April, for some, means joyful sightings of those loathsome little harbingers of the end of ski season-crocuses. But in the mountains, especially this year, it means the powder is still relentlessly hammering the peaks-good news for those who don’t like crocuses. But if you’re going to be out there, you need a jacket that can do it all. So here’s a review of a jacket I’ve been testing from Swiss company Mammut.
Mammut is currently celebrating its 150th year making bad-ass mountaineering gear that began with ropes and alpinism needs. Yet recently, the company has decided to step into the brave world of freeriding. The attempt to meld freeski style with mountaineering function is something that has proven hard for a lot of companies, so I figured I’d see what the Swiss had been up to, and got my hands on a women’s Civetta.
As far as looks go, it’s definitely got style: the cut is a happy medium between a mountaineering jacket and an overly steezy freeski jacket. My favorite part though, in a huge plus, is the hood. There is nothing that can ruin a jacket like an ill-fitting hood-and the Civetta’s is perfect. It fits easily over a helmet and goggles, and hangs over your face enough to totally protect it while booting or skinning in howling winds and flying snow.
As far as the rest of its function goes, it gets the job done with a minimum of excess. The front pockets rest above where your pack’s waist-straps go for easy access. Huge underarm zips open the jacket from mid-bicep to mid-torso, which allows for a heavenly amount of ventilation if you are working hard or the temps start to rise, while still allowing you to leave the shell on for protection from the elements. It’s also nice, I noticed right away, that the zips are easy to move with one hand, sparing the incessant pleas for help from partners or having to free both hands to wrest the zip open or closed.
The windblocker material Mammut uses, something called Pontetorto No Wind, lived up to its name. I stayed blissfully insulated from the ruthless Wyoming winds to knock-you down southern Colorado gusts. The shell even kept me dry and warm in the Whistler base-area rain…impressive.
So, banking on the hope that crocuses won’t even attempt to peek out in the mountains for quite a while, I think I’ve found a go-to shell to continue to take out trying to bag spring peaks and lines in the Tetons and WInd Rivers, no matter what the weather throws at us.