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Climbing Ropes

This summer we’ve overhauled our range of climbing ropes and have now got an excellent selection of the best ropes available. We’ve got everything you could need whether you’re cragging at Stanage, heading to Kalymnos, scrambling in Wales, tackling big routes in the Lakes or going to summit some Alpine objectives!

A note on rope treatments

There are 3 treatment options available with our ropes:

  • Untreated means that there’s no chemical treatment to the rope to protect it from dirt and water.
  • Sheath treatment means that the treatment has been added to the Sheath of the rope but not the core.  This helps protect the rope from dirt and soaking up water but it’s not ideal if your rope is going to get seriously wet.  It also rubs off over time. This is what Beal’s Dry treatment is and what Mammut’s Protect treatment is.
  • Fully treated ropes have had every strand right through the core and sheath treated. This stops the rope soaking up 99% of water and offers excellent protection from dirt right through the rope.  Definitely recommended for winter climbing and alpine climbing. This is what Beal’s Golden Dry treatment is and what Mammut’s Dry treatment is (confusing!).
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Mammut Serenity

Triple Rated Ropes

Since the introduction of the Beal Joker a few years ago these have got incredibly popular as they are so versatile.  They are essentially single ropes which are skinny enough to be considered suitable for use as a half rope.  This makes them great as a do it all rope – suitable for sport, trad and mountain routes, as well as being ideal as a confidence rope when scrambling or for roping up when moving together on big mountain routes. Be careful though if you’re using them as a single rope – they are pretty slick and you need an experienced belayer to hold a fall.  It’s also worth checking the minimum diameter on your belay device, as some don’t go this skinny for single ropes!

We’re still doing the ever popular Beal Joker in 3 lengths and with Beal’s Golden Dry treatment. Since the Joker’s introduction Triple rated ropes have got even skinnier and we’re now doing the Mammut Serenity which is 8.7mm to the Joker’s 9.1mm for an even lighter option.  It’s also fully treated as it has Mammut’s Dry Cover treatment.

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Mammut Revelation

Single Ropes

We’re still stocking the Beal Top Gun as it’s such a great work horse rope, but at 10.5mm it’s being left behind by the new skinny singles now available.  We’ve also got the Mammut Galaxy Classic which is a great workhorse rope.  It’s available in 70m so this is a great option for Sport climbing on the continent. At the top end we’re doing the Mammut Revelation and the slightly thicker Infinity, both with Dry treatment. They’re both great single pitch cragging, sport and wall ropes. At a much cheaper price point we’re now stocking the Beal Antidote and Beal Zenith.  They’re untreated so better suited to indoor wall use, but if you’re careful with them and use a rope bag they’ll be great for European sport and dry weather cragging in the UK too.

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Beal Legend Pair

Half Ropes

The popular Beal Cobra II with Golden Dry treatment is our go to rope for all things trad in the UK. At 8.6mm it’s light but not so much to really worry about trashing it of you end up taking a few big falls. If you’re after a cheaper option then the Beal Legend is the one to look at.  It’s untreated, but at 8.3mm it is a light, supple and nice handling rope. For those into their super skinny ropes we’re now doing the Mammut Phoenix, which at 8mm is pretty slick but definitely saves some weight.  It’s available with both full treatment and no treatment so you’ve got plenty of options depending on your likely uses and price limitations.

Our comparison chart is a useful place to weight up the different options on offer – Rope Comparison Chart. For some background reading on ropes then we have a useful information page on Rope Types and one on Rope Care.

As always, if you’re stuck on choosing a rope or want some more information on anything on our site give us a call or drop us an email.

Go to All Climbing Ropes







Get a free Facewest Nalgene Bottle with all Summer 2016 Softshell Jackets!

What the title says!

Have a look at our excellent range of Softshells – CLICK HERE!

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Choosing A Climbing Helmet

Helmets are an increasingly common sight as the prevailing opinion on aesthetics changes. They used to only be associated with trad climbing on loose mountain crags but thankfully this is no longer the case. As helmet designs improve and they get lighter, more comfortable and cooler looking every year the list of excuses for not wearing one gets shorter.

