More on these later in the spring, as Al will have used them for a couple of months ski touring by then, but here are some first impressions.. Sold as a ski touring/alpine climbing pant, they came onto the market in Oct 2009 and since then I’ve used them for around 4 weeks of Euro ice/Scottish winter climbing. Features include: very tightly woven softshell fabric which is durable and stretchy (not quite crampon proof but pretty impressive), adjustable waist, lightweight braces, 2 zip hip pockets, 2 thigh pockets (that will take a folded OS size map – ideal for ski touring), articulated knees, scuff guard on the inner ankle, generous ankle width (would fit over the top of a touring boot) and a lightweight internal gaitor. I’ve used them over powerstretch tights and they were great for icefalls, handling some very low temps, and coped ok in damper UK winter conditions. I think as a summer pant they would be great for cool weather classical alpinism and early/late season mixed stuff, worn without thermal leggings. The light Carbide coloured version is the one to get – ideal on glaciers for reflecting sunlight and keeping you a bit cooler! Overall they seem very versatile, look cool and will definitely be joining the Epsilon SV Hoody for day to day guiding wear in the Alps.
Review update – 25/05/10, by Al
Ok, a bit more on their ski touring preformance as promised: I’ve now worn these pants for a whole winters ski touring work and both the performance and durability have been excellent. The fabric has a very tight almost windproof weave, so they stay warm even in pretty stormy conditions where you might normally need to put overtrousers on – ie a very good working temperature range. Features as described above all work well on the hill and the instep fabric is very hard wearing. Carbide is indeed the colour to go for, as it’s light enough to keep you cool in the sun, but dark enough to hide the grime after a weeks touring!