I tried one of these on in the store today, and was super impressed. One of the nicest garments that I've seen--design, fit and finish are pretty much perfect. The baffles are fluffy and dense throughout the jacket, which makes it feel like wearing a warm sleeping bag. I don't have $700 to spend, but this jacket is good enough to make me wish I did. If you're a frequent winter climber/adventurer and planned on having this as your cold weather parka for the indefinite future, I could see justifying it. Personally, I hate washing/drying down gear. Its expensive, a pain in the ass, and easy enough to do it wrong. I'd love to have a lifetime cleaning service that came with my down gear.
I was surprised and disappointed to see they used a one way zip. I'm sure they'll get a lot of flack for this as its pretty much expected in a belay parka. My hope is that they correct this and come out with a cheaper non-limited edition next year. Supposedly patagonia is developing a 1200 fill power with the same tech. Hmmm...
Eric, I know this garment is the perfect sounding board for your anti-elitist elitism, but give it a rest. You've made your point.