After a couple of years hiatus, the brand new Summit Series collection from The North Face launches today. Repositioned as a premium and somewhat limited edition sub-brand aimed squarely at climbers, the Summit Series gear is a result of deep collaboration with The North Face climbing athletes, such as Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk, to figure out what are the basics needed on any alpine adventure.
A few years ago, you used to be able to find Summit Series apparel almost anywhere. With close to 100 pieces in the collection, it covered everything from base layers, hoodies, and fleeces to Gore-Tex jackets, tents, and backpacks. By comparison, the new Summit Series collection has been paired down to just 8 pieces for both men and women–no more and no less than you need for any expedition. This includes base layers (top and bottom), a mid layer, insulated jackets (both down and synthetic), and a shell jacket and pants–the pieces are labeled L1-L6 accordingly, so you understand how they are meant to be layered.
All the pieces are made to work together, with coordinating pockets, seams, and zippers. If you want to outfit yourself head to toe in Summit Series apparel, it will set you back $2,700 for the 8 pieces. You will find no neon here–blacks and greys dominate the line. The new color scheme is made to let you feel in harmony with the environment in which you are climbing.
The pinnacle of the Summit Series collection, the Summit L5 Shell ($600), is a 3-layer waterproof breathable jacket made from DryVent using The North Face’s unique FuseForm construction where a single sheet of fabric is folded into the jacket shape and then fused together for fit and durability. The Summit L5 pants feature no integrated gaiter (something you rarely need when ice and alpine climbing unless postholing through snow on the approach) but offer up a slim profile to keep fabric out of the way of your crampons.
In the meantime, if you are a serious climber looking to for pieces to add to your layering scheme this winter, check out the new Summit Series. If it’s good enough for Conrad, it’s good enough for me….