Clothing and Layering for Alpine Rock Climbs

It’s always fun to plan the perfect layering system for alpine climbing. Let’s face it: looking good is feeling good, and feeling good is climbing good!

I chose this system based on the weather and conditions I might find at 14,000 feet and the activity I was doing. The weather was dry and temps ranged from 30 to 50 degrees. I was approaching the climbs with a 40lb pack spending the night and then climbing all day on 10 pitch alpine rock routes. I was warm dry and comfortable at all times, guess I picked the right outfit!

Layering system for Mt. Whitney alpine climbs.
Layering system for Mt. Whitney alpine climbs.

All of my clothing is wool or synthetic and can be layered on top of itself for an efficient system that keeps me comfortable based on the activity and weather conditions.

2 pair socks (wear one, and swap daily)

1 pair boxers

1 pair of light long johns

Patagonia Alpine Guide Pant (soft shell material)

Webbing belt

Light weight t-shirt

Light weight long sleeve

Patagonia Piton Hybrid fleece

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody soft shell

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody

Patagonia Houdini wind jacket

Sun hat, Wool hat


Light gloves (soft shell with leather palm)

La Sportiva Ganda Guide shoes with sticky rubber (used on the approach and for climbing in)

In hind sight this was the right choice of clothing for the conditions and the climb. I could have ditched either the softshell or the fleece but they were nice to have.

Hope this helps with your mountain fashion decisions. See you in the hills!

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