSI HUT • 3,937' | 1,200M

It’s about a 4-hour drive south to Volcán Osorno as we leave Chile's Araucania District (land of Monkey Puzzle trees) and enter Chile’s beautiful Lakes District. We stay the night at a refugio (hut) at the base of the mountain, overlooking the deep blue waters of Lake Llanquihue. Overnight at Teski Hut. (B, D)



Day 11

OSORNO SUMMIT DAY • 8,701' | 2,652M

Similar in character to Villarrica and Lonquimay, Osorno features a 5,000’ ascent and we’re able to skin a for a good portion of this elevation gain. Some years getting to the summit can involve a couple exciting rope lengths of climbing rime ice, in which case we leave our skis behind for the last stretch. In other years, the route is snow covered, allowing us to ski from the summit. We high five on top, enjoying 360° views of the lakes surrounding mountain including Lake Llanquihue and Todos los Santos Lake. This is our final big ski run of the trip. We celebrate our last evening in the beautiful village of Puerto Varas. (B)



Day 12

DEPART PUERTO MONTT • 46' | 14M

From our accommodations in Puerto Varas, it’s about a 30-minute drive to El Tepual International Airport (PMC) in Puerto Montt, where we bid farewell and catch our outbound flights. (B)



Day 13

TRAVEL DAY

Arrive home.



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Travel Consultant

RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to etravel@cox.net.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is required for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.

Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions.

The most comprehensive coverage available is Cancel For Any Reason. This policy must be purchased within 14 days of making the first payment towards your program. While this coverage is more expensive, it allows you to cancel for any reason no less than 48 hours before your departure date and still receive a refund of up to 75% of your costs.

When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:

  • Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
  • Purchase coverage for Cancel For Any Reason within 14 days of making the first deposit payment towards your program.
  • Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
  • Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.

 

RipcordRipcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.

 

Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:

  • Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) and more.
  • Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
  • 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses and military veterans.
  • Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
  • Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) options and pre-existing condition waiver within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a cancelled trip, paying your travel medical bills or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.

Travel Advisories / Warnings

Please confirm any current travel advisories / warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.

Getting There

Travel to Temuco, Chile (ZCO) typically takes 18 - 27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times. Flights generally arrive in the afternoon on Day 2 of the itinerary.

Departing flights from Puerto Montt (PMC) may be booked for any time on Day 12 of the program.

Entry Information

A valid passport is required when traveling to Chile. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.

We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.

Airport Arrival

Santiago: For most flight itineraries, travelers pass through immigrations and customs at the Santiago airport. This requires passing through immigrations, collecting your bags, and passing through customs. Once you exit customs, take the elevator to the third floor and recheck your bags onto your domestic flight to Temuco.

Temuco: Temuco is a small airport. Upon collecting your bags, a private shuttle will take you to our hotel.

Traveling With Skis

Pack your ski bag carefully to ensure your skis and bindings are well padded. Strap your skis and poles together and wrap your climbing skins around your bindings for extra protection. Fill any voids in your ski bag with clothing. We recommend using a TSA approved luggage lock to ensure the zippers stay closed.

Most airlines count skis as a normal checked bag however as baggage policies differ by airlines, be sure to check with your carrier. We recommend keeping your ski bag and duffel under 50 lbs each to avoid oversize charges.

A strategy that we recommend is to travel with your ski boots as a carry-on item. Your boots are arguably the most important piece of equipment, and in the event that your ski bag is delayed, you will have a workable option in the interim. Finding a pair of rental skis that work with your boots is generally easier than finding an entire ski setup.

In-Country Transportation

The provided ground transportation in Chile as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.

Immunizations & Travel Medicine

For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.

Traveler's Health

Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.

  • Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
  • Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe excess moisture from drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
  • Food - If it is cooked, boiled, or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.

Medical Emergencies

Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is readily available. In the event of more serious illnesses or injuries, we recommend transport to any of the Level 1 care centers in Santiago.

Chile Country Facts

Chile is a country of immense beauty, stretching for 2,700 miles along the southwestern coast of South America. Chile's fascinating geography (a thin ribbon of territory that stretches from the northern Atacama Desert to the Torres del Paine at the southern tip) and geology (the country contains hundreds of volcanoes, more than fifty of which are active) combine to make it one of the interesting destinations on earth. "Chile," wrote Chilean Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda, "was invented by a poet."

The country's high-income economy has helped produce a stable and prosperous nation, leading Latin American nations in competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low percentage of corruption.

Chile is a multi-ethnic, multicultural country whose people, subsequently, identify their nationality by citizenship rather than ethnicity. The Peruvian census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Its population can be composed of Mestizos (European-Indigenous ancestry): 47%, Amerindians (Indigenous): 31%, European: 18.5%, Afro-Peruvians: 2%, Asians and others: 1%.

