The internet has transformed the dissemination of information on both gear, techniques and routes over the past five years. We now have almost instant access to information on just about anything. Want an opinion on a bit of gear? No problem, Google it and you’re likely to come up with some blogger who’s reviewed it. Want to know what a route looks like? Use Geograph and you can find some pictures for just about any grid square in the UK or you can use Google Earth for a bird’s-eye view. Not only that but there are loads of photos sets on Picasa and Flikr to help you.
We are now in the midst of a load of feedback from this year’s tempestuous TGCO Challenge. The weather proved to be a real work out for gear (and participants). Andy Howell has written an interesting piece on carbon fibre walking poles and their vulnerability to snapping. I swapped to carbon fibre poles (Leki Makalu) a few years ago. I found that aluminium poles caused my elbows to ache after a while. I think this was due to the transmission of the pole strike up my arm. With carbon fibre poles, I’ve never had this problem.
On Andy’s blog, he relates that one Challenger’s carbon poles snapped and pierced his Duomid. This makes me wonder whether I need to swap back to aluminium poles when using my Duomid. I don’t tend to use my poles all the time, mainly for going downhill and crossing streams. The Challenger (Rob Slade) commented on Andy’s blog about the incident. Apparently cuben fibre can be “mended” by gluing a patch over the hole. I also wonder whether cuben is better than silnylon when punctured as silnylon has a tendency to rip. It might be another reason to get a cuben Duomid (eventually). The other snippet that was interesting is that Rob said that his Duomid stood up well to the high winds experienced, which gives me a bit more confidence about the Duomid.
The other snippet that I picked up was from Gordon’s TGOC account and from his posting on OM. Gordon had to swap from some TNF Hedghogs back to some Asolo Flame boots because of bruised toes, something I can sympathise with. It just shows that what works for one person (trail shoes) doesn’t necessarily work for someone else, even a committed lightweighter. Personally, in the hills, trail shoes don’t work for me and I like lightweight boots. Equally my addiction to Salomon Fastpackers is not for others. It’s all about finding what suits our needs, be they boots or shoes, tents or tarps, Paramo or hard shell, meths or gas stoves or even how much clothing to take. It’s interesting reading the experiences of others but ultimately you need to go with what suits you and ignore the proselytising of others (including me).