Whether you’re heading out to do some bouldering with a flask of tea or you don’t fear the cold and are planning to go out for a bit of trad, you’ll need to layer up for climbing in winter. You’ll want to keep warm while placing the gear, belaying, or resting, but also not to cover up too much to avoid overheating while on the move. Here are some tried and tested tips on how to stay warm climbing in winter. I’m very sensitive to cold, so if these work for me, they work for anyone.
You’ll want to wear/take along:
- A merino top
- A softshell jacket
- A fleece
- Merino trousers/woolly tights (optional)
- Climbing trousers
- A windproof jacket/hardshell jacket
- Wool socks (if they fit in your climbing shoes)
- A down jacket and woolly hat to warm up between climbs
- A woolly hat
The softshell will trap any air to avoid losing the heat the merino layer will create. The fleece will add extra warmth, and the windproof jacket will make sure the wind won’t send chills through your bones.
I personally prefer to wear woolly tights under my trousers, especially if I’m belaying a lot. You’ll want to wear wool socks to go with your trainers for walking, but if they can fit in your climbing shoes, that’ll save your day. It is also a good idea to keep a super warm down jacket at hand for belaying or to wear during breaks between problems. The same goes for hats and gloves.
Top tip for trad
Make sure that all your layers can fit in your harness without overlapping the sides, or you won’t be able to get to your gear once you’re on the rock.
If you’re off on a multi-pitch, I highly recommend foot warmers to stick to your socks and hand warmers to keep in your chalk bag. Your feet won’t get as cold while belaying in the middle of a route, and if your fingers are going numb, you can quickly warm them up by chalking up.
If you’re bouldering, you can take along a flask of hot water and some instant soup, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. They’ll warm you up from the inside, which is a great feeling when you’re outdoors in the winter. You can use foot and hand warmers too if you plan to take a lot of breaks between problems or if you’re hoping to have a day-long session.
If you can’t stand the cold and fancy a sunny climbing getaway this winter, check out the UKC tips here.
If you want to learn 10 tips for cycling in winter, check out this blog post.
Image source http://www.keithsharplesphotography.co.uk/