Santiago, the country's capital since colonial times, was founded in 1541. The city's downtown has 19th century neo-classical architecture and winding side-streets, but the growing city also sports a growing entertainment scene, a rising skyline, and sprawling suburban growth. For those with some extra time, Spanish language courses for travelers are readily available.

Weather

For current weather conditions, check Weather Underground.

The primary ski season for volcanoes in Chile is during the months of August through October. The month of September is roughly equivalent to April in the northern hemisphere, offering some of the best snow coverage and skiing quality of the season.

September is a transitional month and weather conditions tend to be spring-like, however there is still potential for snowfall and colder winter conditions.

Cultural Etiquette

The people of Chile are generally very warm and friendly to tourists. Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Showing expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc. is considered unseemly and may attract unwanted attention.

A handshake and nod show respect when greeting someone. When entering a shop or home, politely use a greeting such as buenos dias (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon), buenas noches (good night). Similarly, upon leaving, even if you've had only minimal contact, say adios (goodbye) or hasta luego (see you later).

Chileans are typically proud of their country and culture. They are well-educated and tend to be cosmopolitan and progressive. Because a majority of Chile's population originated from Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, travelers typically have little trouble fitting in.

Electricity

Electricity in Chile is different than in the United States. Chile has standardized type C sockets and plugs. Type L plugs and power points are still commonly found in older buildings.

Both are used for 220-240 volt, 50 hertz appliances. U.S. appliances will require plug adaptors, converters or transformers. Please visit www.worldstandards.eu/electricity for more detailed information.

Money

The current currency of Chile is the Peso. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.

We suggest bringing $600 total for personal spending money including restaurant meals, drinks, pocket money, and the Support Staff Tip Pool.

Cash machines are readily available in Temuco and Pucon, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas. Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.

Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.

Tipping

Everyone approaches tipping a little differently. Whether or not a person tips, and how much, is completely dependent upon the individual; here are some suggested tipping guidelines for your trip.

Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard. Some restaurants and hotels add a 10% service fee to bills in which case, no further tip is required.

Support Staff Tip Pool: We recommend that each climber contribute $100 to the Tip Pool. This is collected at the beginning of the trip and will cover group tips for all our support and mountain staff throughout the program.

Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.

Resources

Frederic Lena's Chile & Argentina, Handbook of Ski Mountaineering in the Andes Belu Press, 2007

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Qualifications

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition, with "advanced" downhill skiing or riding ability, and previous ski touring experience. Comfort on black diamond terrain in ski areas and skiing in a variety of off-piste (ungroomed) snow conditions is required.

Qualifying Programs

Recommended experiences prior to Chile - Ski Mountaineering include:

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training

Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, ski touring requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb and descent.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing and skiing.

For Chile - Ski Mountaineering, you are preparing for:

  • Ascents and descents of 5,000 vertical feet in a day of backcountry touring, carrying a 15-20 lb. backpack
  • Ascents and descents of 3,000 vertical feet carrying a 35-40 lb. backpack

Nothing ensures an enjoyable adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.

Acclimatization

Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.

Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual's success on an expedition such as this.

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!


  • Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2020 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List

    • 50+ LITER BACKPACK

      Your backpack should be large enough to carry all of your personal gear, food and water, plus a portion of group gear. You will not need a separate summit pack.

    • DAY PACK (OPTIONAL)

      An optional item for use on the ski tours above camp. It should be large enough to carry food, water, clothing, and rescue gear for the day. A strapping system for carrying skis is a nice feature.

    • CLIMBING HARNESS

      We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat, or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

    • CLIMBING CRAMPONS

      10-point or 12-point adjustable crampons which fit your ski boots and are designed for general mountaineering. If using a ski boot, a "fully automatic" clip-in crampon with metal toe bail works best. If using snowboard boots - a strap-on crampon with plastic toe and heel bails works best. These are essential-- check with the RMI Office if you need more information.

    • SKIS WITH AT BINDINGS, TELEMARK SKIS, OR SPLITBOARD

      All skis and boards need to have brakes or retention straps.

    • SKI CRAMPONS

      A crampon specific to your ski binding which is used for ascending firm slopes with skis on.

    • SKI MOUNTAINEERING HELMET

      A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet or a ski mountaineering helmet rated from both rock fall and skiing falls. Standard ski helmets are not acceptable. They are not rated for rockfall and are too warm to be worn during ascents.

    • GLACIER GLASSES

      Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.

    • GOGGLES

      Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.

