/ Advice for layering system to climb in Scotland

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Romain87s - on 07 Nov 2017
Hi everyone,
I’m gonna go climb this winter in Scotland and Wales. I’m used to the Pyrenees weather but never climb in the uk. What layering system would you recommend to stay warm and dry.

Cheers guys
99ster - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

This video from `Dave McCleod gives a good overview of Scottish Winter kit:

And...advice from Glenmore Lodge:
Romain87s - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to 99ster:

Nice thanks mate
GrahamD - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

> What layering system would you recommend to stay warm and dry.

There isn't one. You won't stay warm and dry all the time. Having said that everyone has their favourite compromises depending on how warm or cool they tend to run.
John R - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

Buffalo still takes a lot of beating for most Scottish winter conditions.
Cloverleaf - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

I've personally found that for mixed stuff I'm better off wearing less to climb in and then throwing on thicker gloves and a warm belay jacket over everything once you get to the belay. So that's usually a thin and stretchy base layer, a medium weight fleecy layer like the ME Eclipse (with hood to stick on under your helmet), and then a soft shell on top of that. I wouldn't want to stand on an exposed belay ledge in a hoolie like that but I've found it minimises sweating which is what was previously making me cold on belays once I stopped moving. Gloves are the biggest one though, I like to have several thin pairs inside my jacket to rotate and at least try to dry out a little, and then save the thick mitts for belays.
GarethSL on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

Regardless of what you choose to wear nothing beats having a dry base-layer to change into when you rack up. They weigh next to nothing and make starting a route much more comfortable after a long walk in. I find synthetic is best for walking in and merino better for climbing as I find I remain warmer when sweaty at belays.

My personal system would be:

- Merino underwear.
- Merino long-johns if very cold (normally have a pair stashed in the bottom of my sack).
- Synthetic base-layer for walking in.
- Merino base-layer for climbing.
- Synthetic mid-layer (e.g. atom lt, proton lt or similar). I tend to avoid fleece.
- Hardshell jacket if expecting a wet day.
- Softshell jacket if expecting relatively cold and dry conditions (I find them way too warm).
- Hardshell trousers if its a wet day over longjohns
- Softshell trousers if its not so wet and I expect relatively dry conditions.
- Synthetic belay jacket for keeping toasty warm on belays.

I should mention that I'm the sort of person who can wrap up in full Gore-Tex and be completely comfortable for a whole day, regardless of the weather. So my system is biased towards that. Others hate the stuff and like GrahamD said there really isn't a perfect system, so you may have to do a little trial and error. Also I think winter climbing is synonymous with uncomfortable so you will just have to compromise at some point in order to save weight.
BnB - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Cloverleaf:

A popular combination that I used to adopt but I like a bit of physical protection in the mid-layer of my action suit - for thrutching and bumbling. I wear the Nano Air between base and outer layer and it keeps me buffered, cosy and dry en route and makes short belay stops bearable without the big coat.
tripehound - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to John R:

> Buffalo still takes a lot of beating for most Scottish winter conditions.

suprisingly I agree. Despite trying alternatives I keep going back to my well knackered Buffalo kit.
Cloverleaf - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to BnB:

The Nano Air really is an awesome jacket, and I do wear mine on really cold days but the last few winters really haven't been cold enough for me to need it. Particularly as on the really blustery days I've tried to be a bit more sheltered. I tend to run quite hot when moving so I'll quite often even have the pit zips open on the soft shell!
Fiona Reid - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:
Everyone is different so you may need some experimentation to find what works for you. My clothing set up for most winter climbing is as follows:

* socks, one pair liner socks with a pair of thick wooly ones on top
* merino long johns
* Paramo Aspira trousers - bomb proof, not fully waterproof but I avoid winter climbing in the rain
* Short sleeved cheapo synthetic t-shirt***
* 200 weight or similar type weight long sleeved merino top.
* Fleece top, just a thin 50-100 weight one
* Arcteryx Atom LT hoody**
* Montane Extreme Jacket or a very bulky Haglofs belay jacket.
* Goretex shell on top
* Thick hat for climbing in - I have a thin merino one for the walk in
* More gloves than you can shake a stick at - I'll climb in one pair and have another pair of dry ones stuffed in my jacket with at least one or two more pairs in my pack!

I wear all my layers from the start to the end of the climb. I've never got too hot yet. I invariably look like the michelin man/woman but if I'm warm I don't care.

** Not always, depends on the temperature, if it's cold then I'll probably wear this too!
*** Just for walking in, I change into the other layers at the gearing up spot. I get hot walking in and like to start a climb with a dry base layer etc
Post edited at 15:58
geordiepie - on 08 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

Merino/synthetic blend baselayer
Lightweight fleece/mid layer
Goretex pro jacket
Softshell trousers
Possibly gaiters depending on the walk in
Thin liner gloves
Medium weight gloves
Gloves to climb in
Buffalo mitts
Warm hat and buff
ME Fitzroy

Rarely bother with base layer trousers and find decent membrane softshell trousers are waterproof enough for any conditions i'm likely to climb in.
JayPee630 - on 08 Nov 2017
In reply to geordiepie:
Thin hooded base layer (Patagonia Capilene or ME Eclipse)
Patagonia Nano Air hoody
Thin v light waterproof
Belay jacket

Base layer leggings
Softshell salopettes

Some gloves
Post edited at 19:17
Chris Craggs - on 08 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:

String vest > hairy shirt > woolly jumper > anorak > cagoule.


ModerateMatt - on 08 Nov 2017
In reply to Romain87s:
I've tried quite a few different types of layering. Buffalo / Montane Extreme get a honourable mention. I find it too warm when walking but I very comfy whilst climbing. Current system seems to work well keeping a balance of warmth and breathability.

On top half: string vest thing, very light t-shirt, Rab paradox pull-on, either a soft shell or Gore Pro if dry or wet respectively and then a belay jacket weight dependant on temperature.

Bottom half: merino long John and ME G2 pant for most conditions, and merino long john, thin fleece trouser and then Gore Pro trousers for wet days.
Post edited at 23:32
TobyA on 09 Nov 2017

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