Here is some advice about what we wear in the mountains.
The importance of good clothing at high altitude is self-evident. However, you need to balance warmth, comfort and durability against weight, pack size and cost, so it's not easy to pick the ideal combination for every climb.
The following gear had worked well for us before, and turned out to be ideal for Cotopaxi (5,897 m). A colder mountain might need a lot more warm layering. You may also want to see our Altitude and Acclimatization page regarding the relationship between altitude and the cold.
|On Cotopaxi and/or Mont Blanc we wore (from top to toe):|
|Head||Petzl Micro zoom headlamp (2x'AA' cells)|
|Lowe-Alpine Triple-point cap||Turtle Fur bonnet|
|Polartec Balaclava (can be worn around neck as a scarf)|
|Shell||Lowe-Alpine Foothills Triple-point
jacket (not worn)
|Rab Downpour jacket|
|Coat||Sprayway "Banshee" Windstopper fleece||North Cape fleece with showerproof outer shell|
|Torso||North Cape synthetic long-sleeved vest with zipped crew neck||Synthetic long-sleeved vest with zipped crew neck|
|Hands||Lowe-Alpine sticky pile gloves, Lowe-Alpine mountaineering mitts|
|Undies||Cotton underpants||Cotton/lycra underpants|
|Legs||Helly-Hansen thermal long-johns|
|Eider Queyras salopettes (bibs)||Rab Downpour trousers|
|Feet||Thor-lo mountaineering socks|
|Koflach Viva Soft boots (plastic double-layer)||Koflach Soft-Light boots (plastic double-layer)|
|Crampons||Charlet-Moser "Rapid" step-in crampons|
|Ice Axe||Glencoe (long) Mountaineering Axes|
|Rucksac||Lowe-Alpine 40 Litre||Lafuma Lady 50 litre|
|Harness||Camp (sit)||DMM (sit)|
We also each carried a spare sweater layer (Polartec jumper) and spare gloves in case any were lost (which could be a killer).
Temperature when leaving the refuge was measured at -5C; at the summit in the sunshine -7C.
It felt much colder than this between 03:00 and dawn, but there was no opportunity to measure it.
Steve & Judy Pardoe
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