Gear Review by Kelly: Arc’teryx Rho AR Zip Neck & Gamma Rock Pant

It’s exactly 3 months down our Europe trip, how time flies indeed!

From Dolomiti in Italy, Gorge du Verdon and Annot in France and even right down south to El Chorro in Spain, we are now in the beautiful setting of Chulilla (a little village less than an hour drive from the Spanish eastern coast and about 3hr drive from Madrid) where we call our home for the next 2 weeks!

Bienvenido a Chulilla!
Bienvenido a Chulilla!

We figure that Spain is really the place to go if we want to climb through winter without getting ourselves frozen up. And with more daylight hours compared to the neighbouring countries up north, it means more climbing too =)

Before our departure to Europe, we have already expected that our trip will be a cold one since we will be here from September to January, basically experiencing autumn to winter. Being tropical animals, we don’t cope with the cold very well so it’s a natural choice for us to head to the south- and west-facing crags and climb in the comfort of the sun warm on our backs. Along the way, we have also improvised our personal preferred climbing attire to suit the cooler climate (see Qx’s post on his preferred attire combo here!)

I always have a Hybrid SL outershell jacket along on multi-pitch climbs (single or multiple days) since it is really light, highly compressible and given its functional uses (check out my previous review of Hybrid SL here), it’s not something I would like to go without. What I have discovered along the way is I have been climbing a lot in my Rho AR Zip Neck pullover with Gamma Rock Pant.

Rho-AR-Zip-Neck-W-Annabelle-GreenGamma-Rock-Pant-W-Heron

I really like Rho AR especially on days when the temperatures are down a little lower (less than 10 degrees with wind chill?) given the high collar which gives me the extra warmth I need. The pullover is also long enough to remain tucked under my harness and keep my body warm as I move on the wall (it’s not a good feeling getting chills at your waist when your top slips above your harness as you are making your next reachy move!). Given the abuse that I have been giving to the pullover, despite some mild pilling along the arms, I would say it’s doing great.

<<Mettrez ça sur m’Annot>>

The Rock Pant has been tough, dealing well against wear and tears especially at the knees, thanks to its Burly™ Double Weave fabric which is highly abrasion-resistant (that saves me quite a bit of skin!) and soft shell material which blocks enough wind to not get my legs cold.

Second pitch of >
<<L’ange en Décomposition>> Pitch 2

I first tried this combination on <<L’ange en Décomposition>>, a classic 80s four-pitch climb (100m) in Gorge du Verdon and it worked great for me. I didn’t even have to activate my outer shell despite the wind exposure during the climb. I am using the same recipe on single-pitch climbs in Chulilla and it works perfect too especially when the sun sets behind the gorge and the crag comes in the shade.

Looking forward to our next climbing day in this beautiful and tranquil place! =D

On pour way to one of our favorite sectors, Pared de Enfrente
On our way to one of our favorite sectors, Pared de Enfrente in Chulilla
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