This season’s Yamnuska staff jacket is a real work horse! The Outdoor Research Alibi Jacket is strategically built to maximize durability and performance. The jacket has a rugged build, made with weatherproof materials where you need them. The shoulders, hood, and top of the sleeves are made with Ventia™ fabric, a laminate waterproof membrane, laminated to a light durable water-repellent fabric. The Alibi is not a rain jacket, but provides ice and alpine climbers with all the moisture protection they need.
The main body of the jacket is made with a strong soft shell material. The soft shell feels bulky to touch but the design doesn’t restrict movement, it’s durable and surprisingly breathable. Along the torso, four-way stretch fabric allows unrestricted movement while climbing or hanging off the steep terrain. A great jacket for mixed climbing!
Until the Alibi Jacket, I had found that most soft-shell jackets either provided weather protection, durability or flexibility but never all three!
The fit is slim, it fits like a glove, no bulky “chest bump” so it’s a good idea to bring your favorite layers along when trying it out. I have found my layering system to be slightly different with the Alibi jacket: I’m wearing a bit less but staying a bit warmer. As far as hard shells, I will likely only add a Gore Jacket on top in the most extreme wet, cold or windy conditions.
The Alibi also has some functional technical features: Waterproof full length double pull zippers along the sides that allow total cool down while reaching inside without exposing the chest and or removing the jacket. The hood is perfect, spacious and well designed to fit even large helmets, it can be made to cover the face reasonably well while wearing head protection. The hood also comes with a removable helmet liner that can be tucked away in its own pocket. The thin liner fits over your head layers and provides an extra bit of insulation while also keeping the spindrift from running down your neck! The best thing about the helmet liner, it helps the climber cut down on wait and bulk. Have you ever had more than four hoods? This slick design really cuts down on the bulk behind the neck, brilliant!
The sleeves are long enough so they won’t pull the jacket when reaching up or swinging for the next tool placement. Also, hidden stretch fabric cuffs inside the sleeves not only keep everything you don’t want off your arms they also help keep your hands warm by insulating the wrist, keeping vital blood flow to the fingers!
As far as pockets… you got them where you want them. The Alibi Jacket is a solid, functional and stylish piece of alpine equipment designed specifically for ice and mixed climbers. It is the first soft shell jacket I have worn that I would take alpine climbing. Get one!
Reviewed by Patrick Delaney – Yamnuska Guide
Note – No mountain guides were injured in the testing of this jacket.