While I was searching for a new soft-shell pant for ice climbing this season I came across the LaSportiva Castle Pant. While billed as a ski pant this lightweight soft-shell slim fitting tech pant is a great choice for waterfall ice climbing and lightweight mountaineering which is how I primarily tested it over the last two months. The fact that it can serve double duty as a light back-country ski tour pant is definitely a bonus.
Let’s start with a look at the manufacturer description and specifications:
“The Castle Pant is a stylish and comfortable soft-shell ski pant made with technical, performance-focused features to give you everything you need to move confidently around the mountains.”
• 5 pockets <- manufacturer typo? Model has 4 pockets total, 2 front hand warmer pockets, one right rear pocket, and one right thigh pocket large enough for an iPhone 6s Plus
• Adjustable inner gaiter
• Front fly
• Reflective safety details
• Pre-shaped knees
• Suspender attachment
• Flat pocket construction
ITEM NUMBER: B74
SIZES: Men’s S – XL
WEIGHT: 20.56 oz (583g)
FABRIC: Main – Ectoshield™ (90% Nylon, 10% Spandex) • Bottom hem insert – Superfabric® • Inner gaiter – 100% Nylon
Not a ton of info from the manufacturer so I’ll break into some real life impressions starting with the choice of fabric.
La Sportiva uses a proprietary “Ectoshield™” material which is a 90/10 Nylon/Spandex blend. In hand it feels like a durable unlined soft shell very similar to Schoeller™ products I have used before. It is noticeably stretchy and feels quite abrasion resistant. The waist belt has a soft micro fleece lining on the band. There’s an adjustable nylon inner gaiter along with a heavier re-enforced crampon patch on the inner leg and adjustable outer cuff.
This adjustable cuff is a nice feature as I can snap then tighter when wearing ice climbing boots or have a bit more room for my ski touring boots. Since I rarely wear gaiters while ice climbing the option to snug them up is quite nice!
It is highly likely there is a DWR treatment applied despite no mention of it on the manufacturer’s website. I climbed in them through very drippy conditions and they definitely resisted getting damp.
They fit great under my harness and are quite comfortable on the approach. As a 180 pound 5’9″ 34 inch waist I went with the USA Medium size (Euro L/50). I found the sizing to be perfect for me. Check the size chart if in doubt:
|TOTAL HEIGHT||5’6″ – 5’8″||5’8″ – 5’9″||5’9″ – 5’10”||5’11” – 6”0″||6’1″+|
|SLEEVE||31 – 32||32 – 33||33 – 34||43 – 35||35 – 36|
|WAIST (CLIMBING/CASUAL PANTS)||30 – 31||32 – 33||33 – 34||34 – 35||36 – 37|
|WAIST (OUTERWEAR PANTS)||32||33 – 34||35 – 36||37 – 38||39 – 40|
After a half dozen climbing days in these I’m thinking these may be my go-to ice pants this season. The 10% spandex material gives complete freedom of movement, and they feel like they can take a bit of climbing abuse from time to time. While they fit my body quite well there are both belt loops and suspender attachment points to facilitate every body shape.
This is an excellent option for a dedicated ice climbing pant that can serve double duty as a lightweight back-country ski touring pant, something that many New England climbers, back-country skiers, and skimo folks might be looking for. Here’s a short vid of me rocking these pants a few days ago at Frankenstein in Crawford Notch:
See you in the mountains,
Northeast Alpine Start
While I received this item from La Sportiva for the purposes of this review the opinions above are my own. Affiliate links above help support this blog.