Field Tested Review: Mammut Nordpfeiler Jacket

There are few items that immediately pry me away from my tried, tested and true favourites; the gear that I take into the mountains when I just want to climb, when I’m not testing new gear or trying out new ideas. But I received a piece this winter that is so good it has accompanied me on every outing since I tore open the box: Mammut’s Ultimate Nordpfeiler Jacket.

TheAlpineStart_Mammut_Nordpfeiler_Jacket_Review-2Long sleeves and a trim cut move with you. Photo by John Price Photography

The Nordpfeiler (North Pillar) immediately impressed with a slim, tailored fit. There’s enough room for a mid-layer, or maybe two light ones, but there’s not much extra room otherwise. The sleeves are similarly low-bulk, ending in low-profile cuffs with an elastic, stretchy insert. Lengthwise, the sleeves just reach my wrist but thanks to a great cut and inherent stretch in the material, they never pull up. Hem length is adequate, not quite butt-covering but long enough to stay put under a harness during acrobatic drytooling moves. The collar is high enough to protect from wind, and is cut in such a way that you can pull the hood on over a helmet without needing to unzip.

TheAlpineStart_Mammut_Nordpfeiler_Jacket_Review-3The hood is simply superb. You can twist your head in any direction and it moved with you, feeling almost like not wearing a hood at all. Photo by John Price Photography

The hood is simply exceptional. It pulls on and off easily, but still provides full coverage. Head movement is completely unrestrained, with absolutely no binding up, down or sideways. It’s the closest I’ve experienced to not wearing a hood at all: the new standard for hood design, in my opinion.

The more I think about it, the more this jacket’s fit impresses me. It really is very, very well cut.

TheAlpineStart_Mammut_Nordpfeiler_Jacket-2The fabric and membrane are breathable enough that I rarely use the pit zips.

Material is a Mammut exclusive version of Gore’s Windstopper, which I was initially skeptical about. My previous experiences with Windstopper jackets were, indeed, windproof but also quite hot and clammy. The version in the Nordpfeiler is also windproof but also breathes so well that I don’t actually find much use for the pit-zips. DWR-finish is great, and the jacket will easily withstand light rain. The face fabric is smooth and abrasion-resistant, resisting pointy rocks and sharp tools, plus when using the Nordpfeiler as a mid-layer, the jacket slides easily under other layers. Though durable, the fabric is soft, quiet and the inside is even comfortable against bare skin.

TheAlpineStart_Mammut_Nordpfeiler_Jacket-1The jacket is soft and comfortable, and the inside knit feels great even against bare skin.

TheAlpineStart_Mammut_Nordpfeiler_Jacket-3The stretchy cuffs are low-profile, unobtrusive but work well. 

Any downsides? The two hand pockets are kind of useless, inevitably obstructed by either backpack straps, harness waistbelt, or both. The dual-slider main zipper also has me confused: this isn’t a belay parka, I have no need to open it from the bottom.

The Nordpfeiler fits great, performs exceptionally and is built to last. It has become my go-to softshell and comes along on every outing, from rock climbs to long days on ice.

Pros: fit, hood, breathability
Cons: hand pockets
Overall: Mammut call this “the best…jacket for high alpine use” and I have to agree.

3 thoughts on “Field Tested Review: Mammut Nordpfeiler Jacket

  1. Chris says:

    Hey Raf,

    After reading your review, I pulled the trigger on the Ultimate Nordpfeiler Jacket. Backcountry had it on sale, so I grabbed one before they sold out or Mammut decided to discontinue, etc …

    From what little use I have with it so far, I can say the fit is dead-on for me. I’m usually a medium on most garments, but I read that this jacket fits slightly small, so I ordered the large. Can’t even wish for a better fit!

    My gripe: The hood. The hood doesn’t have a third adjustment point in the rear. If your wearing this jacket for strictly ice/alpine, then it’s not that big of a deal b/c you’ll have a helmet on 99 percent of the time. W/o the third adjustment point, the hood is way, way too big to try to wear w/o a
    helmet = No hiking/casual use. I’m very curious & a little disappointed, at $350, why Mammut stitched a jacket w/o a third hood adjustment?? It limits the jacket’s usefulness to anything involving a helmet.I plan to use this strictly for ice/alpine, but I’m very surprised by this.

    Also, I wish the jacket’s hood/chin area, when zipped all the way up, came up further towards the nose. My Gamma MX does this & I’ve gotten used to it and love it!

    Thanks again for the great reviews and amazing photos!

    • Raf says:

      Great to hear, thanks for sharing your thoughts Chris!

      I honestly haven’t worn a hood without a helmet in a long time.. and if I do it’s just to throw it over my head during an approach, and I don’t mind it being floppy then. Typically, I adjust the hood for optimal climbing comfort and leave it there.

      I tried on my Gamma MX and get what you mean, though I actually prefer the lower chin of the Nordpfeiler!

      Thanks for pointing these out, good to keep in mind for my next jacket review.

  2. Changiz says:

    Between this and Arc MX, if I’m looking for a piece to ski, which one would you recommend to pick?

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