radson wrote:... maybe hold off wanton gear purchasing
I hope you didn't even try
to type that with a straight face!
Radson is right about hardshells for NZ, as it can rain on approaches and the snow might be wetter. On Aconcagau and even Denali, a good softshell is fine. You'll find up high you'll be moving slower and may well have a synth or down jacket on top anyway.
Marmot and Arcteryx jackets fit quite differently though. Arcteryx is great, fits me well (6'7", 46" chest, 34" waist), whereas Marmot is too baggy round the middle. Arcteryx generally has an 'athletic' fit, Marmot more 'generous' and Patagonia a bit in between - though there can be significant difference between models from the one manufacturer. Sometimes they indicate this, sometimes not. Rab is good for slim builds, but the shoulders are narrow and the arms long. Rab is also using the new Neoshell fabric on one of its jackets, which is getting good reports. North Face tends to a pretty standard fit, as does Mountain Hardwear. Macpac has chopped and changed over the years, but the current fit is somewhere between Arcteryx and, say, Mountain Hardwear? I'd still take any opportunity to try stuff on if you can.
I would add that rather than buy a hardshell and an expensive (heavy, hot) softshell, it's better to have a good quality windproof jacket or smock with a hood. Patagonia Houdini, Arcteryx Squamish, Rab Alpine are all good. They act as a shell in all but the worst conditions, are nice and light and comfy and with a baselayer and light fleece, are warm enough for most climbing. They're not waterproof, but you don't climb these mountains in the rain. Just make sure the hood fits over a helmet - on all your jackets.
Trawl through the masses of info at Dane's http://coldthistle.blogspot.com.au/
for some clothing tips in amongst the tooling and there's also good stuff at http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/article ... _the_world
Also waste even more time over at http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/i.php?f=11