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Thread: Penrith Clothing Conference

  1. #1
    Ultra King MoS's Avatar
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    I?ve just been listening to a report on You and Yours, Radio 4 about a Clothing Conference in Penrith today. It refers to a study of Mallory?s clothing used on the Everest attempt of 1924 and suggests that traditional dress is more than a match for what appears in outdoor shops today. Textile experts dispute the myth that clothing was heavy and awkward and would have hampered the expedition. They have proved that weights of all his clothing layers was lighter than Alan Hinkes used on Kangchenjunga. They claim that Mallory and Irvine were fitter, bolder and more adapted to weather than people today.

    Mallory?s clothing was recovered and studied by textile experts. His Burberry jacket was dissected by a pattern cutter showed that it was very suitable for articulated movement. Outdoor clothing industry will have to take stock it claimed. The combination of natural fibres - cotton, wool and silk is perfectly good for the purpose and not surpassed by modern technology and man made fibres. The suggestion is that clothing manufacturers should go back to the drawing board.

  2. #2
    Initiate Bastard's Avatar
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    There was a feature on this in Trail this month. From memory they reckoned that the old base layers were good, and the insulation was pretty good. They reckoned the shell jackets they wore were similar to ventile and were good for the Himalayas where windproofing and the ability to shed snow are important. However in terms of waterproofing the modern gear was much better.


  3. #3
    Ultra King Dave Mycroft's Avatar
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    There's also a related article on the BBC website, and I think Jon's putting a story up about this soon.

    It should be noted that the clothing comparison was based on high altitude clothing. At altitude insulation and windpoofing are the important factors, with waterproofness a more minor consideration.

    It also proves that Burberry on the hills is nothing new - chavs are so out of date! ;-)

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch Big Kev's Avatar
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    Alan Hinkes was talking about it on BBC Breakfast this morning. Quite interesting.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > Mallory?s clothing was recovered and studied by textile experts

    I thought they'd just taken fabric samples. Fascinated as I am by outdoor clothing, I'd much rather they let the poor bugger rest in peace. I sincerely hope his body wasn't stripped in this way.

    I'd hope that the design analysis was performed by examining the bills found on Mallory's body, and company records, i.e. not using the actual garments themselves. They made the point that all the companies that supplied the expedition are still trading. The Burberry sleeve design was patented in 1908 (IIRC).

    BBC story

    Looking at it, the only changes I'd make as a matter of course would be to replace the conventional tailored lapel with a stand collar (or hood), and add cuff closures.

    Oh, and I think I'd put something on my feet...

    Now, if we're talking about the suitability of old mountain clothing, it's worth taking a look at Otzi's attire, which included a breathable waterproof cape and insulated leggings (including 'easy access' for bodily functions)...

    Oh, and this suggest Pertex are still going strong, as they sponsored the "Pertex Clothing for Extremes 2005 Conference".

  6. #6
    Ultra King MoS's Avatar
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    > Mallory?s clothing was recovered and studied by textile experts

    Capt. P. you may well be right in that samples were used.

    When I listened to the programme it gave me the impression that they had examined Mallory?s clothing. It stated that ?Mallory?s clothing relics were brought off Everest?, but that could have been referring to samples. Regarding the Burberry jacket, it suggested that Mallory?s original garments were researched, but as you say, that could mean research from company records.

  7. #7
    ‹bermensch ~Batman~'s Avatar
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    Mallorys clothing better and lighter than Hinkes's?

    One question could be:

    Would Mallory have survived had he been wearing Hinkes's outfit and using modern equipment?

  8. #8
    Goon Chris James's Avatar
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    I suspect the primitive oxygen system Mallory and Irvine was using made more difference than what type of windproof layer they had! The cylinders were huge, heavy and malfunctioned regularly. IIRC they would have been faced with a choice of running out of gas or never making the summit because they were laden down too much - or at least that is what the various theories said.

    Also, they had no understanding of acclimatisation so that hardly helps either.


