To dress for High Altitude Mountaineering....Start Naked!

Climbing to the roof of the world means heading into an environment that humans are simply not designed to live in. However, with careful planning, training, and the correct equipment/clothing it is possible to endure the environment for a while to reach the summit!

Clothing for High Altitude Mountaineering is about wearing multiple layers, each of which has a different job to do, but combined, they trap layers of insulating air to help keep you warm and snug.

The clothing you can wear can be divided into categories: - BASE LAYER, MID LAYER, OUTER (top) LAYER, and EXTRAS


    The clothing next to your skin needs to be ‘wicking’ to transport sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. Man-made fibres are generally better at wicking and are lighter, but natural fibers are generally better at resisting bacteria growth and keep their thermal efficiency even when wet.

    Your base layer will consist of UNDERWEAR, SOCKS, THERMAL TOP and BOTTOMS

    UNDERPANTS: - Choose underwear that is lightweight and wicking to keep you comfortable and moisture free. The areas covered by you pants is an area prone to problems from bacteria growth so it is important to stay dry, especially if there is limited access to showers/baths.

    Men- you will probably want underpants that are supportive without being too restrictive; excessive movement in this area can lead to chaffing and soreness but underwear that it too tight can increase sweating and feel more uncomfortable.

    Ladies- a sports bra or supportive top can be very important to keep you comfortable, under-wires should be avoided as they can become problematic if wearing a chest harness or a heavy rucksack.

    You may find that your normally comfortable underwear is not up to the task whilst you are mountaineering and sometimes a different style, cut or fabric can be more suitable. There are no right or wrongs with underwear and, often, practice and experimenting is the only way to find out what works for you.

    SOCKS: - This is a seriously important topic! Socks protect and cushion your feet against movement and pressure from the inside of your boots and helps to keep your feet warm and dry. If you do not have suitable socks then you can very quickly develop sores, blisters, and even frostbite; all of which could mean the end of your trip!

    Socks should keep your feet warm, but without letting them overheat and dry. Wool socks offer excellent foot protection from rubs and blisters and help to keep your feet bacteria free. However, they can loose some of their performance and become very heavy when wet.

    THERMALS: - Thermal underwear (“Thermals”) are usually quite snug fitting, stretchy clothes you wear next to your skin. They come in many shapes and sizes but often in “tops and bottom”. Long johns are long underwear leggings which can be worn under trousers to keep you warm and wick away moisture.


    Depending on the weather conditions in the area you are hiking you will need more or less layers, but at high altitude it is likely that the temperature will be very cold most of the time. Mid layers help keep in the warmth; ensuring you feel warm and snug whilst not restricting movement.

    You mid layer will consist of TOPS and TROUSERS


    The outer layer of clothing for high altitude mountaineering is important is it will keep the harsh weather away from you skin and protect you whilst in even the most challenging of environments.

    Your Outer Layer will consist of JACKETS, TROUSERS/SALOPETTES


    It is vital that your extremities are kept safe from the cold, wind, rain and snow whilst also allowing you free movement to carry out your daily tasks- climbing and hiking etc.


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