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Layers for Summer


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I'm a complete beginner who will be interning in Seattle this summer and I'm looking to do some climbs of mountains like Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and (very unlikely) Rainier. I've looked at the gear lists on other websites for alpine climbing and there seems to be a lot to get. However, as I'm only going to be here for the summer, I'm wondering what layers are essential to buy. I've already got some gear from backpacking: base layer(Patagonia Capilene 1), light fleece(R1 Jacket), and a rain jacket(Patagonia Torrentshell).

I've still got to get some bottom layers, but I'm wondering what else is absolutely necessary for summer climbs. I probably need to get a insulated jacket, but I've got a down jacket from Uniqlo which I don't know is good enough or not. I also am not sure whether I should get a hard shell or not, considering I already possess a rain jacket. If anyone experienced with gear could shed some light, that would be much appreciated.


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I would start with easy climbs using the gear you got and figure out what you need as you go. Most of my mountaineering gear is also my backpacking gear. Warm down jacket is important for the bigger mountains and nice for the smaller mountains.


My little list would be

- Synthetic base layers (t-shirt & long sleeve)

- Water proof jacket (light weight can work)

- Wind/Water proof pants

- Long johns


- GOOD Socks


Sounds like your on the right track. Cheap synthetic clothes are easy to find at second hand stores. Doesn't have to be pretty or expensive, it only has to work.

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sounds like you need to add a few things which is pretty easy to find cheap except for the boots.

-good boots with small gaiters. not the large Outdoor research kind.

-knit hat

-thin glove liners and maybe add a mitten shell over that

-thin schoeller pants. think used at second hand sports or on the used gear forum here

-nylon windpants.


the real expense will come when you need to acquire the climbing gear like crampons, axe, harness and so forth.



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I'll second the thin softshell pants. I think they're one of the most versatile outdoor layers. I have an old pair of REI Mistral pants that I like, the OR Cirque ones are nice too. I think synth is generally preferred for belay jackets in the PNW, but down can work if you're more careful with your jacket and your weather windows.

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DAS is way overkill for summer, I use a similar jacket (WT Belay Jacket) in Alaska and on Rainier in winter. Down will work, particularly if you plan on using it in the summer only.


I have a Patagonia Micropuff hooded jacket (100 gram Primaloft) that I am looking to off load. The jacket has seen better days but is still serviceable. The elbows have been worn threadbare but have been taped with matching nylon rip stop tape. It is a size medium and is cut generously to fit over all layers. I am willing to sell it pretty cheaply. Email if interested: Daniel-p-smith@hotmail.com.

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Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody 12.7oz/360g. Atom LT has less insulation 60g Coreloft vs the micropuff with 100g primaloft. If you want more insulation there is also Atom AR hoody 470g/16.6oz. I have the Atom LT it is rad, light weight, packs small but still warm and the polartec stretch side panels breathe nicely. I go for synthetic unless I know it will be dry or temps will stay below freezing.

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if you've been doing extended backpacking trips (longer than an overnight) you probably need almost nothing. if you've managed keep your down jacket dry & functional on those trips, you can probably do that on mountaineering trips. on most summer trips, you'd likely not wear more than the base, fleece, and rainshell, and the downie is your backup for a bivy - in which case you're sitting still, so can wear it under the rainshell without soaking it.


you haven't said what you do for bottoms, but the long pants you normally take backpacking are very likely adequate if they are either synthetic or wool -- just NO COTTON!!! (jeans)


if you truly MUST go out and dump a few hundred $$ on something, look for Schoeller -- the fabrics are very light, extremely breathable, and unbelievably "waterproof" - real honest-to-dog magic in my book. I'm on my second pair of pants of Schoeller extra dry (crampons are hard on pants, but I've gotten 10+ years out of each pair) and they are worth every penny of their exorbitant price.


somebody mentioned gloves & hat -- you probably already have something for your backpacking that will work for summer. cheap fleece or acrylic from "stuffmart" or a hardware store.


your backpacking shoes will likely work for most summer climbs, unless you'll be spending multi-days on glaciers, when you'd likely have wet feet. but if you're doing quick daytrips, well, I've been known to wear crampons on running shoes, and these days, with microspikes and their clones, it's even easier. that said, if you find yourself committing to a trip on which you'll actually NEED a pair of $300+++ boots, there are places you can rent.


kolockum was dead on when he/she? suggested doing some easy trips with what you already have, and adjust as you discover what works best for you, and what just plain doesn't work.


have fun!





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The one piece of kit I always bring and wear no matter the season is a lightly insulated wind shirt. In my case a Marmot DriClime, which can be found for around $60 on SierraTradingPost.com http://www.sierratradingpost.com/s~marmot-driclime-windshirt/sizefamily~general!l/. Extremely versatile, works as an outer layer in mild conditions, sheds light precipitation, layers very nicely in cold conditions.


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100% agree. one thing i might suggest, there is a hooded version (or was?) that my wife got me.. personally I love a hood. giving the dri-clime a hood made it SO much more versatile for me. Also the hooded version seemed to run a tiny bit longer in the torso which i enjoyed, the basic version i have is more like an 80's windbreaker and thus anything but standing upright it would ride up and not over waist/wrists would pull back.


but totally agree about it, and until i had the hooded version i used the regular as my go-to for summer cascading..

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The brands of ink are not as important as the type of ink. For beginners, it is best to use plastisol ink since you are printing on cotton. Water based inks are a little tricky for a newbie.

Let us know how it works out.

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