Snow Climbing Gear

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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Jerousek
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Re: Snow Climbing Gear

Postby Jerousek » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:20 pm

This year will be my first winter in Colorado, as well. I'm kind of eager to avoid missing any days of climbing/hiking if I can help it, and so I have some basic winter gear questions to add to the thread.

Apart from avy training and the gear that goes along with it, I've found myself fixating on footwear and layering/clothing systems. If anyone could go into some specifics about what kind of clothing/layering systems they like to utilize, I would be really grateful. As for footwear, is a "mountaineering boot" standard? Or do "winter boots" (something like this: http://www.rei.com/product/818560/the-north-face-baltoro-400-iii-winter-boots-mens) see any action on the peaks during calendar winter? What I've researched so far has lead me to believe that an insulated, stiff soled mountaineering boot is going to perform better on couloirs and on ice than something like the linked pair of N.F. Baltoros. But would the insulation of the Baltoros even be adequate for a calendar winter hike/climb? Not having a stiff sole, would they be nightmarish for a spring couloir climb, or would they pass?

Thanks in advance, and apologies for any faux pas or newb-isms. It's been primarily late spring, summer, and fall experience up to this point. Your expertise and insight is appreciated 8)


Edit: Just noticed this thread was started last year, but my questions stand, I say!
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kansas
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Re: Snow Climbing Gear

Postby kansas » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:53 pm

Layers:
Long sleeve merino wool base layer
R1 Hoody-must have, year round
Softshell jacket- I prefer one with a wind blocking fabric
Some sort of base layer insulation on your legs-varies by person
Softshell pants-Patagonia Alpine Guide
Thick wool socks

This system will work on most days during winter. But I do subscribe to the belief that if you're cold, you're not moving fast enough and try to control my body temp with pace. Some people like to wear a lightweight puffy while climbing, but I sweat too much if I try to do that.

In addition to this I carry a down puffy (montbell frostline parka), insulated mittens, and spare gloves.

Boots:
My feet run warm, so I've been able to get by wearing La Sportiva Glaciers most of the time. They are 1/2 size too big so I can wear thick socks if I need to. I also have a pair of Nepal Evos for really cold days.
If you plan on doing any crampon work, a stiff soled mountaineering boot is by far the best way to go. Stiff Mountaineering boots are also far better for kicking steps in snow. If you want to do lots of winter "hiking" then the boots you linked will be ok with some micro spikes for traction.

Personally, I would bite the bullet and just buy real mountaineering boots...you'll want them soon enough.
"In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams."
— Jon Krakauer

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