some gear thoughts and a gaelic mountain video and some latin

Sun, Jun 8, 2008

Still not sure what to make of the interest in the last post I did (I had no idea so many people read this paltry pile of pontificating prose, i.e. my blog!). I think I’m a bit intimidated now, to report on my new JetBoil! I was thinking of perhaps writing about it before I forgot what make it was (I have no idea what my old stove is) and I’m having real trouble finding a partner for my 12 year old Karrimor base layer, which I wear in the summer and which I’ve no intention of chucking out. What’s the story with all that plasticky stuff everything seems to be made of now?

I liked a top in Tiso’s in Inverness yesterday, Hagloffs I think. It was green, that’s why I liked it but it was 45 quid and you could spit peas through it and it felt plasticky. I have very simple requirements. Dark colour. Long sleeves (so I can get some tan before covering up). Lightweight. Half length zip for ventilation. Something that doesn’t pong after an hour on the hill. That’s it. Can I get that? You must be joking! The nearest I could find was some Berghaus thingy with seams that could hold the Forth Bridge up. I imagined myself sliced and diced after humping the Akto into the ‘gorms wearing it.

As for pongyness. Well, I got a couple of Mountain Hardwear T-shirts a couple of years ago for going to the Julian Alps to climb Triglav but I stank after an hour in the limestone heat. BO. What a pong! Apparently it’s down to the plasticky nature of these tops (100% polyester the labels say). I’ve never stank in the Karrimor top but I couldn’t read the label on it, after 12 years going to the Atlas, Pyrenees and Alps in it but it doesn’t feel plasticky. It feels sort of cottony.

The Icebreaker stuff was supremely comfy and violently expensive (60 quid for a T-shirt) but I like my jaggy “smelly helly” for winter (it’s about 10 years old!) and Merino wool’s a bit over the top for this time of year (I walk very hot). In the end I came home and Googled for my old top on the ‘net only to find that Karrimor no longer make clothing. Only boots and rucksacs. Just as well I suppose as the KSBs I bought a couple of years ago lasted a year. The previous pair lasted 4 or 5 years (can never remember when I bought gear). The difference with the new pair? Made in China. So I was also on the lookout for new summer boots. Inov8 370s or 390s (something like that). Could I get them? Nup. Not a sausage.

I know exactily what I want but it’s either not made any more or not available in Inverness and I can’t buy clothes or boots over the ‘net as I’m a funny shape. What’s left is either too expensive, too pongy or just too scientific for my liking. I mean, Argentium. What the? Apparently the fabric is impregnated with slivers of silver (Latin, argentum n, Silver, with a hard G as all classicits should know). Not sure how safe that would be in a lightning storm, like the one I shared with Mrs. Stravaiger in a tent on the Cluny Ridge several solstices ago (but that’s all in my written diaries as this blog is a modern thing). In fact, I’d rather rub on Bog Myrtle than DEET, that awful chemical concoction, although the natural repellent turns your face green. My friend Corncircles swears by Skin So Soft from Nivea. Man, did I just say that?

That repellent almost had me reaching for dictionary.com, until I remembered how to spell. Easy rule to remember. If it ends in -ant, it’s most prolly to do with people rather things. Why? -ant is the 3rd person plural ending of first conjugation Latin verbs. i.e. “they”, i.e. “those who”. i.e. He was repellent but the Appellant went to court. -ant normally describes a class of person. Those who do something. An inhabitant of the blogoshpere couls be referred to as a Blogant, “one of those who blog”. Enough of the classics though and back to the putrefaction of polyester.

It was refreshing to read Petesy’s review of an OS map as a groundsheet though. I’m sure the sprits of the “old hoaries” would approve, looking across from their Arthurian mica schist monument.

So what on earth do I do to “update my kit?”. I’m guiding on Arran for a week soon but I’ve got that covered and I can always have a shufty round the shops in Glasgow on the way down. Any suggestions gratefully received. Especially on how to replace my 20 year old Buffalo Bag (the second zip’s finally gone). I doubt I’ll ever replace it though as it’s just so damn practical. I can just unroll it and climb in, no matter what the weather, as I did on the walk across Fisherfield, bivvying below Ruadh Stac Mor. So I’ll more than likely replace the zip rather than the bag.

Then there’s my 15 year old Snowpeak sac. I looked into replacing it when the snowloc fell apart after too many winter climbs but came to the conclusion that I can’t replace it. I’ve got an OMM for summer now, which is superb but it’s not built for winter climbing. The attachment points for axes are too flimsy and the fabric wouldn’t stand up to granite, ice and gabbro. So in the end I sent the old snowpeak off to Scottish Mountain Gear, who repaired it and it’s now ready for another winter season. All the other winter packs were just too fancy. They were so heavy and there were so many straps it was liking putting a Maypole on your back!

Jeez, I’ve been talking about gear when I should be talking about Gaelic and mountains. Here it is, a video, in Gaelic of a helicopter trip over the Herbert glacier in Alaska by an Alaskan who speaks Gaelic! ‘Se deagh spors a th’ann!

So am I a hypocrite (greek, not latin roots) for moaning about too much gear in the blogosphere? More than likely. However, it now seems that what I meant was, it’s the wrong gear! Someone review something that I can use to replace my Karrimor top please!

That reminds me. I’d really like to know the wind speed on the summit, for the clients you see. They’re always asking how windy it is and I suspect they don’t believe me when I face into the wind and a number comes out, just like that…

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