I just got word from Arc’teryx HQ that some of my gear requests were being shipped out yesterday. I’m pretty psyched to upgrade my technical outerwear and really hope it gets here in time to bring to Switzerland. (Keeping my fingers crossed!!!) One interesting note, Skinny Skis here in Jackson…who I am employed by…placed the very first order with Arc’teryx here in North America. I think it was for a harness. The relationship with the shop has only gotten stronger over the years and I can only hope that my new TetonAT/Arc’teryx one follows suit. I have to take a moment to thank Arc’teryx for jumping on board and especially to John Irvine…who I have assaulted with emails over the past year. Thanks for believing John!!!
I don’t have an unlimited budget with my new Arc’teryx relationship (hey…I’m no Jack Tackle) and things add up quick when you are getting product from arguably the best outerwear company in the business. It was a little tough deciding between one piece over the other, but I really look for functional pieces that work best in the cold and dry climates here in Wyoming and fortunately I already own some Arc’teryx pieces, so I have some of my bases covered. I often get very hot on the uphills, so I wanted pieces that are lightweight and very breathable. On the other side of the coin, I tend to get cold on the downhills, so I also wanted some layers that I knew would keep me warm…without overdoing it with extra weight. Here are a couple of my picks.
For the uphills, I really like hooded softshells and tend to over power pseudo-softshells with laminated constructions, like Windstopper or Powershield, hiding behind a soft exterior. The Epsilion SV Jacket fits the bill to a tee and is lined with a lightweight, grid like pattern of microfleece that helps wick moisture away from the body. I’ve had some good experiences with grid-like patterning for wicking as well as warmth, so I’m looking forward to this piece a lot. It also does away with velcro closures around the wrists…which I also like…low profile for sure! With a jacket for the uphills…less is more and I will probably wear the Epsilon the most out of all the Arc’teryx pieces I get. I know it will hold up to the task.
For backcountry skiing I like to keep my layering system very simple and it usually consists of a base layer (long or short sleeve), a softshell jacket (ie: Epsilon SV) and a warm insulated jacket for when I come to a screeching halt at the top of a skin track or bootpack. Enter…the Dually Belay Parka, which got five stars by Alpinist Mountain Standards…another project I worked on a few years ago. I’m used to using down jackets over the years, but I tend to wear them as an outerlayer on the downhills. Trying a synthetic option seems to be the better choice these days for better water rappelling characteristics. Arc’teryx uses a hollow cored, continuous filament in its ThermaTek insulation that is soaked in DWR and heat treated to provide tremendous water rappelling properties. It is then laminated to the outer shell without quilts…so no cold spots migrating of the insulation. For such a warm jacket, 23.8 oz is relatively lightweight…even when compared to down jackets!
For the winters of 05/06 and 06/07, I used an Arc’teryx M20 backpack for about 80 percent of my tours. It carried my skis the best of any pack I’ve owned and was just as comfortable. I think the original design for holding skis was a Salomon creation…but don’t quote me on that. Putting on skis is supper easy with just two fastex buckles and you can really fine tune how the weight and skis carried on your body. Many people can’t roll in the BC with a 20L pack, often opting for a larger one, but I find they work just fine for my simplistic layering system. I’m expanding to a little larger version of the M20 with the newer generation Silo 30 and it should fit the bill nicely when I’m carrying a little more…like crampons, ice axe and helmet. The Silos store a small shovel (I carry an Ortovox Grizzly 1 these days) in an outside pocket, but also have a place for larger ones inside. The packs have a very unique waistbelt that is low in bulk and weight, but high in comfort and support. It is removable and has gear loops too!
Anyway, these are just a few of my Arc’teryx picks and I hope they are all in stock and arrive before the Feb. 20th…when I fly out. TGIF for me…yeehaw!!!!