So why should you be wearing a climbing helmet? Many climbers will forego a helmet at single pitch crags in the UK, but why is this? The chance of a head injury may be small but the actual injury will most likely be very serious. A fall can often end up with the climber inverting and their head colliding with the wall.

Personally I will never head out mountain cragging without a helmet, not just from a selfish perspective, but if you are half way up a multi pitch route and get knocked unconscious, your partner is going to have a real headache (no pun intended) trying to get themselves and their now useless meat bag partner off the mountain.

Now you’ve decided you need a helmet (good) or want to update your existing helmet there is now a massive range out there, so where to start?

Essentially Climbing helmets break down in to two categories; Tough ABS Thermoformed Plastic shell helmets (like the Petzl Elios) and lightweight EPS Foam helmets (like the Black Diamond Vector).

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Some head first Alpinism on Piz Badile

ABS Thermoformed Plastic helmets are the kind that most people will think of when they think of a climbing helmet. You will see them at activity centers, and crags everywhere, they are the favorite of Winter climbers and Alpine climbers all over the world. The main advantage of these helmets is that they will take multiple small knocks and bumps without denting and you can throw them in your hold-all next to your rack without worrying about any damage. If you are in an environment where you are likely to encounter rockfall these are the ones to go for as smallish rocks landing on your head are not likely to result in catastrophic damage to the helmet. Below is a comparison of our Hardshell helmets.

 Weight  Adjustment  Ventilation

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Petzl Elios

300g Two push buttons Great and adjustable The Petzl Elios is a classic which Petzl update every few years. The current version features vents that can be closed making it a versatile helmet for year round use in all conditions. The rear adjuster uses two push button sliders which gives a good fit but can be a little fiddly with gloves on.

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Black Diamond Half Dome

290g Wheel, great for gloves Good The Black Diamond Half Dome is the lightest unisex hardshell helmet that we stock. It has good ventilation but may get a little hot when working hard on really hot days. The rear adjustment is a wheel that is easy to operate, even with gloves.

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Mammut El Cap

315g Two push buttons Good The Mammut El Cap helmet is a unique looking design. The small peak protects your eyes from glare and small debris and the back of the helmet extends nearly to the neck, offering similar levels of side protection as a foam helmet.

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Petzl Elia

285g Two side buttons Great The Petzl Elia is a ladies specific version of the Elios. The rear adjustment has been modified so it sits higher up the head, leaving room for a pony tail. The size adjustment has been moved round to the side of the helmet, making it actually easier to adjust with gloves on. There is a lot of ventilation but this is not adjustable like the unisex Elios.

 

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Facewest Luke enjoying Black Diamond Vector’s ventilation on a hot day in Pembroke

EPS Foam helmets are a more recent development and are in most cases are so light you do not notice you have one on until it saves your life. Construction wise think a cycle helmet with an extra, thin polycarb shell. Their advantages over rigid plastic helmets are; weight, ventilation and they will protect the side of your head against falls more effectively that a rigid plastic helmet. Additionally they are what you will see all the pros wearing so they look cooler too!

 Weight  Adjustment  Ventilation

Vapor

BlackDiamond Vapor

186g Ratchet Adjustment Amazing The Black Diamond Vapour is our most ventilated helmet and at 186g one of the lightest around. In addition to the usual EPS foam and thin polycarb shell Black Diamond have also added a layer of Kevlar and Carbon which improves strength and durability without compromising on weight. If you are looking for some protection without having to put up with a sweaty head then this is your helmet.

Sirocco

Petzl Sirocco

145g Textile adjustment Great The Petzl Sirocco is a modern day classic. Currently the lightest climbing helmet available its distinctive looks have been dividing opinions from Stanage Edge to Chamonix. Once you try one on though you’ll understand, it’s so light you will forget it’s there until its stops a loose rock splitting your head open. Also popular with ultra light fanatical SkiMo racers.

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Petzl Meteor

220gg Ratchet adjustment Good The Petzl Meteor is a slightly heavier (but still only 220g) EPS Foam helmet popular with winter climbers as the magnetic buckle and ratchet adjustment are easy to use with gloves.

