New From Mammut This Spring 2014
We popped down to glamourous Macclesfield last week for a quick catch-up with the guys at Mammut UK and look at what's new from the Swiss brand this spring.
The Mammut catch-line is 'Absolute Alpine', which pretty much sums up the philosophy of the kit that's on offer, but we'd add that while the intent may be 'alpine', much of the kit also works pretty well in UK mountains.
There's also a trail-running range that runs over spring/summer and the footwear range - powered by Raichle technology - covers pretty much everything from running right through to full-on high altitude mountaineering.
So anyway, what's new from Mammut then? Here's a quick run through some of the more interesting new products.
My Pants Are A Harness
New this spring are the unusual Realization Pants in both men's and women's versions, full-length technical climbing legwear that incorporates an integrated sit harness. Yes, really. From the outside they look like normal outdoor trousers, but delve deep and you discover that they have internal leg loops, two gear loops and an integrated waist-belt with tie-in point at the waist.
The set-up meets the EN 12277 climbing harness standard, it's completely washable and has an elastic insert for maximum mobility. There's even a chalk-bag attachment point and a slide-in brush pocket on the righthand leg.
Ingenious and unarguably not strictly necessary, but kind of cool, particularly if you've never really embraced the intimate aesthetics of the traditional climbing harness.
Claimed to 'not feel like wearing a harness at all and you thus appear to fly effortlessly past obstacles on your climbing project'.
What's the snag? A price tag of £200, thats' what...
Ultimate Alpine Hoody
Mammut has always done a nice line in mountain soft shell jackets and the clue to the Ultimate Alpine Hoody is in the name - it's a top-of-the-range hooded soft shell using a specially developed stretch Gore's Windstopper Soft Shell fabric. That hood is three-point adjustable and helmet compatible too.
There are four pockets sited to work with a climbing harness and lots of very neat design touches - all drawstrings are fitted inside for streamlining, there's a high, sealing collar, the main zip is very slightly off-set and it has a slightly longer 'alpine cut' than its also new sibling, the Ultimate Hoody - there's also a hoodless version called the Ultimate Alpine Jacket, but who wants a mountain soft shell without a hood?
The fabric feels nice and soft, though the face is, according to the spec, made of polyester, so possibly not as tough as a Nylon/Polyamide faced equivalent. Weight around 800g, price a cool £260.
Rainspeed Running Jacket
Mammut calls its trail-running range 'Alpine Performance' and one newcomer this spring is the Rainspeed Jacket in both men's and women's versions (pictured). It's made from lightweight, 2.5 layer DRYtech fabric has a close-fitting hood, and stashes away into its inside pocket. Outside, the men's pocket is a chest one, the women's an unusual hip version.
The fabric has a hydrostatic head of 'just' 10,000mm, technically that's waterproof, but Mammut prefers 'very water resistant'. Claimed weights are 180g for the women', 2120g for the men's. Decently light, claimed to be very breathable indeed, priced at £155.
New Approach Shoes
There's a new family of approach shoes and mids called Ridge which are available as both High and Low versions from both men and women, all with a Gore-Tex liner.
The new shoes/mids are slightly stiffer than the Redburn, which continues in the range too - A7 on Mammut's stiffness scale rather than A6 - and are designed for via ferrata use, scrambling and general mountain walking and backpacking.
Made from a mix of suede, synthetic leather and fabric plus that waterproof Gore-Tex liner, there's also Memo Foam for comfort and support plus two-zone lacing on the high version.
They feel pretty light in the hand despite the sole unit's stiffness - the high could take a crampon for snowy col crossings we reckon - at around 1000g for the High and just slightly less for the Low.
Given the lack of Via Ferrata in the UK, we'd be looking at them as scrambling footwear or as a lightweight alternative to a full-on mountain boot for non-winter use for folk who like their soles on the stiff side of things. Prices are £160 for the High and £135 for the Low.
Alto High GTX
Finally, if you want to go stiffer underfoot again, the new Alto High GTX is another step up the Mammut stiffness scale at A8 versus A7 for the Ridge.
It has the same outsole as the Ridge, but a beefed-up chassis as a result of which it's slightly heavier again, 1192g per pair v 1086g it says here.
Again it's designed for Via Ferratas and mountain walking and backpacking with Memo Foam, 2-zone lacing, elastic Gore-Tex tongue construction and a Neoprene scree gaiter that stops grit and gravel slipping down inside the boot - it's a sort of internal cuff above the heel.
Unlike the Edge, the Alto also has what Mammut calls Base Fit, linking the lace hooks and the cole to keep things stable and anchored inside.
It's light in the hand, lighter than it looks in fact, and at a pinch would make a very light, but decently stiff occasional crampon platform for winter mountain walking. Retail price is £175.
In general, we like the fit of Mammut's footwear and with the brand's Raichle heritage, they should know exactly what they're doing.
All the above out now. More information at www.mammut.ch.