This year too, our Keller Sports Pro Julian decided that the end of January was the perfect time to go ice climbing. This time he chose to visit the Reintal valley in South Tyrol. Due to the icy temperatures and extreme conditions, he had the perfect opportunity to try out the super lightweight L3 down hoodie midlayer for us. This is what he has to say about his trip and the hoodie from The North Face’s Summit Series:

“Our destination was the furthest corner of the Reintal valley - the ‘origin’ of the icefall. This waterfall is definitely one of the classics of this part of the Reintal and it’s approximately 2,100 metres high. It snowed a lot on the days before our trip, so we were the first to make tracks on around 1.2 metres of fresh snow. Kitted out with touring skis and all of our ice climbing gear, we set off from the Jausenstation Angerer mountain lodge towards the ‘origin’.

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The Summit L3 Down by The North Face made an impression right away during our 90-minute tour. Whether you wear the down jacket or store it in your rucksack - it’s extremely light! It also compresses into a very small size and can be stored in its own pocket, so it barely takes up any space in your rucksack. It’s perfect for those trips where you have to be careful how much bulk you carry around with you.

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After climbing around 500 metres above sea level we finally reached the approx. 170 ice wall. The climbing route we took to go up and down the wall has a difficulty level between WI 2 and 4. Thankfully, the North Face jacket was very comfortable to wear throughout and offered optimal freedom of movement. The large hood fitted perfectly over my climbing helmet and kept the snow from getting down my neck. The hood’s flexible adjustment system provided a perfect fit.

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Just before ending this magical trip by climbing back down to the Jauenstation, we enjoyed a relaxing break with hot tea and cheese! As far as the Summit L3 Down jacket is concerned, on the whole, it performed well during the descent, but I was a little disappointed. Its relatively slippery material meant that my fully-packed rucksack moved about a lot on my back. After about 6.5 hours, we were back at the starting point. We really enjoyed the tour and would strongly recommend it - however, do keep an eye on the avalanche risk, as there are large slabs of snow on top of the icefall.

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My conclusion:

I really liked the Summit L3 Down hoodie by The North Face. It keeps you very warm and it impressed me! When you climb ice, you spend a lot of time standing against the ice wall, fastening your climbing buddies. You soon get cold and wet and it can be pretty windy too. With this jacket I felt warm all the time, so I could climb and take care of all security measures in comfort. Unfortunately, this down jacket doesn’t have any inside pockets, but you can deal with that easily. What I liked the most about the jacket was how small a space it fits into, the heat output it offers and the freedom of movement it allows. I would definitely recommend this jacket for all kinds of winter sports.

Click here to check out the latest The North Face articles, as well as the Summit L3 Down hoodie - available at the Keller Sports online shop.