Q. Hey Gear Guy, my patrol is going to Philmont for two weeks this summer, and I need some help. I hear that the weather is unpredictable there and I was wondering if you could help me decide on what kind of gear we should bring?
—Careful Casey, Edmond, Okla.
A. You’re right, Casey. Summer in the Southern Rockies can be very unpredictable indeed. And the big changes in elevation at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M., add to the changeable weather. Basecamp is at an elevation of 6,700 feet while Baldy Mountain rises to 12,441 feet. That’s a lot of feet! According to Mark Anderson (he’s director of programs and Philmont’s main man) the temperature is around three degrees cooler for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Do the math — and you’ll see it’ll be a lot chillier atop Baldy.
So here’s how Anderson recommends packing for Philmont:
“We recommend layers,” he says. “If a Scout brings a long-sleeve shirt (wool or synthetic), a sweater or jacket (wool or polar fleece), a good rain jacket and a lightweight stocking cap, he will be comfortable at most weather conditions.”