Owner Review High Peaks Pinnacle II Fleece Pants- Ray Estrella
- OK, this is it until next fall. (Or until Andrew beseeches us for
more.) HTML may be found here. And I may be found hiking.....
High Peaks Pinnacle II Fleece Pants
May 2, 2006
Name: Raymond Estrella
Height: 6' 3" (193cm)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email address: rayestrella@...
City: Huntington Beach
Backpacking Background: I have been hiking for over 30 years, all
over the state of California. I have also hiked in Washington,
Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho. I hike year-round, mostly in
the Sierra Nevada, and put 555 miles (894 km) on my boots last
year. As I start my 4th decade of backpacking I am making the move
to lightweight gear, and smaller packs.
Web site: www.campmor.com
Product: High Peaks Pinnacle II Fleece Pants
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $80.00 (US)
Weight listed: 1 lb 8 oz (.68 kg) Actual weight 1 lb 9.9 oz (.73 kg)
Color reviewed: Black
Warranty: (Quoted from web site) "All merchandise in resellable
condition may be returned for a refund within one year of purchase
when accompanied by your receipt. If used and found defective, we
will exchange or repair within one year of the purchase date when
accompanied by your receipt."
The High Peaks Pinnacle II Fleece Pants, (hereafter called the
Pinnacle or the pants) are heavy-weight fleece pants. It is made
of "450 gm double-sided, non-pill 100% polyester Grizzly fleece"
and "abrasion-resistant nylon".
The entire pants are made of the fleece. The nylon is used to
reinforce the pants at points of wear. It occurs at the seat and
back of the thigh, and over the articulated knees.
The pants have a zippered fly, but no front snap or button. They do
not open at the front. There is a nylon web strap on the waistband
above the fly to tighten the pants. At the back of the waistband is
an area with elastic in it. It makes up about 30% of the diameter of
the waistband. Inside of the waistband is a hang loop and a consumer
tag listing size, materials, "made in Vietnam" and laundering
instructions. (Wash cold, gentle. Tumble dry, no heat. Do not dry
A double-ended YKK zipper runs up the entire length of each side of
the legs. A 1.25 in (31 mm) piece of nylon backed fleece runs under
the zipper acting as both a draft stop, and a snag guard. (Snort!)
At the bottom is a flap with a hook and loop closure that goes over
the zipper. At the top is a double-flap hook and loop attachment.
When both closures are opened the zipper can completely separate,
allowing the pants to be put on or taken off without even lifting a
foot off the ground.
The bottom of the leg has a lot of extra loop material on it
allowing the flap to be pulled tight against the ankle to close it
off to wind and snow.
The only pockets on the Pinnacles are the two fleece-lined hand
warmer pockets on the front. There are no closures on these pockets.
I have noticed that things will fall out of them easily.
These pants have been on almost every winter trip I have gone on in
the past two and a half years. It has been on at least eleven trips
that I can remember. I have worn them at elevations ranging from
7,000' to 13,300' (2,134 to 4,054 m). The temperatures seen on these
trips were in the teens to twenties F (-9 to -4 C) as a norm, but
saw it near 0 F (-18 C) on occasions. I have worn them in beautiful
weather, and full on blizzard conditions. I do most of my winter
hiking in the Sierra Nevada and White mountains, along with local
stuff in the Mount San Jacinto and San Gorgonio areas. But I also
wore them on Mount Shasta last year, where it was 13 F (-11 C) and
I bought these because I wanted a heavier fleece pants than the ones
that I owned at the time, as I started mountaineering and was doing
more winter specific backpacking, and I wanted something that would
keep me warm while hiking hard. I also wanted full zippers on the
side, something my other fleece pants were lacking. I have a high
metabolism and put off a lot of heat. And I sweat pretty darn well
too. (Oooh, gross.) So I bought the High Peaks Pinnacle II Fleece
Pants (hereafter called pinnacle or pants) and matching Jacket, (see
review) to fill this need.
At 450 g per yard this is some thick fleece. It has no wind blocking
film in it though, so a strong wind will punch through it. Which is
fine with me. When the wind blows too hard or is just too frigid, I
put a shell on over the pants. That of course makes me instantly too
That is where the side zippers come in. The full length zippers
allow me to put them on, or take them off, over my plastic-double
mountaineering boots. And they match up quite well with the Sierra
Designs MX-31 mountaineering shell-pants I use. They vent superbly.
Unfortunately the zippers snag very easily. I can only get them down
a little bit at a time before the zipper snags and comes to a stop.
It makes unzipping them a two-handed proposition, meaning I have to
stop to do it. It is my only complaint about these pants.
I like the major reinforcing on the knees and seat. It adds weight
but is well worth it to me, when dropping to my knees, or sitting on
a tree or rock not to be trashing my fleece.
And I have always read the statements about how fleece insulates
when wet. I always said to myself, "right, who's going to get their
fleece wet in winter conditions"? And then I got my own example on
Shasta in 2005. (Note: the piece that got soaked is the jacket, the
pants were on, but protected by a shell. This story is shared in the
other review as well.)
We went to climb Mount Shasta with a very tight time frame. We could
only free up four days from the office and my brother-in-law Dave
and I live down in Huntington Beach, the other end of the state from
Shasta. So we drove up in one day and hiked up to Lake Helen the
next. We had one shot at the summit. They were calling for bad
weather so we got up at 2:00 am to try to beat it. We made to within
900 vertical feet (274 m) of the summit when the storm hit the peak
and was rushing down at us. We stayed ahead (below) it back down to
our camp, where it caught us as we were breaking down. We hoofed it
down as fast as we could. Even though it was 13 F when we left
Helen, I was burning up. It was too cold to just wear the shell, so
I took it off and just wore the Pinnacle Jacket with the pit-zips
While we were in the storm (total white-out) the wind was swirling
around and blasting us with tiny little snow balls, I couldn't call
them flakes. Somewhere around 8,500' (2,590 m) we got below the
clouds. Suddenly there was no wind to speak of, and huge snowflakes
falling on us. I did not bother to put my shell back on just kept on
truckin' for the trailhead. My body heat was melting the snow on the
Pinnacle jacket. It was soaked through. We stopped to talk to a guy
that wanted to know how it went on the mountain and water was
running out of it. (And out of my goggles too.) Dave asked how I
wasn't freezing, and I honestly told him I was fine. It was still in
the 20s F (-4 C) at this point. I took it off at the truck and had
to put it in the bed, it was so wet. But it insulated just fine.
At night I use the pants (and jacket) to help keep my water from
freezing. I wrap my water in the fleece and put the whole works
inside of my pack. It seems to help.
Except for the sticky side zipper I have been pretty happy with
these pants. I will most likely keep my eyes open for a possible
replacement with less aggravating side zippers.
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