"Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop."

Chris Darwin

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Alpine armour

I have been very happy with how well soft shell clothing has worked in ice climbing. This combined with the difficulty of finding good hard shell pants, I am seriously considering bringing soft shells with the next time I venture into alpine climbing and using them as my main shell.

I don't trust them enough to keep the elements out if the weather turns really nasty, so I will bring very light hard shells (read: the lightest Paclite or similar I can find) just in case (and plan them to stay in pack). My theory is that this way I could enjoy better comfort and breathability of soft shell when climbing while still having fully waterproof clothing in case of a pouring rain. By taking very light hard shell the weight and space penalty isn't too great, so I reckon this approach might be feasible. Granted, very light hard shell isn't very durable, and probably can't take the abuse of full-on alpine climbing but with this approach they wouldn't have to; they would be worn only if forced to bivouac in foul weather or when sitting out the storm below the route.

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