Backpacker - - Shells -

OUR TAKE If you go through shells like other peo­ple go through T-shirts, the Beta AR might makes sense for you. Yes, it’s ex­pen­sive, but it can han­dle the worst abuse on glacier ex­pe­di­tions and ice climb­ing trips. It sur­vived a full sea­son of ice, rock, and skis around Alaska’s Tur­na­gain Pass and Chugach State Park with­out a scratch, all the while hold­ing off the re­gion’s no­to­ri­ously gnarly weather. The key is an ex­clu­sive ver­sion of Gore-Tex Pro Shell made with a 40-de­nier rip­stop ny­lon fab­ric, plus 80-de­nier ny­lon patches on the cuffs, tops of the arms, and shoul­ders for ex­tra dura­bil­ity.

THE DE­TAILS The Beta AR has ad­justable ev­ery­thing: hem, cuffs, and hel­met-friendly hood. Long-cut sleeves never ex­posed our wrists when we reached high with ice tools, and the cut is roomy enough for pil­ing on sev­eral lay­ers un­der­neath. Caveat: price.

TRAIL CRED “On Hatcher Pass, the sun was strong and the snow was sticky. I ex­pected to have to fid­dle with lay­ers, but the Beta breathed well enough to pre­vent me from turn­ing into a sweat­box while skin­ning—the pit zips helped,” says an Alaska tester. $575; 1 lb.; m’s XS-XXL, w’s XS-XL; arc­

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