Before the holidays, I bought a backup pair of the First Ascent Guide Gloves, as well as a pair of the Mountain Guide Lite Pants. I was looking for a pair of ice climbing and mountaineering pants to use during somewhat warmer weather where an insulated climbing pant was just too much.
The Mountain Guide Lite Pants are made from a breathable, Schoeller soft shell fabric with 3XDRY Finish. The 3XDRY Finish adds water and wind resistance to the fabric through a StormRepel DWR coating. A thin, hydrophilic, fleecey underside of the fabric absorbs perspiration and helps it to evaporate quickly.
The four way stretch fabric is perfect for climbing as it offers supreme mobility. Apart from the stretch, my favorite feature of the Mountain Guide Lite Pants has to be their nice slim fit, especially through the side zippered lower calf and ankle section that fits snuggly over your boots.
With my other insulated climbing pants, I need to wear gaiters as the flared bottoms can too easily catch on my crampons. With the Mountain Guide Lite Pants, I don't need to wear gaiters for climbing in the Ouray Ice Park or for alpine climbs where I am mostly on top of a glacier or a mix of rock and ice.
If a big snowy approach is required for a climb, I would probably thrown on some gaiters, however, as the pants do not have any built in to maintain their low profile. The climbing pants also feature a nice slim fit over the hips and thighs, which is perfect for cutting down bulk under your harness.
A side cargo pocket is convenient for storing your lip balm, energy chews, snack bar or other small items to keep warm and close at hand. A small back zipper pocket can be used for extra small item storage.
One tiny criticism I have with the Mountain Guide Lite Pants is that they only come in one color- dark grey or Dark Lead as it is called by First Ascent. Sure grey is a nice change from black but it is not the most flattering color on everyone as it tends to make your butt look big. Lets be honest, when you are ice climbing, all anyone really sees is your butt so that's a big issue! I saw Chad Peele wearing the men's version at the Ouray Ice Festival and he looked great, as does über Chick Caroline George when she wears hers. So perhaps you will look much better in grey than I do.
Bottom Line: Fantastic pants for ice or alpine climbing in somewhat warmer weather or even Spring and Summer hiking. A size medium fits me absolutely perfectly with room enough for expedition weight long underwear beneath to keep me warm in 15ºF-30ºF ice climbing weather.
The First Ascent Mountain Guide Lite Pants retail for $179 and come in both a men's and women's version.