Spring is a time of transition, when winter reluctantly releases its grip to the inviting warmth and sunshine of summer. As such, it often presents a mixed bag of weather conditions, from calm and sunny to cold and blustery, and everything in between. The days often start with a chill in the air, by midday you are baking in the sun, and as soon as it dips behind the horizon it’s back to being cold. Having the right clothing makes a big difference when dealing with these kinds of extremes, here’s our take on some new gear we’ve found essential for staying comfortable in a variety of conditions this spring.
Spring often means wet or muddy trails, and usually the base of the cliffs aren’t in much better shape. Personally, I like to wear flip flops in between climbs while cragging, but if it’s cold or wet out, the Kigo Edge is the way to go. A slip-on similar to Sanuk’s, the fabric sheds moisture and doesn’t seem to hold dirt, and they keep your feet warm and dry in between pitches. They only weigh four ounces/shoe, and the rubber outsole has decent grip on slippery surfaces.
Tracy’s been wearing the Quantum Pants since January, here’s what she has to say: “I’m pretty picky about my climbing pants. As a girl who highsteps almost every move, it’s extremely important for me to have a pant that moves freely. After a winter of using the Quantum’s, I’m sold that they’re the best cold weather climbing pant I have ever owned. They’re not only warm, but they don’t pill or snag, are designed to glide wherever your legs take them, and have a strategically streamed yoke to make your butt look even cuter. I love these pants and would recommend them indubitably.” For the guys, on those days when it’s really cold, I found the Bodyfit150 long underwear to be perfect. I’d usually do the approach without them on, and then slip into some toasty warmth at the cliff. No more shivering at the belays! Also, the Kent Polo is a great merino wool cragging shirt that brings some much needed style to the cliff while offering excellent wicking.
Sometimes you stumble across something that instantly becomes a part of your everyday attire, and the Radiant Hybrid Hoody is one such jacket. It’s the perfect blend of warmth and light weight for spring time pursuits. I found it comfortable to climb in, as the sleeves stay up and out of the way when you need them to be, and it’s great for throwing on during belays when the sun slips behind a cloud. The hood kicks in a little added warmth as well, and it’s a slim fit, so it layers easily under a puffy if the temp really drops.
When it comes to the desert, I love climbing in jeans. They handle the abuse of scumming up Wingate corners for pitch after pitch with ease, and add a little style as well. This spring, I’ve found Prana’s Axiom Jeans to be perfect for long days at the cliff and cool nights around the campfire. They are made from a stretch denim, with a gusseted inseam that allows for excellent freedom of movement.
Sometimes, it’s just downright cold out, but the promise of sun at the cliff keeps you going. On those days, the Mountain Khaki Original Mountain Pant may be your only hope. Built of a burly cotton canvas, they have some serious weight that not only helps keep you warm, but can stand up to the rigors of desert climbing. The gusseted crotch gives the pants some decent range of motion, though you’ll probably find them a bit restrictive for sport climbing or if you tend to do much high stepping. I probably love them most for the end of the day, perfect for sitting back with a burrito around the campfire and planning the next day’s adventures. If you need something a little more stylie that you can also wear to the office,be sure to check out the Teton Twill.
When you need a light shell to block the wind and keep you dry through some light rain, the Rab Cirrus Wind Top has got your back. On a recent rest day in Moab, we decided to hike up a canyon to check out some obscure towers, and the weather looked threatening. It soon started to rain, so I threw on the shell, knowing it wasn’t supposed to be water proof, but figuring I’d see how long it lasted. The light rain let up after about 15 minutes or so, and I was pleasantly surprised to find I was totally dry. The water resistance comes from a combination of the Pertex Quantum fabric and a light DWR treatment. The jacket weighs a scant five ounces, has an under-the-helmet hood, and comes with a small stuff sack that easily clips to your harness or stows into a small day pack.
Disclaimer: The FTC wants you to know these products were provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Like that makes a difference on how much we beat the crap out of it …