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layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestions

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layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestions

Postby Morathyl » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:30 am

Hi I would need some advice on my layering system. I am planning to climb rainier next summer probably late augustéand I will train on Mt washington this winter so the more gear I can use for both the better. You will see that all the stuff is from arcteryx , since I have some pro deal with them and I am a really small guy (5"3 125 pounds) and I like their fit.
base layer : phase ar
light insulation layer : fortrez hoody or konseal hoody
softshell : gamma mx
hardshell : alpha ar
puffy dual belay parka
My two main concern where about the softshell, should i switch to a lighter non insulated softshell like the gamma sl ? would it be warm enough ?
Should I also consider a insulated hoody like the atom lt just in case ?
I have also some deal with black diamond the dawn patrol shell would be a nice option but not able to find any decent review of people climbing rainier with that.
Thanks for your suggestions !
Last edited by Morathyl on Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:57 pm

What month are you planning on attempting Rainier?
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby ChristopherFranklin » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:02 pm

Pro deal?
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby Morathyl » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:14 pm

I am planing to try rainier during the summer probably in late august. Yes I have access to pro deal since I am a ski instructor. It brings back arcteryx to "normal" prices
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby Morathyl » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:35 pm

yes pro deal I am a ski instructor. I will probably do it late in august.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby Morathyl » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:42 pm

yep I am a ski instructor. Would my system be sufficient or what would you change for a climb in august ?
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby mountainsandsound » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:59 pm

I don't know anything about the particular make/model of the items you suggest, but I can tell you my layering system for a summer Rainier climb in fair weather and you can compare it with yours:

-base layer with a wind shirt for climbing
-synthetic puffy for breaks and summit
-lightweight hardshell that sits in my pack just in case

I've never felt like I needed a soft shell. I like keeping my insulation layers and shells separate, so a lightweight, nicely vented wind shirt/shell with the option of throwing a 100wt fleece underneath for added warmth during really cold temps appeals to me. But I suppose a thin soft shell might perform a similar function as a wind shirt.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby nartreb » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:20 pm

Are you talking about Mt Washinton in New Hampshire, or another Mt Washington?

I haven't climbed Rainier, but I have summited or attempted a few Northwestern peaks, and I am firmly of the opinion that a summer climb of Rainier requires quite a bit less clothing than winter climb of Mt Washington (which I've done). M&S's clothing list looks about right for Rainier - I'd also carry a warm hat and gloves, some kind of snow/water/wind-proof pant, and an extra midlayer and/or bivy sack, as a precaution against changing weather.

For Mt Washington in winter you need to add at least one layer of fleece, plan on wearing some kind of snow pants all the time, expect to wear your puffy parka the whole time you're above treeline, and make sure you're *tightly* buttoned up against the wind: hood, hat, face mask, goggles, and the warmest gloves you can find. That's just to get up and down, it won't be enough if you get stuck in truly bad weather.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby reboyles » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:43 pm

My philosophy these days is to go as light as possible without sacrificing warmth or comfort so I make sure that I bring the right layers but no extras. My max warm outfit is everything I brought in my pack and nothing more. I start with a base layer and then add layers until I have nothing else to put on. My last layer is a lightweight, hooded waterproof shell or a full-blown mountain jacket. I always bring some extra clothing along on a trip but I don't make the decision of what to wear or carry until I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the weather.

Most of the days we were on Rainier (late July) it was quite warm and the freezing level was around 12,000'. The snow on the lower mountain was pretty wet so it was important to have boots and gloves that didn't get soaked and then freeze later. The summit temperature was around 25 degrees early in the morning and the wind was called "light" because it was blowing less than 20 mph that day. The day before we had winds around 50 that flattened our tent while we were trying to sleep. Don't forget good sun protection either. There's no such thing as tanning at altitude. Don't kid yourself, It's always a burn.

