Mountain culture in London

 

25th October 2011

While in London last week I got a chance to peek around the annual London Ski and Snowboard show at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. I got there as the doors opened on Wednesday, the first day of the show, and so missed out on the carnival-like festivities that typically characterise the event, but it did give me a chance to peruse the exhibits without having to elbow my way through the crowds.

As a recent iPhone convert, I was intrigued by the efforts made by a couple of British exhibitors to capitalise on the difficulty of operating touch-screen technology with gloves on. eGlove has a small range of gloves designed with conductive material in the index finger and thumb to facilitate touch-screen use. Without actual reviews supporting the technical capabilities of these gloves in extreme environments, and with the likes of Burton and North Face also producing similar-purpose gloves, leading the market may prove difficult. iPrint has a different, simpler take: their conductive adhesive strips attach to any glove and, at a couple of quid for a pair of stickers, provide a much more affordable solution. The unknown factor here is how long these adhesive strips can be used for before they fall off and need replacing.

But perhaps the best solution to this dilemma would be to leave our touch-screen crutch at home when we head into the mountains?

The highlight of my day was in fact a visit to the Royal Geographic Society in South Kensington. The Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Himalaya exhibition is a thought-provoking and poignant piece of work produced by photographer and founder of GlacierWorks David Breashears. The exhibit is on until November 11th and is well worth making an effort for.

Since 2007 David Breashsears has made eight photographic expeditions to the Greater Himalaya region. Together with his team at GlacierWorks they have set out to recreate some of the classic photographs of the region taken in the early 1920s by Sir Edward Oliver Wheeler, George Mallory and Vittorio Sella.

The result is astounding, a collection of then and now images that illustrate the vast reduction in the world’s greatest vault of pure untapped water. Breashears attention to detail in retracing the footsteps of these early pioneers in the most inhospitable environment on the planet is captivating and stirring. If you’re in London, don’t miss this.

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