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Fighting for your life…or for the right gear?

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

We all know the supply in a market is shaped by demand and the goal of a company is to make money. Therefore, if there is not enough demand for a product it makes no sense to produce it. The question is: what is the moment, the tipping point when a structural change in demand will trigger an adequate change in supply? Not talking about oil market, but something way less complicated - the market for climbing equipment for women!

I have been spending the last four weeks “foraging” for boots for summits over 8,000 meters and expedition suits, as if I were an alien with a strange body shape not known to humans. I am paying the same price as a man, but I can only get equipment that’s way larger than my size. No one cares that six pounds boots plus two pounds crampons are light as a feather for a man weighting one hundred and ninety pounds but heavy as a cement block for a one hundred fifteen-pound woman. Funny enough, if you want an 8,000 meters expedition suit you can only get one double your size. Don’t complain as you do have options: you can choose between harem pants, with the bottom close to your knees or big Santa Clause belly, in case you pull the lower part up and tie it with a belt. Does it end up being more strenuous for a woman to hike than for a man? When the wind is wiping your face and you can’t feel your legs, isn’t it a joy to have heavier boots than your co-climber and a belly that barely lets you see where your next step should be? Still, there are a lot of women climbers out there and they are also damn good.

Another question related to equipment, even though it is more about esthetics than feasibility…. why almost all base layer shirts are black or very dark color? Is there any research showing that light colors are keeping you cold and don’t display wick properties? Is it a crime to want a light blue or pink base layer and not one that would suit a commando force fighter? Same question for balaclavas… there is no bank on the top of the mountain to rob. Bucking the trend is Kari Traa and Skida - their products are looking and feeling great, showing that it is not impossible to look and feel good in the same time

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