Classic blue jeans are not just for cowboys like the American climber Ron Kauk who was wearing 501's over two decades ago for climbing in, as well as for hanging out in the Camp 4 parking lot and when splitting firewood at his home for the cold Yosemite winters.
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Because of the cotton-lycra mix and articulated knees, the TrangoWorld Yosemite Jeans give unrestricted movement
UKC Gear, Nov 2012
© Mick Ryan
When asked why he wore jeans for climbing, Kauk famously replied, “John Wayne never wore Lycra”.
Kauk did buck the lycra trend in the 1980s. Now we have a choice of stretchy blue jeans from several climbing companies, and one of the latest is the Yosemite Jean from the Spanish company, TrangoWorld.
It was just just going dark at Stoney Middleton and we were packing up after a session on Wee Doris. Phil who I was climbing with asked to try my jeans on. An odd request maybe, but he had seen me wearing my TrangoWorld Yosemite jeans all summer, I was hardly ever without them. I'm a 32 inch waist and was wearing mediums. Phil tried mine on whilst the rest of our crew laughed at me as I stood there in my underpants. My jeans were a tad loose on Phil, and so the next day he went online and bought a small pair ... he's a 30 inch waist.
The TrangoWorld Yosemite jeans are a straight cut, medium-rise jean made out of a cotton with some latex to give them some stretch - not full-on lycra stretch - but enough so that that they don't restrict movement. Don't worry there is no dropped crotch and the waist doesn't sit below your hips, these are conservatively cut jeans that look good in the pub and like all jeans can be worn for any occasion.
Ron Kauk famously replied: "John Wayne never wore Lycra...”
But how do they climb?
In general perfectly, they are part of TrangoWorld's bouldering collection of apparel, but are good for both roped climbing as well as bouldering. They don't have the classic diamond-crotch, which is essential in non-stretchy climbing trousers so that you can raise your legs above your head, as the elastic fabric in the Yosemite jean gives you unfettered movement which is helped by the articulated knees. You hardly notice you are wearing them, they are light at 650g for the large size, but also they have good durability; I've been wearing mine for the last 7 months on grit and when sport climbing on limestone - they sit well under a harness - and they have hardly worn and the seams are intact. They are good for a weekly hot wash if you wear them often and have only faded slightly.
The only trouble I had with them was when climbing in a hot and humid Adirondaks in upstate New York this last July. They got a tad clammy against my skin and for such conditions I would have been better wearing some looser-cut cotton climbing trousers. There was no such problem climbing in them in the UK!
There are two side pockets and two back pockets. The waistband is fastened by sturdy metal button and button hole, the fly is the button-up type: 3 silver buttons and one orange; a nice detail.....or 'discoverable' in marketing-speak. The pocket liners and some interior lining is a burgundy lightweight cotton. The material is hard-wearing and offers some rain and wind resistance.
With a suggested retail price of £80 they are offer good value for money, not as inexpensive as the popular Moon Cypher, and slightly more expensive than other climbing jeans. If TrangoWorld Yosemite Jean is your style preference they are worth taking a close look at; I love mine, as Phil did, and he is quite happy with his, although now we have to avoid wearing them at the same time so we don't look like twins.
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TrangoWorld Yosemite Jean
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