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.