Tuesday, March 20, 2018

19 Days Remain: My torso gear and a quick update

Inside 3 weeks and I cannot keep still.  The anticipation is just killing me.  I have a few thousand things to do before I leave but those will be in my rear view mirror in short order.  A few days ago, Alan Arnette asked me if I would like to be interviewed and I readily jumped at the opportunity.  Alan chronicles Everest climbing every year and offers readers wonderful insights into the ground-level happenings on both sides.  Aside from being a climber himself, he is also a delightful guy.  We met several times in Kathmandu over the past few years and I always enjoyed chatting with him.  Needless to say, I felt incredibly grateful that he would have any interest in me or my climb.  If you are curious about his website, I encourage you to explore it.  Also, feel free to donate to his cause for Alzheimer's research; he takes nothing from the donations and gives back to the world ten times over.

I resume my coverage of gear by moving ever so slowly up my body.  Today, I discuss my torso gear.  I discuss each article moving from my base layers outward.  So, without further delay, here goes....

Base Layer

I rely on my X-Bionic base layer top for warmth and recovery. 
My favorite base layer - the X-Bionic top
This base layer is really tight but made of some stretchy wool - similar to most Merino wool tops but way warmer.  I wear this for days on end against my skin without fainting from the smell.  No kidding!  These tops resist getting smelly.  Brendan will thank me for wearing this instead of some technical shirt.  Speaking of technical shirts, I do wear one every day but mostly when I am in my tent.  These "tech" shirts get really smelly in a hurry.  I wear them to give my warm base layers a break and let them air out.  Also, I tend to run warm so wearing a short-sleeved shirt in the tent suits my internal body temperature.  

A typical tech shirt

I often bring about 5 or 6 of these tech shirts because they are light, take up no space when compressed, and get smelly quickly so they need to be either recycled or discarded in my bag of stinky clothing.  I also wear them every day so I need to have a few changes while I climb.  Many days when the temperature reaches 30F (2C) or higher, I wear these shirts and a light top so they are quite versatile.

Mid Layer

Long-sleeved tech shirt
I typically wear one fleece on and off throughout every expedition.  My fleece is really light - equivalent to a sweatshirt but much warmer when wet.  I also wear a long-sleeved tech shirt as a mid-layer over my base layer to just add another layer of warmth.  The tech shirt is something like the one pictured to the right.  Nothing fancy but it fits the bill nicely when I need just a little more warmth without any additional weight.  I also wear a puff down jacket as a mid-layer under my hard shell top.  My puff jacket has no hood but is warm and light.  Once wet, however, a puff jacket is useless so I try to use it only when I know I will either not sweat much or there is no chance of rain.  On Everest, the likelihood of rain is remote at basecamp or above; below basecamp, however, rain can be a problem.
My puff down jacket - used as a mid-layer or just as a light outer jacket

Outer Layer

Finally, we get to the most outer layer covering my torso.  I rely heavily on my big parka.  This jacket is so warm it can keep me toasty in the coldest temperatures.  I wear this as soon as I get into camp after climbing all day, crawl under it when I sleep on cold nights, and lounge around in it at basecamp when I get a chill.  Think of it as a sleeping bag with arms - not quite the coverage as my summit suit but it covers my torso and head nicely.  
My down parka

The other article I rely upon when climbing - almost daily - is my hard shell top.  I purchased this top almost 8 years ago and patched it, resealed it, and tortured it for that entire duration.  When I climb, I typically wear only the bare necessities under this top.  I find a tighter, wind-stopping outer layer allows me to stay warm while I climb.  Stopping for long periods requires more insulation so if you plan to climb with minimal layers, keep moving!

My hard shell top
These are the few items I intend to take on my upcoming Everest expedition to cover my torso.  Most of my choices come from many years sorting through gear that I found both useful and necessary.  Each of these items fit those criteria and can be used under the conditions I expect to encounter on Everest this year.  


I have two more areas of my body to cover - well, three.  Over the next few days, I intend to cobble together more pictures of my head and hand wear.  My final post on gear includes those articles that cover my entire body.  There are not many articles of clothing that do that job but there is one in particular that I rely upon heavily for summit day.  So stay tuned for more gear.

Thanks for following and a huge thanks to Alan Arnette for interviewing me for his blog.