“Ice!” my partner yelled from above as he ascended the third pitch of Ames Ice Hose, a classic three star WI 5 M6 climb in Telluride, Colorado. Snow and ice rained down on my head as I wrangled my way deep into the hanging icy belay. My cold hands carefully extricated my favorite climbing jacket- the Red Fox Belite down sweater, from the compression sack located on the back of my harness.
I quickly pulled the light puffy up and over my head, cinching it tightly to fit over my helmet. The Belite down sweater is a perfect fit, incredibly durable, and comfortably warm. Stylishly quilted and uniformly insulated, it is filled with 750-fill goose down, trapping heat around the most essential part of the body, the core.A couple hours before, we hiked a steep one-hour approach as the sun crept up the horizon. There in the distance stood, Ames Ice Hose, illuminated by stars, and sun, and ice. I stopped to take a drink of water and shed some layers. Weighing only 8 ounces, I commented to my partner how nicely my Belite compressed into a small stuff sack in my pack. That made it light enough and small enough to haul up the climb as well.
The sun was out when we reached the base of the first pitch. It was cold so I slid my puffy on, filling the single interior pocket with the bare essentials- my phone, a packet of peanut butter and a granola bar. Elastic hem and cuffs meant less time spent adjusting the fit and easy glove compatibility, an important feature when aiming for speed and efficiency. Extra insulation along the main zipper provided an added layer of warmth and ensured the zipper remained in good working condition. I belayed my partner from a chilly, steep, and snowy couloir and finally, when it was my turn to climb, I pulled the puffy off and compressed it back into the small stuff sack fastened on the back of my climbing harness.
Delayed by falling snow, rock, and ice from the party ahead of us, the puffy kept me warm on unexpectedly long hanging belays throughout the day. Its two external pockets, featured with zippers and rubber pull-tabs, guaranteed safekeeping and dexterity, both important considerations in steep and icy environments with cold hands. When snow and ice came down from above, I easily zipped the puffy up and it adequately insulated and protected my neck and lower face.
On that shady and cold descent, I swore by my puffy again to maintain the body heat produced from my ascent. When we successfully reached the bottom of the climb, I tucked the Belite in my pack, chatting with my partner about our evening plans around town in Telluride.
Café and bar hopping on evenings and rest days, the Belite down sweater is my go-to jacket. Chic, well tailored, and brightly colored, a local Telluride barista stopped and asked me where I got it. “It has one of the coolest designs I have ever seen,” he complimented. Both in town and on the ice, the Belite down sweater is my most prized jacket. Not only is it light and warm, but also tastefully designed for urban living.
Belite Down Sweater
Weight: 8 oz.