Last fall when I headed to the Sangre de Cristos to climb Mt. Blanca and Little Bear via the traverse I realized that I should probably find something a little heavier duty than my usual leggings or shorts to wear. I ordered a pair of Mountain Hardware’s Chockstone Alpine pants ($125).* Even before I had them in my hot little hands, I was excited because they came in lengths! Most women’s outdoor pants are only one length while the men’s version will come in short-regular-long.
Once they arrived, the next thing I noticed was that they fit and that they weren’t ugly. While I know that the look of a pair of outdoor pants shouldn’t be a huge factor but it’s really nice to not feel like you’re wearing a burlap sack, you know? The pants are roomy enough to comfortably wear a baselayer underneath and not feel at all restricted but yet they do have some curves so you still look like a woman. I do live in Western Colorado and clothing choices that would not fly elsewhere work here but I’ve never thought twice about going out to dinner wearing them.
More importantly, they’re functional. I think the highest praise I can give them is that when I’m wearing the Chockstone pant, I don’t think about them. They move with me which is most important. I’ve never been a “hiking pant” fan preferring instead to hike in shorts or leggings but I really needed to add this option (and level of protection) to my wardrobe. Although it isn’t advertised, they seem to be somewhat water resistant, at least in dry Colorado and Utah snow conditions. The softshell material seems to breath well in high activity situations which is fantastic. Furthermore, the stout fabric isn’t just great for rocky situations but for bushwacking.
I’ll probably purchase another pair of these (when my size comes back on the Mountain Hardware website; I hope, hope, hope these aren’t being discontinued but instead just waiting for new colors or such for spring?!) soon since I often find myself wearing these Friday-Saturday-Sunday on adventures.
While the pants might be overkill for many casual hikers, if you enjoy active snowsports (cross country skiing, snowshoeing) or more than a few times a year find yourself scrambling around on rocky slopes or pushing your way through scrub oak (aka Rocky Mountain Shoulder Season Shit) these might be worth the price to you, they certainly have been to me.
*Note: These are not the “Chockstone Midweight Pant.” I haven’t tried these but I believe they’re lighter weight than the Alpine.