Three weeks to go

It’s now just three weeks until I jet off to India for the biggest trip of my life. I’m part of an incredibly hard-working and talented group who hope to get up some unclimbed peaks in the Karakoram.

Our final trip before India was a smash round the Cairngorms. Big bags, big routes, remote terrain: perfect.

Our final trip before India was a smash round the Cairngorms. Big bags, big routes, remote terrain: perfect.

It’s been a very long and slow planning progress; 18 months of work for much of the group, and 24 months for Ed the expedition leader. I’ve wanted to go on an expedition and summit an unclimbed peak for about five years and this is a good chance to fulfil that dream. However, the summit is secondary, and having a great time, enjoying the process, and coming back safe are primary.

You can follow our final preparations on our blog, and we’ll stick trip reports after the expedition up here too : https://karakoram2015.wordpress.com/

The group on a training weekend in Wasdale.

The group on a training weekend in Wasdale.

Changes afoot

I recently handed in my PhD thesis (nattily titled ‘The structure and properties of down feathers and their use in the outdoor industry’). I’ve now got a viva to battle through before I’m all done. While I’ve been writing up the PhD, however, I’ve been lucky enough to get a job working with a leading outdoor company – Mountain Equipment.

What does this mean for this blog?

I like to think of this blog as a bastion of unbiased opinion and information regarding outdoor clothing and activities. I can and will continue to provide unbiased info on the use of clothing and equipment, how it works, and the technology that goes into it.

However – boast hat on – I know some stuff that few other people do. I will definitely put some of that info on this blog; things like what is down made of, and why is it such a good insulator. However, information that is directly useful to my employer and potentially to rivals I obviously won’t shout about.

Regarding gear reviews, it’s now difficult for me to be completely impartial and it will look ridiculous for me to give praise to my employer’s goods, or criticism to rivals’. As a result, I don’t intend to write detailed reviews of many other products where we make a directly-competitive product. Gear reviews are the major hit-maker on this blog, but gear reviews can be found all over the place: I think the ‘science aspect’ of gear is what’s unique on this blog, and that won’t change. My outdoor adventures will obviously continue as before and I’ll write about them when I do something particularly interesting. More on that shortly…

Me looking pleased with myself on a run round the Lakes this Easter.

Me looking pleased with myself on a run round the Lakes this Easter.