As we reach the end of the Noughties we thought it was time to take a look back over the last decade and reminisce. It’s been a strange ten years when not a lot seems to have happened at first glance, but take a closer look and it’s been eventful, innovative and a decade to remember.
2005: The year continued 2004’s new emphasis on lightweight kit along with introducing some new classics like the Berghaus Bioflex back system, now in its second generation with the C7 Pro rucksack. Mountain Equipment entered the tent market with its Hielo 2, Torres and Helium tents whilst Brasher brought us pink boots with the Colima GTX. Helly Hanson celebrated 25 years of their Lifa technology for base layers as Merino Wool products started to make a noticeable appearance with companies like Smartwool and Icebreaker exporting to a wider world.
After over 50 years we got a new Countryside Code, complete with Wallace and Grommit style adverts, The YHA celebrated 75 years, whilst the New Forest became England’s latest National Park. The outdoor world lost legendary climber Anderl Heckmair at the age of 98. Over a 4 day period in the summer of 1938 Heckmair played a pivotal role in the first successful ascent of the Eiger’s North Face with Heinrich Harrer, Ludwig Vorg and Fritz Kasparek. Eric Langmuir, author of the definitive guide on mountain leadership also died at the age of 74. Overseas the big news was a spectacular year in the Himalayas with records tumbling. Annabelle Bond set records in the 7 Summits callenge, Jake Meyer becoming the youngest Brit to ascend Everest and Alan Hinkes completing the 14 8000m summits with his ascent of Kanhchenjunka.
Alan Hinkes became the first British mountaineer to complete the ascent of all 14 8000m peaks
2006: The classic Scarpa Manta got an overhaul with a new ankle flex design, and Rab brought us the Phantom. Elsewhere the focus was still on reducing the grams as pack weights tumbled and ultra lightweight waterproofs were everywhere. Soft shell continued to build its popularity with Haglofs amongst those spearheading new designs.
Sheffield saw its first Adventure Film Festival, in a move that was to see Sheffield become a major outdoor centre over the next few years, with the Kendal Mountain Film Festival dropping the “Film” as it added a book and arts festival. Overseas the British Army made an impact despite ultimately failing in their attempt on the dangerous West Ridge of Everest. Their groundbreaking website, live transmissons and TV adverts cleaned up at the global Campaign Digital Awards as the new benchmark for expedition websites.
2007: The year of Pro Shell. Gore-Tex’s new fabric took the outdoor world by storm as Gore revamped their range of breathable membrames. The Haglofs Spitz made its first appearance and soon gained an enviable reputation whilst Berghaus became the first British manufacturer to use recycled Polartec as the outdoor world started taking notice of environmental issues.
By 2007 GPS had become both big business and reliable and accurate enough to become mainstream outdoor kit. Digital mapping was starting to make the move from CD and DVD to online, paving the way for digital releases in the next decade. YHA closures over recent years were being replaced by independent hostels and bunkhouses, and abroad China declared it’s intention of building a highway to Everest base camp.
2008: 2008 started off with the tragic news of the death of Sir Edmund Hillary, legendary explorer, mountaineer, and first to climb Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay. Sustrans won the People’s £50 Million Lottery Contest for an inspiring prgram of connected cycleways across the length and breadth of Britain and camping took on greater popularity with the growth of music festivals. Even 10 Downing Street saw the appeal of the outdoors with a reception in “Celebration of Britaish Mountaineering” for the BMC.
On the gear front Primaloft had a revamp boosting insulation by 15% and The North Face started making new fabric from bamboo. Patagonia launched the worlds first totally recycled and recyclable range of clothing, along with branching out into footwear and the world started to catch up with Jetboil in building super-efficient stoves for the 21st Century. Marmot introduced a new 4 way stretch fabric with a membrame laminate called Membrain along with the Troll Wall Pro Shell designed for use over a fleece or soft shell. To top off developments Keen, having made a name for themselves in spectacular fashion with their sandal range, diversified with the launch of their first True 3 Season Boot”
2009: Well it’s not over till the Fat Lady Sings…..presumably Auld Lang Syne…..so this will have to wait till womorrow.
Happy New Year, and may your path always be smooth and your weather fair for 2010. Have a great one, from all at Webtogs, and see you in a new decade