Are you on top of what to wear on summit night of a 7000m peak?

Aconcagua summit night

There are so many factors affecting what to wear on summit night, the wind, the temperature, how you are feeling, so my best advice is layers! Here is what I wear on 7000m peaks.

When you work hard to get your layering right for you, the last thing you need is a damp layer next to your skin. I’ve found the Icebreaker bra top works best, both at wicking sweat away and drying quickly, as it is made of merino wool the same as the thermals.  Over this I wear a merino thermal top either Icebreaker or Rab.  Some people prefer a thermal top with a zip or 1/2 zip for additional ventilation, but I don’t usually need to vent all my layers.

Next up I wear a lighter weight fleece and then I usually wear a primaloft gillet.

I absolutely love primaloft layers, I often take both a gillet and a hoodie. The gillet is great for keeping your core warm, I also find it less restrictive than wearing multiple layers on your arms. I’ve also been in situations where just by pulling the gillet on over my other layers has been enough. I always try to just keep adding layers on, rather than taking layers off and swapping them, this keeps the warmth that you have already built up between the layers, and reduces the faff of taking things off to  then stuff away in the rucksack.

My next layer really depends on the conditions, if I’m leaving the tent and I know that within a short time I will be taking my down jacket off  I will usually pop my Goretex or waterproof layer under it. If it feels as if I’m going to be wearing my down jacket all the way to the summit I usually leave my Goretex layer off.

I get cold fingers easily so I’m extra careful, I wear a thin liner glove (I very rarely take these off once I’m on the move on the mountain). For summit night I pop a little hand warmer into my mitts before I leave the tent.

If your hands aren’t as cold as mine you may be able to wear a glove but make sure that your mitts are in the top pocket of your rucksack for when you need them.

If I’m wearing a helmet I wear a woolen hat. If not I like to wear a bobble hat (no additional warmth in this, it just looks better!) If it’s really cold or just as a spare, I have a balaclava.

Most summits leaving in the dark I put my sunglasses in my goggles case. Goggles on for leaving the tent and then you know you have your sunglasses for the following day.

Carrie Gibson

About Carrie Gibson

Carrie Gibson has traveled on many of our expeditions including Everest North Ridge, Denali, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Island Peak & Ama Dablam. Carrie is also the first British woman to summit Himlung Himal.

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