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Black Diamond Vector

231g Ratchet adjustment Great My personal favorite the Black Diamond Vector is only 231g and doesn’t sit too high on your head. It has plenty of ventilation and solid helmet clips. The rear size adjustment sits just under the base of your skull which gives a nice comfortable fit that feels like its cradling your head. I’ve also found that when worn with ski goggles it forms a nice seal between the top of the goggles and the rim of the helmet which is a nice bonus on cold Scottish winter days.






Competition Winners

Thanks for all the great entries we had to out Patagonia Competition! We had a lot of good ones and narrowing down 3 winning entries was pretty difficult.

Congratulations to our 3 winners…

1st place

Simon

“My Fav bit of kit is my Patagonia R1 hoody (honestly no connection to competition) although the Alpine guide pants were a close second!  Amazing piece of kit that has negated carrying other equipment (beanie hat, buff face mask , fleece). The hood is the best in the business and has protected me in the last 12 months from fierce windchill on Elbrus (see pic) Japow in Hokkaido and miserable winter days at home in North Wales. I recently had a hole on the sleeve (made by my suunto watch ) repaired at the Worn Wear tour in Capel Curig so it’s good to go for a few years yet. Only negative comment is that I wish I hadn t got black, as it’s not much use when temps are a bit higher . If I did win the £100 I would probably get one of these in the Orange and look a bit more Euro!”

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2nd Place

Jeremy

“I bought this bag in Glasgow about 15 years ago. It was probably the first time I’ve really decided to invest in the best quality piece of outdoor gear I could afford. It was about 80 quid – and at the time, handing that over for a bag was a pretty painful experience! Well, as they say… “the recollection of quality remains long after the price is forgotten” and that’s certainly the case with this bag.

In the last 15 years… over a third of my life to date, it’s been pretty much wherever I have been – it’s been crammed with skiing, sailing, biking, climbing and mountaineering kit, lashed to roof racks and defied airport luggage scales all over the world. Despite a few nicks, which have been deftly mended with gaffer tape and stitched with sail makers thread, I think it’s only just beginning to be properly worn in. Like it’s owner, it’s collecting a few signs of wear and tear….but it’s got at least another 30-40 years of travelling left in the tank.”

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3rd Place

Stefan

“I initially thought DMMs revolver seemed like a cool gimmick, like were flexing their hot forging prowess to show who’s boss. Until in the dying light of a baking hot second day on El Cap my partner Andy shouted up ‘oh balls, there’s a knot in the haul line’ Both of us were blitzed and dehydrated but still riding the ‘OH MY GOD I’M ON EL CAP!’ wave grabbing the lower out line, we hauled the final 30ft off a revolver and inverted jumar by passing the traxion.

The second pic is half an hour after our getto bodge haul, after we discovered the portaledge was a tangled mess and Andy nearly cried with happiness when I produced a can of peaches in syrup and he couldn’t get them in his mouth fast enough.

fun times!”

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Patagonia Competition Round Up

We’ve had some great entries to our Patagonia Competition – it seems lots of people love their kit and have had plenty of adventures with certain special items! I (and the rest of the Facewest office) have really enjoyed looking through your photos and supporting text. We’ll be picking the winner by Friday (17th June) and will let you know if you’ve won one of our 3 prizes! Here are a few entries from the competition…

James’s Guide Pants

“Patagonia backcountry guide pants: tough as old boots, amazingly weatherproof for a non membrane fabric, neat cut with bags of stretch for climbing.”

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Lee’s Scimitar Jacket

“This is my go to jacket for most of my outdoor pursuits. Why? It’s light and packable, which is important when I’m carrying photography gear, the last thing I need is heavy clothing when my pack weighs around 16lbs without food and water. This jacket is also windproof but breathable, which is great for keeping the chill out but also helps maintain a consistent temperature, being too warm is also uncomfortable. Whilst the jacket is not waterproof it does have a brilliant DWR coating. I have been in some serious downpours and it has yet to wet out on me, even the seams have stayed dry! Did I mention that it is also nigh on indestructible? I have climbed in this jacket, cycled off road, walked miles, scrambled up scree slopes and over rocky coastlines and the only sign of wear is an area of bobbling on the inside were my pack rubs! This is hands down the best piece of outdoor clothing I have bought, worth every penny and then some! I love it!”

