Value your friends? Carry good safety gear, like something from this five-gear line up–and learn to use it well.
–Jeff Burke and Drew Pogge
G3 Alpinist High Traction Climbing Skins
The High Tractions ($154–$180) provide tenacious grip on the slickest, steepest skin tracks. They stay sticky even in cold temps, while glueless patches running down the middle of each make them easy to pull apart. G3's sturdy, self-aligning stainless-steel tip and tail attachments are top-notch, too.
Black Diamond QuickDraw Super Tour 265 Probe
The aluminum Super Tour ($55) is robust enough for repeated plunges into dense avalanche debris. And when seconds count, the single-pull system deploys in an instant using angled cones at each segment for clean, quick, dependable assembly.
Ortovox 3+ Beacon
The 3+ ($369) has an intuitive display, with a directional arrow and distance reading, and it emits a tone to let you know you're getting warmer. In search mode, the mark function isolates transmitting signals, so you can home in on each one during multiple-recovery scenarios.
BCA BC Link Radio
Better on-slope communication means fewer avalanches. Which is why the winterized two-way UHF radio, BC Link ($175), is such a smart, simple idea: throw the base unit in your pack, and clip the speaker mic to your back strap. All the controls, including the push-to-talk button, are on the mic and can be used with gloves on. Weather channels are built in.
BCA B2 Ext Shovel
With a telescoping handle and a stout aluminum blade, the B2 Ext ($55) chops through icy debris and sculpts out snow pits like butter. It weighs no more than a Subway sandwich, and it stows neatly in any pack, where it’s out of the way until needed.
Next Up: The Escape Artist