One of the ways in which we get cold quickly in the mountains is by getting wet – wet clothes will conduct heat away from the body around 5 times faster than dry clothes. So, staying dry is very, very important. One of the ways in which we can get wet is from our own bodies – from sweat. So, in conditions when staying warm is a priority, then anything we can do to avoid sweating is helpful.
The first 10-15 minutes of a mountain day are usually the ones that get people damp quite quickly, as we get out of the car, put lots of clothes on, put on a heavy pack, and start walking quickly and steeply uphill. In a few minutes, most people need to stop and re-adjust their layers and take something off. This is fine, and is certainly the right thing to do if you are starting to overheat, but you can anticipate this moment and perhaps avoid it, by wearing less clothing at the start of the day – perhaps even wearing what is not quite enough clothing for when you are standing still. As soon as you start walking and working hard, the body will start to generate heat.
So, consider not wearing too many clothes at the start of the day. “Be bold – start cold.” Within reason, of course, especially in winter!