I’ve been using a good spread of kit this winter including the Arc’teryx Mountain Guide Pro Shell jacket, the lightweight Nuclei and Atom core loft jackets, the Alpha 45 backpack, gloves and a fully adjustable harness. I’ve also put the Psiphon AR Pant through its paces over the past 6 weeks of winter climbing.
The Psiphon AR Pant is a Burly™ Double Weave softshell fabric. The softshell fabric itself has a four way stretch weave combining the strength and durability of a nylon face fabric with the comfort and moisture wicking performance of a microfibre polyester fabric. The DWR finish that Arc’teryx gives the pant adds a water repellent finish that has made the pant super versatile in all my icefall and mixed climbing activities this winter. I have hardly worn my Pro Shell over trousers this winter, even in heavy snow or when climbing a wet pitch on the ice – I have stayed warm and dry the whole time. (I’ve been wearing the Arc’teryx Phase AR moisture wicking base layer thermal bottoms underneath the Psiphon AR Pant for extra warmth and comfort on the colder days – the combinations works well, even during high activity on the longer treks to the more remote icefalls.
The simple but very tailored design, offers two low profile zippered hand pockets and a larger thigh pocket which is easily accessible and useful for carrying route topos! The pants have an interesting waist belt and buckle closure with the buckle hooking over the desired loop for the best comfort and fit. Very simple and it works well and feels both secure, flush fitting and comfortable under the harness waist belt. Clients’ have also noticed how tapered and neat the Psiphon AR Pant looks from the knee downwards. This definitely helps when ice climbing, especially on the steeper pitches when you need to be able to see your front points for that extra security. I haven’t touched the trousers once with my crampon points even in the deep snow getting to the base of some of the more remote icefalls. A quarter length ankle zip and gusset helps both with tightening up your boots after a long approach and before the steeper ice climbs and also makes for a more comfortable fit over touring ski boots for those powder days when the ice is bombed out!
As I said, for me going winter climbing, layered with the Phase AR mid-weight thermal bottoms, the Psiphon AR Pant is a winner - a super comfortable soft stretch fabric, warm, breathable and repels most of what the winter has thrown at me so far. For the odd longer Alpine winter routes which require that extra commitment or working in the foulest of weather, I’ll just thrown over the top my pair of Alpha AR Gore Tex Pro shell Pants – job done!