    • ALPINE TOURING, TELEMARK BOOTS, OR SNOWBOARD BOOTS

      Telemark boots flex at the toe for more efficient striding uphill and to allow the "telemark turn" on descent. Telemark boots should be of contemporary plastic design. No leather "Nordic" boots please. Alpine Touring boots are a cross between a downhill ski boot and a hiking boot. AT Boots have rigid, lug soles, and are crampon compatible for climbing steep snow slopes. If renting boots we recommend that you demo the rentals at your local ski area before taking them on this program. Please call our office to speak with a guide about ski and snowboard boot recommendations.

    • MEALS & SNACKS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • INSULATED MUG

      Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills.

    • 2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

      One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).

    • 2 LARGE GARBAGE BAGS

      Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.

    • READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
    • PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG

      Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.

    • SUNSCREEN

      We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • EAR PLUGS
    • SPARE CONTACT LENSES/ EYEGLASSES (OPTIONAL)

      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.

    • PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)

      Practice using this before coming on the climb!

    • PEE BOTTLE (OPTIONAL)

      One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.

    • CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

      Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.

    • TRAVEL POWER ADAPTER

      For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.

    • REPAIR KIT

      Bring a small repair kit with parts specific to your ski or snowboard boots and bindings.

    • 2 STRAPS

      Voile style ski straps for you carrying your skis and poles, and longer straps for lashing foam pads and tents to the outside of your pack.

    • SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT

      Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.

    • We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications make sense to have for remote international travel and/or high altitude climbing. At minimum, we require the following:

    • ANTIBIOTICS

      Broad spectrum antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin (500mg tablets), Metronidazole, and Azithromycin (250mg tablets).

    • ACETAZOLAMIDE (DIAMOX)

      125mg tablets for prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness.

    • DEXAMETHAZONE

      4mg tablets for treatment of altitude illness.

    • TRAVEL CLOTHES

      We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.

    • SUNGLASSES
    • PASSPORT

      Valid for six months beyond your return date.

    • COPY OF PASSPORT

      The first two pages of your passport.

    • COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY
    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the best shape of your life!


Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, stoves, fuel, climbing ropes, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a cell phone for emergency contact.

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Meals

On the Chile - Ski Mountaineering program you will need 7 mountain lunches. All of your mountain lunch items should weigh about 4 lb.

Breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks.

MOUNTAIN LUNCHES

Mountain lunches are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid). All items should be commercially packaged.

Chile does not allow the following items through Customs: cheeses, fresh meats, dried meats, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. Other food items may pass inspection but that decision is at the discretion of the customs inspector. Items which are generally okay include jerky and dried fruits as long as they are in their original packaging.

We will have the opportunity to purchase additional food in Chile but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.

BREAKFAST

The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars (Kashi, Kudos), hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.

DINNER

Dinner at usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. One typical main course dinner might be spaghetti with sausage and fresh vegetables. Another meal might be chicken fajitas with cheese, tortillas, onions, and peppers. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.

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Payments

Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $900 per person secures your reservation.

  • Deposit payments of $900 or less may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, or check from a U.S. bank.

Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.

  • Balance payments may only be made via e-check, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.*
    • *Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
  • A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.
  • Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.

Cancellation

The $900 per person deposit is non-refundable.

  • All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
    • If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $900 per person deposit will not be refunded.
    • If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, it is unlikely that a vacant space will be filled close to the departure date. For this reason, we will strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.

Cancellation Insurance

We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.

Land Cost

INCLUDED

  • RMI Leadership
  • Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • All park entrance fees & lift tickets as indicated in the itinerary
  • All group transportation in country as indicated in the itinerary
  • All group cooking, camping, and climbing equipment

NOT INCLUDED

  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
  • Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Rest day activities
  • Bottled water and personal drinks
  • Customary guide gratuities
  • Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $100 per person)
  • Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
  • Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport (PMC) for outbound flights
  • Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)

* Accommodations are based on double occupancy.  A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. reserves the right to modify the land cost of a trip at any time before departure.

Risk Management

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rockfall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.

You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.

PARTICIPANT Responsibilities

Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:

  • Possess the climbing prerequisites required for this program.
  • Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
  • Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
  • Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
  • Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
  • Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
  • Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
  • Help minimize our impact on the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
  • Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
  • Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
  • Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
  • Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.

RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for, or capable of participating in the program, or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotel reservationss, meals, etc.

Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions

In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines:

  • Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
  • Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of the program
  • Ages 18 & above: No restrictions 

An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example, a 15-year-old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.

Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany the minor climber throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together.

A parent or legal guardian must sign for any Participant that is under 18 years of age. On behalf of any minor participant, the parent or legal guardian understands and accepts all the terms of the Program Policies.

Summit Attempt

RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire group may have to turnaround without reaching the summit.

Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route conditions, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in a refund, credit, or reschedule.

General Policies

RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, or other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue the Participant a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the Participant to secure any of the included land costs provided for this program, including but not limited to, hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, tours, group equipment and food, permits, and local outfitter services, prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).

Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for a program that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.

Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to, the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.

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