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aerili


Dec 12, 2011, 9:55 PM
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Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget
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So I may go on an ice climbing trip to Ouray in January or February. I have never ice climbed before. My main problem is that I lived in Arizona for over a decade and have lived by the Sierras now for ~3 years but don't have much cold weather gear still (sooo expensive). For two years year-round I have been looking for ski pants in my size with vents at the Sierra Trading Post store in town and can never find anything!

If this trip materializes, I need to make it super economical. I also need help with the what and how of clothing required to not freeze to death. Clearly as a female, I am at a disadvantage in borrowing items to wear...all the people I know who ice climb are men.

* So far, I can borrow one friend's tools (gender neutral, right?).
* Another male friend who is on the short side and close to my height said I can borrow his boots and crampons (he used to guide on Shasta). I figure if the boots are slightly big that's ok. Wear extra socks? (I'm worried about cold feet anyway).
* My potential partner will probably have a beefy, dude-size belay jacket I can borrow when he is climbing and I am not.

I own one soft shell. No fleece. I really need to find/borrow a waterproof warm jacket and pants as my outer layers no doubt. I do have some Capilene 2 long underwear and one pair Capi 3 leggings. I do own wool socks and such.

What about gloves? One ice climbing friend says I am screwed here unless I shell out $150. Another ice climbing friend says just have a good pair for belaying (I think I already have Goretex mittens and gloves that would work) and just go to Goodwill and buy a couple pair of relatively warm but dexterous gloves for the actual climbing. What do I do???

How do I layer all this shit? Is there a science to it or not? I also think I have Raynaud's and am super paranoid about how cold my hands and feet will be. Any tips?

Thanks for any help!!!! Oh, and I would be down to have anyone join the trip who might be interested...


iknowfear


Dec 13, 2011, 1:58 AM
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Re: [aerili] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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aerili wrote:
So I may go on an ice climbing trip to Ouray in January or February. I have never ice climbed before. My main problem is that I lived in Arizona for over a decade and have lived by the Sierras now for ~3 years but don't have much cold weather gear still (sooo expensive). For two years year-round I have been looking for ski pants in my size with vents at the Sierra Trading Post store in town and can never find anything!

If this trip materializes, I need to make it super economical. I also need help with the what and how of clothing required to not freeze to death. Clearly as a female, I am at a disadvantage in borrowing items to wear...all the people I know who ice climb are men.

* So far, I can borrow one friend's tools (gender neutral, right?).
* Another male friend who is on the short side and close to my height said I can borrow his boots and crampons (he used to guide on Shasta). I figure if the boots are slightly big that's ok. Wear extra socks? (I'm worried about cold feet anyway).
* My potential partner will probably have a beefy, dude-size belay jacket I can borrow when he is climbing and I am not.

I own one soft shell. No fleece. I really need to find/borrow a waterproof warm jacket and pants as my outer layers no doubt. I do have some Capilene 2 long underwear and one pair Capi 3 leggings. I do own wool socks and such.

What about gloves? One ice climbing friend says I am screwed here unless I shell out $150. Another ice climbing friend says just have a good pair for belaying (I think I already have Goretex mittens and gloves that would work) and just go to Goodwill and buy a couple pair of relatively warm but dexterous gloves for the actual climbing. What do I do???

How do I layer all this shit? Is there a science to it or not? I also think I have Raynaud's and am super paranoid about how cold my hands and feet will be. Any tips?

Thanks for any help!!!! Oh, and I would be down to have anyone join the trip who might be interested...

No matter the gear: you will be cold and wet. Pro gear will let you get wet and cold a bit later.

Gloves: buy 2-3 pair of insulated work leather gloves in some do-it yourself shop. Cause even the 300 $ Gloves are cold if they get wet! If you have a couple of cheap leather gloves, you can alway switch to a DRY and warm pair.
Be prepared for screaming barfies regardless.

If its just for a single trip, I would try to buy stuff that you can reuse. If you are going skiing, buy skipants. Else, go to wallmart (or whatever your local chinese sweatshop outlet is) an buy the cheapest fleece jacket and pants, cover with rainpants.

Or just wear three pairs of leggins and some rainpants on top.

A belay jacket (down or someting else warm) is useful. And bring enough clothes to change into dry stuff when your done climbing.

Cheers


tolman_paul


Dec 13, 2011, 2:34 PM
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Re: [aerili] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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Try sierra trading post online, lately they've been having extra 40-45% off coupons on some clothing items, so keep an eye on their webspecials dayly and you might be able to score the clothing you need.

I haven't ice climbed with oversize boots, but would consider that less than ideal, but probably not a show stopper. You can use alpine ski boots in a pinch. I'd say slightly too big is better than too small, as too small will cut off circulation and result in cold feet.

As to gloves, I'll take 3-5 pairs of cheapies over a $150 pair any day. Unless it is really cold, i.e. subzero, you don't need a tremendously warm glove to climb in. I often climb in just a basic fleece glove, and then change into a dry glove at the end of the pitch.

