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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Systems Approach?

On occasion I repost something I find of particular interest from the blog links listed on the side of Cold Thistle.

Recently I have been working on a number of design projects and seen a few others starting to produce results.   Even after a lot of effort the results may be of limited value.  Eventually a well thought out  "system" will allow one to use less clothing, carry less weight with better protection from the elements, all while being more versatile.   Think a seamless approach, head to foot.

I think to design well, you need a beginner's mind, an open mind.  The student's mind.  And enough experience to know what really does work and why.

Below are a couple of good thoughts for you.  I don't agree with everything listed in the blog post.  I think tucking your pants into a modern gaitered boot (Phantom and Batura) for example is a bad idea.  Tucking your pants is simply a faster way to get cold, wet feet eventually.  

Look closely at the upper left hand corner and else where on the Phantom Guide's gaiter.  This is what happens when you tuck your pants into your shorty boot gaiters in the wrong conditions.  That is all moisture out of my boot!   A good antiperspirant applied to your feet prior will help as well.

But when thinking of a "clothing system" these two are good info worth remembering.

More here:

heat loss thru the head

another misunderstanding that leads to rescues and unrequited goals. people thinking they lose 50% of their body heat thru the head so they get away with just a good hat is a myth so embedded its not even questioned.

the head loses the same amount of heat as any other part of the body does in ratio to its size – in this case about 9%. meanwhile, somewhere often ignored but which does have a surface area approaching 35% is the legs.

think about it next time you dress for the cold.

crampon patches

crampon or ‘slash’ patches do little to protect your trousers, and do a lot to make your feet cold.

20 years ago when crampons had 20 teeth and fabrics stretched less and had more abrasive textures they were a big deal. now, the seam that joins them and the difference in fabric properties are more likely to catch a crampon than deflect one.

of course bad footwork will create the odd nick, but a thick layer of unbreathing cordura or, worst yet – absorbent Kevlar – is trapping more moisture around your ankles than the odd nick will let in.


Chris the Magnificent said...

Dane, Why do you "think tucking your pants into a modern gaitered boot (Phantom and Batura) for example is a bad idea. Tucking your pants is simply a faster way to get cold, wet feet eventually." Is it because it would not breath as well and would trap moisture in the boot? What about trudging through the snow on a long approach (or in between pitches) and the potential for snow getting in? Could you elaborate? Thanks.

Dane said...

The gaiters trap moisture coming out of the boot. Phantom series worse than the original Batura. New Batura isn't going to be much better.

Stick your pant cuff in there and it just gets worse. Put the pant leg over the booot and add a bungie to make a pant gaiter and you will literally pump air around the boot.

Your feet will stay drier because of it. And your feet will stay warmer. How do I know this you ask? Found ice formed in the top of my boot gaiter when I went to relace them mid day in deep, cold snow. Did another hr or two with one pant in and one out. Guess which stayed drier and got rid of the ice? The pant was the Gamma LT. The Boot a Phantom Guide.

Neil Newton Taylor said...

Heat loss through the head is it 50% or 9%, well like most things it depends doesn't it.

If you are naked then I would say the 9% value is likely to be right for an average person (full head of hair "normal" body fat % (whatever that is)). However if the hair is wet then heat loss from the head will increase compared to the rest of the body which dries quicker.

If you are talking about a clothed person standing around in the cold without a helmet, hat or hood on then 50% could well be right as well. If they are wearing a down suit & expedition boots on a cold day then it could be much more heat loss occuring from the head and face, maybe as much as 90%?

If someone thinks that putting a hat on, on a cold day will keep them warm even if they are naked then they should find out pretty soon that it won't.

I always talk a spare warm hat with me in my pack, and will never buy another soft shell or belay jacket which doesn't have a hood, so that I can easily keep myself warm under different temperatures of cold on a day out in the mountains in winter.

Just my 2 cents for you.


Dane said...

I also seldom use garments that don't have hoods. Simply because I use my head to regulate my heat output and hoods make that easier than a hat while climbing. I also seldom use a hat but a head band instead..also because it is easier to regulate.

Like the post says.."something to think about".