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What do you wear when glacier hiking in the summer?

What do you wear when glacier hiking in the summer?

Old Dec 28th, 2002, 02:39 AM
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What do you wear when glacier hiking in the summer?

Our daughter is going with a school group to Scandinavia next summer. Itinerary mentions glacier hiking for 1/2 day. Excuse my ignorance, but what does one wear hiking a glacier? Thought I would ask now since it will be more difficult to buy winter clothing/shoes in the spring/summer. Thanks.
(They are also riding bikes in Copenhagen and kayaking in Norway, but I think I can figure out clothing for that!)
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 03:51 AM
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gore tex! boots/shoes with good soles/grips. for something more specific I couldn't tell you.

go to REI and ask the same question - for all three sports actually. make sure she has good, quick dry long tights for the biking.
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 05:59 AM
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Bike riding is very common in Copenhagen; you won't need any special clothes unless the group is taking a long trip. For glacier hiking, try to take gore-tex hiking boots that are lightweight (she won't want to haul heavy boots around Scandinavia just for that half day) and, most important...break them in beforehand! About 15 hours of walking should be enough. A gore-tex or other breatheable jacket with a hood and a zip-out fleece would be a good idea, too. It sounds like a great trip!
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 07:18 AM
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Layers! That way you can adjust as needed. If it is fairly cold, thermal underwear with fleece pants and pullover on top, with waterproof pants and jacket on top of that. REI has everything you need on there web site. I got most of our stuff for a glacier hiking trip to Alaska there last year. Also gloves (don't need to be heavy, just something to keep your fingers covered) and a hat.
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 07:35 AM
Bob Brown
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It all depends on the type of glacier hiking your daughter is doing!
If the trek is a long one over glacial ice, the tour management should provide detailed information.

If the trek is a long one over the ice surface without fixed ropes, then the ball game changes dramatically. In that case, the party should be roped together and each hiker should have crampons and an ice axe. There must also be an orientation period before going wherein the hikers learn what to do with an ice axe and crampons. Without training, people with ice axes and crampons can be dangerous!!!!

It may be summer, but glaciers as a general rule are cold, particularly if there is a cloud cover.

If it is even a partly sunny day, a good sun block and lip protection liberally applied is absolutely mandatory. I also strongly recommend a pair of dark sunglasses, or even ski goggles, with a certified UV filter. Without the right protection, you can bake!!

For the bike riding, rain gear is essential in northern Europe. I have yet to see the poncho that is worth much unless it is designed to tie onto the handle bars to form something of a tent. Even so, you usually get wet from the knees down. Being in the rain with regular a poncho is miserable. You usually get wet from the waist down.

For rain gear, I don't hink you can beat a good Goretex jacket and rain pants. The big problem in a cold rain, which you can get even in the summer, is footgear.

Before commenting further, I would need to know more about the support services for the bike trek. Is there a following support truck with equipment and clothing for the bikers"

I fully endorse the comments about using fleece under a Goretex shell.
I have similar equipment that I have use repeatedly in the Swiss Alps, the Canadian Rockies, and even the US during my summer outings.

It sounds like a fun trip, with interesting activities. Even so, I think the leadership of the excursion should be supplying you with details.
If these details are not forthcoming, I would be asking a whole lot of questions.

Let me cite one anecdote that will emphasize my concerns. In the summer of 1997, I made an excursion in Yoho National Park. We decided to take the Iceline trail from the floor of the Yoho Valley, over the Whaleback Trail to a backwoods chalet. The route was above tree line, over glacial debris, and along the flank of the remains of the Emerald Glacier.

On our way up, we had walked intermixed with hikers from a tour group who were going to Emerald Lake. The hikers in is party were very poorly equipped. I don't recall seeing much appropriate hiking equipment. Some were even making the trek in sneakers and skirts!!
Unfortunately, a sleet storm struck shortly after we emerged from the trees. Some of the stragglers were behind us. Talk about being uncomfortable! They were miserable.
The sleet was stinging their faces and the rain that was intermixed was getting them wet.
I suggested that they return to tree line, which was close at hand, and seek shelter there until the sleet quit pelting them.

