Braemar Ventile Smock in the Alps
Interesting how some major outdoor retailers seem to be overcome with hype of new fabrics and forget that fabrics such as Ventile are still being used in mountaineering -because they work.
I walked into the local outdoor store of a major Scottish headquartered outdoor retailer several weeks ago to find two models prominently positioned in the entrance, one was displaying ‘mountaineering 50 years ago’ and the other ‘mountaineering now’.
Today’s mountaineer was a female dummy clad in a brightly coloured and contoured Goretex jacket and matching trousers – she looked very attractive -whereas the ‘50 years ago ago mountaineer’ was wearing a frayed Ventile jacket with a hemp climbing rope over his shoulder and well worn triconni nailed boots stuck on his feet.
The young shop manager was rather startled when I suggested that Ventile was very much alive in mountaineering and that a small Scottish company called Hilltrek Outdoor Clothing still made Ventile Technical clothing which was widely used across the world for mountaineering. In fact I told him that I was one of a loyal band of Ventile users.
I didn’t get a reply just a blank look which suggested that this was the first time he had heard the word Ventile. One of his older colleagues had to explain that this was the fabric used in the display dummy and which climbers wore in the olden days.
The founder of this outdoor retail chain was a well known Edinburgh based climber -perhaps his old climbing gear had been dug up in the loft?
I left them to reach their Gortex jacket sales targets and possibly the young manager will do a google search on ventile and mountaineering – or am I hoping for too much?
The founders successors seem to have lost their way.