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Newbie List - Clothing for the Wind Mountains
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Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Newbie List - Clothing for the Wind Mountains on 10/17/2008 10:53:05 MDT Print View

I have been invited to join a friend come August to hike the Cirque of Towers. Most of the items I already have; however, due to diabetes I have lost 40 lbs and still losing. Some items are now too large and must be replaced.

SmartWool Expedition Trekking socks - 3.6 oz
REI Midweight MTS Boxers - 3.4 oz
Ibex Qu-T shirt - 6.9 oz
Nylon convertible pants - 14.3 oz and have to replace.
Sunday Afternoons Sun Hat - 3 oz
Bandana - 1.7 oz
Light weight anlke high shoes - need to purchase

Other Clothing:
SmartWool Expedition Trekking socks (1 pair) - 3.6 oz
REI wind breaker - 10.3 oz (may replace)
Cocoon UL vest - 5.3 oz
Galyan's brand rain jacket - 13.5 oz
Cabela's Gortex PacLite Rainy River pants - 11.4 oz
PossumDown beanie hat - 2 oz

Contemplating bringing:
SmartWool microweight long johns - 14.1 oz
Light weight wool liner gloves - need to purchase
Icebreaker Balaclava - Lite - 1.4 oz

This seem light on warmth compare to what I take for Northern Ontario paddling trips. Am I on the right track?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Wind River Clothing on 10/17/2008 18:43:40 MDT Print View

Your clothing sounds very comparable to what I took to the Wind Rivers last August. I was on the "back side" of the Cirque of the Towers (Shadow Lake). It was about as close to heaven as I expect to get while on this earth!

As you are probably aware, you need to be prepared for severe thunderstorms, high winds, drenching rain, hail, sleet, snow. While I lucked out and had a beautiful week (but frosty nights), on my first day there was quite a bit of new snow evident fairly low on the mountains. I met two parties coming out who had hiked over Washakie Pass (comparable in elevation, I believe, to Jackass Pass) in a blizzard.

I would bring the base layer and gloves and substitute the balaclava for the beanie. You could substitute the synthetic T-shirt, if long-sleeved, for the top part of the base layer, or vice versa. Consider either lightweight rain mitts or a pair of plastic produce bags to put over the gloves to keep them dry in the rain. I'd also bring insulation with sleeves instead of a vest (Cocoon, Patagonia or Montbell UL Thermawrap). I never could stay warm in a vest. Your Mileage May Vary.

You need long sleeves and long pants because the sun is so fierce at those altitudes--sunscreen won't do the job. I notice you have my favorite sun hat! For that trip there are no deep river fords, unless you're going beyond the Cirque, so you could save a couple of ounces and annoyance with zippers by wearing plain long pants instead of convertibles.

The one thing I definitely would ditch is the windbreaker. First of all, it's way too heavy--you should be able to get one at half the weight. It is not essential, either because when it is windy in the high mountains, it's cold enough that your rain jacket is quite comfortable.

However, there were two warm, windless days in the Winds when I was vigorously attacked by horseflies, which regarded both my permethrin-sprayed hiking shirt and DEET as just so much appetizer. I really wanted that wind shirt for rest stops on those two days. It would have been too hot, but better than being chewed upon. Medieval armor would have been even better, but a trifle heavy.

Last year I found a Montbell windshirt (no hood), weighing 2.6 ounces, for half price at the Outlet. Normally Montbell is very pricey. There are several other brands like GoLite, Marmot, Patagonia that make comparable windshirts. Look around at sales and closeouts--you should be able to find a windshirt at no more than 4-5 ounces that won't break the bank. A hooded one might be better for repelling the horseflies. Note that with Montbell clothing you want to get a size larger than you normally do--their clothing sizes run quite small.

Re shoes: many people hike in trail runners and use low gaiters to keep rocks, dirt, mud, etc. out of their shoes. I'm working on switching over from boots, but don't yet know if it will be successful. Great so far, with over a pound less to lift at each step. I need to get a 20-lb. pack out on some steep trails to be sure.

I hope that your weight loss was deliberate to lessen the effect of the diabetes! Many congratulations! As one who finds it very hard to keep the weight down, I hereby send you a virtual standing ovation!

Have a wonderful trip! The Wind Rivers are a really special place.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/17/2008 19:07:42 MDT.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Newbie List - Clothing for the Wind Mountains on 10/17/2008 23:55:54 MDT Print View

I agree with all of Mary's suggestions. Here's a list of clothes I wore/carried on a trip that my wife and I made to the Cirque early last month (September):

Clothing items "worn" most of the time:

Railriders Extreme Weatherpants (17.07 oz)
REI Sarah Tech long-sleeve shirt (10.90 oz)
Ibex Outback merino shirt (8.10 oz)
Smartwool LW hiker socks (2.90 oz)
Ibex merino boxer shorts (?)
Montrail Hurricane XCR shoes (33.60 oz)
Nylon baseball hat (?)
Handkerchief (0.80 oz)

Clothing for rain, snow, sleet, hail:

Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket (14.50 oz)
GoLite Reed pants (6.50 oz)
MLD eVent shell mittens (1.07 oz)

Clothing for additional warmth:

Outdoor Research Peruvian windstopper hat (1.86 oz)
Icebreaker merino balaclava (1.54 oz)
Icebreaker merino glove liners (1.18 oz)
Ibex Climawool gloves (primaloft insulated) (6.21 oz)
Ibex merino longjohn bottoms (mid-weight) (9.0 oz)
Extra pair of Smartwool LW hiker socks (2.90 oz)
Cocoon UL 60 Hoody Pullover (11.11 oz)

Seems like the above list contains items that are pretty similar to clothing items you've listed for your trip.

Didn't find myself wishing that I'd brought anything else in the way of clothing, and everything I brought was used at one time or another -- although the Cocoon pullover didn't get used for its intended purposes as a supplement for my down quilt (if needed) and/or extra protection if the weather turned absolutely terrible. It did get used, however, as an excellent pillow.

The weather forecast for our trip included freezing nights and fairly mild days, with no percipitation. However, on our exit day, we were hit most of the day with the weather Mary has already warned you about: "severe thunderstorms, high winds, drenching rain, hail, sleet, snow." Every bit of it came down. Miserable & spectacular at the same time.

While hiking out that final day, I thanked my waterproof shell mittens and the Ibex insulated wool gloves -- many, many times. Even with the exertion of hiking with a pack, it was very cold and very windy so my hands needed the added protection of both the shell and insulated gloves. Was also glad to wear the OR windstopper cap for warmth under my rain jacket's hood.