For the last so-many years, a group of die-hard canyoneers has converged in North Wash for “FreezeFest”, a canyoneering rendezvous anchored around a New Year’s Day descent of the Black Hole. This troupe of crazies camps out during this entire endeavor, enduring cold, long nights around campfires and REALLY cold, dark nights huddled within “festive party tents,” battling the dark and cold with food, stories, and laughter. With highs in the 20s over the last week, it takes some good preparation to take part in FreezeFest, especially in the clothing category. But what if you don’t know how to dress for cold conditions? How does a canyoneer stay warm over 2 – 10 days of sub-freezing conditions? If you can’t stay warm, you won’t have fun at FreezeFest, or anywhere else in the outdoors under cold conditions.
In honor of winter and our comrades’ festive shenanigans, I offer a great no-nonsense video on cold weather layering from the NOLS folks. I used to live in the Teton Valley, where snow can easily be on the ground any month of the year. Since these cats outfit thousands of students for outdoor greatness each year, we can trust them to know a thing or two about insulation. Check it out.