Mountaineering Clothing Recommendations

Climb often enough in the mountains, and even in the summer you will encounter winterlike conditions. Likewise, many of the best winter climbs are done when the weather resembles spring. Your clothing and equipment must be prepared to accommodate both extremes.

For winter, summer clothing serves as the starting point. Begin with a wicking layer of underwear, followed by whatever layers of insulating clothing the weather dictates, topped off by a windbreaking layer. How much extra clothing you bring, and what kind, depends on the type of winter you can expect at your destination. Additional layers of synthetics work best in the cold damp of maritime climates. Where winter is drier and colder, you can take advantage of the lightness and compactness of down, which must be kept dry.

The dangerous chilling effect of wind means you must always pack a complete layer of wind-proof clothing during the winter. The wind layer needs to fit over all the insulating layers you are likely to wear at one time, and should overlay or tuck together for a solid shield against the wind. If you've left any chinks in the armor, the wind will find them. Fabrics vary in their windproofness so get recommendations from other climbers and from the people at outdoors stores. Laminated materials such as Gore-Tex are among the most windproof. (Chapter 2 has more information on clothes for mountaineering.)

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  • vanessa hamilton
    How much extra clothing to bring mountaineering?
    7 years ago

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