What to wear? Layering systems

Believe it or not, the gear you wear outside functions best within a systematic approach.   The basics include base layers (close to the skin, usually merino wool), a midweight fleece of light jacket (1/4 zip), a goose down insulating system, and finally an outer shell to protect you from rain, snow, sleet and wind!


Lake Superior Ice Spray







How does Ed Viesturs do it?  Check out his Mt. Rainier summit pack, and packing list.  Rainier is known to have some of the most unpredicatble weather on the planet, so this list will give you a great systematic approach to warmth and comfort while outside.


Ed's Pack


Ed's List


Forecast on my mind…

With Hurricane Irene making an exit from the east coast, it seems everyone was a “weather geek” this weekend.  While her damage is staggering, her bark was louder than her predicted bite as she dragged herself slowly across 65 million people like a sopping wet rag.  Weather often plays a role in our daily lives, not to mention your outdoor plans.  A little prep work, and the right resources can keep you prepared.

Yearly tragedies on Mt. Hood, Denali, and Mt. Washington spotlight the importance of understanding weather, forecasts, and proper weather prep work to avoid lethal severe storms.  Be prepared by getting pinpoint forecasts on your routes from NOAA’s WEATHER.GOV. Find your location and predicted route, and click to find elevation, forecasts, and warnings.  (Since frontcountry forecasts don’t apply to the backcountry, or elevation gains)

Key note:  Temps drop 3 degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain!

A pin-point NOAA forecast


Clouds are your tell-tale.  Watch for simple clues like wind pick up, rapid cloud cover, and barometric pressure plummets (get a SUUNTO watch).  When it gets bad, go DOWN in elevation, find shelter areas (lightning likes isolated, pointy objects like lone trees, ridges, summits, and open fields)