I know it is only August, but as autumn quickly approaches, it is time to start thinking about all the gear you need for the upcoming winter sports season. Last winter, I had the opportunity to test out a ton of pieces that are being released just now, so will share with you some of my favorites over the coming weeks.
The Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket has been a staple in my ice climbing wardrobe for the past couple of winters. When I found out that Patagonia was coming out with matching Knifeblade climbing pants for this upcoming season, needless to say I was stoked.
Made from Polartec Power Shield Pro fabric, the pants are lightweight, windproof, and extremely weather resistant. The Knifeblade Pants essentially offer all the advantages of their hard shell equivalents, but are much more durable, flexible, and most of all, breathable.
The Knifeblade Pants feature a high, flat waistline that sits above and out of the way of your harness for less bulk and extra comfort. This high waistline is attached to a pair of suspenders. I am in two minds about this one.
Yes, they are great for keeping your pants up and cold air out, but the suspenders make it extremely difficult for women to do their business without having to fully strip down in the process. Not exactly something you want to do in the middle of winter. Partial side zips at the hips are supposed to ensure the whole process goes smoothly, but you have to be pretty skilled to make it work. I just choose to forgo the suspenders most of the time and am even thinking about cutting them off for this season.
A tricot backing and minimal features keep these climbing pants light. A single zippered pocket on the right thigh is the perfect place to store some lip balm and even a snack that you want to warm up. This pocket is thankfully set low enough that it doesn't get in the way of your harness leg loops.
Scuff guards on the inside of the slim profile legs will take the blow of all those inevitable errant crampon kicks. If you are hiking through deep snow on the approach or in an alpine environment, you can pull tight the cuff drawcords and even use the under heel tie down loops to help keep the fluffy white stuff out of your climbing boots.
The light gray climbing pants looks great with the new Knifeblade Jacket colors for the season. Also note that the new Knifeblade Jacket is updated with a full front zip instead of the usual pullover style. I fully plan to make good use of my head to toe Patagonia Knifeblade kit again this winter. Bring on ice season!