Windshells 101

3dmuir 2017 05 26 09 11 18

Imagine climbing 5,000 vertical feet in a day during mid-summer covered in bubble wrap. Sounds hot and sweaty, right? That is essentially what it’s like trying to hike in a waterproof shell – loads of condensation and excessive heat retention. Thus, the need for a truly breathable active layer.

Wind resistant, water resistant, and breathable, softshell jackets, like the Arc’teryx Gamma LT, are undoubtedly the most versatile and most often used layers in climbing, and with appropriate layering, some of them boast four-season use. However, even glaciated peaks like Mount Baker and Mount Rainier experience seasonal periods of warm and dry temperatures, during which a softshell jacket can become surprisingly stifling. During these summer conditions , the additional warmth of a softshell, fleece, or lightweight insulated jacket cause your body to expend precious energy and fluids on temperature regulation.

Alternatively, the strong winds experienced at higher altitudes can quickly zap your heat, cutting through a fleece midlayer and causing you to expend far more energy to regulate your temperature in the opposite direction. Clearly it’s necessary to have some sort of protection from the elements beyond a fleece or baselayer, but what layer do you choose when there are people getting their tans on at Camp Muir?

When I want to go fast and light, or when big yellow suns are lined across the forecast tables, I reach for my windshell.

Windshells are ideal warm weather layering pieces for high-output activities such as biking, trail running, rock climbing, and mountaineering. Ultra-light and far more breathable than softshell jackets, windshells are crucial for days in the alpine when overheating and dehydration are bigger concerns than being wet and cold.

For superior design and versatility, choose the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody. The durable fabric used for the Squamish Hoody makes it one of the most protective  windshells on the market. It has a helmet compatible and easily adjustable hood, and is specifically designed for active, outdoor pursuits. The Squamish Hoody tucks away into its own chest pocket – a handy feature for keeping a small camera or snack accessible while on the move.

 

ALPINE ASCENTS BLOG

  • Women's Specific Climbing Tips

    Women’s-Specific Climbing Tips

    It’s Not Awkward, It’s Reality As adults, we’ve got our bathroom & “private part” habits down. We know how to keep ourselves comfortable, clean, and efficient. But what happens when we step into the backcountry for the day? For several nights? For a month-long expedition? For those heading into the backcountry with a female anatomy, […]

  • Capture

    Gear Review: Fozzils Bowls

    By Mike Hawkins It has been a long day – one of the most demanding climbing days you have ever experienced. Your legs are wrecked. Your back is sore and you have small bruises on your hips from your hipbelt. You have sunscreen caked into every nook and cranny, but even that didn’t keep you […]

  • Selecting A Crampon

    Gear Review: The North Face Phantom 50 pack

    By Mike Hawkins “Man, this is a really great pack…” I said it over and over for months until my wife had finally had enough of it. She had to get one for herself.  While 50 liters is a little small for most multi-day mountaineering and winter ski tours, the small size is plenty versatile […]

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
© Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved. Alpine Ascents International