Backcountry Clothing Ideas and Experiences from Wind River Backpacking


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 2, 2005      

Our recent excursion to the Wyoming Wind River mountains was different than many of our August trips of the past, in that we had a day of horrific weather during our hike-in on the Bears Ears Trail to Valentine Lake. Fifteen miles of trekking in freezing rain tested the limits of our hard shells and synthetic insulation layers.

Clothing for backcountry skiing and hiking.
During a rare "dry" spell on the Bears Ears Trail. Buffalo Head at center, South Fork Lakes to right. Our route eventually passed by the lakes and went over Washakie Pass.

Overall the performance of our clothing was amazing. The Marmot PreCip jacket Louie used kept him totally dry and thus safe. It had no wet-through or leaks, even under the pack straps. I was using a super lightweight Mountain Hardware shell, and it performed flawlessly as well. How harsh were the conditions? Let’s put it this way, after a few hours of such wind and rain, we were even being careful of how our pockets zipped as the water was finding any path it could.

If we’d been lazy and brought dirty and worn-out hard shells, things might have turned out different. To that end, remember that wash-in and spray-on treatments such as Revivex will give you peace of mind (and could save your life) when your cherished waterproof-breathable garments are getting a bit tarnished.

Our legs were well protected as well. I wore the Cloudveil Drizzle hardshell pant, which again kept me TOTALLY dry, and Louie used a pair of generic non-breathable nylon/urethane rain pants that sweat up a bit sometimes, but work fine in windy cold conditions. I was also amazed at how dry my feet stayed in my Scarpa Charmoz boots (again, Gortex did the trick).

When a cold rain is blasting your face at 30 mph, but you’re hiking hard, it is tough to stay dry and warm without sweating too much. For insulation we both used synthetics such as my Cloudveil soft shell and Louie’s synthetic filled puff jacket from North Face. We found ourselves stopping and fine tuning our layering way too many times, but fiddling with clothing ’till you get it right makes the day safer in such conditions, when hypothermia is a very real possibility.

Our big mistake was leaving our wool knit gloves with the horse packer who was doing our first-night drop camp. Talk about cold hands! But we had our knit hats, plenty of food, and almost nothing in our packs, so we kept on truckin’. And with Danno the Diamond 4 wrangler behind us we could have always hiked back down the trail and grabbed some more gear from him (though he was at best about an hour’s hike away).

Even after years of winter mountaineering, a long hike in cold wind and rain, mostly above timberline, was quite the exciting and challenging experience. It gave me new faith in the lightweight synthetic hard shell jackets and pants that we’re counting on to actually keep us alive if things get really harsh. Hats off to modern gear! Indeed, as one who suffered through the early failures of waterproof-breathable fabrics, I say AMAZING.



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version