Review: Meridian Line Denim Jeans

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Meridian Line Stretch Denim Jeans Rock Climbing Eldorado Canyon

The author climbs Eldorado Canyon's four-pitch Sooberb (5.10c) in Meridian Line's Denim Jeans.

Meridian Line Stretch Denim Jeans Rock climbing jeremy Collins

Meridian Line's Denim Jeans.

The good folks at the clothing company Meridian Line gave me a chance this past weekend to preview their upcoming stretch-denim climbing jeans. Started by the climber and über-talented artist Jeremy Collins, the company has been in soft goods (T-shirts, hoodies, trucker hats, etc.) since 2014, with designs created entirely by Collins incorporating his amazing art. The two big headlines with the company this year are a shift in ownership and their denim. With backing from some of the world’s top adventure athletes, Collins and his team bought out his former partners—they’re now a company strictly by and for climbers. In September, they’ll launch the full line of apparel led by their innovative stretch-denim climbing jeans.

I’ve never been much of a jeans guy, and definitely not while climbing (I have zero fashion sense—I either wear baggy Umbros or sweatpants at the cliff). Maybe it’s my bowlegs or onetime-trail-runner quads; I get a little self-conscious and am just particular about how clothes feel while I’m climbing. But the Meridian Line jeans were different: supple, not too clingy, not boxy or baggy or unduly thick and bindy like work jeans. With a blend of organic cotton, Lycra, and polyester they move freely like tights, but wear stylish like jeans. Even given my weird hang-ups with jeans, I enjoyed wearing and climbing in them.

Meridian Line partner Maury Birdwell and I did the four-pitch trad route Sooberb (5.10c) in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado, together on a cool spring morning while I tested. The jeans rode well on the steep, stair-stepping approach (lots of highsteps), without bunching, and I soon got used to their form-hugging fit. (I tested the slim jeans; the pants will also come in a looser, standard fit.) They climbed like a dream, bendy as you needed it, svelte under a harness, and cozy and warm but not too sweaty during the exertion of climbing. I ground up a hand-crack corner in them no problem and oozed up the crux flare, a 5.10c bombay through a big roof, even copping a kneebar and being glad for the extra bit of padding from the denim—they provided a comfy, bomber kneelock.

I’m excited to see the full line when they come out, with both fits: slim and standard for both men and women. The best part is turning up the cuffs and checking out the kickplate liner to reveal Collions’s colorful “Falcon-Salmon-Compass” art. Mega-style! There is a Kickstarter pre-sale (up to 30 percent off retail) going on right now. Visit Kickstarter: Meridian Line Denim to learn more and snag a pair.