Gwyn Roberts of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue team has spotted a new craze hitting the snowy slopes of Snowdonia, North Wales.
Commenting in his website, gear guru Andy Kirkpatrick extols the virtues of this super-modern bit of mountain kit:
THE ULTIMATE WATERPROOF BREATHABLE
"Let me start by offering everyone the chance to dump their eVENT, Gore-Tex, Conduit and other types of breathable shells for a piece of gear which is everything you ever wanted in a shell. Light and compact, this beautifully simple piece of outdoor gear can be easily stowed away in a rucksack when not used, or carried in the hand ready for instant action should the clouds open.
It's very cheap, ranging from a couple of pounds for a basic design, to maybe a hundred for a sturdy mountain model. It's both 100% waterproof –even though the fabric is just uncoated nylon or polyester – and 100% breathable. At a push you can use this piece of gear to protect more than one user, plus it's also 100% UV proof, keeping you cool as well as dry.
Guessed what it is yet?
If I told you it could also be used to fight off rabid dogs and children, assassinate Bulgarian dissidents (actually they used a pin) and allow nannies to fly over rooftops ,would you be any warmer? Yes, you guessed it, the humble umbrella – by far the best and only piece of outdoor gear that is 100% breathable and waterproof. Sure if it's windy you might get a bit wet as rain is blown under its protective shield but no wetter than wearing a shell probably and I know it's not ideal for mountaineering – after all, having one hand holding onto an umbrella may make climbing a tad harder – but if you want the ultimate in performance then that's a sacrifice you'll have to make, because high performance always comes at a price – if it doesn't then it's simply just performance."
Check out this photo for the latest in mountain fashion:
gwyndos, Jan 2010
© Gwyn Roberts
The Llanberis mountain rescue team respond to around 90 incidents a year. You can donate to the team on their page: llanberismountainrescue.co.uk.