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National Geographic Everest Expedition

National Geographic are sponsoring an Everest expedition, 59 years after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s original ascent. The 2012 team will carry iPad’s and iPhones and subscribers are able to follow their progress on the National Geographic app. Here on their website the magazine compares equipment from both expeditions.

This has the potential to be a great story – the recreation of an epic adventure, an exploration of technology, equipment and history – there are some good images from 1953, but we must admit to some disappointment at the actual comparison. Without being overly nostalgic the gear in 1953 just looks a whole lot better than the modern examples.

In performance-terms the 2012 equipment is of superior design of course. Technology, research and testing have improved materials and construction and allowed product design to advance beyond anyones anticipation. But aesthetically these items appear brash and cartoon-like when compared to their predecessors. New design combining well-considered understatement and technical performance would be a welcome alternative. Anyone for Nigel Cabourn + Berghaus? Oh and the original expeditions most famous ration – Kendal Mintcake – is omitted from the story, although there is an image of it’s 2012 replacement – ‘Razz’ flavour energy gel shot. We rest our case.