It’s always the same – too much beer, wake up late, disorganized but this time, I’m in luck as the protagonist of the weekend’s play was a certain Pete AKA ptc*. A man well known for his colourful clothing and late starts. Sure enough I still managed to make it to the meet up point well ahead of Pete but many, many minutes after the rest and first dibs on all the gear that was to be tested had long passed by the time I parked up. John from Ardblair had a cavernous boot full of gear, Leki poles, Hillsound crampons, X-Bionic and the not yet on sale here – Montura. From time to time, this brand gets mentioned on UKC and seems to have a great rep amongst the many alpinists on those forums, often when someone is after a fairly technical piece of kit. Ollie from 9point9 was similarly encumbered with high quality gear from Big Agnes, Granite Gear and Princeton Tec… this was gear heaven and a man’s head could explode!
Life has often taught that there’s a price to be paid for a lack of punctuality and sure enough most of the kit had been dished out to the eager beavers who didn’t have a hangover, I said hello to everyone whilst my head was falling to bits and it was great to catch up with Sandy who I haven’t seen in a while. Most people had a fetching shade of green on their upper body, Montura like green it seems, and all of the various shells, soft and hard, had a temporary owner. No worries, I love my Berghaus Temperance, in it’s lovely shade of yellow and with the weather looking a little grim, I’d appreciate it’s ‘best bar none’ (IMO) hood at some point.
That was when John asked my waist size.
So it came to pass that I became the short term possessor of the latest cut of Montura’s Yaru pants – the North. In bright red, yes, BRIGHT red. Fabulous, they’d go well with yellow Berghaus and I could spend 48hrs looking like a long lost refugee from Sundissential. All those years going to Sundissential dance events and I’d always avoided the red and yellow colour clash, yet finally, I’d succumbed to a man called John and his bright red pants. There was no looking at the features, asking questions or having a choice. They fitted, that was that. In a Medium and I was chuffed – ‘less of the fat lads’.
So I wore them without having a look at them, apologised to passers by for damaging their retinas and slowly came to like my new Yaru trousers. The waist belt did up oddly in a very european stylee, just hoick up the very thin zip and tuck a small velcroed tab across. By tiny, I mean maybe less than 20mm and I wasn’t impressed with not having a button. More on that later. Nice zipped pockets in the right places, some zips at the bottom of the calves and these Yarus were rather a fitted garment on the lower leg. Much like some red jeans I had circa 1982, jeans that left me with stretch marks on my lower back they were that tight. These Montura’s were a brief reminder of new wave days gone past but that’s were any similarity ended. The material was cracking, a proper four way stretch, good wind resistance, snow shedding and some decent patches of a toughened material on the knees for the scramblers and climbers. I felt like an Italian guide on the Monta Rosa, swarve, sophisticated… then I’d hear someone whisper, “look at him – blimey”, there was no hiding from the red and yellow.
That waist belt bit of velcro and thin zip just wasn’t an issue, it worked and I didn’t notice it apart from when I put the trousers on. In fact, apart from the colour, I didn’t notice the trousers at all that weekend. Fit is everything and I dare say, if they hadn’t been the right fit for me I’d have had a miserable time in them. They stretched the right way, there was no wind noise due to flapping material and I was a happy man. I could grow to like these. Expensive no doubt but I could be persuaded to part with hard earned cash for these and I kept trying to find reasons not to want them. As they were so fitted on the lower leg, I just couldn’t imagine wearing my B3 boots with them (red of course!) without a gaiter and that would have been a shame, an unnecessary extra item of clothing. Speaking with John on Sunday’s saunter back down to the car park, it transpired that the trousers were about 145 euros, if my memory serves me well and in my head I’d been thinking about £130 anyway. Simple, well designed winter/alpine trousers… except they weren’t that simple. Once I’d taken them off to return them to John, I had a good look at what I’d been wearing. The discreet zips down by the calves hid an inbuilt gaiter, which had the most amazingly designed elasticated adjustment. B3 wearing and these trousers was on and further investigation of the Montura’s design showed them to be worth every euro of the proposed cost for next winter’s new line. I wanted them.
Here’s the deal – Montura as yet, are not for sale in this country. Buyers always seem to go, stupidly if you ask me, for the safe option. Over just two days, I’d grown to love my Yarus and I need some. Since I’ve returned to the Midlands, I’ve hunted on the web for Montura stockists – Japan anyone? Or Spain? Of course the alpine countries have them but I wanna try trousers on before I buy them! I don’t want last year’s cut either, I want these ‘new for next winter’ ones. Having a fondle of the various shells on show, I wasn’t so impressed by the hoods but that’s more to do with me wanting to wear a helmet often as not rather than a fault of design and everyone who wore a shell had grand stuff to say. Michael tested an amazing black and blue creation called the Vertigo Prime, which he reviews on his site here – http://scottishmountaineer.com/page/2/
Someone make me happy and stock the Montura range… or buy me a flight to the Italian Alps next winter. You know it makes sense.