/ Winter Alps Synthetic Belay Jacket

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captainfire576 on 30 Jul 2013
Hi, I have a Mammut Stratus Jacket which I use as an belay jacket. It is great but bulky in the rucksack (the pack down size it nearly as big as my sleeping bag!) and a bit on the heavy side(Weighs 1Kg). The hood is quite basic but the jacket is really warm and I like it. Is it worth me trying a ME Fitzroy as a more packable alternative? Will it be warm enough? Is there anything better. I obviously fancy the PHD Zeta but can't afford it and that looks pretty thing too although it is rated -15. Is Thinsulate really that much better? Suggestions?
xplorer on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to captainfire576:

I've got an ME Fitzroy, it's got plenty of pockets, and a longer cut aswell. Synthetic and very warm for the weight.
captainfire576 on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to xplorer: Warm enough for the Alps Winter?
purplemonkeyelephant - on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to captainfire576:

Arcteryx Fission SV is great if you have the cash or see one on sale. Not the most packable though.

Under a shell you have the Arcteryx Atom SV, DAS Parka, Kathmandu Exmoor, PHD etc loads to choose from. If you go this route you can layer a bit more effectively, though the standalone jacket will take less abuse. Much more packable though, and some you can even pack into their pocket and hang them on your harness.
captainfire576 on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant: I usually have a base layer, fleece and soft shell, then I layer the Stratus over the top if need be. It is warm, but it is a bit of a monster to carry.
xplorer on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to captainfire576:

Yea I'd say so, it all depends on how cold you run, and what system you wear. I'd have a look at what the manufacturers claim.
Christian Beck - on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to captainfire576: I have used this to great effect on N.faces in the tatra in winter...to around -30 or below.
I use this and can get away with a Rab Photon over my shell for belaying...but i do run quite warm normally.
Worth a though...as no cold spots and adds a great boost in the sleeping bag as well.

http://montano.pl/index.php?id_product=79&controller=product#
Christian Beck - on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to Christian Beck: Not a belay jacket of course , worth a looking into though.
In reply to captainfire576:
> Warm enough for the Alps Winter?

How long is a piece of string? What are you going to be doing in the winter alps? How high? Multi-day routes or valley ice cragging.

I've got similar jackets to the Fitzroy, and sometimes for ice climbing in the Scandinavian winter they are great - all you need - and sometimes you'll get cold in them reasonably sharpish. It depends so massively on what you're doing, what the weather is like, what you're wearing underneath and how hard you are.

If you're going out in temperatures of say -15 or -20 and its windy I suspect most people wouldn't stay warm in a mid warmth synth jacket like the Fitzroy, but it might work for you if you have other insulation below. I think no one can reasonably tell you "yes, it'll be fine" or "no, it won't" for all these factors.

The DAS is virtually the same weight as the Fitzroy now, but I don't know if that means that it's not as warm as my heavier 12 year old one is.
captainfire576 on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to TobyA: Yeah I know it is a "How long is a piece of string?" question. Just wondering if a 500g jacket is going to be as warm as a1kg one. I suspect not, but It might be worth the compromise to save some weight.
In reply to captainfire576:
> Just wondering if a 500g jacket is going to be as warm as a1kg one.

Unless its 500 grams of of good down, I think the answer to that is pretty clear! :)
captainfire576 on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to captainfire576: this is the review of my current jacket http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=849
Stuart the postie - on 30 Jul 2013
In reply to captainfire576:

Any belay jacket that is properly warm enough for belaying in, is big and bulky and a pain to carry! I find something is better than nothing, hence something that packs small enough to hang from harness, is my choice.

Speed is everything on a big route, if you have to stand about belaying for long periods, bivi gear will then also have to be carried, which will slow you down further!!!!

Regards

Stuart
taddersandbadger - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
> [...]
>
> How long is a piece of string? What are you going to be doing in the winter alps? How high? Multi-day routes or valley ice cragging.
>
> I've got similar jackets to the Fitzroy, and sometimes for ice climbing in the Scandinavian winter they are great - all you need - and sometimes you'll get cold in them reasonably sharpish. It depends so massively on what you're doing, what the weather is like, what you're wearing underneath and how hard you are.
>
> If you're going out in temperatures of say -15 or -20 and its windy I suspect most people wouldn't stay warm in a mid warmth synth jacket like the Fitzroy, but it might work for you if you have other insulation below. I think no one can reasonably tell you "yes, it'll be fine" or "no, it won't" for all these factors.
>
> The DAS is virtually the same weight as the Fitzroy now, but I don't know if that means that it's not as warm as my heavier 12 year old one is.

Could not agree more, impossible question to answer really.
I tend to run hot so for me the Fitzroy is spot on even in the Alps, down to about -10, on multi pitch ice routes.It packs small, does not mind getting wet and does not vomit feathers if nicked by one of the many sharp bits on my harness, but if it gets colder, windier and there is a chance of more sitting still, then I lug my feather filled friend along!

Other tricks to consider is block leading and sharing clothing with your belayer. You will be amazed at what a difference a thin ish smock type mid layer can make when added to your mid weight synthetic belay jacket.
captainfire576 on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to captainfire576: The jacket augments my skinny sleeping bag. The rational goes that a big sleeping bag just gets carried and does nothing most of the time, where as my jacket can get used during the day and during the night if you get my drift. The Fitzroy may just be thick enough and certainly lighter and smaller, but I used to have a skinny jacket but I traded up for this one. I may have just answered my own question. I may just rethink my packing strategy!
Aly - on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to captainfire576: it will all depend on what layering system you use and how 'hot' you run. For routes you aren't pitching you can get away with very little clothing, maybe just a photon or redpoint type jacket.

Does it have to be synthetic? For alpine winter a good down jacket would be lighter and it shouldn't get wet. Something like a Rab Neutrino is about 650g, has a pertex shell and is plenty warm enough for a belay jacket or a bivi (with a bivi sack) assuming it stays dry. You could add some puffy trousers or a light (~500/600g) mountain marathon bag for a comfier bivi setup.
captainfire576 on 02 Aug 2013
In reply to Aly: Yeah I hear what you are saying but If you are in the shit in a blizzard and caked in snow and your soft shell is frozen solid and you put a down jacket on it will get wet. I love down gear but it always gets wet in less than sunny conditions. I have reluctantly had to buy a synthetic sleeping bag for the alps in winter as I can steam up anything. A down bag is good for about 2 nights before it becomes useless. Andy K recons a down bag looses 10% of it's warmth every night. Same with a jacket but it has even more chance of getting wet. I carried a wet down jacket round for a week in my rucksack. It weighed about 10 kg and I hadn't even taken it out of my rucksack!
In reply to captainfire576: I've got a Das for sale here if that interests you?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=558042&v=1#x7434281
captainfire576 on 03 Aug 2013
In reply to captainfire576: Spoke to a guy at Needlsports in Keswick today and he pointed out that a belay jacket only needs to be warm for half an hour and you spend more time carrying it than wearing it so weight is important. I tried on a Fitzroy and it was good with a quality hood. In the sale for 120! Not seen them for less than 160 before. The guy has an point. I may go for the Fitzroy.
xplorer on 03 Aug 2013
In reply to captainfire576:

The fitzroy is a quality jacket, you won't be disappointed.

My winter kit is:

ME eclipse hooded base layer
ME kalanka
ME fitzroy

If really cold then I'll wear a fleece as well.
ads.ukclimbing.com
captainfire576 on 03 Aug 2013
In reply to captainfire576: I used to own a Fitzroy Enterent/thinsulate jacket in the late 80s and it was best bit of kit I have ever owned.
BIn reply to captainfire576:
> (In reply to captainfire576) Spoke to a guy at Needlsports in Keswick today and he pointed out that a belay jacket only needs to be warm for half an hour

Why? What happens after half an hour?
captainfire576 on 05 Aug 2013
In reply to TobyA: u start climbing and warm up
In reply to captainfire576: well not if your mate is only a quarter or halfway up the pitch. Have you never belayed someone on a mixed pitch for two hours? Ach! You have nae lived laddie! :)

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