  9. #9
    ‹bermensch AlisonS's Avatar
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    The location and condition of Mallory's body suggest that he fell and broke his leg, and that the rope snapped.
    Better clothing would probably not have helped much in that situation. But a modern rope might have made a difference.

  10. #10
    ‹bermensch Big Kev's Avatar
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    My understanding, from the item on TV, was that samples of his clothing were taken and used to recreate the garments.

  11. #11
    Ultra King BigDug's Avatar
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    I know this is slightly off the topic of Mallory, but for those who missed my original thread on this here's an article I found on the Press & Journal website:

    NOVICE CONQUERS THE MATTERHORN IN TWEEDS

    "Wearing his rugged tweed suit and faithful deerstalker as he bestrides the summit of the Matterhorn, this Highland gentleman evokes memories of the mountain trailblazers of Edwardian times."

    Full story on this link


    http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk...entPK=12953805

    Please noote that the link is a bit dodgy and doesn't always work.




  12. #12
    Initiate Bastard's Avatar
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    I remember reaidng about him before. Interstingly although we tend to think of Mallroy and co. climbing in tweeds, apparently they only wore the tweed jackets at base cmap and wore better gear on Everest.

  13. #13
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    I was at the conference. The clothing was recreated from the scraps of clothing found and around Mallory's body. Indeed, Mallory was only identified from a name tag in the remnants. Making testable garments involved analysing the fabrics and sourcing equivalents, working out the designs and sourcing patterns and then actually making the clothes. It involved an amazing and impressive amount of detailed research and work.

    The clothing is light, breathable, windproof with a combined tog value of 3.5, which should have been warm enough when climbing. However the fittings were not anything like as convenient as today. No zips. No Velcro. No studs. Just buttons. Mallory wore three pairs of long johns under a pair of plus fours - all with buttoned flies. Think about it!

    What I think the research shows is that the 1920 Everest climbers didn't just set off with whatever clothing they had but carefully selected items that would work together and give the best performance available. Some garments were altered to improve the performance, some were hand knitted. Mallory's base layer was effectively a denier gradient one with a thin wool inner and a silk outer.

    A windproof cotton jacket over thin layers of wool and silk would work well today in cold dry conditions.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > the 1920 Everest climbers didn't just set off with whatever clothing they had but carefully selected items

    Indeed; they didn't survive previous expeditions by chance. That was the point of my comment about Otzi: even though he lived 5000 years ago, he knew what he was doing when going high into the Alps (even when dying from an arrow wound).

    It's also worth noting that Burberry supplied clothing for both Amundsen and Shackleton, and I've seen it mentioned that Mallory's jacket was a copy of Shackleton's "Burberry Shackleton gabardines".

    The Nova website gives some of the details of the discovery of the body, and another kit list & comparison to modern gear.

    I must admit that it's easy for me to sit here and make disparaging comments about the team that disturbed Mallory's body, but in truth, I think if I'd found it, I'd have been unable to resist the temptation to do likewise, and examine it for clues, especially in the hope of finding the elusive camera that might prove that they actually made it. My recollection from the Nova programme was that they treated him with great respect, as a mountaineer they all admired enormously.

    Oh, and the Nova page also discusses the fact that Irvine's clothing is believed to have used zips, which they hope will help identify his remains if he's ever found.

  15. #15
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    Mallory's jacket wasn't a Shackleton one, more of an adapted Norfolk jacket. However Irvine is shown wearing something like the Shackleton jacket in the photo of them all in camp and had worn one on an arctic expedition. It's not known if he wore it on the summit attempt but it would seem most likely that he did.

    Of course the expedition that found Mallory's body set out with the intention of finding evidence from the 1924 expedition and so were going to bring back anything they found. Without the clothing label they wouldn't have known who they found. The writings of the mountaineers involved since then show the great respect they had for Mallory.

    This is now called mountain archaeology, by the way.

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch ~Batman~'s Avatar
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    There are some pictures of Mallory and Irvine just ready to go for a climb wearing bugger all!

    Were they the original naked ramblers?

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