Pro freeskier and mountain guide Sam Anthamatten gives us the lowdown on his high mountain ski and mountaineering equipment
No stranger to descents on 6000m peaks in exotic locations, Sam is methodical about his gear. In spring 2020, far-off locations were out of the question due to the pandemic, so Sam decided instead to explore the mountains closer to his home in the Swiss Alps. His expedition is chronicled in Faction Skis’ film Zermatt to Verbier, which features both foot-powered freeride lines and a historical look at the Patrouille des Glaciers – the Swiss Army ski touring race that made this route famous.
In this edition of Rig for the Gig, Sam talks us through the essential kit to take for a freeride-focused glacier tour…
“I’m a small guy (168cm tall) and I ride both the Dictator 3.0 and Agent 3.0 in the 188cm length,” says Sam. “Both skis are 106mm underfoot and lightweight, but the Dictator 3.0 has the extra power that allows me to charge fast through no fall zones and absorb big landings, whereas the Agent 3.0 saves me additional weight while still standing up to big freeride lines.”
SKIS: faction agent 3.0
It’s also the ski I use when working as a guide; it’s perfect for climbing a lot of vertical.
It has a lightweight karuba wood core and a full carbon weave, plus 1% of the sales are used to support sustainability organisations through 1% For The Planet.
SKIS: faction dictator 3.0
I’ve been using these skis for a big project I’m working on with Jérémie Heitz – La Liste II.
We’ve been skiing 6000m peaks in Peru and Pakistan and I like how stable it is. ‘Stay Metal’ is the logo, and I really feel that in the way it handles.
The poplar core and dual span of titanal give it torsional strength that’s livelier than most metal skis.
There is an elliptical sidecut, so the radius is longer underfoot and shorter at the front and rear.
bindings: cast freetour upgrade kit
This system allows me to have a pin set up for going uphill and a regular alpine binding for the descent.
Designed by guys I used to compete with on the Freeride World Tour – Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers – this patented conversion system is designed to turn your Look Pivot 15 or 18 alpine bindings into a super-light pin-tech touring system.
Once you’ve mounted the Freetour Upgrade Kit you simply swap the toes by pushing a small lever and sliding them off.
It’s easy to switch between the two, and gives you the best set up for going uphill and skiing back down.
On the Dictator 3.0 I have them mounted 1cm in front of the recommended line and on the Agent 3.0 I go 2.5cm in front.
boots: lange xt free 130
With around 43° ROM in walk mode these four-buckle free touring boots are great for going uphill, and with a solid 130 flex, they’re punchy and precise on the downhill too.
Firm and powerful, they also come with GripWalk soles.
HELMET: JULBO PEAK
This is light and comes with dual certification for skiing and mountaineering.
It weighs just 360g (without ear pads) and has active venting, Fidlock buckles, adjustable fit and a headlamp retainer.
CRAMPONS: PETZL IRVIS
Packable and lightweight (for steel), but able to take on serious rock + ice climbing when needed, these are another example of me choosing reliability and performance over the lightest weight materials on the market.
HARNESS: MAMMUT ZEPHIR ALTITUDE
This is functional and safe but super lightweight. There are four harness sizes, which have minimal adjustability, so it’s important to choose the right size and not get too fat throughout the season!
You can also put it on without taking your skis off.
HARDWEAR: PETZL LASER SPEED ICE SCREW AND MULTIHOOK
£52 AND £29
With just one ice screw and the abalakov hook I can actually get down almost every mountain.
All I need is a rope and then I can rappel off.
HARDWEAR: PETZL MICRO TRAXION
This ultra-light pulley weighs 85g and is a vital piece of kit if you need to carry out a crevasse rescue, self-rescue, haul gear or need an emergency ascender.
Easy to use and efficient.
SAFETY KIT: MAMMUT FIRST AID KIT
In addition to my Mammut Barryvox S transceiver, shovel and probe, I always carry a first aid kit with me on the mountain.
This always holds clean bandages, painkillers (really strong ones!), gauze, tape and, if I have space, I’ll take a SAM splint, which is great to stabilise bone breaks and sprained arms and legs.