Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Clothing system for Norway

Here is my clothing system for an Ice Climbing trip to Rjukan in Norway. For those that don't know Rjukan is cold, with fairly little wind or rain. Routes range from single pitch roadside ice falls to huge 9+ pitch valley side icefalls.

Base layers, when its cold but I'm remaining fairly active I like to couple a heavier base layer bottom with a midweight top. I will be using Patagonia Capeline Pro 4 bottoms and a 3 top. I travel with two full sets and if I know I will be going on a long walk in I take both base layers or start the day off with a T-shirt. I swap this once ready to climb to remove any sweat build up.

I almost exclusively wear and trust Smartwool and Teko socks, both do a heavy weight mountain sock which does exactly what it says on the tin. I will have a fresh pair for every day, you simply cant put a price on toasty and fresh feet and yes I know how much socks are these days!

 Mid layers are always hard to get right, too warm, too cold. Ive been using a Patagonia R1 for years as my go to mid layer and will also be taking an R1 hoody on this trip, it gives me the extra option of pulling it up as a balaclava.

 Insulation is easy when you've tried a light weight Primaloft based smock such as the Patagonia Nanopuff. This will stay on after the walk in pretty much all day under my jacket. Its warm but not too warm, low volume and light.

 Over all that lot I will wear Patagonia Knifeblade jacket and pants. Softshell is the best for the type of conditions experienced in Rjukan. Being tall I always opt for a sallopete or brace style pant. I have used the Knifeblade set for about 12 months so far and its held up to travelling, alpine abuse and a few UK trips.

Hands and head, I like a thin skull cap type hat, I've been using a Rab one at the moment coupled with a Buff, this combo seems to hold out all but the worst weather and is super versatile. On my hands I have a pair of Black Diamond Enforcer gloves which I'm yet to use. Last trip I used a pair of Mountain Equipment Randonee gloves. Any waterproof glove with a leather palm and Primaloft will suffice, in my opinion BD are making the best gloves out there at the moment. Whilst climbing I will swap out for a pair of Petzl Cordex Plus gloves which need no introduction (see my previous review).

On top of all that for belays I like a nice snug down jacket or thicker Primaloft jacket, for multi pitch belays I will carry a Patagonia Nanopuff vest to throw on over everything. This is also my go to insulation for the UK.

Lastly I have swapped my old trusty La Sportiva Nepals for a new pair of Scarpa Phantom Guide boots. I will give these a write up on the trip.

 And that's about it, a few other odds and bits like trusty Dachstein mitts in the bottom of my bag. Theres a lot of kit out there, I just happen to be fortunate enough to be on the Patagonia Pro Scheme but I fully trust Black Diamond, Rab and Mountain Equipment kit. My Girlfriend is relatively new to this and is on a super budget, she plans on a guest blog post closer to our trip outlining some of the budget gear and tips she's using on this trip. I will be following this up in the next few days with a blog on equipment.

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