CGR heads to TNF central for a look at the new collection for climbers this season.
The North Face continue to impress us here at CGR with their high quality climbing specific clothing and equipment. They continue to invest and innovate in climbing and should be forever in climbers hearts for sponsoring the footpath to The Ben!
This autumn we paid a visit to the UK Headquarters to see the full collection and as always, we’ve cut to the chase and sifted through to highlight the best items for winter climbing.
As ever the premium Summit Series are the mountain items of choice, although we are feature the new Thermoball jacket that we hinted at during the spring. So here are the GCR recommendations for this winter:
The ultimate body mapped ski soft-shell jacket for backcountry excursions.
A hybrid soft shell featuring Thermo3D™ physiologic design provides the optimum blend of protection, breathability and temperature regulation. Waterproof HyVent-Alpha™ on the hood and shoulders with critical taped seams, provides critical protection from the elements. Featuring Apex Universal® across the body for maximum breathability and comfort, and Pertex Equilibrium® fabric under the arms for wicking, air permeability and water resistance.
Weight: 672 g
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
CGR says – although TNF are promoting this jacket as a Ski mountaineering jacket when I looked at it I thought that would easily crossover as a climbing jacket. The cut looked excellent and the mapping looked about right. It uses TNF’s own Apex Softshell and Hyvent waterproof materials to good effect and the taped seams should ensure it it stays reasonably snow proof. The female specific version had more insulation around the critical areas. A good looking winter jacket.
Pinnacle ski mountaineering pant for tough ascents and rapid descents
A hybrid soft shell featuring Thermo3D™ body mapping design to provide the optimum blend of protection, breathability and temperature regulation. Stretchy, durable Apex Universal® fabric through the thighs and lower legs give ample breathability. Pertex Equilibrium® fabric through the gusset for wicking, air permeability and water resistance and Waterproof HyVent-Alpha® on the seat and knees keeps you dry. Weight: 740 g
Sizes: 30, 32, 34, 36, 38
CGR says: these compliment the Alloy jacket and again would easily crossover to winter climbing. Plenty of the now familiar hybrid features like waterproof knees and seat areas. We particularly liked the low profile waistband for harness comfort and the two ways zips on everything. The jury is out whether they will be too warm for UK winter but we’ll let you know as we have a female pair on test.
Both the jacket and pants won an IPSO Award this season.
Radium High-Loft Jacket
Compressible, warm & breathable: versatile mid-layer jacket in exclusive Polartec® fabric
The highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any The North Face® high-loft fleece. Featuring exclusive Polartec® low-density knit fabric to minimize weight and maximize compressibility and breathability. An efficient insulation layer for backcountry stop-and-go activities where weight and space are limited. Combined with Polartec Power Stretch Pro® side panels for an active fit.
Weight: 417 g
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
CGR says: a nice looking fleece jacket that was light, warm and versatile. It is a ‘furry’ style fleece with Power Stretch panels where needed. A very warm looking mid layer that would be great for any mountain day out. You have to remember the lowly fleece is a very versatile item of clothing, robust and easy to wash and very warm. That’s why they should have a place in any climbers wardrobe!
Catalyst Micro Jacket
Lightweight and compressible jacket with water resistant 800-fill ProDown for ski touring
A new take on The North Face® technical classic, featuring deeper baffles and slimmer down chambers to increase warmth and decrease weight. Premium quality down with water-resistant treatment improves drying time for versatility in diverse weather conditions. Flash Dry® panels under the arms improve moisture management and enhance comfort.
Weight: 364 g
Sizes: S, M, L, XL – centerback: 70 cm
CGR says – we’ve noticed a new trend in water resistant down products so expect to see more coming. TNF haven’t quite beaten everyone to it but the Catalyst should be more accessible and better priced than the Patagonia Encapsil. This was a great looking all purpose down jacket that would be great out on the hill, belays on warmer winter days and in the pub. The Prodown although not as water resistant as Primaloft it should perform better than a normal down jacket and be shower proof if you’re unlucky to be caught half way up a route. We’re predicting this style of jacket with the Prodown down filling will become a classic summer alpine jacket.
Thermoball Jacket and Hoody
Warm, lightweight and fast-drying hooded ThermoBall™ jacket for cold and damp
Conditions Designed to provide phenomenal warmth, the revolutionary ThermoBall™ replicates the insulation and compressibility of down but also dries rapidly and keeps warm when wet. Inner and outer fabrics are 100% nylon (bluesign® approved) with a durable water repellent finish.
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL – centerback: 71 cm
CGR says: the long awaited and much heralded Thermoball jackets. The insulating materials does indeed look and feel like down and if you go to the TNF shop in Leeds (or any other for that matter I just live in Leeds) they have some on display and you can feel for yourself. The jacket was über light, I mean really light and great on. It should be ideal for climbing in and belaying on those chilly autumn days. The jacket is not in the Summit Series so not designed to be a full on mountain jacket, but as a midlayer it would be fine even for winter climbing in. There have been some production issues but they were in the shops over the weekend when I went to look.