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Rich’s Ice Cream Holder

“Slightly randomly, my favourite piece of kit is my home made ice cream carrier – invented after years of climbing down quayside ladders while juggling multiple cones. It allows the all important job of ice cream delivery to a boatload of hungry divers to be accomplished swiftly before they melt!”

Ice Cream Holder Mk1

Dean’s Montane Extreme Smock

“When performing as a non‘work’ jacket, instead being used on the hills and mountains, the Montane Extreme continues to impress. Upon the roof it proved more than capable of keeping the elements at bay, especially the cold, but whilst walking the hills you’d expect the deep pile lining to cause you to overheat. Due to venting systems and the nature of the pile, overheating is non-existent. Thanks to its other shell being constructed from PERTEX classic 6, not only is it windroof and water repellent, but fast drying and breathable too.  ”

Swaledale Road. Mugshot Selfie

William’s Tent

“It is my favourite bit of kit since my girlfriend and myself sat out a winter storm in the Sierra de Gredos,in Spain.  The wind strengthened throughout the night and I spent most of it thinking ‘how much more can this tent take and what do we do if the tent collapses?” We got through the night without incident and the tent shows no signs of damage or strain. I always try to buy the best kit I can afford, a decision which was completely justified that night.”

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Stefan’s Revolver Carabiners
“I initially thought DMMs revolver seemed like a cool gimmick, like were flexing their hot forging prowess to show who’s boss. Until in the dying light of a baking hot second day on El Cap my partner Andy shouted up ‘oh balls, there’s a knot in the haul line’ Both of us were blitzed and dehydrated but still riding the ‘OH MY GOD I’M ON EL CAP!’ wave. Grabbing the lower out line, we hauled the final 30ft off a revolver and inverted jumar by passing the traxion.

The second pic is half an hour after our getto bodge haul, after we discovered the portaledge was a tangled mess and Andy nearly cried with happiness when I produced a can of peaches in syrup and he couldn’t get them in his mouth fast enough..”
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Charlie’s Alpha SV Jacket

“My favourite bit of kit is my trustworthy Arc’teryx Alpha SV jacket. This thing is bombproof! I picked it up second hand about four years ago and have thrown everything at it, skis, crampons, axes, rocks, ice, trees and more, nothing has left a mark on it!

Photo taken navigating in some challenging visibility in the gullies below the Plan de l’Aiguille.”

John’s Patagonia Boxers

“My favourite piece of kit happens by coincidence to be made by Patagonia. For years I’ve collected and worn their colourful Boxer Shorts. They’re very comfortable, whether during outdoor activities or as just everyday wear. The attached picture shows how useful they actually are. If you’re climbing a mountain (Goatfell) in the WaterAid Challenge, and your team happens to be called ‘Panting for WaterAid’ – then what else is going to be worn and featured in the celebrations.”

Goatfell







Facewest’s Most Famous Employee

Our very own man in the Facewest warehouse, Will Mawson, has found his 15 minutes of fame! Last year Will had a bit of a fall whilst out climbing, but has picked himself up and has managed to make the front page of the local newspaper. Despite his injuries he’s now keen on running and has a mug to remind himself of the benefits of climbing.

Check out the article on the Wharfedale Observer Website.

And while we’re at it these guys are pretty damn good - http://www.uwfra.org.uk/.

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Suunto Traverse Alpha

The Suunto Traverse Alpha is Suunto’s latest addition to the Traverse range. It features all the same features of the traverse, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth connectivity with HR belts and smartphones but with some extra functionality aimed at people heading out hunting and fishing.

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Moon Phases and Sunrise/set times are displayed on the Alpha

A steel bezel, scratch resistant sapphire glass screen and tough water repellent Fabric strap make the Traverse Alpha a very tough outdoor focused GPS watch. Tested to (MIL STD 810G) military standards, in particular shock, freeze/thaw, immersion and dust tests you can be sure its pretty much bomb proof.

