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.