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#4 - Layering for cold and high altitude.  

Outdoor Gear Coach team member Alan Hinkes climbed all 14 of the world's highest summits, all above 8,000m, over 28 expeditions.

Unlike many others, he did not sustain frostbite at all due to his acute awareness of circulation, hydration, and layering techniques.

Picture left, Summit Helvellyn. Lake District, UK.

This is Alan's book

8000m: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains: All 14 Summits Hardcover – Illustrated, 8 Oct. 2013

Principal editor, team member Marian Parsons.

The frostbite photo left is NOT Alan's feet; he took this photo of a friend!

In severe cases of frostbite, amputation is required, resulting in the loss of certain abilities.

However, frostnip, the precursor to frostbite, can easily occur even in the UK. Beware that any frost-nipped digit will always remain a problem in cold weather.

Alan's key tips for layering and avoiding frostbite...............

  1. Ensure that spare gloves and your inner glove have enough 'feel' or dexterity to do whatever needs to be done during the day and the next camp set-up. The outer glove is preferably a mitt. 

  2. Always take time to ensure you have enough warm liquid for the day, even if it means leaving slightly later. Good hydration keeps your circulation moving and your metabolism ( which creates warmth) functioning. 

  3. Never assume your hands or feet will get warm as you go; sort them NOW.

  4. If you have enough fuel, fill an alu water bottle with hot water and position it well inside your sleeping bag.

  5. If you go to bed with very cold feet, be aware that they will NOT get warm unless you are proactive. Stay up all night and massage them until circulation returns.

  6. I always keep a pair of almost new and unused socks for my final summit day.

  7. Above 7,000m then a one-piece oversuit becomes essential to avoid heat losses where jacket and pants join.



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