What to Wear when you’re Climbing!

There are many reasons why some of us choose to climb mountains. The feeling of accomplishment after you’ve trundled up a steep slope or walked for hours on undulated terrain and reached the end of the trek is inexplicable to a climber.

Apart from physical endurance, it is essential for trekkers to be clothed in the right attire. Climbs typically begin at dawn when temperatures are low. As one climbs upwards, the weather tends to become hot, as the sun’s rays are harsher at higher altitudes. However, as the sun begins to set, the temperature tends to drop suddenly. Since most treks begin at a low altitude, the vagaries of weather that one might encounter during the trek as well as after reaching the ‘top’ must be taken into account.

On the Druk Path trek

As a climber who discovered her love for hiking in her early 40s, I also learned to dress right the hard way.

The above pic was taken on the Druk Path trek in Bhutan in May 2015. This was my first trek in this beautiful mountain country and I was very ill prepared. I had taken care to carry clothes to protect me against the cold, but nothing against rain or hail storms. And when I did get stuck in such situations, I had only two options – either find shelter (which is very hard to come by on this trek) or get drenched in the rain!

Notice in the picture, I am wearing a UniQlo, ideal for cold weather but highly inadequate and inappropriate for rain!

The following is a list I’ve compiled based on my personal hiking/trekking experiences:

  1. Always dress in layers, for example, wear a long-sleeved tee under a sweater, topped with a jacket. You should be able to discard the layers (the jacket, cap, gloves, socks, and so on) as you climb upwards only to be able to wear it all again as the temperature falls
  2. Your thick jacket must be waterproof and windproof
  3. Rain gear (waterproof shoes and jacket/raincoat with rain covers for camera bags etc.) is a must even if there is the slightest possibility of rain
  4. Wear UV sunglasses, headband/cap, mask to cover the face, round large rimmed hats
  5. Wear sturdy shoes that can grip the undulated ground you’d be walking on. Choose a pair of waterproof trekking shoes over sneakers
  6. Women typically falter in the socks they choose. It is advisable to wear full length socks and not ankle length (woollen socks for cold weather)
  7. Avoid restrictive clothing such as tight undergarments, pants with belts and socks that haven’t been worn before
  8. It is wise to carry a muffler or shawl as an extra precaution against unexpected cold weather
  9. Solar Charger

More than all else, be safe and wear a spirit of adventure when you embark on your climb.

If you wish to add something to the list above, please feel free to write in the comments section! I will be more than happy to include it!

Edited to add: The points in italics were shared by a friend on Facebook who’d climbed to Everest Base Camp 

This post was first published on Fashion101.in

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