In 2012 I had the pleasure of reporting from The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc following The North Face athlete Jez Bragg around the course as he attempted to repeat his 2010 win. (Link to blog). In 2013 I'll be back but to attempt the CCC, a shorter version of the main event featuring a 100km route from Courmayer to Chamonix via Champex with 5950m of ascent

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


As is usual in ultra running the organisers of the UTMB specify a minimal kit list. In fact the last three events have been seriously affected my poor weather with snow featuring regularly so it pays to be prepared. The list below is the mandatory list with my notes in italics
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal cup or tumbler 15cl minimum
  • Stock of water minimum 1 litre - carried in a 2 litre bladder
  • Two torches in good working condition with replacement batteries - Silva Runner with a Petzl Tikka 2 as back up
  • Survival blanket 1.40m x 2m minimum - For extra protection I carry a Sol Emergency Bivi
  • Whistle - Built into one of my rucksack buckles
  • Adhesive elastic band enable making a bandage or a strapping (mini 100cm x 6 cm) - Support bandage, zinc oxide tape and Compeed usually sees me through
  • Food reserve - A block of marzipan which lives in the bottom of my bag!
  • Jacket with hood and made with a waterproof and breathable membrane which will withstand the bad weather in the mountains - I'm carrying a slightly heavier Alpine Project shell from The North Face which offers a huge amount of protection for its weight.
  • Long running trousers or leggings or a combination of leggings and long socks which cover the legs completely - A combination of compression socks and Capri tights
  • Additional warm midlayer top: One single midlayer long sleeve top for warmth (cotton excluded) with a minimum weight of 180g (Men, size M) OR a two piece clothing combination of a long sleeve baselayer/midlayer for warmth (cotton excluded) with a minimum weight of 110g (Men, size M) and a windproof jacket* with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) protection - I've gone for the flexible option of a The North Face Alpine Project Wind Jacket (discontinued) and a merino thermal base layer
  • Cap or bandana - TNF cap plus a buff.
  • Warm hat - Woolly and logo'd from a well known outdoor brand!
  • Warm and waterproof gloves - A combination of thermal and waterproof work gloves
  • Waterproof over-trousers - The North Face AK Stormy Trail Pants
Other equipment I'll be using includes;
  • Rucksack - My current bag is The North Face Enduro Plus but I will be trialing one of their new race vests designed with the help of Jez Bragg
  • Trail shoes - La Sportiva Raptors, a very rugged and comfortable pair of trail shoes which fit my feet well. However they have slightly too much raise for my developing natural running style and I'm prone to injury when using them. Time to look for a new ultra shoe after this race.
  • Trekking poles - Being one of the heavier runners in the field I tend to use my full weight Black Diamond expedition poles which I also use for ski mountaineering! They are obviously significantly heavier than pure running poles but it does mean I can be pretty aggressive with them and they have a huge benefit on my performance.
  • Map and compass - You can't take the mountaineer out of the runner!

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