The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Mountain Hardwear Silcox 3/4 Pant: A Cragging Special
Posted on: August 27, 2007
Weight: 11 ounces or 332 grams (size medium)
Mountain Hardwear has come out with a new 3/4 pant, the Silcox. This pant is made from eighty-five percent nylon and fifteen percent elastane and—when combined with articulated knees and a full-length gusset—has four-way stretch that is ideal for climbing, running, and... well, stretching. I sampled a size medium with a 23 1/2" inseam, and it fit perfectly (I'm usually a classic medium with a 32" waist). The pants come with an integrated belt made from 3/4" webbing for cinching them up when the time comes to send that project.
These pants were ideal for cool days multipitching on Yamnuska, where a breeze often picks up on the exposed wall, and where having something to protect my knees from the prickly limestone was key (yes, I still use my knees to climb). They were also great at the "back of the lake" (Lake Louise) where locking off and high stepping up steep quartzite is mandatory. The cut of the pants and four-way stretch offered great movement with no restrictions at all, and therefore no excuse for not sending. I also brought the pants up to the Bugaboos where we enjoyed perfect summer weather, and although they performed well on some shorter climbs like McTech Arete, I was hesitant to bring them on longer days, preferring the protection and warmth of a full pant "just in case."
The Silcox 3/4 pants come with two front pockets, one side and one back, all with zippers. Although the front pockets are well designed for easy access with a harness on, I found that I never used them, even just to stick my hands into. The back pocket was easy to get to with a harness on as well, and the side pocket was perfect for stashing my topo and a small snack. If you're looking for a 3/4 pant that you can boulder in, crag in and go multipitching in, these comfy and stylish pants may be just what you're looking for.
Pros: Four-way stretchy fabric offers great movement; pockets are well designed; great for cragging
Cons: Like any 3/4 pant, they don't offer full protection in the alpine