Arc'teryx first introduced the Alpha Comp Jacket back in the Fall of 2002 and the hooded version in 2003. Both became a favourite technical piece amongst hard core climbing enthusiast and professionals until it was discontinued in 2008. Fast-forward to 2014 and the surge in popularity of climbing and backcountry travel as well as the advancement in technical fabrics, and the Alpha Comp is back offering a new paradigm for climbers!
The 2014 Alpha Comp uses N40p 3L laminated GORE® Product Technology across the hood, shoulders, forearms and hem providing durable weather protection. The core and sleeves of the jacket are made up of Fortius™ 1.0 stretch woven fabric for breathability and stretch. The fabric combination means a more versatile piece for the fast and light world of rapid travel, mixed environments and alpine conditions.
To ensure the new Alpha Comp and all Arc’teryx product for that matter, can stand up to the abuse that our customers can dish out, we ask our professional athletes and partners to test the gear for us and give us feedback to improve and ‘perfect.’ Since the Alpha Comp is such a technical piece, we asked Internationally licensed Mountain Guide and Director of the AMGA Dale Remsberg, to test this jacket.
Here is what Dale has to say about the 2014 Alpha Comp:
"Ever since the first version of the Alpha Comp Hoody was introduced over a decade ago I have dreamed of this piece coming back into the line-up. This fall I finally got my chance when Arc’teryx sent me one of the new pieces."
I received mine in November 2013 and since then have put over 25 days on it in the field; mostly Ice climbing, but I have also used it for several days of ski touring. So long as the temps are not going to drop into the minus double digits, I have used the Alpha Comp Hoody with great success.
Fit and Layering:
It has an athletic fit, but I’m still able to layer up or down depending on my activity. My go-to layering combo has been a Phase AR Zip Neck and a Delta AR Zip Neck for the days that are above 15°F. If it gets a bit colder I have been adding either an Atom LT Vest or an Atom LT Hoody underneath.
The jacket is best for me when I’m in a fairly high-output activity like ski touring or multi-pitch ice climbing as it is really well-articulated for movement and dumps heat very well when I start to warm up and overheat. The hood is helmet compatible and the length and harness dowels keep the jacket nicely in place under my harness. This will certainly be my go-to jacket for those days on the ice when I need to keep moving and overheating is a big concern. I’m not the type to keep changing layers and fussing about so this jacket is perfect as it protects me from dripping ice and snow showers but still has the ability to dump heat. I guess the only downside is that I will still need to carry a hard shell in my pack if there is a chance of rain or prolonged wetness. That is a fair trade for all the times when rain is not likely.
As a full time Mountain Guide I’m not easy on my gear and tend to wear through things fairly quickly. The Alpha Comp Hoody has been very resilient and I’m extremely happy with the wear and break-in of the jacket. So far I have had no issues with it."
Who is Dale Remsberg?
Check out Dale's bio and blog Gravity Guide for more information on Dale and the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA)