Dave looks at the all-purpose winter pants from Sherpa Adventure Gear.
If you’re gonna be moving in cold weather, these are the pants to pick: Ski, climb and trek in them with confidence.
In winter I’m usually looking for an all-round pant I can use for those days when I know the weather is going to be foul from the off. I often wear softshell pants plus carry a super light pair of rain pants if the weather looks fair so when I choose to go in dodgy weather (which you can’t avoid if you winter climb in the UK) the pants have to perform as I’m going to be wearing them all day.
So, what am I looking for? The pants have to be very breathable; I’m more interested in how quickly they dry out for climbing than how waterproof they are. The cut has to be slim enough to climb in and I don’t want them overly featured. The next question of course is did the Sherpa Lithang Pant (pronounced’ lee-tung’) fit that bill?
I tested a size Medium, I am an in between size (about a 33” waist). The Lithang Pants I reckon size up for a waist size of 34” for a Medium. The waist band is full elasticated but I could have done with some Velcro adjuster flaps or a drawstring to help keep them on my waist. The problem being that when waterproof trousers get wet they have a tendency to get heavy. Sherpa have provided 4 belt/braces loops but the pants do not come supplied with braces. waistband closure was via a Velcro dot and a good, solid press stud. The interior of the waist band is tricot lined for extra comfort if you are wearing them with a thin baselayer.
There is also a two way fly, so Sherpa have designed the Lithang pant with climbing in mind. This of course, shortens the length of the zip but I have found this a problem on most of the pants I have worn and comes down to manufacturers using standard sized zips from YKK. The diamond crotch also helped with making the pants good to climb in.
The legs have a full length YKK AquaGuard two way zips that make putting the pants on a breeze. They worked well in all conditions and I could get them on and off easily even with my full ice climbing boots on. The zip pulls were easy to use with thin gloves on and the upper zip pull had a tag on to make it easy to use with gloves on for venting. There is also an internal gaiter which is closed with Velcro which kept a little snow out when post holing. In order to make that a little more secure the Sherpa Lithang Pants have two shock cord stirrup loops to keep the pants from riding up. Finally on the legs there are two laminated crampon kick patches, these are made from the same material so offer some protection from putting a hole in the material, but not a lot.
The fit, I would say is regular. That means that they will easily fit over your existing clothing if you are carrying them in your pack and just want to put them on when the weather turns. I felt, however, that they were a little baggy for technical climbing where I feel I want a pant that is more close fitting. Don’t get me wrong, the Lithang Pants are perfectly fine for hillwalking, general mountaineering and even easier winter climbing and I have worn them for plenty of these types of activities. It was just when the ground became more technical and high steps are needed I would prefer a closer fitting pant. The knees are articulated to compliment the diamond crotch, and together with the slight stretch to the fabric moving meant around was excellent.
The Himaltech fabric is the 3 layer proprietary material that the Lipthang Pants are made from. It has a nice soft feel to it and was perfectly breathable; I noticed no difference to the eVent or Gore-Tex I usually wear. Crucially, they also dried out pretty quickly when climbing. When I wore them I used them with a pair of Powerstretch leggings and this combination worked very well. I was pretty warm and dry for most of the days I used them. At 485g (which is what the CGR scales weighed them in at) they are not the sort of pant I am going to carry around all day but as a wear all day pant the material was very nice and soft, almost softshell in feel. It was as waterproof as any material can be and happily shedded water throughout the test period, it did start to leak through after prolonged kneeling in snow, but then every material I’ve ever worn does that.
Finally there are a couple of features that I felt were a little superfluous – there is a zipped thigh pocket. You can of course keep small valuable items in there such as a compass, a gps, etc. but I often find a thigh pocket more of a hindrance than a help, this is all very personal though as I know plenty of people that like them and there is also a key clip on the left hand side, I can’t imagine ever clipping anything to it. There is also the usual embroidered Sherpa decal and the lovely red Buddhist Endless knot logo on the back.
So in conclusion, we should remember that buying a Sherpa garment really does help people in Nepal, the company is owned by Nepali people, the garments made by local Nepalese people. So your purchase really does make a difference. The Sherpa Lithang Pant are ideal for winter hiking and mountaineering, the Hilmaltech material is nice a soft, whilst being waterproof. The cut is a little too baggy for technical routes and there are a couple of features that, for me, aren’t needed. A nice winter pant that will be suitable for most winter activities.
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA and an aspirant IML: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!