It was quite a change of pace when I gave up my old travel blog, como un pulpo en un garaje, to start this blog.  The old blog was all about Laura and I on mountaineering and hiking adventures in Spain; quite a contrast to arts, culture, and design in urban Canada.  But the alternate universe that is mountaineering has been rearing it’s ugly head in pop culture lately.  Sharp Magazine’s November 2012 issue featured a piece called “Above the Clouds” and the byline read:

     The latest generation of technical outerwear is functional enough for scaling the Swiss Alps, but stylish enough for everyday life.

Now I think that it’s awesome that everyday fashion is taking cues from mountaineering, particularly vintage mountaineering equipment.  Lots of the things that everyone is familiar with today, like the puffy down jacket, were invented for mountaineers.  It’s cool to see that the history of mountaineering has become a part of popular culture. (here it comes)

Here’s my only problem.  People who don’t climb mountains cannot be making proclamations about what you should wear to scale the Swiss Alps.  If I saw a climber dressed like one of these clowns, I would strongly urge them to go back to the chalet where these hip duds belong!

When you climb mountains, you’re often pushing the limits of your courage, your strength, and your determination.  Pragmatism is your only consideration in dressing yourself.  This isn’t just my opinion, it’s how it is in the mountains.  Besides, there’s barely anyone else there to see you so why do you need to like stylish anyway?

This is what I might wear if fashion were a consideration while mountain climbing.

This is the sort of ridiculous getup I might actually wear while climbing.  Note the horrible colours, unflattering fits, and nerdy backpack clips.

Because the beautiful thing about mountaineering and all adventure sports is that you get to escape the watchful eyes of peers and strangers; the eyes that urge you to be stylish and current.  While you’re adventuring, the only thing that matters is the adventure.  The image you’ve created for yourself disappears and what’s left is just you: ugly, exhausted, but honest.  If you look good while climbing a mountain, you’re doing it wrong.

So this is my message to the fashion world:

Continue to use mountaineering as an inspiration for new and innovative designs but don’t you dare pretend that your hiking-style boots are worthy of the wild.  They’re not.  True adventure is anti-fashion.

Now here’s a collection of pictures of mountaineers doing what they do best: looking ridiculous.