outstanding alpine and ice performance

Reviewed by Josh from Colorado on Sunday, August 16, 2015
I owned the first generation of this jacket, purchased more than a dozen years ago, and I replaced it only this year after wearing it into the ground. In the interior west, where the summers are generally dry except for short, intense afternoon thunderstorms and the winters bring dry, low-moisture snow and good ice, this may be the ideal layer for every type of alpine outing. I wore it for winter ice climbing, backcountry skiing, spring snow climbing, summer alpine rock and mountaineering-- everything. It is wind-resistant and breathable enough to stay on through a wide range of weather conditions, and for many single-day outings it may be the only shell layer you need to bring. Combined with a super-light rain shell for extended periods of wet, you could eliminate the need for a heavier hard shell on most expeditions in the lower 48. It will not keep you bone dry in a serious downpour, of course, but it is enough to keep you safe and fairly dry while you retreat from up high-- I wore it while rappelling my way out of several summer hail storms and stayed warm and dry enough. It is also not the jacket for all-day wet snow, but in general, since I purchased it, my full-on hardshell (an Arc-tryx Alpha SV) has been staying in the closet far more often than it has been out. And of course, for its target activity-- ice climbing-- it is far stretchier, quieter, and more breathable than wearing a true hard shell. Several other companies make a version of this combination of hardshell shoulders/hood and soft-shell body, but if you can afford the top shelf goods, nothing fits and performs like Arc'teryx.