Chill Beater


I’ve always wanted that one warm jacket that I can grab for approaches and belays in times of near-freezing temps and blustery winds. That one jacket that I can throw over a tank top when I’m running to the gym, and trust to keep me completely warm. Downs weren’t cutting it for such uses (especially with that skin-to-nylon fabric contact—eek!), and regular fleeces weren’t windproof or warm enough. The North Face Polar Hooded Jacket ($299; came to my rescue at the end of last winter. The body is Polartec Power Shield that’s extremely warm and light, while the underarms are Polartec Thermal Pro that’s breathable. On a gusty 40°F day in the shade in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado, it kept me warm over just a tank top and didn’t overheat on the short but steep hike up to the base of Yellow Spur (5.9+). It’s too bulky to carry up a climb, but it’s perfect for approaches and belays. It’s become my go-to jacket without the need for a midlayer. —Julie Ellison