Winter Mountaineering Clothing for the Northeast
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Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Winter Mountaineering Clothing for the Northeast on 11/15/2006 07:44:19 MST Print View

Hello, it is getting to be mountaineering time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and I have been trying to work on my gear list to make sure that I bring all that I need and nothing that I do not. With a few experiences that I have had, I like to be prepared for the worst. Above treeline it is not at all unusual to see temps dip down to -20 to -30. Here is the clothing kit I have come up with, let me know what you think, or what you would take.

Conditions: Range from 0-30 degree’s for approach hike. -30 to 0 in high winds averaging 80 mph with much higher gusts.

Baselayer: Ibex LS Woolies top + briefs underwear
Mid Layer: Marmot Driclime top and bottoms (bottoms full side zip for easy on and off when it gets too warm)
Action Layer: Ibex Solitude pants and Patagonia Krushell jkt
Additional Moving Insulation: Golite Endurance Hoody (put this on once above treeline) and Patagonia Micropuff vest (in times of real intense cold while on the move)
Insulation: Patagonia Das jkt + Wild Things EP Pants
Extremities: Ibex liner gloves, Ibex Climawool glove, Mountain Hardwear Zero Mitt, Pata Balaclava and Wild Things fleece earband (worn while on the move below treeline when hats are too warm)
Feet: Smartwool Liner sock w/ RBH Vaprtherm sock and Sportiva Makalu’s w/ OR croc gaiters

While this is by no means a “lightweight” clothing system, above treeline in winter is no time to mess around.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
pants on 11/15/2006 19:52:01 MST Print View

As you start hiking for pants you are wearing base layer briefs and the DriClime pants. You are hiking, but start to get cold, so you add the Ibex pant, then you reach the ridge line (Presidentials, Bonds or Franconia) and 80 mph winds drop the wind chill to well below zero, so you add the insulated Wild Things EP Pants. I think you are well-prepared. Another piece of winter gear I like is the fleece "neck-up".
Also, I assume ski goggles makes your list of gear as opposed to clothing. (I was not familiar with the Ibex line, but looks like the Ibex Guide lite would be a substitute for the DriClime pant.)

Edited by rambler on 11/15/2006 20:38:50 MST.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
complacency on 11/16/2006 04:39:58 MST Print View

Your list of warm clothing should come with a warning attached. As we pile the clothing in our living rooms, we become complacaint, satisfied that we are ready for the cold of winter. But, 80 mile winds on an open ridge above tree line can be a very dangerous situation regardless of our preparedness of the gear. Your goal in such weather should be to get out of that situation as soon and as safely as possible. In blinding snow that might mean having to stop hiking and hunker down. It might be impossible to pitch a tent. Wind more than the cold would be the killer, all the warm gear might be not enough unless you can somehow find cover. Only a couple of winters ago an experienced hiker was caught out in such a situation in the Bonds and sadly did not make it out. He had plenty of warm winter gear with him, but he headed out into a weather pattern of several days of extreme cold. On an average day in the Whites, your warmest layer of insulated pants would not be needed.
Picture a 10 degree day without a cloud and no wind and all that planning we did in the living room will be well worth it as we experienc the joy of being in the mountains in winter. Phew...now I feel better about endorsing your list.

Edited by rambler on 11/16/2006 04:41:36 MST.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Preparedness on 11/16/2006 06:01:45 MST Print View

Thanks for the feedback guys. I did forget to mention goggles (never leave home without them). As far as the gear I have listed, I have winter climbed in the Whites for years with many successful and unsuccessful outings. My goal this year was to build a system that is more comfortable in a variety of conditions from sweating in on the snowshoe approach all the way to 100+ MPH winds above treeline. One of my biggest concerns is managing my sweat. Figuring out a system that will limit overheating at the begining of the trip will definitely help keep me warmer as I near the top of the mountains.

As for the safty disclaimer, you are totally correct in not letting your clothing system be you insurance policy. In saying that, I always carry a lightweight bivy sack and simmerlite stove just for that reason.