But... I was on Rainier three other times in the summer and the conditions were soggy to say the least. On one trip it was raining at Paradise but snowed 3'-4' on the upper mountain. Over three days we only saw the summit for a brief 10 minutes and that was after we bailed off the mountain. I wore Gore-tex the whole time I was there. The other two trips were similar only with less snow. We had white-out conditions, high humidity and high wind so we used our Plan B; go to Leavenworth and the Pinnacles where we rock climbed in the sun.

Bob
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby cbeats » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:18 pm

Obviously conditions fluctuate widely on both mountains but having climbed Washington and attempted Rainier I would echo nartreb's comments that you'll likely need significantly more clothing on a winter ascent of the former than a summer ascent of the latter. I especially agree with the advice on face masks, goggles, etc. - you don't want any skin exposed on an "average" winter day on Mt. Washington.

Both mountains are guided - you should be able to find a list of recommended clothing on various guide websites, sometimes with specific brands and models of clothing.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby nartreb » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:39 pm

On Cbeats' suggestion, you can find Chauvin Guides' gear list for a winter presi traverse, it's pretty good. I'd disagree with their recommendation for plastic mountaineering boots, though. A stiff boot is good for crampons, and a warm boot is a good idea, but there's no need to break the bank, and a good fit is crucial. (Renting boots for a day is a recipe for misery.) If you already have winter boots that fit comfortably and aren't too soft for crampons, wear those. I've gone up the Rockpile in winter wearing just Army-style leather boots, but my feet get hot easily. You probably want at least some insulation, or get a half-size large and wear thick socks. On really cold days you may want a vapor barrier under your socks.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:58 pm

Just to pile on, August on Rainier is quite a different proposition than Washington in Winter. Expect temperatures to range from 80 at the trailhead down to the 20s on the summit. It can feel much colder because of the humidity, even more so if windy.

For August on Rainier here is a pretty standard kit:

Legs:
Shorts (for the approach, August can be hot. Unlined soccer shorts are great, optional)
Mid weight long underwear
Mid weight soft shell pants

Top:
Light weight, short sleeve poly tee shirt (optional)
Long sleeve, zip tee (poly or wool, light color is best)
Light insulation layer - I find something like the Marmot DriClime to be superior
Light weight hard shell
100g Primaloft hooded belay parka or similar

Odds and ends:
Warm hat, fleece or wool
Sun hat
Light weight gloves
Warm gloves
Extra pair of socks

In general, I find stretch woven soft shell jackets to be too heavy and bulky for the insulation and protection they offer. They are stylish, however, and I wear one when resort skiing. As I said, something like the Marmot DriClime is superior to both lightweight fleeces and stretch woven soft shells. I bring mine on every trip.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby JHH60 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:39 am

The Gamma MX softshell is going to be too warm for Rainier. I wear one for casual hiking and around town in cool weather, but since you can't remove the built in fleece insulation it's too warm if you are working hard and the temp is above about 60F, which is not unlikely for Rainier in August. If you want an Arcteryx softshell jacket the uninsulated Gamma SL or LT are better choices, but as EB already noted a Marmot DriClime windshirt is light and inexpensive, provides as good or better wind protection and warmth, and better breathability. If you get a softshell jacket make sure it has a helmet compatible hood. Arcteryx Gamma LT pants are a good choice; by themselves they are cool and stretchy enough for summer alpine rock climbing, and with a base layer they are warm for snow climbs like Rainier.
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby Morathyl » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:06 am

Thanks for your advices. It is often a pain for a short person to find a company which offer x small sizes do you know a softshell that would be good for rainier ? if possible in a company that does really small sizes (European sizes) maybe a great one from patagonia ?
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Re: layering for rainier and winter mt washington suggestion

Postby mountainsandsound » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:32 am

ExcitableBoy wrote: As I said, something like the Marmot DriClime is superior to both lightweight fleeces and stretch woven soft shells. I bring mine on every trip.


That's the last straw. I keep hearing people rave about the DriClime, I think I'll pick one up.
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