Monday, 2 March 2015
Climbing Mount Everest #3 - Top Layer
Climb Postponed Unexpectedly
I've decided to postpone the Mount Everest climb for the time being. But that doesn't mean I need to stop thinking about the kit. Operational readiness they call it.
We have the hat and thermals. Let's move on to suggestions for outer, footwear and snacks. You can always go in my place. Be sure to plant a Tweed Pig logo on the summit and claim it on behalf of we happy few et cetera. From here on in let's assume you're going instead. I know you can do it.
I would be negligent in my duty not to include the Everest Parka by Nigel Cabourn (above), inspired as it is by Sir Edmund Percival Hillary's triumphant climb of Everest in 1953. (Wither the British/Commonwealth adventurer?)
Much thought has been given to this coat in terms of materials. It has a Ventile shell, goose down filler, sheepskin lining and Coyote fur collar. Put it all together and the Everest Parka can withstand temperatures down to a particularly parky -40°C. (I am sure the temperature dipped to that kind of low in the great hall of Tweed Towers this winter. Heavens, it was warmer outside.)
You will be the belle of the base camp in this insulating number.
Peckham Rye Scarf
Our dear friends at Peckham Rye stock terrific scarves for every occasion, including climbing Everest. The smoothness of the Mustard Dashing Deco Silk Scarf (above) around your ice-bearded neck will bring great comfort as you write letters by candlelight in your tent. Forget to pack the batteries, did we? Perhaps you should have a loved one spray a little of their signature scent on the scarf so as to pull at the heartstrings and give you almost intolerable homesickness as the wind whistles mockingly outside your tent — it helps to summon the muse.
The scarf is of silk twill and has Peckham Rye's trademark long, hand-knotted silk fringes. I confess to owning a couple of Peckham's scarves and they are great for tucking around jacket collars to add a dash of ebullience.
SEH Kelly Suit
Here we make a suit of S.E.H. Kelly trousers and jacket in silver-brown two-fleece birdseye twill — made from the fleece of old (grey) and younger (brown) Hebridean sheep.
As with all Kelly clothes, the provenance of the materials used is impeccable. We have the tweed from the Inner Hebrides, grey wool-melton lining from West Yorkshire and horn buttons from the Midlands — all magically put together in the Kelly workshop in London. What better way to represent the realm as you stride purposefully past all those day-glo climbers.
The expedition dictates some heavy-duty boots. The bench-made Guard Boot by Tricker's for Margaret Howell are made of very solid brown grain leather with a long-lasting Dainite sole.
Roll up the Kelly trousers and have them sit nicely atop the boots.
You don't climb Everest every day, so — although they are not intended for everyday use — I think you deserve to wear a pair of Hand Cabled Cashmere Socks from our dear friends CORGI for this momentous occasion. Show your beige colours as a representative of the conservatively-dressed counter-culture. Knowing you, you won't even tell anyone about your achievement.
A treatment of Everest Dubbin from Saphir Médaille d'Or is recommended for the boots. Use a hot spoon to rub it on.
Food and Drink
You are going to be a little peckish on the climb and you will certainly want a snifter to take the nip off. The food and drink issue is easily solved:
Fill the pockets of your parka with Romney's Kendal Mint Cake to nibble on. Hillary certainly packed mint cake for his climb, and Shackleton was partial too.
Fill this leather-clad hip flask from R. M. Williams (available from A. Hume Country Clothing 1929) with an invigorating libation of your choice.
Best of British.