The two major differences that set the Traverse Alpha apart are:

  • A red back light which can be used in conjunction with night vision equipment.
  • Shot detection. This uses the built in accelerometer to detect specific sudden movements which it will interpret as a shot being fired and mark as a POI.

When recording an activity you can add points of interest such as hides, or viewpoints along the way, helping you navigate back to them, or use the automatic ‘breadcrumb’ feature that will automatically plot the route you have just taken and navigate you back home. Useful when that thick cloud and rain rolls in and navigating back home becomes difficult.

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Adding POIs and shot locations on the go is simple

The Traverse Alpha comes preloaded with 3 sport modes: Hunting, hiking, fishing and has room for two more which can be created and customised using the Movescount app. With a total of 5 sport modes it does not have the same multisport training potential as the Ambit 3 but some basic customisation and rejigging via Movescount can turn the Traverse Alpha into an effective training watch. To this end it is also compatible with Suunto’s Bluetooth Smart Sensor HR belts.







Facewest Gourmet Lunch

OK, so the title’s a bit misleading; this isn’t really about what you’d call gourmet food – we actually had several different travel meals to try out as we’re looking to expand our range of foods. Currently we stock Expedition Foods and Mountain House meals, both of which are freeze dried meals in the £5 – £8 range and available in big portions as well as singles.

Turmat Real Meals

These are new for facewest.co.uk and are now in stock. We tried the Pasta Bolognese meal.  The first thing you notice about these meals is the price – they are noticeably more expensive from their Mountain House and Expedition Foods like for like products.  They are, however, also noticeably tastier and have a better texture.  Have a look at the photo below of the food before it has been rehydrated, the Turmat Real Meal is on the left and an Extreme Foods meal is on the right (we don’t stock Extreme Foods, but we did have some to try out and judged that they were similar to the Mountain House and Expedition Foods offerings).  For a freeze dried meal the Turmat Real Meals are an excellent option if you’ve got the budget.

RealMeals

Forestia Fine Outdoor Meals

New to facewest.co.uk! These are a different take on travel meals from the freeze dried options I talked about above - these are wet food pouches and, although this description makes them sound like pet food, they’re pretty tasty and a good alternative to freeze dried meals if you’re not too bothered about a bit of extra weight.  They are even easier to prepare than the freeze dried meals – you just have to warm them up still in the packet, we did this using a pan filled with water on Stu’s Primus Lite Plus stove.  In a pinch you can even eat them cold as they are already prepared and edible, though I doubt this would be a very satisfactory meal.  We tried Vegetarian Meatballs (whatever they are) and Chilli con Carne.  Both had a good flavour and texture, though the Chilli con Carne did taste a bit burnt - hopefully this was just a batch which got a bit over done and not a permanent flavour for this meal. These are a great option if you’re not fussed about a little extra weight and want a super quick and easy meal which tastes good.

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Extreme Foods

We’re not going to be stocking these at the moment as they are very similar to the freeze dried meals we already have – we also ended up with them being pretty watery as there are 3 lines to fill the water to on the inside of the pack but it doesn’t mention this and you don’t notice the lower lines until you’ve eaten down to it!  The Extreme Foods desserts were pretty tasty, so you might be seeing these at some point as our current dessert range is just the 4 options from Mountain House.

If you’re after a standard freeze dried meal then Expedition Foods or Mountain House are the best options. If you want a selection of meals with a set calorific value as opposed to a set weight then Expedition Foods offer this while the Mountain House meals are set to a specific weight.

See all our expedition food here.

And here’s Will and Graham thinking they are at a Forestia photo shoot…

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Mountain Equipment Product Testing

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about a tour of the DMM factory (read the blog here) which Graham and I had the chance to partake in. On the day previous to this we had the chance to go out into the hills of Snowdonia to test out some Mountain Equipment clothing.  Here’s a round up on the bits we had the chance to try out and what we thought.

Conditions.  It was pretty good weather for really testing the clothing as it was raining in the morning with low cloud, but it wasn’t cold the temperature was around the 10°C mark.  This gave us a good idea of waterproofing and breathability.  It was also windy on the summits, though the route we had chosen was deliberately sheltered until we got to the tops. This gave us good chance to test the warmth and wind resistance of what we were wearing.

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A typical day at Cwm Idwal

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Lhotse Jacket

Route.  We went from Ogwen Cottage up to Idwal slabs, from there we scrambled up to the left of Idwal slabs and onto Seniors Ridge which we took to the top of the Glyders and walked to the summit of Glyder Fawr.  The route down took us down Y Gribin and then on down the False Gribin and back into Ogwen.

Lhotse Jacket

This is Mountain Equipment’s all round Gore-Tex Pro Jacket, designed to be taken on everything, from summer walks in case of a shower to full on winter mountaineering in Scotland.  I should point out that the jacket wasn’t brand new, it had obviously been worn on previous testing days set up by Mountain Equipment. My overall impression of the Lhotse was good, in fact it was better than I was expecting.

I usually run really warm, so tend to go for more breathable fabrics such as NeoShell when I pick my waterproof layers, I also like that these are more stretchy and flexible and less “crinkly” than Gore-Tex tends to be.  I did find the Lhotse actually breathed better than I expected and I didn’t have a problem with overheating due to the jacket, though I did feel more humid inside the jacket than I do in NeoShell.  It was noticeably stiffer than than I am used to, but I didn’t find it hindered my movement and I did appreciate the extra protection when we got to the summit and it was very windy.  In colder, more wintery conditions I think this jacket would be an excellent choice to provide breathable protection.  The cut gave plenty of movement and although overall it felt a little baggy on me as I was only wearing a base layer underneath it didn’t bunch up, get in the way or restrict movement at all.  The waterproofing was spot on with the DWR doing it’s job, though admittedly it wasn’t super testing conditions as the heavy rain soon slowed and stopped once we’d got going, though one of our group did put their own jacket to the test by standing under a stream!

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Serious Testing

Ibex Pants

I won’t do a long review now on the Ibex pants as we only stock these during the winter – we stock the Comici Pants over the summer.  I wore the Ibex on both days and in terms of the fabric they were great.  Incredibly stretchy and tough fabric which felt great both on the first day on Seniors Ridge and the second day on Holyhead Mountain.  For me the downside was the Alpine cut which was just too tight on the thighs for my liking (I’m not a mega skinny rock jock).  It wasn’t uncomfortable, it just felt a bit strange and the narrow cut is noticeable in terms of how they look when you’re wearing them too.

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Karakorum Mountain Pants

Karakorum Pants – Graham’s review

These are a winter item for us as well, so we don’t have any right now but they will be back again in the Autumn.  Both Luke and I had a pair of Mountain Equipment’s Karakorum pants to try out. The Karakorum pants are a 3 Layer Drilte waterproof over trouser that are designed for general mountain use. We have been stocking them for quite some time now and it was nice to be able get out and see how they performed.

When we set out for the day I had decided to wear just my Ibex pants, in true Welsh fasion the heavens decided to open just as we got to the car park, so I decided to throw the Karakorum pants on over the top. I wouldn’t normally do this, usually if it’s raining particularly hard at the start of the day I would wear a light pair of base layer pants directly underneath my over trousers. I was a little bit concerned that I would be way too warm once we got going; however throughout the day there were only a couple of short periods where I was uncomfortbale. The full length zips meant I could regulate my temperature pretty well, also the Drilite fabric breathed far better than I had expected. The fit of the pants is really good, not too tight and not too baggy and would make a perfect Scottish winter pant. The high waist will be great in winter to keep out the cold drafts.

I really liked the Karakorum pants and with an RRP of £200 they stand up pretty well against some of its Gore competitors. In fact I am seriously considering replacing my current Gore-Tex over trousers with a pair of them. The only thing I didn’t like was the placing of the buckles on the braces. Once I’d adjusted them they seemed to sit directly underneath my rucksack straps, which was pretty uncomfortable at times. This may have been due to the age and stretch in the braces (the pants we had to try were definitely not new!), replacements are available so changing them for new ones over time would stop this from happening.

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On top of the Glyders

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Kinesis Jacket

Kenesis Jacket – Graham’s review

I was looking forward to trying out the new Kinesis jacket, it’s a new product in Mountain Equipment’s range this spring. It looked like it would be ideal for colder days rock climbing and Mountaineering. I am going to be writing a full review on the Kinesis jacket shortly so I won’t go into too much detail, but here’s a little bit about the jacket and my first impressions.

The Kinesis is a super light insulated windproof which has great wicking properties; it is a true hybrid jacket. Mountain Equipment have used their excellent Helium 30 face fabric which is light and extremely windproof. They have added a gridded fleece drop liner to the arms and hood, and on the core of the body there is 60 grams of Polartec Alpha insulation. The combinations of these three fabrics make it a perfect active insulation piece. The fit is great; it’s close fitting but has enough room for 1 or maybe 2 extra layers underneath without your movement being too restricted. The hood is helmet compatible and has a really nice amount of adjustment to bring it in close to your head when not wearing a lid. The simple low profile cuffs sit comfortably under additional layers.

I have one little quibble with the Kinesis so far and that is how the drop liner has a tendency to catch on other layers when you are putting it on. I’m sure this could be a bit annoying if you need to put the jacket on in a hurry. Over all I am very impressed with how the Kinesis jacket performed, I kept it on all day and it offered an excellent amount of wind protection on its own and when paired with a shell.

Squall Hooded Jacket
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Squall Hooded Jacket

This is a lightweight softshell designed for the climber.  I did wear the Squall under the Lhotse Jacket when we descended Y Gribin as I needed some extra warmth and it performed well, though this was hardly a suitable test for the Squall.  A much better test for the Squall was an afternoon of climbing the next day on Holyhead mountain in bright and breezy conditions – typical UK rock climbing weather.

The Squall is quite a thin, lightweight jacket, so I did worry about how it would cope with abrasion from the rock.  In the event it wasn’t a problem as it didn’t snag on anything and just brushed off some fairly tough use without so much as a mark.  The lightweight fabric also performed well in terms of wind protection and was ideal for me as it gave me plenty of protection but at no point did I get sweaty.  The offset front zip, which is something I’ve always thought of at best as a gimmick or at worst as an annoyance, was actually good as it kept the zip away from my mouth and chin but wasn’t so extreme as to create a huge flap to one side when not zipped all the way up.  Mountain Equipment have definitely managed to get this bit spot on.  The hood was also good as I found it cinched down easily and moved with your head without obscuring your view.

As with all Mountain Equipment clothing the draw cords are not joined so you can’t accidentally clip gear to them or catch your crampons in them – the little things which make such a difference! All in all I was seriously impressed with the Squall Hooded Jacket – it is an ideal lightweight summer softshell which any climber will definitely appreciate.

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Holyhead Mountain







New Suunto Ambit 3 RRPs

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As of Monday 16th May Suunto have issued new RRPs for the Ambit 3 family which, with the exception of the Ambit 3 Vertical, are all considerably lower. Prices on Facewest have not changed more a couple of pounds here and there because we were already selling for less than the new RRP. What you will see is that were 20% off a model we are now 10% off, even though the actual price you pay is the same.

This comes along only a month after Suunto raised the RRPs of most of it’s products. So whilst models like the Core have gone up a bit and stayed there, the Ambit 3s have gone up a bit and then down a lot. For example the Ambit 3 Peak Black HR went from RRP £365 to RRP £385 and now down to £309. It actually sells for around £270 and has done the whole time.

You will now see a wide variety of RRPs quoted on the internet some of them even older than the ones talked about above and the perceived discount is based on the quoted RRP. Many shops and sites are very good at getting new products on but not so fast to update those that change. I just wanted to explain why you might see a great variation of RRPs and discount rates and hopefully remove some of that confusion. Although as savvy shoppers I know you see through all that to the price you actually have to pay.