I'm planning on doing the Three Passes Trek including Everest Base Camp in February 2017. What are people's opinions on merino thermals for this purpose? I've heard mixed opinions and am a little confused.
I like that merino don't smell/take more effort to get smelly, and are obviously warm. But how well do they hold up when wet? Will they be good for this trek or should I invest in synthetics?
I use merino wool/silk hiking socks all the time. They cushion my feet well; and don't smell. In colder climes, I take along a merino wool undershirt that I layer with a shirt and down jacket or vest. If it's really cold, I'll add more layers, perhaps including a fleece. While wool generally doesn't smell (so you don't have to wash the garment as often), the downside is that when it gets wet it will really smell. Synthetics can accumulate odors, too. Your top priority is to keep warm; and wool does an excellent job in doing that. Bring both; and test them out yourself.
P.S. I always carry a rain jacket. It can provide extra warmth if needed; and helps prevent wind chill. It came in handy on trips this year to Bolivia, Patagonia, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, where I was at elevations up to 18,300 feet. I'm now in Austria. Before you go, download an altimeter app on your smartphone. There's a free one on Google Play that doesn't require Internet access.
P.P.S. Suggest you bring a Buff, or similar, to protect against dust. There isn't as much vegetation at higher elevations; and the winds (sometimes fierce) can kick up a lot of dirt, dust and, yes, even sand, depending where you are. Even locals in Ladakh wear masks to prevent inhaling too much.
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Aug-2016, at 20:46 by berner256 ]
Thanks for that. The synthetics I was looking at have been treated to stop the smell. I think I might take a mix and just see what works best. I'm hoping to be able to do some shorter day treks in the month I'm in Nepal before the hike, and hopefully that will give me my answer.
Do you know what the name of the app is by any chance? Looks like there's quite a few altimeter apps - and thanks for the suggestion, hadn't thought of that.
Thought the other day that I should bring something like a Buff - only I was referring to them as "those face mask type thingies that you put over your face to keep dust off" so thanks for giving me a name for that.
This is great idea to do trek in this time because quite less tourist at that period of time because of the coldness up in mountain it may quite difficult to do all the three pass because of the snow in high passes and sleepy ice on the way .... but if you like for adventure then it will be perfect for you
Yeah I'm a little worried about being able to do the passes. I'm going to have to play it by ear - the worst case scenario really is that I take the straight route into EBC instead of doing the passes. Have you got any experience with Micro Traks or Yak Trax or similar? Planning to take some with me to improve my chances.
Sorry for the delay in responding. I'm in a rural part of Austria; and I'm using my mobile phone to communicate. The altimeter I use is by ExaMobile of Poland. There's a free version on Google Play.
Awesome, thanks. And thanks for going to the trouble of replying!