Cioch Glamaig, Berghaus Jorasse, etc
Right, just been away for a week in Chamonix with a bag full of new things (and my old stuff, just in case the new stuff didn't work out.
This thing has been awesome. I had mine made to measure, with side vents, fully lined sleeves and a big helmet compatible hood. I also lost the chest pocket, and had the two hand pockets moved up to clear a climbing harness or rucksack waist belt, total cost a little over £200. Oh, I also had it made in bright yellow, which is an uncommon colour in a ski resort (this year, at least) so I was easy to spot.
It got used between about +5 to -15 degrees, in still air to relatively stiff breezes, in thick cloud with light falling snow to still air and bright sunshine. No rain, however. I wore the jacket the whole week, bar a few particularly hot uphill stretches. Nothing underneath but a synthetic t-shirt, so I felt a bit chilly at the top but so long as I wasn't just sitting around doing nothing I stayed warm enough.
The outer (their lightest 'beachcomber' fabric) is robust enough to stand up to various entertaining crashes and slides even down rough, steep icy slopes. The jacket dries very quickly if it gets damp, either through being sweaty (and it does breathe extremely well) or getting snow inside. The big mountain hood fits well with or without a helmet underneath, and the adjustments are fairly straightfoward even with bulky gloves on. The flap of velcroed fabric you can fold the hood away under does its job well, too.
Heartily recommended. Might not stand up to abuse like being dragged over rocks when climbing, mind you.
Berghaus Jorasse Trousers
My first softshell trews. Worn all week bar one day when we spent lots of time on chairlifts in unpleasant weather, and the Aspiras came out instead. Conditions as above, felt a bit chilly at 3800m in a breeze but the fabric does an excellent job of keeping wind out. Very comfy, as you'd probably expect. Decent vent options, doesn't go overboard with zipped pockets all over the place, comes with removable snow gaiters (which work nicely with my walking boots) and is stretchy enough to fit over fairly chunky ski touring boots (though possibly not alpine boots).
The fabric survived various falls onto unfriendly surfaces just fine. It dries quickly, which is a bonus, and breathes sufficiently well that I never felt sweaty in them (not that that happens at all often). They aren't black, which is great... I don't want to be wearing low vis clothing that soaks up sunlight! They are still quite dark grey ("graphite" apparently) and felt a bit warm in direct sun with no wind. I don't know how robust the reinforcements are, because I didn't catch my crampons or ski edges. I did have a small fall onto a detached ski, enough to leave a nasty cut in my leg but the trouser fabric held up over the top.
The fit is a fairly standard 'medium', comparable with (amongst others) Montane and Rohan. I need 'small' sizes trews from Haglofs and Rab.
I also tried, but returned, a pair of Rab Exodus trousers due to poor fit. The Exodus trousers had a heavier weight fabric and significantly more robust crampon patches but best of all came in a sort of sandy colour which I'd have preferred, but I couldn't find em anywhere in size small in time. The Jorasse trews were the only reasonably priced, non-black, non-shell replacements I could find reasonably quickly. I'm pleasantly surprised with how well they worked.
I had a few of these as my warm-weather baselayers for the week (and the cold-weather ones never got a look in). They have the advantage of being reasonably nicely fitted rather than the plain rectangular shape of a lot of non-stretchy tees, so they look alright to wear as well as being reasonably practical (my other half has approved them for use in public, for example). The anti-ming treatment ensured they didn't end up a horrible stinky mess after use, and the fact that they dry quickly meant it was easy enough to wash em in a sink at the end of the day and have them ready to go in the morning (might not be so practical in a cold hut or tent, but worked fine in warmer places).
They pop up in sales from time to time, which is when I get em. They make good backpacky holiday clothing (their original use) but do just fine as more active use base layers.
I have one of the older models (2nd gen, I think... the 3rd gen are just coming out now) bought second hand from another OM-er a little while back. They rushed in and out of favour on here for some reason. I got mine reasonably priced as a result.
It is just roomy enough for a kit-heavy ski tour... inside I could fit my skins, couteaux, crampons in a bag (some relatively chunky old Black Diamond things, maybe an old pre-stainless Serac?) avalanche probe, down jacket, microfleece, and water bladder. For a hut-based overnighter I coudl squeeze in a change of socks and undies, a sleeping bag liner and toothbrush, too. The MSC held down a collapsible shovel nicely, an ice axe fitted on the outside and the hip belt pockets held a bag of trail mix and a few cereal bars. When reasonably full, it does a good job of holding skis in an a-frame carry, and fits my relatively wide 92mm waist touring skis fine. When not so full, it tends to be a bit flopping for a good ski carry, but you can tighten up the MSC enough to keep things under control.
I'd have liked a tiny bit of extra space (I couldn't take my boot crampons and my dSLR at the same time, for example), so perhaps next time I'd consider a 40+l bag. Possibly the new OMM Winter MSC would have enough space in it to do the job. I'd have taken my Trio chest pouch only a) I couldn't find where I'd hidden it and b) it would have made taking the rucksack off for use on chairlifts (which we did a few times) a bit of a faff.
Zero durability issues, and no problem with waterproofness either: wiping out hard in soft snow means you get that stuff everywhere, and though it all melted off the inside stayed nicely dry.
Useful reviews, Serriadh, really like the sound of the Jorasse trousers since Berghaus fit me well, but inevitably, Berghaus don't make a women's equivalent
That Glamaig is certainly a bargain considering the cost of an off-the-peg Paramo top!
Metric Kate wrote (see)
inevitably, Berghaus don't make a women's equivalent
Bit of a common theme, that one. It always surprises me that female-fit gear is considered such an uninteresting and unprofitable market.
I could try putting my Jorasses on a suitably female-shaped person and ask em how they fit, if you like Presumably the stretchy fabric helps a lot with small fit differences, so it might not be all that bad?
Just checking my email, and it says £206.50 including tax and postage and everything. Paramo Quito RRP is £210 (though I see em going for £170 in a sale), and they're not likely to fit as well, they won't have a helmet compatible hood, and you might not even get the colour you want! Could save more money by keeping the standard hood, or skipping the side vents... seems like a bit of a no-brainer for anyone prepared to pay full price for Paramo kit.
I waited a whole three weeks for mine to be made.
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