layering_strategies

Warm Is Right

Layering strategies for alpine routes and bivouacs

What to wear? It’s the perennial question when packing for an ice route or alpine peak. When I plan my clothing and bivouac systems, whether for a one-day or a multi-day route, I use three principles. First, bring as few different items as possible. Second, manage moisture (I don’t mean rain, I mean sweat). Third, prepare for storms–rain or snow.

layering_strategiesClimbers too often dress for the worst-case scenario, leaving you sweaty and uncomfortable in all but those conditions. Here’s how I decide what to bring:

The base layers, I always start with the same clothing uniform: lightweight soft-shell pants, synthetic briefs and a wicking synthetic T-shirt. The only time my base layers vary is when I’m in a winter environment; then I start with fleece-insulated soft-shell pants or long underwear under my soft-shell pants.

Marching outside the zone of small stones, carries or quarries

Areas of small stones (carries or quarries)

Marching outside the zone of small stones, carries or quarriesThese rocky areas differ from areas of large boulders or blocks of greater instability of the ground due to move “sets” of the stones that lining, which act much like sand or powder. In this sense, these places can be crossed without problems depending on the degree of slope, and taking into account safety considerations, technical gear and ecology.

In general, a carry on slopes should be avoided for environmental issues, are areas in itself highly degradable and difficult to recover precisely because of its instability, and if we add the impact of traffic in persons, environmental degradation will be even more pronounced .

Marching outdoors sloping land areas

Areas of steep terrain

Marching outdoors sloping land areasRegardless of the type of soil that covers it (rock, snow, soil, vegetation, etc.)., The steep terrain, sloping, steep to be transitive (raised or lowered, climbing or down climbing) given certain precautions:

Do not walk ahead of the slope . What forces you to walk in diagonal or zigzag, and forever (especially if it was not possible to go zigzag) must keep a safe distance, enough so that if someone falls, do not drag it to the rest group, and can be stopped or avoided and then rescued by his teammates. Raise or lower diagonal is also more relaxed, and causes less impact to the terrain and our joints.

Marching to the outdoor area oflarge stones and rocks

Areas of large rocks or stones (scree or blocks)

Marching to the outdoor area oflarge stones and rocksThe scree, crags and rocky ground, areas of loose rocks or stones more or less large (larger than a football about) can be ground fairly easy to navigate on foot, as long as they know how. Failure to understand and master the techniques of running in this type of soil, a fall can cause serious accidents, so always keep in mind:

Pay close attention to the safety distance between group members, which must be greater the higher probability of falling rocks or landslides, and (in turn and for the same reason) to steeper the slope, whether we as if we are going down. The reason: to give time to the partner who preceded us (down) or above us (up) to avoid falling rocks due to our departure. We must warn of falling rocks, especially on the downhills, when you see them before us may not come.

Marching outside with dense vegetation

Areas of dense vegetation

Marching outside with dense vegetationPlaces of dense, shrubby or bushy as beech forests or coihue of Araucania and Patagonia are virtually impenetrable and can cause unpleasant surprises in the security group if they do not follow certain rules designed to facilitate foot traffic.

  • The breaks or stops grouping should be in comfortable places, that is, less dense vegetation. Typically, the first guide that will be forced to make frequent stops to avoid losing sight of the group, and managed to regroup when necessary.
rock-girls

Areas of rock girls

rock-girlsA flat terrain full of rocks girls (smaller than a handball or handball ball) due to soft mineral (conglomerate, limestone, etc.). Usually easy to navigate, but hunting for the joints. However, if these are lining a slope, the issue was more complicated. Therefore:

  • Post is not impossible, but degrades much this type of soil, in addition to fatigue (each step is small collapses beneath our feet that make us somewhat to above).
  • Lower when the stones are small, although it is easy (can be sliding, digging their heels, especially on boulders boys) also impacts seriously on this ground, eroding it too much.
Areas-of-large-rocks

Areas of large rocks (blocks or scree)

Areas-of-large-rocksWhen there are large rocks, the product of hard minerals (granite, gneiss, etc.). The road is usually passable. But as always, we must take into account some issues to avoid mistakes that could lead to serious accidents if they fall:

  • You can go from rock to rock, provided management have some balance, and choose the larger rocks, as close as possible to each other and apparently more stable. If done well, is as close to normal walking in terms of continuity, and even go faster downhill when the inertia help.
density-trees

Lots of dense vegetation

density-treesThe density of vegetation (shrubs, bushes, stunted trees, etc.). Low and medium mountain can go from completely prevent the passage, to do difficult, tedious and time consuming to navigate. In general, we must consider the following areas of dense vegetation:

grass or low vegetation.

Drop-offs with grass or low vegetation

grass or low vegetation.The main issue that can walk through a field of grass or low vegetation that we can not avoid walking is the possibility of slipping if it is wet (from dew) or wet, obviously increases the risk the greater the slope of the terrain. Therefore, we must take into account both uphill and downhill: