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AlphaSV

Alpha SV Jacket

EVOLUTION OF A STORM FORTRESS

Through constant evolution, our most iconic design continues to be the very best it can be. Using new zipper technology, our design team was able to reconstruct the jacket, removing seams and allowing the use of even more durable materials without additional weight. An unprecedented combination that is the result of persistent investigation.

Scotland

The ugly, the worse, and the truly heinous

Do alpine climbers purposely seek misery? Paul McSorley relates his recent trip to Scotland where in true Shakespearean tradition, he embraced the madness of local alpinists. Out into the fury for good fun, fair or foul.

Marc Andre Leclerc climbing at Glencoe Scotland. | Photo: Paul Bride
Marc Andre Leclerc on the route Spectre VI,6 Glencoe Scotland. | Photo: Paul Bride

“So fair and foul a day
I have not seen”

Shakespeare may have expressed it first, but he wasn’t an alpinist.

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Michelle Kadatz and Mark Andre Leclerc at Ben Nevis Scotland. | Photo: Paul Bride

“So fair and foul a day I have not seen” - Shakespeare may have expressed it first, but he wasn’t an alpinist. Another meaning, and one more positive, is the tremendous transfer of energy a person receives from being out in so fair and foul a day. There’s nothing like it.

Paul McSorley, one of our favourite athletes and alpinists, recently spent time in Scotland doing some mixed climbs. Of the conditions there he says, “It's not clear if the lack of good weather forces Scots out into the hills on full-on abysmal days, but going outside when it's truly shite seems to be a pastime.” There’s the foul. What is the fair? “Perhaps the outside tempest is the antidote to boredom, either of the hut or of everyday life. In a Scottish storm, every step upward feels hard won. But that in itself gives a bit of pleasure, pushing back against the biting snow.”

Paul McSorely and Marc Andre Leclerc at Ben Nevis on Sioux Wall VIII,8 Scotland. | Photo: Paul Bride

Paul, our master of understatement. Along with him in the Cairngorms, Ben Nevis and other classic regions, was a posse of fellow humble and over-accomplished friends: Marc-Andre Leclerc, Jon Walsh, Ian Welsted, Michelle Kadatz and Paul Bride. Faced with wildly fluctuating weather, they soon adopted the Scottish approach, taking cues from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

“I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more, is none.” Paul explains: “There's an old quote form Tom Patey (I think): Gashbrum, Mashebrum, Distil Sagar, they're all just training for Dark Loch Nagar. We couldn't believe that locals were going out in such tough conditions, but if you stay inside until the weather is fair, you won't get out much. In the end we joined them out in the maelstrom. We didn’t always get a lot done, but there's something to be said for depth of experience.”

Paul McSorely and Ian Welsted gearing up on Hadrian’s Wall V’5. | Photo: Paul Bride

The attempt and not the deed confounds us. Paul: “I had no expectations (I try never to) but the curiosity for this genre had my brain swimming. When we finally tucked into some proper in-your-face climbing, I was struck by how slow progress was. Each tool placement had to be tested again and again for security and the gear was often a struggle to place. Scraping snow and ice of a crack to find a place to inset the gear became a meditation and zen was needed when yet another fissure proved useless. Trusting said gear was the hardest part so, in fine Scottish tradition you'd wail away with your hammer to increase the holding power of the placement. Sometimes even a moderate pitch would take hours to lead and the belayer could only wait, swinging their arms and jumping in place to keep the blood pumping. All this whilst being lashed by gusty winds and truckloads of spindrift.”

Paul McSorely and Ian Welsted pondering their next move Ben Nevis Scotland. | Photo: Paul Bride

He had a blast. Pure adrenaline-loaded fun. Gaining energy from being out in the raw power of natural forces, almost disbelieving he had willingly put himself in this situation. And yet…

What’s done cannot be undone. “The nuance of a well-designed jacket or pack becomes amplified in this arena, and only in combination with sound organizational strategies can these tools help you succeed. Hanging at a tight belay stance requires constant adjustment; squirming to get more comfortable in your harness, reaching into your rucksack for a snack or tucking a pair of gloves down the breast of your jacket.  These simple things can take on great meaning. If something drops even from one pitch up, it gets swallowed by the snows. The loss of an essential item can force a retreat from this self-imposed test.” 

Paul McSorely and Ian Welsted stopping for lunch Ben Nevis Scotland. | Photo: Paul Bride

Paul embraced the Scottish fondness of being blasted. “It's a game of our choosing. Bailing is easy - just cry uncle and go down.” What Shakespeare claimed remains true. I bear a charmed life. “Indeed our lives are charmed that we can go to the hills and submerge ourselves in these intense environments. But there's something about turning your face into the wind that appeals to some of us – the chance to get savage in a civilized world.” Bonny.

More adventures can be found on Paul’s blog, Alpine Justice.

Marc Andrea Leclerc on Sioux Wall Ben Nevis. | Photo: Paul Bride

Alpha SV Jacket

The Alpha SV Jacket Redesign - lighter and stronger. Through constant evolution, our most iconic design continues to be the very best it can be. Using new zipper technology, our design team was able to reconstruct the jacket, removing seams and allowing the use of even more durable materials without additional weight. An unprecedented combination that is the result of persistent investigation.

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The New RS™ Zipper

In 1999 Arc’teryx revolutionized outdoor apparel with the introduction of the WaterTight™ zipper. The WaterTight™ zipper sealed out the elements, but it had a small gap at the top that required a zipper garage to prevent leaking. Although the design became an industry standard, we weren’t entirely satisfied; the garage added weight and required a seam junction. Investigations continued.

In fall 2016, a new technology was perfected: the RS™ zipper. A unique zipper slider design that self-seals when fully closed. No garage. This simplifies build, improves function, reduces weight, opens the door for design improvements, and delivers a cleaner aesthetic.

A technically challenging, yet simple solution.

Self-seals when fully closed

Simplifies construction reducing weight

Does not require a seam junction

Standard Zipper
RS™ Zipper

N100p-X 3L GORE-TEX® Pro

A new face fabric that achieves the best results of anything we have tested from W.L. Gore and Associates. Internal findings have shown it to have nearly twice the abrasion resistance with a negligible increase in weight.

Pockets

Overall weight savings mean we can include an internal laminated pocket plus internal dump pocket, increasing functionality.

Cohaesive™ Cordlocks

A custom design: intuitive, streamlined and exceptionally easy to use while wearing gloves or mittens. Cordlocks are laminated into the drawcord channel and operated by pinching to open, pull to tighten. Minimizes snags, breaks and keeps things clean.

HemLock™

No more foam inserts. Embedded Cohaesive™ cordlock tightens bottom laminated hem.

Simple.

StormHood™

The Arc'teryx helmet compatible Stormhood™ with laminated brim is designed to provide the ultimate protection in cold or wet weather without restricting movement or visibility.

Weatherproof

An extra tall collar with chin guard provides additional coverage in storm conditions. Custom Cohaesive™ hood adjusters are easy to use with gloves or mittens.

Design Evolution

  • 475 grams. Lighter than previously
  • More durable N100p-X 3L GORE-TEX® Pro fabric
  • RS™ Zipper Slider:
    • Self-seals when fully closed
    • Simplifies construction reducing weight
    • Does not require a seam junction
  • Additional pockets
  • Laminated hem with Cohaesive™ Cordlocks
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