New for spring 2011 and out now, the Terra Alpines - £80 / 410g - are the latest addition to Montane's Terra family - there's also a sister Terra Alpine Short - and designed for rock climbing, mountaineering and trekking.
The fabric is something Montane calls Granite Stretch, which is a 90/10 mix of Nylon and Elastane making for a genuinely stretchy fabric that also feels nice and tough while featuring a water repellent DWR finish as standard. Montane's gone to town on features with these - two zipped hand-warmer pockets, two mesh-lined thigh vents, articulated knees and neat, gusseted ankles with a a zip which allows you to widen and narrow the ankles simply and securely. They're more flattering and cooler with the zip open, more practical on technical ground with it cinched down.
The belt uses a pack-type fast buckle closure, which Montane says is 'low profile', though it's still a little buliker than some.
Despite the tough-feel to the fabric, the Terras are really, really stretchy, almost like tights, but of course they're proper trousers, that's great for climbing use and high steps generally. The factory DWR works really well as new and they're well up to shrugging off minor showers - Montane says you may need to refresh every six months or so and recommends Nikwax products.
Fit is close but not silly tight and they've avoided the sought-after 'dad pants' look quite neatly. Two touches that we really do like are the zipped thigh vents, a welcome cooling aid on hard-core mountain slog ascents and those zipped ankles - they mean you can narrow the entire lower leg right down for climbing use or leave them open for more general walking and trekking. And once they've been adjusted, they stay adjusted and look neat. No studs to come undone mid-route. Finally, there's a choice of two leg lengths.
Really good, tough-feeling, all-round mountain legwear. The prodigious stretch element and articulated cut makes for easy movement, the fabric is wind and water resistant and dries fast and the features are really well thought out. Hard to fault.