In 2017, The North Face (TNF) reviewed its team and past expeditions and came to two conclusions. First, it noticed that today’s elite alpinists were preparing their expeditions while still at home. For example, having a hypoxic tent setup in an athlete’s living room replaced weeks spent at basecamp where the motto was ‘climb high and sleep low.’ The second conclusion: It was time to update the company’s 15-year-old design for high-altitude expedition suits.
Due to ascents in the Himalaya being done fast and light instead of siege style, TNF set out to rebuild the top of its soft-goods line with an emphasis on breathability, light weight and compressibility. During this January’s Outdoor Retailer event in Denver, professional alpinist Andres Marin explained what makes his sponsor’s latest gear unique and how it helped him solo Great Trango Tower in Pakistan.
TNF set out to create a layering system that would stay warm and dry while the athlete inside the layers was putting out maximum energy. The company created 21 new products and five new technologies for its Advanced Mountain Kit, items which helped Marin complete his solo of the 20,460-foot peak, in merely 11 hours and 38 minutes. During the expedition he summitted three peaks over 6,000 meters in 10 days.
Marin said in a press release: “This kit is revolutionizing how professional climbers attempt big objectives and move at high altitude. Through the use of premium material, new technology, and revolutionary construction, this incredibly lightweight system is the most functional gear I’ve ever used, from base camp to summit.”
Consistent throughout the kit is TNF’s new FUTURELIGHT breathable, ultra-thin nano-membrane, which it calls their “most advanced, breathable-waterproof technology.”
The kit includes boots, gaitors and down booties, the ASSAULT tent, superlight bag, 38L and 55L packs and camp duffle. Also included are down mitts, insulated gloves and climbing gloves (pictured above). New apparel includes the Summit parka and pant, pullover hoody and pant (pictured above), and summit crew and pant.
Other technologies include Dot fleece with its hydrophobic yarns. “It was amazing how it performed. I didn’t have to worry about how fast I could move. You don’t get wet from the inside out,” Marin said. Additional items include Future Fleece using octa-yarn technology, 50/50 Down for breathable insulation and Cloud Down, made with a “discontinuous offset baffle construction for increased thermal protection in a lighter package.”
“By being pure and true to functionality, we created a better system,” Marin said.
The Advanced Mountain Kit is available May 4, 2020 through TNF and specialty dealers.