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#GiveBIG to support our people and places

This last year has made it clear that people need the great outdoors more than ever before. When I think about the people and the experiences that kept our spirits happy and healthy, I think about Mountaineers volunteers and their boundless excitement to help others spend more time outside. As we close out the two-day celebration of #GiveBIG, we invite you to join us in giving back to the communities that supported us through good times and bad, and provide a wealth of adventure buddies who bring light to our lives even on the cloudiest days.  Read more…

How to Put Together a Layering System - From the Skin-Side Out

From Chapter 2: Clothing and Equipment
Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition


Dressing in layers makes it easier to adapt to fluctuating temperatures and conditions in the mountains. The goal is to minimize clothing weight and bulk while efficiently maintaining a comfortable body temperature by removing or adding layers as needed. Experienced mountaineers develop a basic strategy of layering consisting of a few select garments of high functionality, which they use in combination—depending on conditions and personal preference—for most of their activities. They may swap in a new base layer, carry more or fewer midlayers or a different outer garment, or try something new—but the layering system has withstood the test of time and the elements. An outdoor clothing layering system consists of four types of layers:

1. Base layer. The base layer, immediately next to your skin, allows perspiration to evaporate, keeping your skin warm and dry.

2. Midlayer.Midlayerstrapwarmairclosetoyourbody. The thicker the layer of trapped air, the warmer you will be. Although less efficient than a single, monolithic block of “dead” air (as in a down parka, for example), several light, loosely fitting layers can trap a lot of insulating air, and such an arrangement is very adjustable.

3. Shell layer. Shells protect midlayers from wind and precipitation. These could be waterproof-breathable hardshells, softshells, or wind shells, depending on conditions.

4. Belay jacket. Donned quickly when you stop moving in cold conditions, an insulated jacket sized to fit over everything can preserve hard-won warmth.


Think of layers as a system intended to maintain comfort in a wide variety of mountain weather, or worn all at once to survive an unplanned bivouac. Try the layers on together before you commit to the complete system for a climb to make sure the shell layer fits comfortably over all the midlayers without compressing insulation or restricting movement.


Armed with knowledge of outdoor fabric characteristics and the strategy of layering, you can assemble an effective mountaineering clothing layering system. Figure 2-2 shows how various articles in a complete clothing system are mixed and matched to function throughout a spectrum of weather conditions and different levels of physical exertion. The exact garments chosen will vary significantly from climber to climber. The goal is to create a flexible system that keeps you safe. Following are some specific guidelines for particular mountaineering conditions.


Cool conditions with rain or wet snow are the most difficult to prepare for. Waterproof-breathable garments are the best available, but condensation will still form under them during exertion. Dress minimally underneath to avoid overheating, vent as much as possible, and assume the clothes you are wearing underneath are going to get wet. Wear gaiters under rain pants. A rain kilt or poncho is an option for the approach hike. Colder conditions and precipitation in the form of snow is a bit simpler to dress for than rain. Cold snow will sluff off garments before it has a chance to melt. Waterproof-breathable garments do not breathe as well as other outer layers; more-breathable softshells (either laminated or waterproof-breathable laminated) may be sufficient.

Closely monitor your personal temperature levels. To avoid overheating, vent as much as possible and adjust layers as needed. Try to start off feeling a bit cool to avoid overheating as you exert more energy and warm up. Remove waterproof-breathable garments as soon as possible. For resting, belaying, or in camp, waterproof-breathable garments are at their best, when both exertion and perspiration are low. Increase midlayers under the shell layer while at rest.


Triple Your #GiveBIG Impact with Your First Gift

Early this morning, we kicked off the two-day celebration of #GiveBIG and announced a dollar-for-dollar match to help us reach our $30,000 grassroots fundraising goal.  Read more…

#GiveBIG to Get More People Outside

Today we kick-off #GiveBIG, a two day celebration of donors and volunteers who give back in honor of the people, places, and books that influence positive change in our world. Whether you’re a brand-new member or have been with us for decades, our mission is to provide you with educational and experiential opportunities so that you are equipped to receive the full benefits of spending time in nature. Read more…

Peak Performance | Create Your Own Training Program

With summer around the corner, it’s time to train for upcoming outdoor goals. In this edition of Peak Performance, I hope to help you assess the components of your alpine sport, and describe how to put together a safe, suitable, and personalized training program. Read more…

New Releases: May 2021

Utah, Colorado, Maine. Three different states all offering unique natural wonders worthy of exploration. Our new guidebooks, Mountain Bike Park City, Hike the Parks: Acadia National Park, and Hike the Parks: Rocky Mountain National Park include everything you need to get the most out of your time in these beautiful places. Read more…

A Recap of Our 2021 Virtual Gala

Each spring we gather our community to celebrate our collective achievements and support future efforts to transform lives and protect wild places. With the pandemic preventing us from gathering in person, we hosted our second (and hopefully final) virtual Gala. Read more…

See You Tonight! How to Watch the Virtual Gala

Tonight’s the night! We invite you to join us for our biggest fundraising event of the year: The Mountaineers 2021 Virtual Gala: Adventure with Purpose. This event has a huge impact on our organization, with all proceeds from donations and winning auction bids supporting mission-driven programs and initiatives. Read more…

Musical Mountaineers Row into the 2021 Virtual Gala

When we began planning the 2021 Virtual Gala, we knew we wanted to host an outdoor awards show unlike anything we’ve ever done before. Mountaineers Books author and Guinness World Record-holding ocean rower Jordan Hanssen had a musical project that was the perfect fit. Since the pandemic began, Jordan has been inviting musicians to play in his rowboat for his newly-created  TinyBoatSessions. We asked him if he would organize a TinyBoatSession for the auction, and he found the perfect performers for the occasion: The Musical Mountaineers. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Deloa Dalby

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Deloa Dalby, a volunteer leader with the Foothills Branch who helped launch the Trailhead Ambassadors program in partnership with the Mountains to Sound Greenway earlier this spring! Read more…