And the key to warm hands



And don't dismiss old school



They run 8-12 hours on tank of fuel and stuffed in your parka they keep your core temp up, and you can use them to warm up your hands.

One last thing, you might need to borrow a larger harness, are your rock harness likely won't fit over several layers on your legs.


granite_grrl


Dec 13, 2011, 4:23 PM
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Re: [iknowfear] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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Best to borrow clothes where you can, buy clearance gear where you can't.

Do you know what the temps are supposed to be like our there that time of year? It makes a difference in your layers, but mostly how many layers you need.

I never wear a fleece when ice climbing, too bulky for my tastes. I'll list what I wear for the coldest I might commonly climb in (around 0F), and then layers get stripped from there:

Top:
-mid weight shirt
-heavy weight shirt
-mid weight merino wool shirt
-mid weight shirt with a hood (my jacket doesn't have one)
-super heavy weight shirt
-soft shell jacket
-down jacket when not climbing

Bottom:
-mid weight long undies
-heavy weight long undies
-soft shell pants
-I do have a pair of fleece pants, but I don't like climbing in them so I only pull these out as a last resource.

As for gloves, etc, I have 3 pairs of mid weight liner gloves I'll wear change through the day as they get damp. You could probably get away with two pairs if you're careful. I think the gloves I wear go at ~$18 a pair, and while I do a couple of pairs of more expensive gloves I prefer to climb in my liners 90% of the time.

Something that works surprisingly well except for when it's coldest are having good wool mittens that I wear over the liners. Otherwise I do have a pair of those $100 mits for when it gets super cold, but I think you can get by without those.

Socks: those ski socks that go up to your knees are amazing, but if your boots are big you can stuff big socks in there too. For your first time out make sure you take an extra pair with in case you fine what you're wearing isn't warm enough, then you can slip on a second pair if required. Socks have taken me a lot of trial and error to find what pairs work best at what temps for me, so the best thing you can do is show up prepared.

Too big of boots is better than too small. If you cut off circulation to your feet they'll get cold, so just watch for that.

For your head make sure your hat fits under a helmet. I like to have a shirt with a hood too to keep the chill off my neck. My hat is really quite thin, but the hat with the hood keeps me really warm and it's easy to adjust if I start getting too warm.

One big thing is to keep yourself dry. Synthetic clothes are good for this but the real key is layering. If you start getting too get rid of layers. When you start a climb it'll probably be better to be a bit colder than warmer because you're only going to heat up when you start swinging.


petsfed


Jan 7, 2012, 11:57 AM
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Re: [aerili] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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Sitting in Ouray right now...

My system is as follows:

Light-weight long underwear bottoms, insulated soft-shell pants.
I've also climbed with very light-weight fleece tights under uninsulated soft-shell pants, and stayed pretty comfortable.

Similar on top. Light weight long underwear, light fleece shirt, puffy vest, and soft-shell jacket.

I just choose not to climb ice when I expect water to be running, or I make it a point to stay out of the running water.

As for gloves, I have an old, packed out, pair of primaloft insulated, waterproof gloves when I have leashes on, I also swap in some really light fleece gloves under a water-proof shell. If I go leashless, I have a pair of REI Mistral soft-shell gloves that are magic. I use them for cross-country and down-hill skiing, and my hands always stay warm when I'm moving.

You can rent boots from Ouray Mountain Sports, if you find the boots you have are too cold. Be aware that just layering on socks can also cut off circulation, so make sure you don't throw on too many, or you'll end up in the same place as before.

Finally, I have my belay parka, "Big Blue", for when I'm sitting still and not really climbing. Having a big puffy jacket can go a long ways towards keeping you comfy when you aren't climbing.

By the way, it seems like the New Funtier and the South Park are both warmer than the School Room, so you may try climbing there first to sort of feel out your system.


aerili


Jan 26, 2012, 4:50 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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Been meaning to say thanks to everyone for their replies. I'm not sure I can swing the trip this winter but I might have the option to climb ice near Lee Vining later. Either way, I am sure to use these rec's sometime later as I do want to try it out!

Went by the Sierra Trading Post in town again the other day....still don't have the kind of pants I want in my size! It's like everyone out there wears what I wear. Gah.


gblauer
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Jan 30, 2012, 11:07 AM
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Re: [aerili] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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get some gaitors...I sliced a hole in my gaitors due to my beginner foot work. I would have been very unhappy if that hole was in my pants!


granite_grrl


Jan 30, 2012, 6:29 PM
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Re: [gblauer] Need help with prepping for ice climbing on a budget [In reply to]
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gblauer wrote:
get some gaitors...I sliced a hole in my gaitors due to my beginner foot work. I would have been very unhappy if that hole was in my pants!

Not a bad idea, but I'd go with some cheap ones. Ripping a hole in your new $40 gortex gaiters isn't much fun either.


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