Georgie Smith reviews lightweight and versatile soft shell trousers designed for everything from spring ski tours to summer alpine climbs.
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My first impressions of the Marmot Scree Pants were that they were made and finished well, with quality details like zip garages, and snazzy red taping inside the waistband to prevent chafing. When I put them on, I found the fabric was soft against my skin on the inside but felt durable on the outside, and they were sooo stretchy. Whichever way I moved they just keep on stretching.
The Scree Pants are flatteringly close cut and fit really well - they sit on my waist, and stay up! My narrow hipped athletic type shape often means trousers just slip down. They come in three leg lengths (short, regular and long) and the long (34" inseam) is perfect for my 5'8 frame.
The pockets are generously-sized and have a soft, thin fleece lining inside - good for warming cold hands! The leg pocket proved easily accessible with a harness on and big enough for a small guidebook, camera or snacks. I've found it's a really handy pocket. Two hip pockets are also well-sized but less accessible when climbing.
"...windproof enough to keep my legs warm while skiing, and my legs were kept pretty dry as I waded through deep snow to get to the steeper stuff..."
Their first outing was a day's adventure to do the first few pitches of the Chere Couloir, a mixed route on the Mont Blanc du Tacul. We were to ski to the bottom of the route, and I found the Scree Pants stretched to fit over the top of my skiing boots fine. They were windproof enough to keep my legs warm while skiing, and my legs were kept pretty dry as I waded through deep snow to get to the start of the steeper stuff. So far so good.
The Scree Pants don't have any crampon patches, but I didn't catch them as they fit tidily over my boots. I will probably wear gaiters with them generally though as I'm a pro at stabbing myself in the leg. As the day went by the weather started to come in and the temperature dropped. I got a bit chilly at the belay and by the time it started snowing I was regretting not putting on any thermals. On subsequent trips I've found they are slim enough to easily fit under a hard shell and stretchy enough to allow me to wear a pair of thin thermals underneath, although it is a bit cosy as they're close fitting.
© Daniel Fitzgerald
I've now worn these trousers for running, walking, climbing, biking and skiing. They were perfect for spring bouldering; with the ankle zip done up they are well out of the way of my shoes and I can easily see what my feet are doing. Next winter I will definitely be using them for cross country skiing and ski touring. So far I haven't found anything they don't do, really. The M3 soft shell (Marmot's most breathable) works very well, making them perfect for aerobic exercise. If it's a warmer day they can feel very hot though; some vents would make them even more versatile. They look pretty good in the pub too...
Some final points: there is no sign of wear after a few months heavy use; dirt doesn't stick to them and they are really comfortable to wear. They sit well under a harness ... although the waistband is elasticated at the back, and it's a bit wrinkly - when I got hot this dug into my into my skin a bit but it's a small complaint! They are not too heavy, roll up pretty small when packing, and the price is pretty reasonable for a pair of soft shell trousers.
All in all a solid pair of all round trousers.
UKC Gear, Apr 2011
© Daniel Fitzgerald
About Georgie Smith
I'm a climber, a runner, a biker, sun lounger, not a morning person, a swimmer, a chef by trade. The boy who sold me my first ever pair of climbing shoes eventually became my boyfriend and climbing partner. We live in Chamonix, where we don't work too much and play lots outside.
I enjoy lots of different types of climbing: short, cold days ice climbing in winter; long summer evenings spent bouldering; long, gentle multi-pitch routes; scary sea cliffs with the waves crashing around; exposed via ferratas; climbing at crags with nobody else around; cragging till every finger is bleeding and I can barely lift my after climbing pint! I have done the occasional alpine route, and have a wish list a mile long.
I climb because I love it. I love adventures, being outside, the movements you make and the feeling of freedom when you climb.
Find out more about Georgie at: skinnylegsphoto.com