Summary: If Sir Edmund Hillary and his assistant Tenzing were to climb Mt Everest today, they would have been simply awestruck with the high tech gear used nowadays for backpacking and rock climbing. The mountaineering equipment are no longer restricted to woolen jump suits, wooden climbing sticks and heavily loaded backpack.
Gone are the days when mountaineers and rock climbers had to carry a bag full of essentials and safety equipment for their expeditions. These days, you can find chic, stylish and ultra-light backpacking and rock climbing gear in stores. For instance, today a backpack is made of a very superior fabric generally used in automobile airbags. This backpack also has ice attachment loops and an external crampon pouch. A crude version of backpack is a haul bag which is nothing but a rucksack in which you can throw in climbing gear and other necessary stuff needed for your adventure.
From Top to Bottom– Innovation is everywhere!
The old adventurers hardly knew the use of a helmet. The new age helmet weighs less than a pound. Usually all safety helmets have polystyrene foam inside and an ABS shell outside. Mountaineers need to use special footwear to maintain good balance on ice or Rocky Mountains. The modern climbing shoes are extremely comfortable and come in various designs as per your expedition needs. For example, if you are going for vertical ice climbing, the light weight crampons made of stainless still will give you a sturdy footing on ice. And each pair would hardly weigh more than two pounds!
Back in the early days, aviator style eye wear was used to shield the climbers from sunrays or snow blindness. Now we have interchangeable goggles with polarized features. Depending on the weather condition, the lenses can be adjusted to protect your eyes without hampering the vision. Similarly, old age climbers used climbing rope with bare hands. But today we have belay gloves which give a good grip and control over rope. If we have to talk about the mountaineering outfit, the antique style windproof military suit has given a way to an ultramodern suit which offers both protection and warmth.
Instead of bulky radio devices, today climbers use mini hand radios or cell phones to establish contact with their team on and below the mountains. It is even possible to make a phone call or send a text message while you are standing on the summit. There are many climbers who like to maintain the journal or record of their expedition. The pen, pencil and lined paper diaries have been today replaced with digital devices which have huge data storing capacity. The high tech, light weight and comfortable backpacking and rock climbing gear definitely offer amazing advantages over their predecessors.