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.