By contrast, I had on my Goretex rain outfit, gloves, a fleece pullover, boots, and my standard headgear: a cap with a long bill covered by the hood of my my jacket.

Another group, a family group with friends, passed us during a food and water stop. The three boys in the group were hatless and they were complaining mightily about the sleet hurting. Their mother was giving them a first class verbal remonstration: "If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times. WEAR a hat when you go hiking."

Old Dec 28th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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I did some glacier hiking in Iceland in June 2 years ago. It all depends on how she is used to the cold. I am from Toronto,with cotton t-shirt,sweater,a winter jacket,scarf,woolen hat(better than hood) and gloves,I was quite comfortable. However,if the weather changes,it could be quite cold,so layers is a good idea.

However, the footwear is important, since after few hours, the chill from glacier really get into the feet. Without heavy boots, make sure she wears couple thick socks inside the regular hiking boots.
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 07:53 AM
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She has to have a large backpack to keep all this gear in. It may be warm too and all she will need may be only t-shirt at some sections of the trails when ascending.
The most useful piece of equipment we found when climbing glaciers were walking sticks. But I don't think that any high-school kid would think that hiking with the sticks is cool enough.

She shold have a bottle water, snacks including a couple of chocolate bars. I assume that a lunch will be provided
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 09:42 AM
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The school group your daughter is going with should provide you with that kind of information. Have you asked the group coordinator?

I, too, went on a 1/2 days glacier "hike" in Switzerland with a school group and while it was a blast, it sure didn't require any unusual gear. I agree w/above...several layers of socks w/wicking action and well worn hiking boots, warm hat and gloves (preferably waterproof cause most kids just wanted to slide down the glacier or get in on the snow ball fight)Our area had a chalet to rewarm and get a hot chocolate. Inquire. Maybe they will too.

Old Dec 28th, 2002, 10:18 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. This is a group of 13 and 14 year olds plus adults, and run by a youth tour group. The coordinator from our school (a public middle school near Boston) lived in Scandinavia for 10 years, and I am sure he has info. The Copenhagen bike ride is actually a short city tour - they travel on bus, train, boat the rest of the time, so carrying mega-gear is not really an issue. And I surely hope they are not ice-axing anywhere, since I am nervous enough about this trip already (our son went to Italy with same tour company and same chaperones 3 years ago and it was all well organized and supervised.)

REI has a store 5 miles away from where we live - maybe they are having a winter sale! I am getting the idea that packing for a 10 day trip in mixed climates is going to be a real challenge.
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 02:51 PM
Al Godon
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Mom, I hate to sound like a doubting Thomas, but I find it hard to believe that you climbed up a slanted incline of ice with only a walking stick. I have two top class hiking poles that would be useless on a surface of ice. They are barely adequate with the tips removed on a surface of hard packed graulated snow, one that has melted in the sun and refrozen. Even a flat glacial surface is darn near impossible to stand up on without a spiked tool of some sort. Were you by chance climbing on the lateral moraine as opposed to the ice surface itself??

For Gail: Possibly the excursion for your daughter's group will follow a marked route, possibly with supporting ropes.
There are several of those types of trails in Switzerland that are groomed surfaces of snow that covers the ice, or there are ropes strung on metal poles fixed into the ice.

I think the chief concern for your daughter is keeping her feet warm.
I usually wear lug soled boots with an inner sock liner that wicks away moisture and an outer sock of heavy wool. The trade name Smart Wool is a good choice, particularly in the heaviest weight.
The liner socks are important in that they fit tight and control blisters well. I left my liners off once, and it was a mistake I will never repeat.

Most outdoors stores that sell boots, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, and other hiking/camping equipment have the socks.
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