As a partner guide service with Outdoor Research, each season we get a few new pieces of technical outerwear to use on our trips – part of our SJMG Guide Uniform. This year, and after a hearty bit of field work already I might add, SJMG Guide Ben Kiessel has had the chance to review this season’s gear.
Everyone gets excited at the start of the summer guiding season. Given the vast expanse and terrain types of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains – we put our gear through a lot of tough use. From multi-day backpacking trips in the Weminuche Wilderness (with plenty of afternoon thunderstorms I might add), to the alpine rock of the Grenadier Range and the Wilson/El Diente Traverse – I’ve put my technical outerwear through more than it’s fair share of mountain days. I’m pleased to report that our Outdoor Research Guide Uniform has been more than up to the task.
The Ferrosi Pants and Hoody are both super beathable yet offer excellent wind and water resistance. So whether we are guiding Telluride’s Via Ferrata or the Snake Couloir on Mt. Sneffels we are dry, warm and able to focus on our job not our layering system. The Ferrosi Hoody is light enough that I have worn it on hot, sunny days for sun protection. The Ferrosi Pant is burly enough that it doesn’t show any wear after guiding long trad routes in the Black Canyon or towers in Moab area. In addition, they are cut perfectly for alpine and rock climbing objectives alike, with minimal extraneous fabric in places you don’t need extra fabric.
I usually layer on the Sequence S/S Polo – which is both comfortable and stylish, and then the Radiant LT Zip Top over that for cool evenings or mornings. I’m particularly a fan of the thumb holes on the Radiant and find that the piece is cut perfectly so that those sleeves don’t ride up or make you feel like they are going to cut off circulation to your thumb when using the thumb holes. Seriously, I have had some other pullovers from different manufacturers who made the sleeves of the pullover too short such that the thumb holes were basically unusable for me – and I have long arms.
As our season progresess in southwest Colorado we experience daily afternoon thunderstorms in July and August that generally last for an hour or two. It’s key to have a rain coat that will keep you dry even in the heaviest rain storms yet is light as possible and compresses down for easy packing. I was impressed last year when we were wearing the Helium. The Helium II is lighter, more water poof and more breathable then its predecessor. At 6.4 oz it’s super light but is resiliant enough to thrash through dew covered willows on an alpine start for Wham Ridge on Vestal Peak.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with anything from OR. Well built, functional, stylish – the list goes on and on. I highly recommend their technical outerwear for all of your outdoor endeavors, wherever they may be. Have fun out there!
AMGA Certified Rock Guide